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Tag Archive: Dallas series


How I Married Your Mother finale

It always pays to be wary of grandiose statements and definitive pronouncements.  When I first watched Forrest Gump in the theater, one-third of the way through the movie it occurred to me I might be watching the greatest production of all time, and walking out of the theater I carried that thought with me.  But time changes things.  Now I see it as a fun film, but it’s not at the top of any of my “best of” lists.  Professor Schofield advised that you can’t really objectively analyze something, an art movement, a political figure, a fad–anything worth analyzing–unless several years had transpired and you could have the value of time and distance, contemplation and reflection, to look back with.

So it is with a bit of reservation that I am asserting that the series finale to How I Met Your Mother that aired Monday night should top any list of great finales.  The writers, producers, and actors simply got it just right.  Exactly right.  Airing the first episode of season one just before the finale aired really showcased how this ending was exactly what viewers deserved after nine seasons of sticking with the show.  Consider all the series finales that were promoted over the years, and despite the biggest of viewing audiences, you might find that most last hoorahs miss the mark, try too hard, or just do something that didn’t reflect the best of the series.

Trek TNG All Good Things

The granddaddy of all finales was the 1983 M*A*S*H extended episode “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen.”  Although some elements were right, like a bounty of typical and appropriate sad goodbyes, Captain Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce, (one of the best characters of all time) after more than a decade of using laughter to beat the odds and help his unit survive the Korean War, cracks at the very end.  NBC’s comedy spy series Chuck made a similar mistake, wiping the memory of Chuck’s hard-earned love interest Sarah after we cheered him on all those years, requiring the story to basically start over from scratch in some far off place after the series wrapped.  Another less than satisfying but at least appropriate-to-the-series finale was the end of the monumental 20th year of the original Law & Order.  We basically got to see a fairly typical episode of the series, which certainly fit the seriousness of the show’s drama.  But we also got a goodbye scene and were left on a positive note with “Lieut’s” good news about her hard-fought illness.

Before that, you might have seen the last episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show on Nick at Nite or other classic rerun network if you weren’t old enough to catch it in its initial run.  The TV network that was the subject of the series fires everyone including Mary at the end, except Ted Knight’s character Ted Baxter.  The annoying guy that we loved for being annoying gets to stay.  A funny series with a funny end, as well as the requisite bittersweet goodbye scene.  A similarly funny sitcom, Psych, wrapped its eighth and final season last month, tying up all its remaining loose ends.  Psych took a different path, taking its angst-inducing character, Detective-then-Chief Lassiter, and with a redemption of sorts, switched up his role in the last two seasons to become a guy viewers could cheer on.

Newhart finale

Another comedy, Newhart, gave us a completely bizarre ending for an otherwise enjoyable comedy series.  Yet it was saved literally in the last two minutes by a brilliantly concocted stunt–bring back Bob’s wife from his original series, The Bob Newhart Show, the lovely Suzanne Pleshette, revealing the whole series was just a dream.  It’s a gimmick that didn’t work for a series like the original Dallas (recall Bobby Ewing died then came back to life with a “poof”), but for a comedy wrap-up, it couldn’t have been better timed.

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dallas-tnt-dvd-season-two-cover

It will go down in American culture as the last hoorah for television legend Larry Hagman.  The second season of the reboot of Dallas saw the villainous and conniving J.R. Ewing’s death coinciding with the real-life passing of Hagman.  And it set up an ongoing new search–not for who shot J.R.–but who killed J.R., as the series begins its third season on TNT on February 24, 2014.  Averaging 4 million viewers per episode last year, it’s clear viewers still want to know what’s going on at Southfork, even 36 years since we first met the Ewings.  And the new series is one of the best retro treatments any TV series has seen–how many classic shows have gotten a second chance?

What is actually the sixteenth season of Dallas is in stores everywhere tomorrow, and reboot Season 2 features not only the 15 episodes from 2013, but several deleted scenes and other bonus features, including an extended cut of the series farewell to J.R. and Hagman in “J.R.’s Masterpiece.”  Fans of Hagman in particular will appreciate two features, “Memories of Larry Hagman: A Cast and Crew Tribute,” including some good light-hearted discussions with Josh Henderson, who plays J.R.’s son, and a season one press interview with Hagman discussing the series, “One Last Conversation with Larry Hagman.”  The feature “The Battle for Ewing Energies” is an overview of the season and the fast-moving plot twists.  “Dallas at Paleyfest 2013,” unlike many Paley Center presentation features, is a well-filmed, quality panel from late season that includes the seven key cast members and the show’s writers.  Costume designer Rachel Sage Kunin discusses wardrobe and jewelry selection decisions with actress Jordana Brewster in a series of featurettes on each disc.

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We reviewed last season at borg.com here, and recounted J.R. Ewing and the show’s significance in the realm of classic TV watching.  Not just a stale prime time soap opera, the writers of Dallas have managed to keep the store zipping along, often creating and resolving key crises in a single episode, to move right on to the next challenge for the Ewing family.

Pick up the four-disc DVD of Dallas Season Two tomorrow, February 11, 2014 at stores everywhere, and pre-order it today at a discount at Amazon.com.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

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