From Variety January 2, 1980
Television Reviews Section
Primetime soaper, which has risen to new rating heights with the emergence of ‘Dallas’ this season as a top-10 series, was given another nudge towards the look and content of ‘Peyton Place,’ the predecessor of the genre, with the introduction of ‘Knots Landing’ to the CBS-TV slate.
A spinoff from ‘Dallas’, the new entry has a middle-class frame of reference rather than rich income background of the former’s characters. It retains, however, the raunchy behavior patterns and bad taste of the original. Ostensibly in California, the location is a four house cluster surrounding a cul-de-sac court in a housing development into one of which moves Ted Shackelford and Joan Van Ark–he being the weak son of the ‘Dallas Ewing’ family. Determined to make a new life, the Ewings were immediately swept into the intrigue of the court, which included used car lot owner Don Murray and wife Michele Lee, aggressive lawyer John Pleshette and wife Constance McCashin and record exec James Houghton and wife Kim Lankford. Murray’s daughter (from another marriage) was found by him in the sack with a strange boy as the episode began — and the exploitable sequences took off from there, with the good guys and the bad guys immediately identified for the long run. It was the kind of trashy domestic drama that ‘Dallas’ has made great rating strides with and there was no indication that ‘Knots’ is not capable of the same acceptance. Murray, Lee, Pleshette and guest Karen Allen (as the visiting daughter) were most prominent in the opener, with Lee the most impressive performer. The possible variations seem endless. –Bok.”