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|Index||32 reviews in total|
Knots Landing was an excellent drama. I watched all 14 seasons of this
series. I especially liked the first few seasons when the show focused
on the families in the cul-de-sac, but after the fifth season the
show's story lines became similar to other prime time soap opera fare
with more of a focus on greed and the desire for wealth and power.
Although the show changed direction, the writing, directing and
especially the acting remained top-notch and were always superior to
the other shows.
Knots Landing premiered on CBS in December 1979. It followed the lives and relationships of Gary & Valene Ewing (Ted Shackelford & Joan Van Ark), recently remarried and new to town; Sid & Karen Fairgate (Don Murray & Michele Lee), the strong married couple with three children; Richard & Laura Avery (John Pleshette & Constance McCashin), the couple with marital problems; and Kenny & Ginger Ward (James Houghton & Kim Lankford), the young newlyweds.
Abby Cunningham (Donna Mills), Sid's younger divorced sister in the "bitch" role, came to town with her two children at the beginning of the second season; she was added to stir up the pot, so to speak, and began trying to seduce everyone's husband; she eventually set her sights on Gary and married him after ruining his marriage to Val. Donna Mills, who had for years played weak female and "victim" roles in various TV shows and movies, was thrilled to play a strong, powerful female lead. In fact, the show had many strong female characters.
In the beginning, these characters were a lot like people that lived down the street. They wore jeans and did the dishes... something you would never see on "Dynasty" or "Dallas"! Also, the early episodes (first 2 seasons) were self-contained and did not have the serialized format that was standard for most of the other nighttime soaps.
Early in the third season, Sid Fairgate died during emergency surgery after a car crash because Don Murray wanted to leave the show. By the end of the fourth season, original characters Richard Avery, Kenny Ward and Ginger Ward were all written off the show. The new characters of Mack MacKenzie and Gregory Sumner became more prominent.
The biggest mistake was when the powers that be fired actress Constance McCashin during the 1987-1988 season due to her real-life pregnancy. They had written her two previous pregnancies into the story, but they did not plan to do so this time. Granted, the storyline involving Laura's brain cancer and subsequent death was very well written and poignant, and superbly acted by Constance McCashin and William Devane as her husband Greg Sumner; however, they could have just had Laura leave town or written the character out of a few episodes to accommodate the actress' pregnancy since Laura was not very heavily involved in a big story at that time. Apparently, many other reviewers liked this character and felt that letting this actress go was a mistake.
There were many great actors on this show, but special mention must go to Julie Harris as Lilimae Clements, Valene's mother, and Michelle Phillips as Anne Matheson, Paige's shallow, self-absorbed mother and Mack's ex-girlfriend. They both brought lighter comedic moments to the show with their roles.
The fact that the show lasted 14 seasons demonstrates that it was far better than the other prime time soaps. The show managed to stay true to form for the most part throughout the entire series run by focusing on the characters and their motivations and not on overly outlandish plots.
When this show first premiered, many didn't give it a chance due to the fact that it was a spin off from the hugely popular Dallas. A lot of people didn't think that a show featuring the least known of the Ewing brothers, Gary, and his wife Val would last. However, it did last and boy did it ever. For fourteen years we saw the saga of the cul de sac and their various residents and the main reason that this show became great is the fact their was such great chemistry among the leads and that led to some great performances, especially from the woman who eventually became the lead, Michele Lee. Also, many of the stories, unlike most nighttime soaps, were based in reality. Subjects such as drug and alcohol addiction, colon cancer and rape were all covered in this show. But, perhaps the most dramatic change occurred several seasons after the show debuted when the Williamses, an African-American couple and their daughter, were introduced in 1987. This was at a time when many blacks were becoming upwardly mobile and this was just a reflection of that trend. This show definitely will always be fondly remembered by everyone.
Knots Landing,the TV stalwart through the 80's and some of the 90's was one of TV's best dramas. The characters were so real,they became as well known as family members. The series excelled in complex characters. From the strong women like Karen, Laura,Paige and Abby to the utterly fascinating flawed men like Greg Sumner and Gary Ewing.The show was not without its mistakes- not all the serpentine,complicated plots worked, and the reliance of the plots in later episodes on insane stalkers, was predictable. Nevertheless, when Knots stories jelled,the effects were often breathtaking. Who can forget the great moments like Sid's death and Karen's coping, Abby's marrying Greg in the middle of his romance with Paige, Laura's funeral,the return of Val's twins, the body under the cement, Olivia's drug addiction and Abby's intervention, Jill's shocking villainy revealed to Val...the list of great Knots moments goes on.There hasn't been a show like it on TV since. It is sorely missed.
