I decided to skip Season 9 (Pam's famous dream) and watch Season 10 straight after 8.
This strategy works pretty well. There are a few jarring notes in the first couple of episodes - the hairstyles and costumes are radically different; and in terms of plot, the slump in the American oil market seems to have arrived out of nowhere. Another negative is that two major plot strands of season 8 (the fates of Katherine Wentworth and Mark Graison) are left unresolved.
On the plus side, the viewer is no longer distracted by all the good things in Season 9 that are no longer to be.
And given the upheaval that Patrick Duffy's return must have caused, Season 10 is mightily impressive. The storylines are engaging and clever, even subtle at times. Donna-Ray-Jenna's storylines are cleverly juxtaposed against Jenna-Bobby-Pam. JR's adventure with BD Calhoun is similarly foreshadowed by a seemingly insignificant incident in Episode 2 which will eventually lead to the destruction of Ewing Oil, as various plot strands are skilfully and surprisingly meshed together.
Other great things about Season 10: Sue Ellen's triumph; the sleazy and hilarious Oswald Valentine; April Stevens, the minx with the heart of gold; Wes Parmalee, a ridiculous premise that turns into something most intriguing; and Jeremy Wendell, the iciest of all the Ewings' foes.
And best of all, when the whole Ewing Saga is eventually exhausted, I can watch Season 9 as a kind of fantasy epilogue, and finish on a high of sorts ...