It's about time this show was released, I just hope they don't stop there.
Here we have all 13 episodes of Season 1, with two commentaries by Joan van Ark and Ted Shackleford, clearly still the best of pals after all these years. And boy are they funny! You'll have to listen to them to see what I mean.
Right, about the pilot. I can't remember the last time a pilot was so well constructed... these days you get so many characters crammed in, all vying for screen time, that the pilot episodes are bursting at the seams. With the benefit of the older, longer episodes, Knots Landing had time to breathe.
Beginning with the arrival of Gary and Val (with Bobby along for the special appearance) in Seaview Circle, the whole episode is actually structured around a character who never appears again, Annie Fairgate, played brilliantly by Karen Allen (who a year later was making Raiders of the Lost Ark). She is the gel for virtually all the events in the episode, being Sid's daughter visiting because her mother is drying out. She causes mayhem at the Fairgate's house, is sleeping with Kenny Ward while being friends with his wife Ginger, causes a stir at the Avery's supper and then is befriended by fellow outcast Val. What is perhaps the best "happy" scene of the entire 14 seasons of Knots Landing takes place between the two, when Val picks up Annie from the police station and then goes to see the ocean for the first time. It's lovely. For geeks like me, in the series finale 14 years later, Val (who is presumed dead and is in hiding) contacts Gary by sending him flowers with a card that says "Valet Diner 9pm. I've never seen the ocean". Only he would know what that meant. Loyalty to the fans through the writing rarely happens like that anymore.
Through Season 1, although Val was always my favourite character, I think Laura and Richard are by far the most deeply explored and both John Pleshette and Constance McCashin are stunningly good. Laura also had, in my opinion, the saddest exit of all the characters throughout Knots Landing eight years later. One of the key musical cues used throughout the entire run of the show also came to be Laura's theme. It's here in the first series, it's there when she goes, and it's really tear-jerking.
Anyway, pick this DVD up, and any more that are released. In Season 2 we get the added pleasure of Donna Mills arriving as Sid's sister. Let the fireworks begin.
Five out of five, without a doubt.