Even though Dallas was much more popular, Knots Landing was a much stronger, more realistic, and better written show. First of all, shows like Dallas and Dynasty insulted viewers intelligence by constantly keeping a character and changing the actor. Remember how Barbara Bel Geddes turned into Donna Reed on Dallas, and then back again. Or how Jeff Colby went to bed with Pamela Sue Martin and woke up with Emma Samms on Dynasty. This is not Broadway where someone just takes over someone else's role. When Constance McCashin left Knots, did a new Laura come on...NO!...she died and we all cried. That's why Knots Landing was a far superior serial. For fourteen years, viewers were engrossed in these people's lives, because you felt like you knew them. The best characters on the show were Val and Abby. And they're friendship turned feud was riveting. It was actually Val who convinced Abby to move to Knots Landing early in Season 2 while they were on a picnic. And she grew a deep attachment to Abby's daughter, Olivia, mainly because she needed to fill the void left when J.R. took her daughter, Lucy, away from her. It was Val who comforted Abby when her ex-husband ,Jeff, stole her children. And it was Val, not their Aunt Karen, who was Brian and Olivia's second mom. All of this made it even more scandalous when Abby had an affair with Gary. These women lived across the street from each other, and cared about each other. But Abby wanted Gary. The best scene of the entire series is during the episode "China Dolls", when Val finally confronts Abby. The seconds when Val is walking across that street from her house to Abby's seem like hours. And when she opens that door and Abby comes down those stairs in that pink bathrobe...it was so HOT! When Val asks Abby if she is having an affair with her husband, she looks right in Val's eyes and says "I'm not saying we're having an affair, and I'm not saying we're not, I am saying I can have him anytime I want him". When Val slaps Abby in the face, Abby actually gives her a look like...I know I deserved that because I know what I'm doing is wrong, but I want Gary and I don't care, so I'll take the hit. You actually feel like your watching your neighbors fight. There are no women like this on television anymore. These ladies could act. Donna Mills makes Joan Collins look like a cartoon character. And Joan Van Ark makes Linda Evans seem like an empty vessel. The scenes between Val and Abby over the next few seasons continued to shine. Val finally gets her revenge by becoming pregnant with Gary's babies, who is now married to Abby. And then Abby makes a comment to Scott Easton saying that she wishes the babies were never born. The fact that Easton takes her seriously makes the way for the best storyline of the series, and it is when Abby finally comes to her senses that we see how she truly cares for Val. When Abby finds Val alone on the beach and tells her she knows where the babies are, Val immediately knows she is going to see her twins. If it would have been anybody else, she probably wouldn't have believed them. But Abby doesn't mess around. When Abby is driving Val to her babies, they are alone in the car together, and you can feel all the years of history these two women have together. They were once like family, then bitter enemies, but through it all they are still in each others lives. They may not like each other, but they KNOW each other very well! Years later, when Laura dies, Val and Abby hug each other, sharing the pain of losing someone so close to them. Even though they don't like each other, they are once again sharing a very intimate moment. When they hug, you can feel they are reaching out to each other, actually comforting each other. And when Jill tries to kill Val and everyone thinks she tried to kill herself, Abby genuinely seems devastated by the news. When Val gets out of the hospital, Abby confronts her in Karen's kitchen, offering to help her in any way she can. And she REALLY means it. And now having to deal with psycho Jill, Val realizes that Abby is not so bad after all. The dynamics between these two actresses was phenomenal and understated. While Karen may have served as the shows backbone, it was Val and Abby who gave the show life, and spice. Both characters added depth and layers to the show that are unfounded on any other soap. Joan Van Ark, as the passive-aggressive Valene, who manages to drag everyone into her dramas and make her problems seem like the greatest problems in the world. And Donna Mills, as Abby, the greatest bitch in the history of television. Joan Collins' Alexis, and later Heather Locklears' Amanda on Melrose Place, were nothing more than Abby wanna-be's. No other bitch in television history had the multi-layered humanity of Abby Fairgate-Cunningham-Ewing. Even though she was a schemer and a manipulator, she had morals. She loved her children, and she would hurt people to get what she wanted, but nothing they couldn't recover from. Mac Macenzie once said..."Abby doesn't kill, she gets even". And that about sums it up. How amazing for once to see a woman not be a victim, and not have to pay for not being a victim. Through all their fascinating story lines, Val and Abby seem most real when they are playing off each other. And their feuds were the most dramatic moments of the series. If there is ever another Knots Landing reunion, how nice it would be to see Val and Abby sit down together for a cup of tea, and reminisce about all the insanity they've been through together.
"Knots Landing", for 14 years, was the greatest television experience ever. From December 27, 1979, until May 13, 1993, we followed the sudsy lives of our favorite characters. From Val and Gary's initial movie into the neighborhood, to Abby's arrival and her nonstop manipulations, to Laura's terminal brain cancer and the impact it had on everyone's lives, to the ultimate psycho Jill, it was all terrific entertainment. Not overly-glossy and implausible like other night-time soaps, "Knots" had a realism all it's own. It will be missed and remembered fondly.
