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"I'd Like to Report a Double Murder...This Is Sue Ellen Ewing"
on February 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.
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.