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Kasey G (Toronto, ON)
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Dallas: The Complete Eleventh Season
Dallas: The Complete Eleventh Season
DVD ~ Barbara Bel Geddes
Price: CDN$ 14.99
30 used & new from CDN$ 14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "I'd Like to Report a Double Murder...This Is Sue Ellen Ewing", Feb. 11 2012
The title of this review is about the most exciting thing about Season 11, and they are the final words spoken in the season-finale. Sadly, by this point the once-mighty "Dallas" is getting stale and not as addictive as it was during its 1979-83 heyday. Several of the storylines that could have played out over a few episodes are stretched out over the entire season and may induce drowsiness, so be warned.

**SPOILERS AHEAD**

After the explosive car crash that ended Season 10, disfigured burn victim Pam secretly flees the hospital, leaving Bobby with nothing but a note and a wish that he and Christopher continue their lives without her. While grieving this loss, father and son are befriended by pretty blonde Lisa Alden (Amy Stock) who ingratiates herself into their lives until it's revealed she's Christopher's biological aunt who plans on suing for custody.

In the business world, J.R. tries to get controlling interest in Westar by snuggling up to Kimberly Cryder (Leigh Taylor-Young), who's dying Daddy owns some sizeable shares. The only way J.R. can get his hands on them is to divorce Sue Ellen and marry Kimberly. Taylor-Young's impossibly-high cheekbones and haughty persona make her the most interesting of the new cast additions this season. The same can't be said for the attractive-but-boring Karen Kopins, who appears as Senator's aide Kay Lloyd. She takes up with Bobby in Washington when he attempts to get back the Ewing Oil name by meeting with a shady Senator (Howard Duff) with a high price.

Investment banker Nicholas Pearce (Jack Scalia) is hired to help Sue Ellen with her thriving business, and mid-season the two become lovers. April (Sheree J. Wilson) hires a detective and discovers that Nicholas is hiding a shady past with mafia ties, and her curiosity results in kidnapping and murder. Watch for Sue Ellen's secretary Kelly; she's played by Linda Gray's real-life daughter Kehly Sloane.

Andrew Stevens appears as Casey Denault, the son of one of Jock's former business associates. J.R. pimps out the ambitious but inexperienced Casey to secure some choice deals until Casey gets too big for his britches.

Cliff sinks a fortune into drilling on the advice of drifter Dandy Dandridge (Bert Remsen) who reminds Cliff of his father Digger Barnes.

Charlie (Shalane McCall) becomes so rebellious (by dating a teenage Brad Pitt!!) that Ray and Jenna decide to have her shipped off to boarding school in Europe. But the Krebbs household has other problems because Jenna openly proclaims her feelings to Bobby (who doesn't respond warmly--perhaps it's her hideous little-Dutch-boy hairdo this season that turned him off for good); and later Ray helps out stranded female motorist Connie (Michele Scarabelli) who becomes so obsessed with him she models herself in Jenna's image (WHY???) and knifes him in bed when he rejects her (this on the heels of the big box-office success of "Fatal Attaction").

Clayton suffers a heart attack at the annual Oil Baron's ball and after his recovery strikes up an odd friendship with a 20-something British plant enthusiast who's hiding from her possessive boyfriend. Later, Clayton becomes a blackmail victim and murder suspect. All this drama has Miss Ellie wringing her hands and getting drunk.

At the end of the season, Charlene Tilton returns to the fold as Lucy takes up with Casey Denault when she learns they share a mutual dislike of J.R.

It's clear the writers are running out of ideas, as the old "J.R.-fights-Sue Ellen-for-custody-of-John-Ross" plot shows up again, as well as Miss Ellie's husband being charged with murder. A sub-plot of Cliff becoming addicted to tranquilizers goes nowhere.

The best moment of the season occurs when Miss Ellie tells a smug J.R. off after Clayton gets arrested. Also, watch how many times someone orders ice tea (must have been THE drink of 1987-88!). And you just can't beat Sue Ellen's massive shoulder pads and cute "Judy Jetson" hairdo this season, but it's not enough to alleviate alot of the boredom.

