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Grading the 1981-82 Cliffhangers

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  • Grading the 1981-82 Cliffhangers

    I'm currently binge-watching the entire seasons of Dallas, Knots Landing, Dynasty and Falcon Crest. Just finished the 1981-82 season (literally, when everything went into maximum drama-overdrive) and thought I would share my opinion:

    #1 DYNASTY (A+)

    Who kidnapped Fallon's baby? - Will Blake die on the mountain top at the dude ranch? - Will Cecil marry Alexis before he dies?
    This is easily the best cliffhanger we ever got from Dynasty. This is the good old-fashion, on-the-edge-of-your-seat-soapiness that got our grandmother's hooked on soaps in the 1950's. Oh, and one more thing: Adam Carrington is coming!

    #2 KNOTS LANDING (A-)

    No big whodunit but instead a well needed change in speed to story telling for the show. Valene FINALLY realized what a scum husband Gary Ewing was when she caught him in bed with Abby Cunningham. On foot, Gary chased Valene as she drove away from the cul-de-sac all the while a lush musical score played in the background accenting one of the most dramatic and memorable scenes in the show's 14 year history. A breakthrough moment which finally put to end those annoying standalone episodes the show had been churning out for three seasons. Finally, the show was a soap and oh boy did they ever do a fantastic job of hitting some big soapy highs in the early 1980's. This was one of them!

    #3 DALLAS (C+)

    Dallas is not only my favorite prime-time soap of all time but it's my number one favorite TV show of all time period .... so it kinda pains me to have to give their fifth season finale such a low mark ... but it deserves it. I remember watching this one as an 11-year-old kid and thinking, "is that it?" On the heels of classic cliffhangers like "Will Sue Ellen's baby survive?," "Who Shot J.R.?" and "Whose Body Is In The Pool," we get the lackluster "Will Cliff Die?"

    I mean, I know Sue Ellen threatened to not marry J.R. if her ex-plaything succumbed to an overdose of pills, but who really believed her? I guess the show had a backup cliffhanger with the is Lucy pregnant? story but I don't recall people asking that question at laundromats in the summer of 1982.

    #4 FALCON CREST (C-)

    I must have blocked this one out of my memory because it's really bad for a cliff-hanger. I feel like somebody forgot to tell the top brass at Falcon Crest that every May they air a cliff-hanger which closes out the season. All we got was the conclusion (FINALLY!) to who killed Uncle Jason. That dragged on way too long and the only saving grace was the fantastic Margaret Ladd (as Emma). We then saw Chase and Angela go to court over Falcon Crest and we saw that Chase legally deserved more of the vinery so we knew there was a big war coming between the two .... so I guess that was the cliffhanger, a prelude of things to come? Fortunately, the show excelled at season finales after this dismal one.

    One more thing: Richard Channing is coming!

  • #2
    I think the Dallas 'will Cliff die?' ( literal CLIFF-hanger, haha) was pretty lacking......like when Sue Ellen left the show and the cliffhanger was her showing J.R. her movie and threatening to release it if he ever crossed her......big deal.....fortunately they made up for it with J.R. in the sanitarium the next season....at least in my opinion......but my all-time favorite Dallas cliffhanger was Bobby in the shower after being dead all season......a true surprise for long-time viewers.

    Falcon Crest did have some pretty terrific cliffhangers over the years....the earthquake, Richard's house exploding with he and Maggie inside....Chase diving into the bay to save the baby and Melissa.....really great stuff.

    Knots Landing - my favorite cliffhanger for Knots was when Val went with Abby to the Fisher's house and saw her babies....I don't recall if that was a season finale, but what a powerful episode...

    Dynasty...my favorite cliffhanger was when Matthew Blaisdale returned from the dead......another real shock for me....

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Angela Holliday View Post
      [SIZE=16px]I'm currently binge-watching the entire seasons of Dallas, Knots Landing, Dynasty and Falcon Crest. Just finished the 1981-82 season (literally, when everything went into maximum drama-overdrive) and thought I would share my opinion:

      #1 DYNASTY (A+)

      Who kidnapped Fallon's baby? - Will Blake die on the mountain top at the dude ranch? - Will Cecil marry Alexis before he dies?
      This is easily the best cliffhanger we ever got from Dynasty. This is the good old-fashion, on-the-edge-of-your-seat-soapiness that got our grandmother's hooked on soaps in the 1950's. Oh, and one more thing: Adam Carrington is coming!

      #2 KNOTS LANDING (A-)

      No big whodunit but instead a well needed change in speed to story telling for the show. Valene FINALLY realized what a scum husband Gary Ewing was when she caught him in bed with Abby Cunningham. On foot, Gary chased Valene as she drove away from the cul-de-sac all the while a lush musical score played in the background accenting one of the most dramatic and memorable scenes in the show's 14 year history. A breakthrough moment which finally put to end those annoying standalone episodes the show had been churning out for three seasons. Finally, the show was a soap and oh boy did they ever do a fantastic job of hitting some big soapy highs in the early 1980's. This was one of them!
      Agree with pretty much everything you said! I’m glad to see someone else thought so highly of the Knots Landing cliffhanger, because as you pointed out, there was no big whodunnit, but rather a huge emotional culmination of an entire season in which Abby had been trying to seduce Gary, and seeing Valene finally catch them together was so powerful. No earthquake, no fire, no shootings, just plain old emotional drama, and it really packed a punch!

      I noticed you left out the Flamingo Road season 2 cliffhanger, which sadly was the series finale. Did you see that, and if so, what did you think of it?

      Comment

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