SEASON 7

 

 

EPISODE 1

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GENERAL LEE

The Dukes celebrate the General's birthday by recollecting the circumstances by which they first acquired their car.

This is one of those episodes that fans recall fondly, which makes it all the more disappointing on first viewing. The flashback story idea is certainly a good one and many charming little touches abound (Rosco having a moustache, for example; and Daisy getting her job at the Boars Nest), but the events related here don't add up to the information given in the first few episodes of Season One. Instead, we get a 'crooks on the run' plot and a car race to test the General's mettle. This latter event is a dubious excuse to foist several ghastly model-car sequences on the dumb viewers, coupled with the not-so-subtle hint that the General may have some sort of magic inside it.

So, forget about the souped up racing engine that the Duke's bought second hand (as we were specifically informed seven years earlier, back in Season 1); the General behaves the way it does because it's a magical car, obviously!Oh, how far the mighty have fallen.

Apart from those contrivances, there are moments to enjoy, especially the Orange paint pots resting on Cooter's Garage shelves. The only paint he had left, as it turns out.

If you were never fortunate to have watched the show from the beginning, youíll probably enjoy this. Everyone else ought to find it a dubious way to re-write history (something that Hollywood is good at, after all).

ROSCO MOMENT†† The episode is worth watching just to see his magnificent moustache.

BEST STUNT†† The General's very first crash is actually rather good and performed for real.

***

 

EPISODE 2

WELCOME, WAYLON JENNINGS

The Balladeer comes to Hazzard with his mobile C&W Museum, only to have it stolen.

It's good to see Waylon at last and he puts in rather a good, laid-back performance. Particularly amusing are the scenes when his voice-over describes what his character on-screen is doing!Also prominent as a guest character is former Playboy Centrefold, Shannon Tweed who, like Waylon, also proves to have some acting ability.

It's interesting to see that Boss is back to his usual scheming, but it's not altogether pleasing. Season 6 had, after all, spent most of it's twenty-two episodes turning Boss' character slowly around; and it's somewhat disconcerting to see him revert so quickly to his former self.

However, as with so many episodes in the Seventh season, a fairly promising story is ruined by far too many ludicrous model shots.

If you close your eye's tight shut during the Ďyeehaahí moments, youíll probably enjoy this.

BEST STUNT†† Not much genuine action here, but Luke's explosion in the path of the Lorry is quite spectacular.

***

 

 

 

EPISODE 3

DR. JECKYLL AND MR. DUKE

When Luke accidentally drinks a strange chemical, he turns into an evil version of himself.

Yes, thatís the plot; Iím not kidding you. In the producer's desperate attempts to give the Seventh season some extra zing, they were not loath to try any bizarre plot device. Actually, Tom Wopat is rather good here and the scenes of him getting lecherous in the Boars Nest are great fun. But, just when you've managed to overcome the contrivances of the story, up come the 'toy car' sequences and it suddenly becomes hard to fight the strong temptation to use the fast-forward button. The scene where Bo and Enos jump his Patrol car onto the bouncy pile of tires seems to be a prime contender for 'silliest scene you can possibly think ofí; and it's this tendency for the 'toy sequences' to outdo themselves for sheer daftness that positively ruins these episodes.

Watch only with caution.

BEST STUNT†† If someone can find any that are actually genuine, can they please let me know?

*

 

EPISODE 4

ROBOT P. COLTRANE

Rosco is replaced with a clunky Robot named Bobby Joe.

Often cited as one of the worst Dukes episodes, this isn't actually that bad; but what it needed was a much firmer comedic base. If Bobby Joe had been as incompetent as Rosco (even uttering synthetic robotic cries of "I love it, I love it!") this might just have made it as a camp classic. Unfortunately, everyone seems loath to step over that line and (although there are many funny scenes of the Robot running amuck) most of this episode is played with too straight a face.

There is one priceless moment with Rosco in the Boars Nest, though, which ranks up there with the best of them. James Best is constantly enjoyable throughout and (as a bonus) quite a lot of the action is real.

It's not surprising, though, that the crooks want to keep the Robot hidden from view to begin with. A clunkier, more cumbersome and inefficient machine it would be difficult to imagine!

ROSCO MOMENT†† A wonderful scene has him sitting at the bar in the Boars Nest, drinking small amounts of milk out of a whisky glass. The line "You can leave the bottle" is just brilliant.

BEST STUNT†† The scenes with the crooks lorry are actually quite impressive, particularly it's jump at the beginning. As for most of the rest, itís "models ahoy!"

