Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dallas Season 12 on DVD


Sue Anne Ewing (Linda Gray) indignantly blurts out, “You mean that bastard is still alive?!" after she discovers that she failed to kill J.R. (Larry Hagman) at the end of Season 11. As I recall I was thinking the same thing about Dallas in general by the time the twelfth season rolled around. Not only are there explosions on the Southfork Ranch this year, but on the show as well. With Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing) already gone from the series last season, Priscilla Pressley (Jenna Wade) and Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs) would soon follow on this one, taking a lot of their fans with them. Also Linda Gray (Sue Ellen) will wander off at the end of this season after a lame plot to make a failed movie of J.R.’s life, exposing all of his backstabbing schemes to the world.

This time around in the midst of all the departures, the show overcompensates with humorous and overblown plot twists, exploding dams and oil wells, hired mercenary ranch hands totting machineguns and/or side arms, and field trips to Europe. One of my favorite scenes this year is when J.R. hilariously pretends to be dying in the hospital to try to make Bobby feel sorry for him. One great result of all the behind-the-scenes shakeups is that we get to see Miss Ellie stop being a weak and timid damsel in distress. When her beloved Southfork is threatened, she stands her hallowed ground and becomes a “mama bear protecting her cubs” force to be reckoned with that pales J.R. in comparison.

The great George Kennedy joins the cast as their affable but secretly evil neighbor Carter McKay; possibly the most worthy adversary that not only J.R. has faced, but Miss Ellie (Barbera Bel Geddes) as well. Fans of the show will like the return of Afton Cooper (Audrey Landers) into Cliff’s life, bringing along a daughter that may or may not be his.

As expected, this year JR’s lust-obsessed brain has dropped back into his groin and he can’t resist the temptation of a pretty young thing while on a camping trip with Bobby and their sons. His intended target takes the form of Cally Harper (Cathy Podewell) and before J.R. knows what hit him, he’s cut off from his powerful connections, convicted of rape and sentenced to jail with no way of getting word out for help.

What follows in quick succession are a shotgun wedding resulting in a new wife for J.R., escapes from jail, a tornado, a range war involving Ray Krebb’s adjoining land, a dammed up stream threatening to parch Ewing livestock and possibly the ultimate sign of the apocalypse-Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval) becoming a partner in Ewing Oil… with Miss Ellie’s blessing! This results in an infuriated J.R. becoming determined to sabotage any deal that they make in an attempt to destroy the one love that he’s never cheated on-Ewing Oil.

For a refreshing change, the season leaves the confines of the studio and spends a lot of time on the actual Southfork Ranch in Texas. The cameras also take the aforementioned field trip to Europe, which seemed to be the studio’s excuse to reward the cast members that were willing to remain with excursions to Vienna, Salzburg and Moscow.

This collection comes in the form of the usual (and annoying) three double-sided discs that make watching the series with a multi-disc player impossible without getting up and flipping them instead of in a continuous series. These discs are also unlabeled with only fine print at the center hole. DVD extras are limited to English subtitles for the hearing impaired.

All things considered, I liked this season and if you’re a fan of the show this volume makes a great addition to any collection.

WARNING: Reproduction of the FIRST PARAGRAPH of this article is permitted as long as a link to it is provided. Reproduction of this article past the first paragraph is forbidden without the author's permission
©-2010 by Jet Gardner/

No comments: