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Category:    Home > Reviews > Nighttime Soap Opera > TV > Drama > Mini-Series > Japan > Literature > History > British TV > World War II > Dallas – The Complete Final Season/Fourteen (1990 – 1991/Warner Bros.) + James Clavell’s Shogun (1980/CBS) + Wish Me Luck – Series 2 (1989/Acorn Media/DVD Sets)

Dallas – The Complete Final Season/Fourteen (1990 – 1991/Warner Bros.) + James Clavell’s Shogun (1980/CBS) + Wish Me Luck – Series 2 (1989/Acorn Media/DVD Sets)


Picture: C/C+/C     Sound: C/C+/C     Extras: D (Shogun: B-)     Episodes: C+/B-/B-



The TV event was something to be impressed by in its time, when quality event TV was not only on PBS and before cable/satellite and home video really kicked in.  These programs show the peak and decline of this movement.


Though the peak of the original Dallas series was the Who Shot J.R.? episode, not the series continued to try and keep audiences no matter what, but by The Complete Final Season/Fourteen in 1990 – 1991, the show was well past its prime and long in the tooth.  The tired narratives were finally laid to rest and in the last feature-length show, a mysterious stranger (Joel Gray) shows up to show J.R. how life would have been without him.  It has a nice twist conclusion and way for the show to go out, but you realize this should have happened a few seasons before.  Some feel it was when Bobby returned mysteriously himself, but that’s another matter.  There are no extras and the 1.33 X 1 picture and Dolby Digital Mono sound are similar to Season 13.


That means we have covered the entire series.  Try these links for starters and we’ll see if it ever makes Blu-ray:


Seasons 1 – 8



Season 13




One of the most successful TV mini-series of all time still to this day, James Clavell’s Shogun (1980) re-promoted by CBS on its 30th Anniversary.  This is the same set issued a few years ago, but we missed it then.  Richard Chamberlain stars as Major John Blackthorne, a British navigator in the 17th Century who lands up in Japan and finds himself in the middle of power conflicts he could never have imagined.  The title refers to the title of the man who becomes the main head of wars and battles and in a coup for this series, legendary actor Toshiro Mifune plays one of the men fighting for the title.


Jerry London directed the five-part, 9+ hour epic that many felt was very faithful to the novel.  TV was proud at the time to prove that more than a feature-length film was considered a great idea to adapt a book, though that would sadly be lost over the decades since.  Clavell worked on the teleplay and the supporting cast includes Yoko Shimada, Alan Badel, Furanki Sakai, Damien Thomas, John Rhys-Davies, Vladek Sheybal and has Orson Welles narrates.


The 1.33 X 1 image is very colorful and good throughout, though some shots are softer than I would have liked, but this was all shot on 35mm film at great expense and the best shots will impress.  Director of Photography Andrew Lazlo, A.S.C., (You’re A Big Boy Now, The Warriors, Streets Of Fire, Beatles At Shea Stadium) did a great job in what is one of the best-looking mini-series in TV history to this day.  Color can be fine too and I bet this would be great on Blu-ray.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is a little better than the Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, but they are not too different because the upgrade is only so different.  Maurice Jarre’s score is a plus, but a lossless remaster with original sound elements could yield much more.


Extras include London’s audio commentary on select scenes, a 13-segment making of documentary and three historical featurettes: The Samurai, The Tea Party, The Geisha.



Finally we have the conclusion of Wish Me Luck – Series 2 (1989), a British mini-series that had its first part originally issued years ago, then never wrapped up and was out of print.  Acorn reissued that set, as this link will show:




Now, years later, we finally get the conclusion on DVD.  The spy mission by British pilots against the Nazis and Axis forces continues with Liz Grainger (Kate Buffery) having to face some tough decisions before the living nightmare of her mission is all over.  The final seven episodes are as good as the beginning and it was nice to finally see how this one wrapped up.  I will not say much more, except if you are interested, definitely start with the first set.


The 1.33 X 1 image is soft in its mix of PAL analog video with some 16mm filming, but the image is too soft versus similar production of its time and could use some fixing up.  Flaws include staircasing, aliasing, some video noise, video banding, some tape scratching, tape damage and cross color.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is also a couple of generations down not always as clean as it could be with distortion and compression.  There are no extras.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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