In January the long awaited final season of the long running Texas oil drama Dallas released on DVD. Warner Bros. completed the collection this week with the series’ final release, Dallas: The Movie Collection. Dallas spawned three TV movies and one reunion special, all of which are collected in this new box set.
Dallas: The Early Years
The Early Years is a prequel movie that aired in 1986. The bulk of the movie is a frame story that begins in then-current day, which would have been sometime during the eighth season of Dallas. A reporter is interviewing J.R. Ewing about the conflict between the Ewing and Barnes families, setting up the trip into the past. Some fans have complained that events depicted in this flashback movie occasionally contradict series canon, but overall it is a solid addition to the franchise, clocking in at nearly two and a half hours. Series creator David Jacobs penned the script, and Larry Hagman is the only regular series cast member who appears. David Marshall Grant stars as Digger Barnes, alongside Dale Midkiff and Molly Hagan as the younger versions of Jock and Ellie Ewing.
Dallas: J.R. Returns
J.R. Returns is the first sequel movie that aired after Dallas concluded its run. Broadcasting in 1996, this one reunites most of the main series cast for the first time after Dallas‘s cliffhanger ending. We learn that J.R. is alive and well, and he comes back to Southfork Ranch to reclaim his company and family. Series writers Arthur Bernard Lewis and Leonard Katzman provided the script for what would be a fan favorite revival of the old rivalries and ruthlessness.
Dallas: War of the Ewings
Continuing the Dallas story after J.R. Returns, War of the Ewings aired in 1998 with the key cast returning for one more showdown. J.R. is back in the Texas oil business but is as characteristically greedy as ever. He sees an opportunity to claim the corner on the market and goes after his father’s company while attempting to thwart the plans of his longtime rival Carter McKay. War of the Ewings doesn’t quite live up to the Dallas legacy, but it’s still a good watch for completists and fans.
Dallas Reunion: Return to Southfork
In addition to the three TV movies, this box set also includes the 2004 reunion show, Return to Southfork. This special is a retrospective with lots of clips, some bloopers, and reminiscences from the cast, led by Larry Hagman. It’s not essential viewing, but it’s a fun return for longtime fans of the series with lots of behind the scenes and out of character moments.
With rumblings of a new Dallas series on the horizon, it’s a good time to catch up on the landmark nighttime soap. This final volume in Warner’s Dallas DVD library will be essential viewing for folks wanting the full story.