This spin off of CBS' DALLAS premiered midway through the 1979-80 season. KNOTS follows the lives of five families residing on an oceanside cul-de-sac in the town of Knots Landing, California. They are: Gary (Ted Shackelford) and Valene Ewing (Joan Van Ark), a young remarried couple who move to the cul-de-sac to escape the pressures of living in Dallas (namely JR and the Ewing family), Sid (Don Murray) and Karen Fairgate (Michele Lee), the friendly neighbors whose marriage is on solid ground, Richard (John Pleshette) and Laura Avery (Constance McCashin), whose marriage is in dire straits even with a young son, and Kenny (James Houghton) and Ginger Ward (Kim Lankford), the newlyweds who have bought their first home in the cul-de-sac. The show crossed over with DALLAS in its' early years when JR and Bobby made occasional visits. Things were spiced up when Abby Cunningham (Donna Mills), Sid's younger sister moved in and managed to break up Gary and Val. Other characters included the smarmy politician-turned-businessman Greg Sumner (William Devane), who tangled with Abby and married Laura when Richard took off after being accused of murder. There was also Mack Mackenzie (Kevin Dobson), who would marry Karen when Sid was killed in an auto accident. Paige Matheson (Nicollette Sheridan), Mack's daughter, who tangled with Sumner, was a major character. One of the show's story lines included the birth of Gary and Val's twins that were stolen from her at birth. When Bobby Ewing died on DALLAS and Pam Ewing dreamt the whole season, KNOTS suspended its' crossover plots with the parent series, for fear that KNOTS viewers would think that the present season was all a dream as well. So while Bobby was alive on DALLAS, he remained dead on KNOTS.
The second-longest-running drama on network television, Knots Landing was
often overshadowed by the flashier serials Dallas and Dynasty. However,
according to a Wall Street Journal article, Knots Landing's audience
actually grew when the heyday of the nighttime soaps had passed, and it
outlived its competitors. Its remarkable 14-season run was consistent in its
use of believable plotlines and characters the viewers could care about.
Knots Landing never insulted the intelligence of its audience while
developing intricately intertwined relationships among the characters.
The series changed over the years, beginning as a California "Scenes from a Marriage" with four couples living on a cul-de-sac: Dallas transplants Valene and Gary Ewing, who had reunited after 15 years apart; Karen and Sid Fairgate, a community activist and the owner of a car dealership; Laura and Richard Avery, a bored housewife and a lawyer whose marriage was in trouble; and Ginger and Kenny Ward, the newlyweds. (The producers had developed Knots Landing before Dallas but created the latter when CBS wanted something flashier.) Over the years, Sid died and Karen remarried crusading attorney Mack Mackenzie; Richard abandoned Laura, who married politician/industrialist Gregory Sumner and later died; the Wards had numerous spats before moving to Nashville to pursue music careers; and Val and Gary divorced and married a third time. Sid's sister, Abby Fairgate, was introduced as a conniving vixen in the second season; her actions indirectly caused the death of her brother and directly caused the breakup of the Ewings. Others living on Seaview Circle at one time or another included Val's mother Lilimae Clements, second husband Ben Gibson and brother Joshua Rush; Joshua's wife Cathy Geary; Mack's daughter Paige Matheson and her mother Anne; Greg's sister Claudia Whitaker and her daughter Kate; and Pat and Frank Williams, whose family was under the federal witness protection program. Much of the action eventually moved to the Lotus Point resort or the Sumner Group offices, where underhanded business dealings flourished. However, the series ended where it all started, with the surviving original characters returning to the cul-de-sac.
Knots Landing was imbued with a sense of fun that never became camp, despite mind-boggling developments like the "return" of dead singer Ciji Dunne in the form of identical Cathy Geary. At its best, Knots Landing could make you laugh one moment and cry the next, as it did during the two-parter dealing with Laura's funeral. By this time, the actors knew their characters so well that they were able to improvise their own lines, which were incorporated into the script. Fans and TV critics acknowledged Knots Landing as the best of its genre. Perhaps more significantly, the show survived in its Thursday time slot against tough competition including Hill Street Blues and L.A. Law. Even though Knots Landing left the air in 1993, its fans still miss the show--particularly the memorable characters who lived through births, deaths, marriages, divorces, murders and love affairs. Often overlooked but still imitated, Knots Landing is a place where many viewers would like to return.
