Written by Senora Bicho
Knots Landing, a drama centered on the lives of four marriages in a small suburb of Southern California, was created as a spin-off for the hit show Dallas. It started off slow in the ratings and not as popular as Dallas, but it ended up being on the air longer, and running from 1979 to 1993, and received more critical acclaim. As time went on it became much more of a soap opera and season two started this trend with the addition of Abby Cunningham (Donna Mills).
Starting off with a bang, Sid Fairgate (Don Murray) is arrested for raping a hitchhiker. While in the midst of fighting the charges, Sid discovers that his younger sister Abby is divorcing her husband and is considering moving to San Diego. Sid’s wife Karen (Michele Lee) hosts a dinner for Abby and invites all of their neighbors, although it is very obvious Abby is much more interested in the husbands in attendance and flirts openly with all of them. Val Ewing (Joan Van Ark) is drawn to Abby’s daughter and spends most of the evening reading to her while her husband Gary (Ted Shackelford) ignores Abby’s advances. Kenny Ward (James Houghton) invites himself to the party in an attempt to make up with his wife, Ginger (Kim Lankford), after she caught him cheating at the end of the first season. Laura Avery (Constance McCashin) is excitedly telling everyone about her new real estate job her corporate attorney husband Richard (John Pleshette) allowed her to take after he wanted to borrow money from her father. This party was a very ingenious way to provide new viewers with an opportunity to meet all of the main players at once while giving returning viewers a recap.
Abby stays in town to help fight Sid’s rape charges and in the process becomes fond of Knots Landing and the inhabitants, deciding to make it her home instead of San Diego. Initially, everyone gets along great but soon Abby’s conniving ways come to the surface and trouble ensues. The rest of the season includes Gary’s battle with alcoholism along with his involvement in organized crime, Richard losing his job, Ginger ending up pregnant, and Val’s fight with cancer. There are also relationship struggles that include plenty of adultery and an overabundance of lying and scheming.
Season Two also includes some visits from members of the Dallas cast. J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) and Kristin Sheppard (Mary Crosby), infamous for being the culprit who shot J.R., show up to cause some mayhem, and Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) also comes to town to support his brother Gary.
Knots Landing is exactly what you would expect: melodramatic moments, beautiful women in tight clothes, and outrageous storylines. There is nothing particularly exciting or engaging in this season. Abby adds an interesting dynamic to the show and is the highlight. I am looking forward to the release of the later, more popular seasons, especially once William Devane joins the cast. Season Two definitely has some soap-opera moments but it isn’t nearly as much of a guilty pleasure as what is to come.