Monday, 16 February 2015

TV Series Review: The Dukes of Hazzard

Mr Click has owned the complete series of The Dukes of Hazzard pretty much the entire time I’ve known him. Last year, when we’d finished watching The Two Ronnies, he announced that he’d like to watch The Dukes of Hazzard. As I tend to pick our evening viewing, he’s allowed to pick the bedtime viewing, though I’ll admit, I wasn’t overly thrilled.

From what I understood, The Dukes of Hazzard was a TV series for the boys. I knew it was about two guys driving around in cars and smashing them up pretty much every episode, occasionally accompanied by a woman who tended to wear very short shorts. Definitely one for the guys.
I was so wrong.

Had it been made today it almost certainly would have been ‘one for the boys’, as evidenced by the film version which was made about ten years ago. That was a sort of Jackass/American Pie mash up. The TV series made in the late seventies and early eighties was definitely a family show.

It follows the fortunes of the Duke family, specifically cousins Bo and Luke Duke but also their cousin Daisy and the trio’s Uncle Jesse, and the mishaps they get involved in in their small Georgia town of Hazzard. Other familiar faces are Boss Hogg, his good friend Rosco P. Coltrane and Cooter who runs the local garage. Bo and Luke are on probation due to a deal that their Uncle Jesse cut in return for his giving up moonshining.

The episodes follow a fairly generic formula. Usually a criminal comes to Hazzard and Boss and Rosco try to pin whatever crime they’ve committed on the Duke boys, or someone who is experiencing some personal problem is brought to the attention of the Dukes and they do their best to help them, or Boss figures out some way to scam the Dukes out of their farm and they have to figure out a way to stop him. Or some combination of all three.

While they are, admittedly, very formulaic, it works. I liked that each episode is reset at the end, so whatever improvement we see in the Dukes’ fortunes is fixed so that they’re back to normal in the next. The most common seems to be whenever they get some reward from the government or someone, it’s inevitably donated to the orphanage. Honestly I think that Hazzard orphanage probably has more money than Boss Hogg!

I can’t help but be a little bit curious about where all these Duke kids have come from. There are five Duke cousins in all; Bo, Luke, Daisy and the suspiciously similar substitutes, Coy and Vance (who show up for one series when the actors playing Bo and Luke were in a pay dispute), none of them are brothers (in fact Luke has a younger brother who he was separated from as a child, who shows up for one episode and then is never mentioned again). Uncle Jesse is the uncle to all five of them (well, technically six if you count Luke’s brother), yet no parents are ever mentioned (except Luke’s who were killed in a fire). It’s all rather suspicious. I can’t help but wonder if Uncle Jesse and his wife were sort of an ‘overflow orphanage’!

Notice the shirts, exact same styles just different colours. I imagine they bought them as a double pack!
I much preferred the episodes with Bo and Luke as opposed to the ones with Coy and Vance, though I have to say, the storylines for those episodes weren’t bad, it was just the acting that wasn’t great. The last series had some of the weirder episodes, one in particular that sticks with me when there was an actual alien in Hazzard. It was like Dukes of Hazzard meets Mork! But on the whole I can’t think that there is a single series that I enjoyed any less than any of the others.

There was even an episode that made me cry. You see, Rosco gets a dog, called Flash, in one of the series and she becomes his constant companion. We often wound up watching this series with our dog on the bed in between us and she’d frequently watch the screen whenever Flash was on it, our own Velvet Ears. Well, in one of the episodes Flash is stolen and Rosco is absolutely inconsolable. That did it for me. I was just a wreck.

I can’t handle people being separated from their dogs.

One other thing that I did enjoy about The Dukes of Hazzard was that although there weren’t a huge number of women in the series, the two main ones were definitely strong characters. There’s Daisy, who doesn’t always seem to wear much, but she drives just as well as her cousins and easily outsmarts the bad guys. There are a couple of occasions when she’s the damsel in distress, but all the same, she holds her own when she’s in trouble until help can arrive. The other strong female character is Lulu Hogg. She’s used as the butt of many of Boss Hogg’s jokes, but she’s easily his equal and often shows that she’s got quite a bit of influence over him.

Overall I’m really pleased that we watched this series, even though it didn’t immediately appeal to me. I’m hoping that we’ll get to see it again at some point in the future because it was a nice, gentle sort of programme to watch. Sometimes after you’ve had a hard day at work, you want to watch something that you know will all be okay in the end. And in Hazzard, with the Dukes around, things always work out one way or another.

Oh, but a warning. You’ll be singing the song pretty much constantly afterwards:


  1. Aah this was a HUGE favourite as a kid! And mmmmmm Daisy Duke ;)

    1. I had a funny feeling you'd be a fan, Mark. ;-) John enjoyed Daisy too, I was slightly more preoccupied with Bo's tight jeans!

      We're onto Starsky and Hutch now.

    2. I'm nothing if not reassuringly predictable ;)

      Take a look at my latest blog post!

      Oh God yes, you could practically tell what his religion was!

      I must admit your habit of watching a vintage boxset at night has rubbed off on me in recent months. Last autumn I got through all 50 odd eps of Watching before bedtime each night, then around Christmas I moved on to This Life and now I'm enjoying the 70s medical drama Angels. Up to series 2 now :)

  2. Very nice article. It is fun to see a fresh take on the Dukes. I'm glad you enjoy it. It has quite a following. I run a blog dedicated to collecting Dukes memorabilia. We have events and concerts and the cast members are very active in the Dukes community. We even have a Dukes museum in Nashville.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and I'm glad you enjoyed my review. I think we'll definitely rewatch it again in the future. I'd love to travel to America and travel around some places like the museums and things. :-)

    2. I really is a lot of fun. Getting to interact with the cast regularly is a dream come true. John and Tom are going to be a a near by comic con in a few months. I can't wait.


Let me know what you think. :-)