Falcon Crest: The Complete First Season
Good combination of whine and cheese
The recent DVD release of the 1980s primetime soap “Falcon Crest” is a good reminder of the era before Friday night was the dumping ground for weak shows. Additionally, pairing “Crest” with “Dallas,” the 13th season of which was also released recently on DVD, was one of the best programming decisions in TV history.
“Crest” is timely additionally because it provides an interesting look at the wine industry; I enjoyed the lessons on growing grapes, making wines, and wine-related scams.
The first season of this show by Earl Hamner, who also created “The Waltons,” focused on the family dynamics of newbie vineyard owner Chase Gioberti and his family. Early episodes have Gioberti transplanting his clan from New York City to his newly inherited small northern California vineyard to develop a stronger relationship with his young adult children.
Much of the soap-related fun of the show relates to Chase’s ruthless aunt Angela Channing, played by Ronald Reagan’s ex-wife Jane Wyman, plotting to drive Chase away so that she can absorb his 50 acres into her 500-acre Falcon Crest estate. The season one episodes also revolve around the efforts of Angela to conceal the true circumstance of the death of Chase’s father.
Although many people think of mahvelous looking Lorenzo Lamas’ unfortunately named hirsute bad boy stud Lance Cumson when they recall the series, Cumson’s wonderfully wacky aunt Emma is my favorite character. An important event in the pilot episode drives the already eccentric Emma closer to madness, and her bizarre statements and comical efforts to escape her attic room are very entertaining. I confess additionally that a high school friend and I loved making fun of Emma’s regular fantasy that burly vineyard worker Turner Bates had returned to sweep her away.
A lack of extras was the only disappointment in this otherwise well-produced set; the desire to keep costs down is understandable.
Fans of “Falcon Crest” or those of you with questions regarding the show are encouraged to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I just know that Turner will write and will meet me in the spring house.
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Review by John Stahl
John Stahl is a freelance legal writer who is also a fan of classic and cult television programs. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Falcon Crest: The Complete First Season
* Actors: Jane Wyman, Lorenzo Lamas, Susan Sullivan, Robert Foxworth, Ana Alicia
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