**

 

EPISODE 5

NO MORE MR. NICE GUY

Whenever Boss gets bopped on the head, he either turns into a saint; or back to his old self again (depending on which state he happens to be in at the time)

 

†††††††† .

 

At last, an honestly enjoyable episode. Apart from the use of one model shot (which is actually rather fun and played entirely for laughs) all the action here is real (either re-cycled from Season 5 or performed for the first time) and this is a huge bonus to a story that was rather fun to start with. Boss' comic schizophrenia works extremely well (Rosco is always trying to bop him on the head whenever he's saintly; while the Dukes are constantly trying the same thing when he's his usual self!) and seems to get funnier with the increasing frequency of boppings!

The villains (particularly the character of Billie Jean) are used well and the saintly version of Boss is a scream. Sorrell Booke turns in a really hilarious double performance and the scene of his misconstruing Rosco's affection for Lulu is hysterical and beautifully timed.

This is one of those episodes's that comes to the rescue of the series. More please.

ROSCO MOMENT†† "This is going to hurt me more than you!"

BEST STUNT†† Billie Jean's car flies out of the Lorry in reverse.

****

 

EPISODE 6

THE DUKES IN HOLLYWOOD

The Dukes are hired as stunt advisors/bodyguards for a film star on his latest Hollywood production.

The "collecting on the star's Life Insurance policy" plot was last seen in Season 6 ('Play it again, Luke'), but it works well enough here as a strong reason to have the Duke's leave Hazzard and uproot temporarily to Hollywood. It also makes sense for Warner Bro's to make use of their Back-lot facilities.

The episode switches back-and-forth between the 'thriller' plot (not badly done at all) and the 'comedy' plot (Boss and Rosco being pursued around the Film studios - quite fun, but obviously padding). The depiction of the film-making process is bizarrely garbled (just point cameras at moving vehicles and shoot, seemingly without any form of preparation!) but the action is well put together and (most importantly) genuine (except for one rather dodgy shot of a trundling army Tank at the very end). Seeing the General fly through the air and smashing into a pile of barrels on top of a moving truck is so much more exciting when you know that there are actually stunt people inside those vehicles, potentially risking life and limb. It's primarily for these genuine action scenes that the episode is worth watching, although it's fun to see the Dukes out of their natural element, even though Hollywood itself gets rather short shrift (something that was compensated for with the feature film of fifteen years later).

ROSCO MOMENT†† Having Flash become a film-star (much to Boss' dismay!).

BEST STUNT†† The flight through the barrels is good and rightfully spectacular; but the scene where the General intercepts the path of the runaway car as it smashes through the film set is real 'fender-bending' stuff!

***

 

EPISODE 7

COOL HANDS, BO AND LUKE

Bo and Luke are lured into neighbouring Osage County; where they (along with Boss and Rosco) are placed in a concentration camp by the evil Colonel Claibourne.

A startling scenario, which simply doesn't translate well onto the screen.

Morgan Woodward (as Claibourne) is quite excellent and by far the most evil character in the series history. Brion James (in his second appearance) is as sinister as ever and the remainder of the Osage Ďlawí is well portrayed, but this entire episode feels extremely uncomfortable. Perhaps it's the fact that a comedy about prisoners being tortured is just in too bad taste; or the use of re-used footage from a recent episode ('The ransom of Hazzard county');or the usual dreadful 'miniature' shots that top and tail this episode. Or maybe even the fact that, after seven years, Osage is yet another neighbouring County we've never heard of before. (Chickasaw evidently wasn't on, as Sheriff Little would be quite inappropriate for all of this).

Whatever the reasons, this is a pretty uncomfortable episode. Only Boss' "torture by food" works well, because it logically exploits his gluttony to full comedic effect.

ROSCO MOMENT†† His efforts to restrain his 'little fat buddy' during the "food torture" are brilliant and the episode's best moment.

BEST STUNT†† The action is either re-used from earlier episodes, or ludicrously faked. Very disappointing.

**

 

EPISODE 8

GO WEST, YOUNG DUKES

In a giant flashback, we learn how the Duke family acquired the Farm.

A positively charming outing, this neatly solves the question "how to make a Dukes Seventh season episode while avoiding the use of miniatures?"By setting it a hundred years earlier, of course. This also gives the writers and performers a real chance to have fun with the formula (all of Hazzard's 'wild west' characters are clearly based on their 20th century descendants), the 'western' format (part homage, part spoof) and some absolutely terrific comedy scenes. There are so many enjoyable moments, that it's impossible to list them all, but mention must be made of James Best and Sorrel Booke, who send up venerated 'wild west' characters something rotten (the scene where Thadeus Hogg takes a bath is fantastic and brings tears to the eyes).