Definitely past it's prime, with a few good moments here and there, Season 11 of "Dallas" is not essential viewing, and may have you watching the clock. As far as video quality, for some reason some episodes look great, but a good many look like they were transferred from VHS tapes. On the plus side, every episode contains the "Last on 'Dallas' and "Next on 'Dallas'" bumpers at the beginning and end. Too bad the previous seasons did not.

Three and a half stars.

Landfall
Landfall
Price: CDN$ 17.68
3 used & new from CDN$ 15.71

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece--Fans Will NOT Be Disappointed!, Jan. 28 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Landfall (Audio CD)
After a five-year (!) wait, Carole Pope's "Landfall" album has finally been released--and for fans of Carole that haven't yet heard it--you won't be disappointed! The best way to appreciate "Landfall" is to turn down the lights, turn up the stereo and lay on the floor and just let this wonderful musical experience wash over you like a series of waves.

The darker, industrial-meshed-with-Broadway-showtune "Viral" is the perfect opener to this varied effort.

"Tell Me" is probably the weakest link because it reminds me of those female coffeehouse singer-songwriters of the '90s like Tori Amos and Natalie Merchant.

"Did I Mention" harkens back to the "For Those Who Think Young" era of 1981 with scratchy guitars, impossibly funky keyboards and its lyrics about coke spoons and discoteques. If Rough Trade had let Nile Rogers produce an album back in the '80s it would sound like this--easily my favorite song of the whole album. Those who are familiar with Carole's voice will probably know how she shrieks certain lyrics sometimes and this song highlights that unusual technique perfectly.

When this album was in the making, Carole made much ado about working with Rufus Wainwright. On their duet "Landfall", I hated this upon first listen, but it's got great lyrics and has grown on me and is one of two songs here that make effective use of strings.

The harsh, alternative-sounding "My Flame" sounds like it was recorded in a room full of broken glass as Carole spits out the lyrics.

The grinding "God=Love" borrows a guitar hook from Chilliwack's "Crazy Talk" and the politically-charged lyrics have Carole singing "The White House might as well be a crack-house". This is probably my second favorite.

The ethereal yet modern-sounding "Torture" nicely fills the electronica quota.

"Shining Path" is really club music for grownups with discerning taste. It's got a late '80s European dance vibe that Lady Gaga's adopted as of late, except Carole's obviously anything but bubblegum.

Amidst the piercing violins and poetic lyrics of "Tourniquet", Carole registers angst better than Annie Lennox.

Upon first listen, the lyrics aren't as beautifully poetic as some of the songs on "Transcend" ("Sweet Dream 6") or angry and cynical ("World of One"), but at age 62, Carole Pope's vocal and writing skills are in still in top form. I haven't heard such a powerful album from a female vocalist since Sinead O'Connor's "Lion and the Cobra" nearly 25 years ago.

"Landfall" speaks of political hypocrisy, painful relationships and emotional baggage like only Carole Pope can. Next time please don't make us wait so long between albums, Carole.

Five stars--another winner! Thank God Carole is still writing/making great music in this crazy era when horrible acts like Katy Perry and Taylor Swift are inexplicably making millions.

Zipper Catches Skin
Zipper Catches Skin
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Price: CDN$ 93.45
2 used & new from CDN$ 65.17

3.0 out of 5 stars Only a Couple Keepers on This One, Jan. 28 2012
This review is from: Zipper Catches Skin (Audio CD)
Alice Cooper's 1982 "Zipper Catches Skin" is more straight-ahead rock and less New Wave than his two previous albums, but contains some material that seems like leftovers from "Flush the Fashion" and "Special Forces".

It's an average Alice album at best, and if you skip this one you're not missing that much.

The best cuts are the galloping opener "Zorro's Ascent"; The fiery, clever "Tag, You're It" has Alice assuming the role of horror-movie director and the entire song is made up of his direction to the terrified leading lady hiding from a psycho-killer. It alone makes this album worth getting. Though the militant "I Better Be Good" sounds like a leftover from "Special Forces", it's still one of the best tracks here lyrically and musically. Patty Donahue of The Waitresses appears to take Alice to task on "I Like Girls" and her asides are typically amusing and make the song ("What happened? Run out of gas?" etc).

