TV's best and longest-running primetime drama began in December 1979 and ran until May 1993. It was technically a spinoff of "Dallas" but actually was created first but failed to air until the grittier "Dallas" had been accepted by CBS. "Knots" won few Em
"Almost perfect." Those two words best describe this classic Thursday-night drama that outlasted all other non-Western primetime shows (until very recently when "Law and Order" and "Simpsons" surpassed it). Gary and Valene Ewing remarry and flee the trauma brought on by J.R. in Dallas, landing land in the beachside community of Knots Landing in Southern California. Miss Ellie has purchased them a house on a cul-de-sac, to which Bobby takes them, all agreeing not to tell Lucy about their remarriage out of fear of it failing and her being disappointed again. J.R. shows up on the second episode and threatens to tell Lucy, but she arrives on the fifth episode to visit. Gary and Val's neighbors create drama of their own: Karen and Sid Fairgate, the "older" couple; Laura and Richard Avery, a disturbed lawyer and his recently raped wife; and the "kids" down the street, Kenny and Ginger Ward, a cheater and his naive wife (who does not discover Kenny's betrayal until the 1997 reunion movie). Sid's sister Abby moves into the cul-de-sac at the beginning of season two; her scheming lastes a decade; however...Sid dies at the beginning of the third season after driving a car off a cliff, Richard disappears (for five years, until Laura's funeral in season nine) and the Wards move at the end of the fourth season, and the cul-de-sac is no longer the focus thereafter until the fourteenth and final season. Later major characters include Karen's second husband, Mack McKenzie, his college friend and later enemy, Sen. Greg Summer, Ben Gibson (whom Val marries after she discovers Gary and Abby's affair), Mack's ex-lover Ann, and their daugher, Page--all prominent characters during the last half of the show's 322 episodes. "Knots" was almost cancelled due to mediocre ratings after Sid's death and again during the the thirteenth season, following the departure of the writers to create "Homefront;" the audience returned once the poor new writers were wisely replaced. Near the end of the fourteenth season, the producers to end the show with dignity: during the emotional final final minutes, viewers witnessed not a J.R. Ewing shootout or a "Dynasty" disaster but, rather, a simple and appropriate moment as Karen and Val, again neighbors, witness a young newlywed couple move into Kenny and Ginger's house and then, suddenly and without warning, driving her car onto the cul-de-sac is Abby, who announces to her old neighbors that she is moving back into her old house. Val says, "Hey, Abby...welcome home," then she grabs Gary's arm and whisks him home, and Karen takes a deep breath, remembering old times. Four years later a reunion TV movie aired to great ratings one Wednesday evening and abysmal readings when it concluded on Friday, leaving us with word that both Karen and Abby are to be grandmothers. Perhaps the Knots audience expected a Thursday night airing, as they had for fourteen years. The show was far more realistic than its often outrageous, and higher-rated, counterparts, and "Knots" even survived the disastrous "Dallas" dream season, Bobby remaining dead in california even though Pam imagined the death on "Dallas." Its cliffhangers were rarely on the silly level of these shows, its characters developed slowly and its stories played out with little melodrama. It was a Nielsen top 10 only during one season (1983-84) and top 20 only four years (1983-1987), and only hit No. One the episode in which Val discovered her kidnapped babies, only to see one speeding off with the adoptive father in a car. "KL" remains one of the gems of the Tiffany Network and is as fresh today in reruns as it was during its first run.
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