Only the stupid model shot at the end spoils the atmosphere, but you can easily fast-forward through that bit.

ROSCO MOMENT†† Rufus Z. Coltrane. His spoof of John Wayne is terrific, espcially the use of his eye-patch!

 

 

BEST STUNT†† The wild-west theme enables some good equine stunts, especially the scene where the Dukes drop down onto the horses.

****

 

 

EPISODE 9

CALE YARBOROUGH COMES TO HAZZARD

For a young boy facing major surgery, only a visit by Cale Yarborough will make him feel happier. But the racing driver has problems of his own.

This is one of those episodes that completely fails to grab the attention. Bringing back Cale Yarborough is not the sort of thing that springs to mind as a ratings winner, but at least he's better to watch than some truly insulting model work for the majority of the action sequences. The use a young (surprisingly healthy looking) kid who can apparently only be cured by the site of Mr Yarborough is sickly at best. And Rosco (perhaps due to James Best's Direction duties) seems terribly subdued.

Even the Coy and Vance stories are preferable to this!

 

 

This episode remains bearable only for the occasional sight of some decent (proper) stunt work.

BEST STUNT†† There is one excellent chase scene close to the beginning, involving some genuinely impressive and authentic stunt work. Why they had to attempt to top it later on with some absolutely appalling shots of a Toy helicopter and a model car is anyone's guess. Did they actually think that the viewers would fall for it?

*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EPISODE 10

DANGER ON THE HAZZARD EXPRESS

Boss cooks up a plan to ram a freight train with a remote controlled car. But crooks decide to steal the General for the same purpose and take the money for themselves.

A stupid idea (a smallish car being able to knock a freight Train over) is almost disguised by lightening fast direction from Sorrell Booke, who cuts everything together with such speed that you don't have too much time to think about the silliness of it all.

This is junk of the first order, but at least it's fun and exciting; with a good attempt to eliminate model work and concentrate on real action instead. Indeed, itís sometimes difficult to tell if a stunt incorporates model vehicles or not; which is praise indeed to Booke's skill.

Nothing sophisticated or plausible here, but it's a lot of fun.

 

ROSCO MOMENT††† He actually succeeds in getting over Hazzard Pond in his Patrol car! It's conceivable that this stunt was actually achieved by the use of a miniature; in which case it's a good example of the sort of thing that can be done with the proper directorial and editing skill behind it. If all model work looked as convincing as this, I wouldn't be complaining!

BEST STUNT†† Boss' car being wiped out is good auto-destructive stuff. But the standout action sequence involves the Dukes running frantically away from their out-of-control pursuing car, which promptly leaps over them; a truly daring stunt sequence.

***

 

 

 

 

EPISODE 11

SITTIN' DUKES

When a convict escapes from Prison, he seeks revenge on Luke Duke, the man who put him there.

An interesting, well-written story with some surprisingly dramatic moments. Judson Scott (as Benson) is chillingly cold-hearted (he also played the villain in 'Witness: Jesse Duke') and his threats toward Luke and the rest of the Duke family ring true. His accomplice, Hixx, is a pitiful character whom you almost feel sorry for. Less sympathetic is Sheriff Little in his final appearance; the man is so irascible this time around that he locks up just about everyone that he can find!

Once again this season the episode is only spoilt by the hopeless model shots (the Helicopter is laughable) and the final 'stunt' seems particularly fraudulant, as we've already seen it before for 'real'.Why not at the very least re-use the footage?

Also worthy of mention is the sub-plot of Boss on a diet. This is extremely funny and very well played by Booke.

ROSCO MOMENT†† He only just manages to stop Boss from eating his own Goldfish.

BEST STUNT†† Once again, itís all too cheaty. Although the Truck crash is probably about as good as model stunts can get.

***

 

EPISODE 12

SKY BANDITS OVER HAZZARD

Crooks rob armoured cars by flying off with them. Bo and Luke initially get the blame, but are allowed to hunt down the real perpetrators.

A standard 'a crime is committed and Bo and Luke are wrongfully arrested for it' plot. You can pretty much fill in all the blanks for yourself.However, this episode heralds the end of the Model shots. It may not be the most exciting outing of the series, but at least the chases are all real.

Miz Tisdale makes her final appearance (over-acting like mad) and the Microlites are seen again (although they have hardly any point).

Boss and Rosco exercising in spandex is reason enough to watch this episode. That and Bo's impersonation of the Sheriff.

ROSCO MOMENT††† His 'aerobatics' are quite possibly the silliest thing he's ever done.

BEST STUNT†† All fairly subdued, but the General does manage to go on quite a bumpy ride.