Among the rest: "Make That Money (Scrooge's Song)" is nothing special except the instrumental finale sounds like something straight out of the "Killer" era, which should please fans of the original ACG. In the slower "I Am the Future", Alice forgoes the sap of earlier shamaltz for a ballad with bite--exactly like a slow Coop song should be.

Some of the lyrics get a little silly, as on "No Baloney Homosapiens" but it's a decent sing-a-long cut nontheless, the showy chorus reminiscent of "Hello Hurray". The rocking "I'm Alive (That Was the Day My Dead Pet Returned)" also sounds like something from B$B updated for 1982.

"Adaptable (Anything For You)", "Remarkably Insincere" are actually both UNremarkable.

Although "Zipper Catches Skin" is not a bad album--and would be decent for any other artist, Alice is capable of much more than what's here.

Three Stars--an average Coop effort.

Special Forces
Special Forces
Offered by importcds__
Price: CDN$ 6.94
27 used & new from CDN$ 6.92

4.0 out of 5 stars Alice Turns Into David Bowie, Jan. 17 2012
This review is from: Special Forces (Audio CD)
"Special Forces" is one of those albums that takes a while to appreciate; but it definitely will grow on you. It was a daring, unpredictable release for Alice at the time but it does suffer a bit from simple, repetitive lyrics.

The militant "Who Do You Think We Are" sets the tone for the entire album. It, along with "Seven and Seven Is", "Prettiest Cop on the Block" and "Vicious Rumours" are some of the fastest-pumping songs Alice ever recorded; 80s mosh-pit music if there ever was.

There's an updated live version of "Generation Landslide ('81)" that actually works due to the new, harder arrangement. An eerie harpsichord opens the bass-driven "Skeletons in the Closet" which sounds like a blueprint for David Bowie's 1983 hit "China Girl". This album seems ahead of its time in that it clearly influenced some mid-80s songs that came later; especially those drum machines in "You Want It, You Got It" and the synthesized handclaps in "You're a Movie". The closest thing to '70s Alice here is the fashion-bashing rocker "You Look Good in Rags".

Fans are divided on this one. I for one was glad to see Alice refuse to get stuck in a rut and try something new.

Four stars: Not an exceptional album but a lot better than average.

Designing Women S6
Designing Women S6
Price: CDN$ 33.27
22 used & new from CDN$ 32.96

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sugarbakers Gets a Personnel Makeover, Jan. 12 2012
This review is from: Designing Women S6 (DVD)
During the summer of 1991, "Designing Women" was riding high in the Nielsens with its biggest ratings ever due to all the publicity the show was receiving in the tabloids after the dismissal of Delta Burke. After much speculation about her successor, it was revealed that Julia Duffy (having recently come off a 7-season stint as spoiled Stephanie on "Newhart") would be her replacement. At the time the producers were quoted as saying "There are very few actresses who can play spoiled, stuffy characters without making you hate them...and Julia Duffy is one of those few". That statement was spot-on and viewers had their hopes as high as the Thomasons that the show would continue to enchant audiences. "Saturday Night Live" alumna Jan Hooks would be taking over for Jean Smart, who's departure was so overshadowed by Delta's, it practically slipped under everyone's radar and was hardly mentioned.

The hour-long season-premiere on September 16, 1991 titled "The Big Desk" generated such buzz it brought in viewers by the millions and was only bested by the season-premiere of lead-in "Murphy Brown". The episode was brilliantly-written to introduce the two new characters as well as send-off Jean Smart, whose promises to return for guest spots never materialized.

Thank God for Shout Factory! I was worried they would stop after Season 5 but bless their little hearts, they have come through with the Season I have been waiting for most of all. With Pam Norris still producing, the vibe is very similar to Season 5 despite the cast changes. Although some of the writing is a little weaker in spots, the delivery and comic timing of all the actresses is impeccable, and I found myself laughing out loud many times over the course of these 23 episodes.