I got into Knots Landing during its 4th season and I didn't watch it when it first began and when primetime soaps were becoming an in thing I wasn't interested in "Knots Landing" mainly because of the title and because it didn't hold viewers like the other shows (i.e. "Dynasty", "Dallas" and "Falcon Crest", but after watching it I became totally hooked on this show. I like the structure of the show where they all lived on the same block and took place of their lives and who were sleeping (mainly Abby) with who. This was a soap opera and now that I think of that show it was more interesting than "Dynasty" (which a show I cannot stand to look at on SoapNet), "Dallas" and "Falcon Crest". I was glad that they didn't have to wear these $10,000 dress (the female characters that is). Nor they made themselves jokes for a drama. Because it was more of a realistic drama than the other nighttime shows. I like the topics of the characters such as Gary's alcoholism, Karen's addiction to painkillers and Olivia's abuse on drugs. These characters had real issues and it made the show more to look at. I did catch the reruns on cable and was amazed how much I missed out on such as Sid's car accident, Abby and Richard's affair, and Abby's affair with Gary. Abby was the best! She was better than Alexis Carrington and was more real. She was soft hearted when it came to her kids, but Abby was more interesting than Alexis on "Dynasty". I remember when they fazed out on Kenny, Ginger and Richard which was sad because I did like Kenny and Ginger. When they brought on Greg and Ben it was cool. One of the only characters that I didn't like was Diana Fairgate. I was so glad when the actress Claudia Lonow was gone. I was happy they brought back Lisa Hartman (Black)as Cathy Geary than her first stint (Ciji Dunne). But Cathy was boring. They could of gave Lisa a little better to do. Now when Jill came on I thought her and Mack would of got it on, but enter Gary who had it on. I love Teri Austin and thought she was so beautiful. But it was noted that the only way to get through Gary's heart is to get him past Val (who was so boring, but I did say Gary and Val always belong together and thank God that CBS allowed to keep the show on to put them back together for a couple of more seasons) but it was the best finale they ever had when Jill attempts to murder Val. (I always remember that one because I was in my senior year in high school when that happened). But Jill bit the DUST!!! I also like Paige and all about her when the show focused on her because she was this young heroine, that all the women was not a young spring chicken (Karen, Val, Laura and not Abby). But it worked out for the show. I did like her love scenes with Tom (Joseph Gian). But the show was geared to put her and Greg together which they had great chemistry!!!! But of course I loved it when Greg was together with Laura and I cried myself when Laura died and how was Greg going to get by without Laura. I thought of her as one of those special characters that was sympethetic, unselfish, classy lady and the producers should of did whatever to keep Constance McCashin on the show. But there is Karen (Michele Lee, who was the best actress on the show). Karen was so awesome. She had her moments like putting Abby in her place, like Greg (even sometimes she wanted to kill him). Karen was great!!! I also like the fact that Abby started out as a garage girl going after horny alcoholics and a sleazeball (Richard), affair with Senator Greg and that ambitious Peter Hollister who wound up dead. This show was so good that it ran for 14 seasons and I wish it was still around for another 14 seasons. Maybe CBS could do another special like it did over 6 years ago. The best primetime soap in history
Knots Landing has got to be one of the best shows ever to grace our TV sets. The show that started out as a spin off of another good show Dallas turned into a guaranteed hour of enjoyable tv. Yes the show had its good and bad episodes but you always knew you could look foward to seeing your favorite neighbors on the Cul-Da-Sac Seaview Circle. By far the greatest female character on the show was Karen Fairgate Mackenzie(Michele Lee), she was married to the 2 greatest men ever Sid Fairgate(Don Murray) the owner of Knots Landing Motors and after his death she met and married Mack Mackenzie(Kevin Dobson)a lawyer. I enjoyed these two together most, they had such great chemistry together on screen they actually were believable as a married couple. When Abby(Donna Mills) arrived the show became even better, her character was always after someones husband and usually ended up with him. Sumner(Bill Devane) was another great addition to the show, his character brought a comic humor with the words he chose to use in tense drama situations. Then you had the Val(Joan Van Ark) and Gary(Ted Shackelford) the two childhood lovers who you just knew would always be together even if a few marriages got in between them. The show also had some other great characters like Laura(Constance McCashin), Richard (John Pleashette), Paige(Nicolette Sheridan), Lilimae(Julie Harris), Claudia(Kathleen Noone), Anne(Michelle Phillips), Frank(Lary Riely), Olivia(Tonya Crowe). Knots also had a ton of guest stars like Ava Gardner, Alec Baldwin, Lisa Hartman Black, Red Buttons,and Pam Grier just to name a few. Overall this show still holds up to todays standards and hopefully it will be put on DVD soon so everyone can enjoy it.
I grew up with this show and watched it the entire run.So much better and alittle more down to earth then the other shows, Knots was a show with Great characters and characters you either loved or loved to hate. I wish they'd bring it back for more Movie specials.
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