It sometimes becomes quite challenging to write a review of a television show release in the mid-seasons. The opening season of the show has plenty to talk about, and the final season wraps things up, but what about season six, say, of an eleven season show? What is there to say then? “Well, this season involves the same characters doing the same stuff they have been doing for years.”
Lucky for me, this is a mid-season set that has something to talk about. Something big. Something the whole nation was talking…about in the 80’s. Who shot J.R.? Yep, this is the season. J.R. Ewing had established himself as a classic villain by the time this season started, and as the episodes rolled on, J.R. was successful in double-crossing nearly every character on the show, no matter how minor. At the time, characters in these kinds of shows didn’t get shot, so imagine the shock when viewers sat down for the season finale of one of the top shows in primetime, and out of nowhere, “bang!” Viewers were left in shock for the entire off-season, wondering who was left holding the smoking gun as the credits rolled. This is probably the biggest cliffhanger in the history of television. Relive the fun with Dallas – The Complete Third Season.
1980’s television audio was much the same as 1950’s film audio. Little consideration was given to dynamic sound, or even stereo broadcasts. The main concern of audio in those days was just covering the bases. A solid presentation of the dialog is the main concern, with ambient sounds being given much less consideration. Still, the dialog presentationis clear, and music cues blend nicely.
It would cost a fortune to re-master every episode of every season of this show. It would just be completely impractical. Therefore, we are simply left with the best available masters that Warner Brothers could find. The quality of the opening credits sequence is horrid, but the shows themselves are a little bit better. They still have a ton of blemishes, however. I also noticed several focus problems in the episodes. Ironically, the shots are surprisingly sharp where there are not any blemishes. This may not be a first rate transfer, but it is much better than any other transfer that is available of this show.
TV box sets are famous for being released with very few extras, and this one is no exception. There are two commentaries on this release, both of which are mildly interesting. They feature Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray both on the episode “Sue Ellen’s Choice” as well as the big money episode, “A House Divided”. No new information is really offered up here, as much as general reminiscing about the time period.
The only other extra in this boxed set is a newly-produced documentary called Who Shot J.R.? The Dallas Phenomenon?. This is a very interesting 20-minute featurette that discusses the specifics of the fateful cliffhanger episode, as well as the show itself, and its place in the history of television. This is a really great extra that makes up somewhat for the limited number of special features on this disc.
Excessive melodrama, extreme overacting and one extremely famous episode makes this set a “must have” for fans of the show, and might even make it a required purchase for fans of great television moments. Sure it’s trashy , but let’s be honest… isn’t that part of the fun?
Special Features List
- 2 Commentaries
- Documentary, Who Shot J.R.? The Dallas Phenomenon