Julia Duffy does her best with a difficult role. The writers basically painted themselves into a corner by giving cousin Allison Sugarbaker the dreaded Obnoxious Personality Disorder then expecting Duffy to win over audiences. Jan Hooks had a much easier time of it as the naive, sometimes unknowingly tactless Carlene. But if nothing else, Bernice (Alice Ghostley) gets more screen time than ever this season and begins bellowing her signature song at Anthony every opportunity she gets ("Black Man, Black Man...Wherrrrre did you come from?").

Some of the best episodes this season include "All About Odes to Atlanta" where Carlene enters a singing contest and acquires a needy groupie named Heather; "Mamed" has Anthony casting Julia as Auntie Mame in a community theatre production that features a hilarious guest spot by Gretchen Wyler; Anthony's infamous former cellmate T. Tommy Reed takes a shine to Allison when the ladies partake in a prison outreach program in "Last Tango In Atlanta"; Jackee appears as Anthony's new squeeze, sassy Vanessa Chamberlain in "Shades of Vanessa"; and "The Strange Case of Clarence (Thomas) and Anita (Hill)" though now dated--features what may be the fastest reaction to current events a scripted TV show ever managed to pull off.

I'm nitpicking and don't mean to sound like an ingrate, but to die-hard fans, the cover art looks a little odd since it features Season 1 shots of Carter and Potts mixed in with Sixth Season shots of Duffy and Hooks. But I'm so glad Shout is delivering the goods with one of my favorite seasons, I'll forgive them!

If you look at Season 6 as a whole new show and forget what Delta and Jean Smart brought to the table, you'll be surprised how much fun these episodes are. Anyone who was turned off by the topical women's issues this show preached during its earlier seasons will probably like this incarnation better since the comedy is front and center. Also, for all the hate spewed towards this season, it should be noted that more people watched these episodes of "Designing Women" than any of the ones with the original cast. The series reached at an all-time peak in the ratings during 1991-92, coming in at #6 among all programs on the air--ironic!

Kudos to Shout Factory because "The Big Desk" is presented in its original hour-long format, not split into two parts as it was in syndication. Also, some episodes featured original classic '60s songs such as "It's My Party" and "When Will I Be Loved" over the closing credits and they appear intact here. Thank you Shout Factory, you've made this DW fan VERY happy!

Laverne & Shirley: The Fifth Season
Laverne & Shirley: The Fifth Season
DVD ~ Penny Marshall
Price: CDN$ 17.97
25 used & new from CDN$ 15.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Betty Please...Pick Up Your Hash..Blacks", Jan. 10 2012
I was dead-certain "Laverne & Shirley" was stalled indefinitely on DVD because it's been four long years since Season Four was released, but CBS shocked everybody by announcing Season Five will come out April 10, 2012.

This is the last season to feature the girls in their original locale of Milwaukee and contains several classic episodes, perhaps the most memorable being "The Diner" in which Laverne and Shirley toil in a greasy spoon Lenny has inherited from his late uncle. The title of this review is a line from the episode that everyone seems to remember.

Also included among the 26 episodes to be found on this set are "Shotgun Wedding", which was originally the conclusion of a story arc that began on a "Happy Days" episode (which will be included as a Bonus Feature so we fans will get both parts); as well as two separate two-parters: "Murder on the Moosejaw Express" and "You're In The Army Now" which features Vicki Lawrence as the intimidating Seargant Plout. The girls perform "Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay" in the episode "The Fourth Annual Shotz Talent Show".

The following episodes will be included on the set and Episode Promos for ALL of them are included. The single bonus feature is a Blooper Reel which is fun but a little short at only three minutes.

