'Dallas - The Complete Fourth Season'
(Larry Hagman, Barbara Bel Geddes, et al / 4-Disc DVD / NR / (1981) 2005 / Warner Bros.)
Overview: 'Dallas' is the soapy, backstabbing machinations of Dallas oil magnate J.R. Ewing and his family. Popular evening 'soap-opera' style television drama. The show was set in Dallas and chronicled the exploits of wealthy Texas oil millionaires. Many of the plots revolved around shady business dealings and dysfunctional family dynamics.
DVD Verdict: Season Four of the sinfully-good CBS-TV night time, prime-time soap opera "Dallas" came out on DVD on January 24th, 2006, in a nice-looking 4-Disc set, which contains all 23 full-length, fourth-year episodes (running about 49 minutes each). This set, as most "Dallas" fans surely realize, has within it the episode that resolves the "Who Shot J.R.?" story arc. It's episode #4 of this season ("Who Done It?"), which first aired on Friday night, November 21st, 1980. And it looks just great on this DVD (as do all the other episodes as well). The video quality here, like the earlier DVD sets of "Dallas" put out by Warner Home Video, looks A-OK to me. Prior to the much-anticipated airing of "Who Done It?" in late November of 1980 (which was delayed in getting aired by about two months due to an actors' strike in Hollywood that shut down production of all TV series), it had been exactly eight months since TV viewers had seen the season-ending cliffhanger where we see J.R. Ewing being filled with hot lead from the gun of an unseen and unknown would-be murderer. That meant eight long months of guesswork engaged in by fans of the series, trying to figure out who plugged John Ross Ewing II. I can vividly recall the media build-up to the "Who Done It?" episode in 1980. It was something else. Everyone was talking "Dallas" and speculating as to who might have been the gunman (or gunwoman). And there wasn't a shortage of "suspects" either, right on up to Miss Ellie Ewing, J.R.'s own mother! Several people thought Ellie had had enough of her eldest son's backstabbing shenanigans and had decided to take matters (and a murder weapon) into her own hands. Anyway, those months leading up to the big cliffhanger-resolution 4th show of the year were truly something to behold. So it's no wonder that the "Who Done It?" episode managed to break all kinds of television records. 41,470,000 homes ("households") were tuned to "Dallas" that Friday night in 1980 to see who it was that tried to kill Mr. Ewing, shattering the previous television ratings' record (held at that time by the last episode of "The Fugitive" in 1967) for the highest-rated and most-watched single TV program in history! This fourth year of "Dallas", which is considered by many loyal "Dallas" fans to really be just the third (full) season of the show, in addition to containing some of the most-memorable episodes from the whole series, also marks the sad departure of Jim Davis (who played "Jock Ewing", the always-gruff and no-nonsense head of the Ewing family and Ewing Oil empire). This DVD aggregation contains four double-sided discs, which are held in two overlapping disc trays within a smaller and more-compact Digipak case than was used for the two earlier DVD collections. The footprint (spine width) of this 4th-season pack is a mere 3/4 of an inch. When all four discs are removed from the two DVD-holding compartments, an impressive-looking underlying image emerges beneath the plastic trays - a picture of a "smoking gun". A nice packaging touch! This is a Full Screen format (1.33:1) and comes with the Special Features of all 23 episodes on four double-sided discs from Season 4, a 2004 Dallas Reunion: The Return to Southfork, and Subtitles in English, French, & Spanish (Episodes Only).