The Good

Once again another intrigue filled season of this great show.

The Bad

Why aren't there any of the cast members providing commentary tracks here?

Dallas: The Complete Sixth Season proves that if bad behavior can happen than the Ewing Family is going to do it. We open with J.R. being voted out as President of Ewing Oil. He and Bobby get into another big fight, and it all has to do with how Jock Ewing , Sr. is dividing up the company. It seems he has split it in two and then pitted the brothers against one another to bring home the biggest profits. Add to this that Bobby and Pam break up, J.R. marries Sue Ellen again, and J.R. finds himself, at one point, in a Cuban jail. Like all the seasons before it, Dallas turns up the heat on all the characters so that there was no Ewing left unscarred.

From Episode 1, "Changing of the Guard," in which J.R. is voted out of his seat as President of Ewing Oil, to Episode 17, "Crash of '83" in which the Ewings have to deal with the crash of the Wentworth Jet, to Episode 24 "Cuba Libre," which sees J.R. face to face with Cuba's finest police officers, this show never shies away from dropping it's characters in quicksand and then watching in amazement as they try and get out.

Features

Power and Influence: The Dallas p Culture Influence Then and Now

While we will never know with 100% certainty if this is true, I am willing to bet that Dallas was at the forefront of making viewers alter their lives to follow this show. As the stories continued week after week, and the VCR wasn't in everyone's homes when this show started, people really had to change their lives in order to keep up with the characters (or so this featurette postulates). We hear from people like Professor Robert Thompson and Dallas author Barbara Curran as they discuss the show's origins, how it's influence spans the globe, and the effect that this sort of TV has had on the industry. Overall, I found this be a nicely comprehensive look at the subtext of this show.

Video

Standard Version presented in a format preserving the aspect ratio of it's original television exhibition. These episodes looked really good here. It's interesting to think that these episodes are over 20 years old, and Warner Bros. has done a fantastic job of keeping the assets preserved in their vaults. While the images have a washed out look, I recall that that's how this show looked when it originally aired. Overall, the compression process employed on these discs doesn't seem to have bumped them up, so much as it's preserved them for years to come.

Audio

Dolby Digital - English: Mono. The audio for all the episodes I screened was really good. There's something invigorating about hearing the opening strains of the Dallas them song. I am amazed at how solid the audio levels were over this entire 5 disc set. There is over 1300 minutes of content on here so it would be forgivable if the sound dropped in and out at times, but I never experienced that as I went through these discs.

Package

J.R., Pam, and other members of this show are featured on this darkly tinted champaign cover. The cast pictures are in color as Southfork and the Texas skyline have that champaign coloring. The back of this slip case features three images from this show, a description of what Dallas: The Complete Sixth Season is about, a Special Features section, a cast list and technical specs. All 5 discs in this set are stored in three slim cases. There are images from the show (as well as the same front cover image) mixed all around on these covers, which also list out the episodes, their airdates and the attendant special featurette.

Final Word

It is very hard to argue with a show that ran for 14 seasons but that is precisely what Dallas did. I really think a big part of this show's success is that the writing was such that we never really know what is going to happen next. Sure we might have ideas of things that we'd like to see happen (and sometimes we even get what we want), but this show presented such strong characters and then pulled the rug right out from under them. A viewer probably never could have imagined that J.R. would be unseated as President of the company (even if that's what he deserved), yet that is exactly how this Sixth Season choses to begin. Also, as every character is playing a type, we have certain expectations of people like Bobby, Pam, Sue Ellen, Jock and just about every other character who graced the premises of Southfork.

It was seeing these characters, living with them week after week, following their stories that got us comfortable with who they were. The show's creators gave people what they expected, and then out of nowhere there was a shot from left field that just left people with their mouths agape saying, "I can't believe they did that." As, Dallas: The Complete Sixth Season shows, a character in this world can be down, but unless they're dead, they're never out.

And maybe even then...