13/Sep/79 Shotgun Wedding (Part 2; Part 1 is a "Happy Days" episode)
20/Sep/79 One Heckuva Note
27/Sep/79 Fat City Holiday
04/Oct/79 Upstairs, Downstairs
18/Oct/79 What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor? (guest Ed Begley Jr.)
25/Oct/79 You've Pushed Me Too Far
01/Nov/79 The Wedding
08/Nov/79 Bad Girls
15/Nov/79 You're in the Army, Now (2 parts) (guest Vicki Lawrence)
22/Nov/79 Take Two, They're Small
06/Dec/79 The Fourth Annual Shotz Talent Show
13/Dec/79 Testing, Testing
07/Jan/80 Not Quite South of the Border
14/Jan/80 You Oughta Be in Pictures
21/Jan/80 The Beatnik Show (guests Art Garfunkel, Paul Kreppel)
28/Jan/80 The Right to Light (guest Richard Stahl)
04/Feb/80 Why Did the Fireman . . . (guest Ted Danson)
11/Feb/80 The Collector (guest Billy Sands)
26/Feb/80 Murder on the Moosejaw Express (Part 1) (guests Charlene Tilton, Charles Pierce, Scatman Crothers, Roger C. Carmel, Conrad Janis, Wilfred Hyde-White)
04/Mar/80 Murder on the Moosejaw Express (Part 2)
11/Mar/80 Survival Test (guest Vicki Lawrence)
25/Mar/80 The Duke of Squiggmann
01/Apr/80 Antonio, the Amazing
06/May/80 The Diner
13/May/80 Separate Tables

The show lost a little something the following year when Laverne, Shirley and their friends moved to California, so enjoy this last hurrah of those hilarious "brewery belles"...just don't call them bimbos!

Dallas: The Complete Tenth Season
Dallas: The Complete Tenth Season
DVD ~ Barbara Bel Geddes
Price: CDN$ 14.99
28 used & new from CDN$ 11.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly, the Series Bounces Back, Dec 31 2011
**NOTE- This review contains spoilers**

Who would have thought that so deep in its run, and after the off-the-rails fiasco of the "dream season" Dallas could bounce back so quickly with one of its best seasons ever?

After Patrick Duffy agreed to return to the show as Bobby Ewing in the second most-famous shower scene in history (behind "Psycho"), the writers had their work cut out for them in how to explain away the events of the previous season. This makes for some awkwardness in the storylines as the writers are forced to do some serious backtracking to get the plots rolling again. This gives the early episodes a strange sense of deja vu.

Pam and Bobby remarry but not before Ray blurts out that Jenna is pregnant with Bobby's child. Jenna comes off as especially bitter and angry this season, but Priscilla Presley delivers her best performance on "Dallas" during the scene when Pam offers to adopt the unborn baby.

Steve Forrest's original character Ben Stivers had to be re-written, because you don't just fire an actor like Steve Forrest. So now he's Wes Parmalee, who still has a mysterious interest in Miss Ellie--for good reason. It seems Wes is the reincarnation of the late Jock Ewing, which has Miss Ellie questioning her own sanity and culminates in a great showdown between Wes and Clayton (Howard Keel). Naturally J.R. is suspicious of Wes but it's Bobby who comes off incredibly hostile. Later, there's another great fight; this one between J.R. and Clayton.

Mrs. Krebbs Goes to Washington: Donna (Susan Howard) is still pregnant, but the baby no longer has Down's Syndrome. Howard looks positively radiant without makeup in the hospital scene after she's given birth to a baby girl. Her decision to get back into politics puts the nail in the coffin to her marriage so Ray hooks up with Jenna and she and daughter Charlie (who's now a defiant teenage party girl who hangs out with bikers) move in with him.

Sue Ellen secretly purchases a trashy lingerie franchise and makes Mandy Winger (Deborah Shelton) the face of Valentine Lingerie. The "pornographic" ads serve their purpose when they turn J.R. off Mandy for good and her clever scheme earns Sue Ellen his respect. Deborah Shelton really ups her game this season and delivers her best work on the series.

Jamie (Jenilee Harrison) looks stunning this season but she and Cliff divorce because he can't seem to help treating her badly. Later, Sue Ellen gets the phone call that Jamie has died offscreen in a hiking accident.

Shelton and Harrison depart "Dallas" in the same episode and Sheree J. Wilson debuts this season to fill the void (and move into Mandy's condo). Wilson plays April Stevens, ex-wife of Jack Ewing (Dack Rambo), who uses her kittenish, sly feminine wiles to play both J.R. AND Jeremy Wendell to get whatever she wants.

