For those unfamiliar with the series, "Dallas" was a groundbreaking prime-time drama that looked into the lives of the wealthy Ewing family - mainly J.R. Ewing (Hagman), the ambitious CEO of the family oil company. There's also the nicer brother, Bobby (Patrick Duffy); J.R.'s wife, Sue Ellen (Linda Gray), Ewing matriarch Miss Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes, although the ill Bel Geddes was replaced for this season by Donna Reed) and many other characters. The series remains likable, soapy drama more than twenty years afterwards, as while it looks a little dated, the performances are still first rate and the writing offers enough twists and surprises (most famous being the "Who Shot J.R." plotline of the fourth season, which was sharply spoofed by "The Simpsons" years later) to stay engaging.
The eighth season of the series certainly is no slouch when it comes to offering the show's usual twists, turns and betrayals. The season sees the introduction of a new character early in the season - cousin Jamie Ewing (Jenilee Harrison - Cindy Snow from "Three's Company") - a bombshell who moves into Southfork early in the season ("Jamie"). The season opens with Cliff hitting a gusher and Bobby critically injured by the incident that ended the seventh season.
The excellent season continues to follow the shifting balance of power in the Ewing family and at Ewing Oil, with JR displeased by Donna's moving into Bobby's office, Pam joining her brother in a plot to ruin him and even Jamie getting under his collar. There's also the expected romantic entanglements, as Cliff and Jamie exchange vows and Pam and Bobby pledge their love despite his still having feelings for Jenna (who finds herself in serious trouble.)
Overall, this is one of the finest seasons of the great show, and some highlights include: "Battle Lines", "Jamie", "Homecoming", "Shadows", "Deja Vu", "Winds of War", "Bail Out", "The Brothers Ewing", "The Ewing Connection" and "Swan Song".
162. 8- 1 173101 28 Sep 84 Killer at Large
- Cliff hits a gusher and Bobby is left blinded by the attempt on his life.
163. 8- 2 173102 5 Oct 84 Battle Lines
- JR fumes when Donna moves into Bobby's office. Meanwhile, the Bobby-Jenna wedding is put on hold.
164. 8- 3 173103 12 Oct 84 If at First You Don't Succeed
- Cliff's accused of murder, but he has one person on his side. Pam joins her brother in a plot against JR.
165. 8- 4 173104 19 Oct 84 Jamie
- An old enemy takes another stab at Bobby, and a new Ewing joins the family at Southfork.
166. 8- 5 173105 26 Oct 84 Family
- Jamie's arrival has JR's undies in a Texas-sized twist.
167. 8- 6 173106 2 Nov 84 Shadow of a Doubt
- Scam or miracle? Flowers arrive for Pam - from Mark. Definitely scam:: JR tricks Cliff - again.
168. 8- 7 173107 9 Nov 84 Homecoming
- The honeymoon is over: Miss Ellie and Clayton arrive home and step right into trouble.
169. 8- 8 173108 16 Nov 84 Oil Baron's Ball III
- JR shares some news with the partygoers - news that will leave one Ewing devastated.
170. 8- 9 173109 23 Nov 84 Shadows
- The past haunts Clayton, Miss Ellie, Jenna and JR.
171. 8-10 173110 30 Nov 84 Charlie
- Charlie disappears. Did her father kidnap her? Cliff enlists Mandy to spy on a smitten JR.
172. 8-11 173111 7 Dec 84 Barbecue Five
- It's BBQ time again, so you know something's going up in smoke.
173. 8-12 173112 14 Dec 84 Do You Take This Woman . . .
- Bobby and Jenna's wedding day dawns, but there is a detour on the way to the altar.
174. 8-13 173113 21 Dec 84 Deja Vu
- Afraid that Jenna's desertion will bring Bobby and Pam together, JR does what comes naturally: cheat.