***

 

EPISODE 13

THE HAUNTING OF J.D. HOGG

Boss adjusts the will of a late relative so that all the money goes to him and not to charity.

Despite being directed by Tom Wopat, this has little creative or comedic flair. It was clearly intended to be far wittier, but the faked haunting is just too overplayed. At least the story has pace and the numerous chase scenes move quickly; but Wopat is capable of far better.

BEST STUNT†† Now that model shots are a thing of the past the viewer can finally enjoy the chase scenes without fear of embarrassment. Consequently, the General's jump is a breath of fresh air. The final chase isn't bad either.

**

 

EPISODE 14

WHEN YOU WISH UPON A HOGG

Hughie Hogg returns for one last time; and the scheme is his most ingenious yet.

This is comic storytelling of the highest order! Yes it's a load of impossible nonesense, but somewhere deep in the heart of the scheme is a kind of remorseless logic. We know that Boss can be easily taken in by pure greed and pure greed is what he's tempted with here!The rest of the scheme has been so well worked-out that you almost feel sorry for Hughie that such a meticulous plan should be defeated; but then again, itís also fun to watch the Dukes cottoning on to what he's doing and slowly putting a spanner in the works. The episode moves quickly as well.

Kitty Moffat as The Genie is perfect in the role-playing the tongue-in-cheek part with a huge nod toward 'Bewitched' and 'I dream of Jeannie'.

ROSCO MOMENT†† He's taken in just as easily as Boss.

 

 

 

BEST STUNT††† The opening 5 minutes are terrific and start the story off with a bang.

****

 

 

EPISODE 15

STRANGE VISITOR TO HAZZARD

When a small Alien gets lost in Hazzard, it's up to the Dukes to take him back to his Mother ship.

Yes, thatís the story.

No, Iím not kidding.

Yes, the episode's as awful as it sounds.

No, there are no model shots.

Yes, the chases are quite plentiful and use real cars.

No, the Alien make-up isn't good at all.

Yes, Daisy wears a really cute sweater with sheep on it.

No, you won't enjoy this.

Yes, youíll be humiliated if any of your friends catch you watching this episode.

BEST STUNT†† The panic in Hazzard Square is well orchestrated.

*

 

 

EPISODE 16

ENOS AND DAISY'S WEDDING

Daisy is the sole eyewitness to a crime in which Enos is involved. Afraid that her testimony will send him to prison and knowing that a wife cannot legally testify against her husband, she decides to marry him.

From the ridiculous to the sublime, one of the very best episodes follows on from one of the very worst.

This is a charming and beautifully worked-out storyline and seems to have been created partly to tie up a loose story thread (the Enos/Daisy romance has been a continuing story arc since episode 1) and partly to allow for new stories in a potential eighth season (which was not to be). Once again the two families team up to exonerate the Deputy and the scenes of unity in order to defeat a greater crime are heartwarming (Boss, especially, is torn by his duty of having to arrest Enos against all of his better instincts). The relentless tracking of the actual culprits is well handled and provides the thrills in between all the charming character and romantic moments. Perhaps the flashback sequence goes on a little too long, but Tom Wopat's direction is well measured and shows great empathy with the character's plight. The resolution is sweet and not a letdown.

Another little classic.

ROSCO MOMENT††† His fatherly reaction to Daisy in her wedding dress and his surprisingly wise words are a lovely touch.

BEST STUNT†† The villains write-off their car.

*****

 

EPISODE 17

OPENING NIGHT AT THE BOAR'S NEST

When Rosco believes that he is responsible for Boss suddenly vanishing (he has in fact been abducted by kidnappers) the Dukes have an even greater motivation to go to the rescue.

John Schneider co-wrote and directed this final episode and he displays a fine talent, especially for story pacing.

The amateur concert is a rather sweet affair and getting all the main characters gathered together in unity under one roof is a lovely way to end the series. There are scenes of drama (Lulu receives the ransom demand), pathos (Rosco nearly tears himself apart with grief mixed with guilt), action (several General Lee jumps that, although seen before, are probably the most spectacular) and terrific comedy (Boss in a pink frilly Tutu). The villains are good and there are even scenes of the Duke family singing together in harmony. This is not a special 'final' episode (although for a few suspenseful moments you're led to believe that one of the characters may have actually died) but it's nonetheless a perfectly charming and delightful way of ending the series.

ROSCO MOMENT†† 'Coltrano the Great' (with 'Flasho the Dog') and his beautiful assistant,'Hoggo the Round'.

BEST STUNT††† Two of the best jumps are re-played; and the 'near miss' of Boss at the beginning is a well-choreographed sequence.

****