J.R. toys with the idea of bombing oil fields in the Middle East and hooks up with crazy mercenary B.D. Calhoun, but when things get too heated, J.R. sells him out to the Feds--an act that has serious consequences when B.D. retaliates by kidnapping John-Ross and luring J.R. to an amusement park for a showdown. It's all too over-the-top for it's own good, even for "Dallas". Jeremy Wendell blows the whistle on the whole scheme and the CIA catch up with J.R. for his actions which results in a huge scandal for Ewing Oil. This allows Wendell to finally be able to purchase the company.

The season ends with the surprise return of Katherine (Morgan Brittany) and the heartwarming news that Pam will finally be able to conceive a baby and carry it to full-term. That is, until the explosive season-finale!

Episode 13 of the season does appear time-compressed with everyone speaking in high-pitched voices.

A huge improvement over the dreadful "dream season" and being the last season with Victoria Principal, really the end of an era for "Dallas".

Four stars.

Dallas: The Complete Ninth Season
Dallas: The Complete Ninth Season
DVD ~ Barbara Bel Geddes
Price: CDN$ 14.99
28 used & new from CDN$ 11.48

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile Only For Fans of Sue Ellen and Donna, Dec 29 2011
**NOTE - This review contains Spoilers**

Season 9 of "Dallas" ran on CBS during the 1985-86 TV season and has becomes infamous as the "dream season" in which Bobby turns up in the shower in the finale negating everything that has transpired in the past 31 episodes.

Patrick Duffy's departure becomes the death knell for the series as it never fully recovers. Even the return of Barbara Bel Geddes can't reverse the trend.

"Special Guest Star" Barbara Carrera is a colossal bore as the exotic Angelica Nero, who works for a Greek shipping magnate and has a special interest in cousin Jack (Dack Rambo) who bears a strong resemblance to the ailing tycoon of Marinos Shipping. This is one of the most boring plots ever on "Dallas" and Carrera seems better suited to "Dynasty" with her gold lame gowns, capes and turbans overpowering every scene she's in.

J.R. is less sadistic this season and seems to be softening a bit. When he learns of Mandy's betrayal, how does he punish her? By personally handing her the title to the deluxe condo, that's how! If Afton had done the same thing a few seasons back, he would have kicked her to the curb faster than you can say "offshore drilling". J.R. does put the screws to the cartel once again, and he and Sue Ellen start another custody battle for John Ross but it's all a big case of "been-there-done-that".

Pam discovers Mark Graison (John Beck) still alive, having staged his death earlier, and the two decide to marry. Pam also jumps ship from Barnes-Wentworth for Ewing Oil when she inherits Bobby's shares. The reading of the will is one of the season best scenes.

Dack Rambo assumes the "good-guy" role vacated by Duffy but is a poor substitute, and teaming him with Priscilla Presley, easily the worst actress on the show, does him no favours. The writers even unsuccessfully try and play him up to the audience, with dialogue like "women just flock to him".

Deborah Shelton is still on board as J.R.'s mistress Mandy Winger and continues to underwhelm, though she's not as annoying as Jenna and daughter Charlie (they aren't even related by marriage, so why are they living at Southfork?).

Even Jamie (Jenilee Harrison) has become dull this season, spending a good portion of it in a sick-bed after marrying Cliff and suffering a workplace accident. Her survival depends on locating a rare blood type, but will a donor be found in time?

Marc Singer appears as Bobby's old pal Matt Cantrell who needs Pam to help finance his emerald-mining operation in Columbia. Pam accompanies him there and ends up being kidnapped in the jungle. Singer's Beastmaster body and 9th-grade-nerd voice make for an odd combination and the only really interesting thing about this plotline is it also features Alejandro Rey ("The Flying Nun") as a corrupt Columbian police chief.

Steve Forrest appears as new mature ranch hand Ben Stivers, who seems to have a keen interest in Miss Ellie for some reason. This storyline doesn't really blossom until next season.

