When John Schneider and Tom Wopat walked off "The Dukes of Hazzard" at the start of the show's fifth season over a dispute with Warner Brothers, many thought the show would never recover. Schneider and Wopat were replaced by two actors (Byron Cherry and Christopher Mayer) who were forced to basically imitate the characters of Bo and Luke Duke, without making their own mark. The show marched on, and though it appeared to lose some of its luster, all that changed when Schneider and Wopat returned late in the fifth season for a royal Hazzard homecoming.
One of the disputes Schneider and Wopat were having with Warner was the lack of innovative or fresh scripts, and it appears that the writers took this into consideration when creating this, the sixth season, of "The Dukes of Hazzard." Several of the episodes deal with more mature topics (well, as mature as the "Dukes" show goes!), like 'A Boy's Best Friend,' which centers around the Duke boys coming to the aid of an orphan boy; 'Brotherly Love,' which chronicles the return of Luke's long lost baby brother; 'Cooter's Girl,' where the character played by Ben Jones meets his estranged daughter; or 'The Boar's Nest Bears,' where a boy who just lost his father is comforted by the Duke family through a good old fashion basketball tournament, albeit with the interference of Boss Hogg.
I dare say that a few of the episodes are downright suspenseful and edgier, most notably 'Enos's Last Chance,' where Sonny Shroyer's character is chased down by a hit man bent on revenge on the Hazzard deputy. (This is one of my most favorite episodes of the entire run of "The Dukes of Hazzard.") This season also produces one of those classic '80s 2-part episodes built around a big storyline in 'Undercover Dukes,' which is surely one of the most creative and intriguing episodes of the entire series run, most likely due to the tension that is played out within the Duke family during this episode. Then there is 'Play It Again, Luke," where Luke's former girlfriend, now a rising singer, returns to Hazzard as her manager tries to cash in on her life-insurance policy.
A discussion on season six of this series wouldn't be complete without mentioning the classic episode 'Two Many Rosco's,' where James Best plays a dual role and shows off some of his old dramatic acting skills. And longtime cast member Peggy Rea returns as Lulu Hogg in 'Lulu's Gone Away,' where Sorrel Booke's character of Boss Hogg continues to shine in an episode that shows both Boss Hogg's softer side and grittier side while trying to catch the kidnappers who abducted her.
All these shows still contain all of the lighthearted antics of Boss Hogg and Rosco (who are funnier and cleverer than ever in this season), the warm and down-home charm of Uncle Jesse (played by Denver Pyle) and the sultry sexiness of Catherine Bach, who is still wearing her 'Daisy Duke' shorts during these late-era "Dukes" seasons.
It is amazing to see how well the show continued into its sixth season (not to mention rebounding from the overhauled fifth season), and a lot of the episodes found here are incredibly fresher and better written than some of the episodes found in earlier seasons. This season of "The Dukes of Hazzard" ranks up there with the best of them all, and is highly recommended. A big thanks to Warner Brothers for releasing this series in a timely fashion and treating it with the respect it deserves. They don't make good, wholesome family fun shows like this anymore!
Bonus features for this season release feature Ben Jones (Cooter) and Sonny Shroyer (Enos) in a tour of the original Hazzard County, which was actually Covington, Georgia, where the first episodes of the series were originally filmed, and a special documentary on the Dukes' famous car, the General Lee.