175. 8-14 173114 28 Dec 84 Odd Man Out
- Pam searches for Mark, hoping he may still be alive. meanwhile, someone else is definitely - and suddenly - dead.
176. 8-15 173115 4 Jan 85 Lockup in Laredo
- Jenna is a guest of the good citizens of Laredo, charged with murder. And her memory of events is a mite hazy.
177. 8-16 173116 11 Jan 85 Winds of War
- Jamie moves out, Bobby hunts for Charlie and the battle begins for control of Ewing Oil.
178. 8-17 173117 25 Jan 85 Bail Out
- Cliff shows up at Ewing Oil, boasting he'll soon be taking over.
179. 8-18 173118 1 Feb 85 Legacy of Hate
- Dark days for JR: Mandy dumps him and Pam joins Cliff and Jamie's attempt to take over Ewing Oil.
180. 8-19 173119 8 Feb 85 Sins of the Fathers
- JR and Ray track down a grizzled roughneck who has startling information about Jock, Digger and Jason.
181. 8-20 173120 15 Feb 85 The Brothers Ewing
- After years of dust-ups, Bobby and JR agree to fight on the same side - even if they have to fight dirty.
182. 8-21 173121 22 Feb 85 Shattered Dreams
- Some girls just can't get a break: Jenna has another close encounter with a dead body.
183. 8-22 173122 1 Mar 85 Dead Ends
- Pam and Sue Ellen search for Mark in Hong Kong. JR dead Cliff after he insults Mandy.
184. 8-23 173123 8 Mar 85 Trial and Error
- Jenna's murder trial begins amid fears, lies, betrayals and marital strife.
185. 8-24 173124 15 Mar 85 The Verdict
- A surprise verdict will change Jenna's life forever - and impact everyone around her.
186. 8-25 173125 29 Mar 85 Sentences
- Bobby does the right thing to protect Charlie. JR does the wrong thing to protect Ewing Oil.
187. 8-26 173126 12 Apr 85 Terms of Estrangement
- After conniving every which way to keep Bobby and Pam apart, JR now schemes to get them together.
188. 8-27 173127 19 Apr 85 The Ewing Connection
- It's deal time over Ewing Oil, so you know JR's dealt himself a winning hand - or has he?
189. 8-28 173128 3 May 85 Deeds and Misdeeds
- A marriage begins: Cliff and Jamie exchange vows. Does another end? JR promises Mandy he'l get rid of Sue Ellen.
190. 8-29 173129 10 May 85 Deliverance
- A killer confesses, Pam and Bobby pledge their love and the fight for Ewing Oil becomes courtroom drama.
191. 8-30 173130 17 May 85 Swan Song
- Old friends return. So do old enemies. Couples find..and lose..each other. And stark tragedy revisits the Ewings.
VIDEO: "Dallas" is presented by Warner Brothers in the show's original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. The presentation quality isn't without some issues, but the episodes seem as if they've mostly held up pretty respectably. Sharpness and detail are alright, as while a good chunk of the episodes look fairly crisp, some scenes can look on the soft side.
Some dirt and wear (light specks, marks and other debris) are occasionally seen, but I didn't think that there was enough to ruin the viewing experience by any means. Some slight shimmering was also noticed on a few occasions, as were some minor artifacts, but none of the problems were major, considering the age of the series. The show's natural color palette didn't appear faded or otherwise problematic.
SOUND: The mono soundtrack sounds perfectly fine, considering the age of the series. Dialogue remains clear and easily understood, and music sounds fine enough. Audio quality is a little thin, but not bad.
EXTRAS: The one extra is a new featurette, "Dallas Makeover - Travilla Style", a short piece about the new look for the series as of this season due Emmy-winning costume designer Travilla's work.
Final Thoughts: The eigth season of "Dallas" continues to offer entertaining twists and turns, as well as terrific performances from the ensemble cast. The DVD offers satisfactory audio/video quality, as well as one minor supplement. Recommended.