The Good

Once again, Dallas delivers by keeping the fight and the feuds in the family.

The Bad

Paltry Special Features.

With the famed Southfork ranch going up in flames to start off Dallas: The Complete Seventh Season, it seems that our family faithful are playing games to see who can be the most ruthless this season. Pam and Bobby decide to go their separate ways while Sue Ellen meets a beau that is many years her junior. The Ewing Bros. are actually working together and thus driving Ewing Oil to record profits. However, J.R. doesn't like to share so of course he has to figure out a way to sabotage things. Making all of this so hard to stomach is just how two faced this character really is. Also, did we mention that Miss Ellie and Clayton Farlow have now joined forces as well?

It might be convoluted and difficult to follow, but Dallas: The Complete Seventh Season revels in its ability to cross every line imaginable. Just when it seems like the characters on this show can't sink or rise any higher, they manage to surprise us and that is probably what accounts for this show having the 14 Season run that it did. Boasting 356 episodes (at 60 seconds a pop) Dallas might very well be the most in-depth look at a decaying family that has ever been presented on TV. That these characters are always dressed up so nice only serves to underscore the deep problems they have brewing under the surface.

Features

The Music of Dallas

While I found this enjoyable, I wish they would have had some of the cast members provide commentary tracks or something. Instead Bruce Broughton's Emmy winning music work on Dallas is highlighted, and we also find out how Jerrold Immel's title theme came into existence. All of this stuff is good, I guess I don't care about the music as much as the creators of this DVD wish that I would. This piece is nice but it's light and it feels like it was scraped together simply so that there would be some sort of Extra Feature on this release.

Video

Standard Version. Presented in a format preserving the aspect ratio of its original television exhibition. Interestingly, Warner Bros. doesn't seem like they bump up the image quality as much as Paramount sometimes does. At the same time, Warner Bros. titles always look really good (which you can't always say about Paramount). While I don't think that they have remastered the episodes in question, they have made them pretty darn solid. I didn't really notice much dirt on the images unless the scene was an outside shot at night. Sure, this bothered me but it didn't happen enough for me to really care about it.

Audio

Dolby Digital. English: Mono. The audio on this release was good. Nothing about the sound really grabbed me but I don't recall it grabbing me on any of the releases. Warner Bros. has leveled these discs so that you don't need to adjust your unit when they begin playing. I did a little bit just because I had things somewhat low, but once I got everything established, I don't recall having to change the audio levels for any of the discs.

Package

J.R. is front and center on this slipcase cover which has tiny pictures of the other cast members laid out around him. Above J.R. are Texas skyscrapers while below him is a grey toned image of Southfork. The back of the slipcase gives us three images from the show, a tiny description of what Dallas: The Complete Seventh Season is about, a Special Features listing, a cast list and technical specs. The 5 discs that make up this set are stored in three slim cases. One of them has the same artwork as the front cover, while the others just feature pictures, episode listings, descriptions, airdates and where to find the lone Special Feature.

Final Word

Looking back on things, I really wish that I would have started watching Dallas some time ago when I was younger. I think that this show offers so much in the way of storytelling and when you consider that they carried out this family (adding and taking away characters in the process) for as long as they did, I think there is something to certainly be gleaned from dissecting it. That this show began in the late 1970s and ran all the way into the 1990s speaks a great deal to our country. First of all, I don't think it's stretching things to say that Dallas represented the 1980s. In a hundred years if people want to know how things were in this country at that time, they could put on Dallas the fashions, the mores, and the cultural values that were mostly on people's minds.

While I might be giving a TV show a lot more credit than it deserves, I think that anything that manages to grab popular opinion for over a decade is certainly worthy of a higher merit than shows that went off the air sooner. Dallas: The Complete Seventh Season is yet another chapter in the lives of this very dysfunctional family.