Dallas - The Complete Ninth Season (2008) Review
(More customer reviews)First of all, I am extremely happy and impressed that the popularity of the Dallas DVDs continues to surge, prompting Warner Bros. to release DVDs of the more "unpopular" seasons (the big question is whether Warner Bros. will release the dreadful final 4 seasons of the show). When Warner Bros. released the first 2 seasons on DVD, I never imagined that they would ever get to the so-called "dream season".
The reason this season was erased had more to do with producers' egos and control and less to do with satisfying the fans. Producer Leonard Katzman and his preferred "writing crew" were basically pushed out by Executive Producer Phil Capice at the end of last season. Hence, Katzman chose to erase this season to "stick it" to Phil Capice and the replacement writers. By erasing the entire season, Katzman was trying to reaffirm to himself and everyone else that without him, Dallas could not be a success. He explained to the press that he just couldn't fix "the mess" that was Season 9. So, he made sure everyone knew that he had no other choice because Phil Capice and his new writing crew had screwed Dallas up so much with these storylines. What most people do not know is that Dallas had lower ratings in all seasons subsequent to the "dream season" (i.e., all subsequent seasons where Leonard Katzman was Executive Producer, replacing Phil Capice).
Although Leonard Katzman's creativity and brilliance were essential to making Dallas the success it became, the dream season was actually a pretty good season, particularly the first 12 - 14 episodes. Yes, it emphasized more "Dynasty glitz". However, the storylines were still far superior than any other stories in other prime-time soaps. As far as "silly storylines", this season may have had a few, but so did almost EVERY season of Dallas. Emerald Mine storyline? Yes, a little silly, but not as silly as the "Wes Parmalee/Jock" storyline to occur in the next season, or Clayton's obsession with a girl in a painting that played out in the 11th season. Angelica Nero storyline too long? Maybe. But so was the "Jenna Wade/Naldo Murder" storyline in the previous season. Ironically, the Angelica Nero storyline was created by Leonard Katzman (who still wrote a handful of episodes during this season and was credited as a "Creative Consultant" during this season).
The early episodes of this season included some of the best writing and acting in the entire run of the series. The first episode tugged at your heart as you watched Miss Ellie asking J.R. to pour her a drink, and J.R. at first being non-responsive due to the shock of Bobby's death. Then J.R. lashes out at Sue Ellen for not being at Bobby's deathbed, showing the audience that J.R. needed to lash out at someone to help mitigate the mourning that J.R. was enduring for the death of his little brother. You cannot help from tearing up watching Pamela crying herself to sleep and blaming herself that her little boy would never see his father again. Gary and Ray offering to help J.R. at the office causes an uncalled-for hurtful response from J.R., showing that he isn't invincible and can hurt just like anyone else in the family. One of the best monologues in the show's history is when J.R. is standing alone at Bobby's casket at the end of the funeral: "Never really told you how much you meant to me. All the fights, all that time buttin' heads with one another. I'm sorry we were never friends. I wish I'd taken time to tell you that I loved you. I do. And you tell Daddy I love him too. Goodbye, Bobby. I miss you."
Linda Gray's acting in the first few episodes should have earned her an Emmy. It was amazing to watch her character reach rock bottom and attempt to climb out of the depths of hell. One memorable scene involves Sue Ellen looking at herself in the mirror at a motel room after a night of heavy alcohol consumption and yelling at herself about how terrible of a person she has become. "J.R. is right!" she screams at herself, after learning that her 10-carat diamond ring had been stolen from her while she was passed out in the dingy motel room.
Susan Howard and Steve Kanaly had brilliant scenes involving Donna's pregnancy, miscarriage, and subsequent attempts to adopt a deaf child.
Pricilla Presley's acting is....well, yes, it still sucks. Worse than it did in previous seasons.
Bobby's return in the shower? Well, yes, it was cheesy. But let me just say that this "cliffhanger" and "cliffhanger resolution" was not the worst in the series' history. The way the writers got rid of Pam at the end of Season 10 was the biggest fraud in the history of the show. After Patrick Duffy opted to return, the writers never felt comfortable writing any character off the show in any permanent fashion. Hence, the explanation that Pam would simply leave her beloved husband and child because of her "vanity" was one of the most stupid explanations to any character's departure. So, Bobby's return in the shower, as ridiculous as it may have been, was not as ridiculous as Pamela's decision to leave her family. That was completely out of character. And THAT is when the show "jumped the shark".
Give this season a chance. Yes, it becomes irrelevant, but it still has some of the best stories and acting in the show's entire run. In retrospect, I wish they hadn't erased this season. However, in light of the need to get Patrick Duffy back and in light of Leonard Katzman's incredible ego to stick it to those who ran him out of town, the "dream resolution" is not entirely unexpected and somewhat understandable.
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DALLAS:COMPLETE NINTH SEASON - DVD Movie