knotsKnots Landing: The Complete Second Season (2009, Warner Home Video)
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I must apologize to Warner Home Video. Knots Landing: the Complete Second Season came out on DVD a month ago and this review is long overdue — but while I expected to rattle off some quick writeup, I found myself sucked into the addictive world of Knots Landing and didn’t want to write anything until I was sure I was ready. There is something about Knots Landing that I found quite enjoyable, and I now understand why it ran on CBS for 14 seasons, making it one of the longest-lasting shows in television history.

Perhaps it’s the fact that the actors on the show, while all good looking and youthful, don’t come across as your typical fashion model types placed in a generic setting on a weekly basis. I believe that Michelle Lee and Don Murray, as Karen and Sid Fairgate, could actually be married and have teenage children. I believe that all of these characters could actually exist in a California suburb and have to find a way to get along. And once you believe in the characters, it becomes much easier to swallow the torrid storylines of couples cheating on each other and the heightened plot twists like severed brake lines leading to cars careening over cliffs.

Knots Landing was a spinoff of Dallas, with Ted Shackelford and Joan Van Ark carrying on the roles of Gary and Valene Ewing that they created on the popular nighttime soap. In Knots Landing, they move into a cul-de-sac of Seaview Circle and become friends with their neighbors. The rest of the cast consists of John Plachette and Constance McCashin as the Averys and James Houghton and Kim Lankford as young married couple Kenny and Ginger Ward. Season 2 announced the arrival of Sid’s younger, conniving little sister, Abby, played by Donna Mills. She rolls up with two kids and immediately rents a vacant house in the cul-de-sac. The term MILF may not have been coined in the early ’80s, but it certainly applies to Mills’ Abby. And boy, does she cause trouble.

Besides the richly drawn characters, Knots Landing has plenty of big moments. In the opening two episodes, a hitchhiker accuses Sid of rape and nearly ruins his reputation (look for a teenage Helen Hunt in that episode). Later in the season, Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy make guest appearances as J.R. Ewing and Bobby Ewing. And in episode 14, “Moments of Truth,” Ginger’s baby shower turns suspenseful when armed robbers storm the party and take the women hostage. It’s all good fun made all the more entertaining because the actors are taking their work seriously. It may not be Shakespeare, but everything on Knots Landing is performed with conviction.

Despite some dated clothes and lingo, the second season of Knots Landing (which originally aired during the 1980-81 television season) holds up surprisingly well. Even the copies of the original film masters don’t show that much wear and tear. And like I said, it’s addictive. Sit through one episode and you’ll want to see the next. Next thing you know, a month will pass, and you’ll find yourself scrambling to write a DVD review. Oh wait, that was me.

About the Author

Scott Malchus

Scott Malchus is a writer, filmmaker and die hard Cleveland Indians fan. His memoir, “Basement Songs,” is available in paperback and Kindle. He wrote and directed the film “King's Highway." His family is heavily involved in fund raising to find a cure for cystic fibrosis. Scott Malchus is an employee of Cartoon Network and Turner Broadcasting. The opinions expressed on Popdose are his own and do not reflect those of his employer. Email: Malchus@popdose.com. Follow him @MrMalchus

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