Clayton tries to keep his financial problems from Miss Ellie, but she finds out and secretly starts buying up the companies he's trying to unload.

There are only two storylines that make this season worthwhile. Donna learns she's pregnant, but that the child has Down's syndrome (her reaction scene is perhaps Susan Howard's best work on the series), and she and Ray agonize over making the right decision. Sue Ellen hits rock bottom and ends up swilling cheap wine on skid row with derelicts in her designer duds before she's committed once again to a sanitarium. Linda Gray gives a no-holds barred performance during her freak-out scenes in the drunk tank and hospital. They're definitely the highlight of the season. (One of the hookers asks her mockingly "What'ya starin' at honey? My slip showin'?"). Another hilarious moment occurs when Sue Ellen wakes up in a sleazy, roach-trap of a motel room and tells the cleaning lady, straight-faced "I'd like to have a Bloody Mary sent up"). With some help from the returning Dusty (Jared Martin), Sue Ellen turns her life around and gets a job as fundraiser for Mark Graison's medical research center, becoming involved with her boss, Dr. Kenderson.

Once again, we get dual-sided discs. The picture quality is very good and the episodes all contain the original 80s Lorimar closing logo. *Trivia Note* Episode #23 "Sitting Ducks" was directed by Susan Howard (Donna Krebbs).

While many fans made a big stink about Donna Reed in Season 8, THIS is the first season of "Dallas" that made me hold my nose. Completists and fans of Donna Krebbs and Sue Ellen will want to see this for some of their best moments, others should just be like Pam and pretend it was all a lousy bad dream and skip this one.

Dallas: Complete Eighth Season
Dallas: Complete Eighth Season
DVD ~ Larry Hagman
Price: CDN$ 14.99
25 used & new from CDN$ 14.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Year of Change For "Dallas", Dec 29 2011
**NOTE - This review contains SPOILERS**

When we last left the Ewings, Bobby had been shot in J.R.'s office and Cliff Barnes bounced back from bankruptcy at the last minute when he struck oil in the Gulf.

As a result of the shooting, Bobby is temporarily blinded. In the hospital, his recovery is almost thwarted when Katherine (Morgan Brittany channeling Glenn Close in 'Fatal Attraction') tries to inject him with poison which leads to her confessing that she pulled the trigger, and planned to frame Cliff.

Priscilla Presley's lack of acting ability continues to underwhelm as Bobby's fiancee Jenna Wade (though, then 39, she looks sensational in a bikini). Duffy himself looks mighty impressive this year in his black Speedo, his physique in the best condition ever on the series. Jenna stands Bobby up at the altar and is kidnapped by her slimy ex Renaldo Marchetta who is using her annoying, whiny daughter Charlie (Shalane McCall) as leverage. It ends with murder and intrigue and Jenna in prison, with Bobby desperately trying to gather enough evidence to have her cleared. Rosemary Forsyth ("Whatever Happened to Aunt Alice") makes a few memorable appearances in this story arc.

Miss Ellie returns from an extended honeymoon with Clayton (Howard Keel) a new woman--literally--as Donna Reed steps into the role vacated by Barbara Bel Geddes. It's quite jarring to see Reed and the transition takes some getting used to. She seems a little lost during her first few scenes but gets better (and more glamorous) as the season progresses. Howard Keel seems totally unfazed by the switch and actually has better chemistry with the new Miss Ellie. The producers were probably less-than-impressed as the role is slowly reduced considerably.

Afton (Audrey Landers) has had enough and walks out on Cliff in the season-premiere (dressed fabulously in a get-up that would make Joan Collins proud) and Former Miss USA 1970 Deborah Shelton joins the cast as Cliff's new squeeze, fashion model Mandy Winger. When Sly (Debbie Rennard) takes a leave of absence, Cliff uses Mandy to spy on J.R. but when Mandy tires of Cliff's cheapskate ways, she jumps ship and J.R. is more than happy to spoil her. The one interesting aspect of the character is her resistance to being a kept woman or the other woman. (Her best moment comes when she yells at J.R. "I know you're rich but I'm not for sale!"). Still, statuesque, big-eyed Shelton isn't that great an actress and I can take or leave her.

The best new cast addition comes in the form of Jenilee Harrison as cousin Jamie Ewing, daughter of Jock's drifter brother Jason, who arrives from Alaska. Harrison is much better here than she was as Chrissy's klutzy cousin Cindy Snow on "Three's Company". Sue-Ellen takes Jamie under her wing and delights in playing dress-up and outfitting Jamie in the high-end couture befitting a Ewing. Suspicious J.R. resents Jamie and when he pushes her too hard, she drops a bomb at the annual BBQ by tossing Marylee Stone (Fern Fitzgerald) into the pool and waving a document that states both she and Cliff Barnes are entitled to 1/3 of Ewing Oil. This ignites a battle to prove exactly who owns what that lasts the remainder of the season and also introduces Dack Rambo as Jamie's estranged brother Jack Ewing. As Jamie, Harrison loses some sizzle half-way in when she gets her hair cut and marries Cliff in a small impromptu wedding. She was more interesting living at Southfork irritating J.R. by reporting his various indiscretions to Sue-Ellen.

Pam walks though her own personal Twilight Zone when circumstances lead her to believe Mark Graison is still alive. She begins travelling extensively to places such as Hong Kong trying to track him down at various clinics, but learns it was a setup by J.R. to get her out of Dallas--all the while suffering in mink.

Tired of being a "poor-little-rich-girl", Lucy (sporting tons of eye makeup this season that makes her look 10 years older) secretly takes a job at the same diner that mother Valene toiled at before moving to Knots Landing. She meets a construction worker named Eddie Cronin (Frederic Lehne) and finances a building company but Lucy has always had back luck with men, and sure enough--she gets shafted again. Things look up for her later when she reunites with Mitch in Atlanta and decides to move there and remarry him. Charlene Tilton will leave the show at the end of the season (but returns a few years later).

Donna (Susan Howard) buys a small oil field and quickly starts reaping profits, which makes Ray feel inferior and causes more marriage problems for the two. They separate with Donna moving into the Southfork mansion, and later Donna discovers she's pregnant.

Bobby finally realizes he can't marry Jenna when it's Pam he really loves and the two also decide to remarry. It's great to see that old spark between them return. Their happiness is short-lived when Bobby is mowed down a car driven by the deranged Katherine (Morgan Brittany) who spent most of the season on the lam in Austria. Bobby's deathbed scene is one of the most powerful "Dallas" moments ever, with excellent performances by all involved.

Famed designer Travilla comes on board and this season finds "Dallas" trying to one-up "Dynasty" in the fashion department. This is the era of massive shoulder pads, geometric hairdos and lots of sequins and appliqués. Travilla won an Emmy for his work here and it's fun to see all the excesses of the `80s in full bloom. ("Dynasty" knocked "Dallas" out of the #1 spot in the Nielsen's this year and the single bonus feature is all about Travilla's work this season "glamming up" the series.).

Perhaps the last truly great season of "Dallas", though Presley is still somewhat of a liability, Harrison's first appearances make up for that, and Donna Reed as Miss Ellie will grow on you. Season 8 brings some new visuals and lots of drum machines in the opening credits.

Four Stars.

Archie: The Best of Samm Schwartz Volume 1
Archie: The Best of Samm Schwartz Volume 1
by Samm Schwartz
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 16.62
21 used & new from CDN$ 16.62

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Volume of Classic Archie, Dec 5 2011
IDC Publishing has now begun releasing these wonderful Archie keepsake books at a brisk pace; this is the fourth one I've bought this year. The format remains the same: approximately 150 high-quality glossy pages in a hardback volume that measures about 9x11.5 inches. There are 25 different stories in this book that all come from the "Jughead" series circa 1959-65. It's wonderful to see them on crisp white pages, large-sized, rather than in the old Archie Digests on newsprint paper.

Makes a great gift or a treat for yourself if you grew up with these comics in the 1960s or 1970s. Don't wait to buy this because these are quickly going out-of-print. The first volume of Dan DeCarlo did so in less than a year.

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