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Reviews of select episodes —
reflecting the respective author's opinion, but not necessarily the editorial staff's.

Fans are welcome to write reviews of additional episodes (e.g. a favorite), which may be published here after being checked by the editorial staff. The DFCF remains the right to shorten or edit, will discuss any changes with the respective author prior to publishing though.
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General Information
Check out the Decline & Fall section for the changes in the series.
# 184 <8.01> Changing Times
The episode title illustrates what the "Falcon Crest" audience has to expect: changes!
Angela lost Falcon Crest to Melissa — but not without threatening the new owner of the estate in the good old Angela-like manner: "I'll be back!"
What is presented in the new season (at least in the first few episodes), however, is a tired Angela, who prefers reading books in her Del Oro suite and talking blah-blah, instead of fighting Melissa — as she used to — in order to get Falcon Crest back.
Angela says about herself that she is too tired of fighting. Oh my! This is not the Angela we know!
With the return of executive producer MICHAEL FILERMAN after a seven-year absence, a certain helping of boredom comes back to the series. FILERMAN was determined to introduce another Hispanic family — see the Nuñez family in season 1, an idea, however, which was not successful in those days and which will not be now. The Ortegas will be in too many scenes, and the viewers show precious little interest in them. The series will lose more and more viewers in the course of this season, which will lead to a downward spiral in season 9. Besides, particularly the first half of this season does not really focus on the key element of the show: wine growing.
To make matters worse, shooting in the Wine Country (Napa Valley) is history with the beginning of season 8. Only old stock footage of the buildings and scenery is inserted now and then. The major filming location for exterior footage is now Saddlerock Ranch north of Los Angeles, Maggie and Richard's new home.
What starts with this fairly lame episode (compared to the season 7 cliffhanger), will continue this season. The producers put too much emphasis on supporting characters (the Ortegas) rather than concentrating on the core characters as they did in the previous years. To make matters worse, ANA-ALICIA will be fired. More details about that in the respective episode.
Senior Editor and Art Director
# 185 <8.02> Farewell, My Lovelies
Richard comes back from the dead (the setting is a night of a thunderstorm, of course), and Maggie forgives him (once again) that he left her uninformed about everything.
Peter Stavros is back in the valley and looking for his son, Eric. A miracle that this season's producers thought of the Eric rôle, let alone Peter Stavros.
Angela seems to "wake up" again and wants Falcon Crest back. She uses a sordid scheme against Melissa and even breaks into the Mansion with Chao-Li. A little over the top because Angela always had enough people to run a dirty errand.
Melissa feels cornered by everybody (again), alone in the world and finally sets the Falcon Crest Victorian Mansion on fire — but not without making Lance, the love of her life, appear as the culprit.
There is still hope Melissa (ANA-ALICIA) will survive, but the following episode will tell a different story. After the end of season 7 (Dan Fixx and Eric Stavros), Falcon Crest loses more of its popular main cast members, including DANA SPARKS (Vickie) and CESAR ROMERO (Peter). Both of them go to Europe to see Eric.
Angela got her old fighting spirit back, and things are looking a bit more promising in the show — at least one might think.
Senior Editor and Art Director
# 186 <8.03> Dust to Dust
The Falcon Crest Victorian Mansion has burnt to the ground, and Melissa is in a coma — and passes away. Forcing ANA-ALICIA off the show is like a U-turn in the series. "Falcon Crest" will never be the same again; especially with storylines focusing on secondary, unimportant characters and with the Pilar Ortega character (KRISTIAN ALFONSO) being pushed into the center of the plot. Executive producer MICAHEL FILERMAN has his own way — but he fails in getting the audience interested in the Ortegas.
Melissa is off, and her cousin, Nick, appears with his son Ben in Tuscany to run Falcon Crest for Melissa's son, Joseph — Melissa picked Nick to manage her estate; Nick, a person she did not even know.
The decline of the series begins. Season 8 is like a rollercoaster ride. Good and bad episodes, but the bad ones prevail.
Senior Editor and Art Director
# 200 <8.17> Resurrection
ANA-ALICIA is back!
The audience has won. Due to the viewers' negative reactions after Melissa's death and the loss of market shares this season, the producers were forced to bring ANA-ALICIA back to the show. And this is sort of a producers' confession that it was a mistake to fire ANA-ALICIA at the beginning of this season. Executive producer MICHAEL FILERMAN admitted in an interview with the DFCF board of directors that he regrets to have made that decision and that he now sees his decision contributed to the decline of the show during that season.
After it became apparent that season 8 could not tie up to the success of the previous seven production years as the show had lost many viewers in the course of season 8, the team around MICHAEL FILERMAN was forced to come up with a new storyline in order to attract more viewers. So they brought ANA-ALICIA back to the show.
As her previous character, Melissa Agretti, died earlier this season, the actress had to portray a different character on the show. So the writers created her current rôle, Samantha Ross, Melissa's look-alike. Samantha was brought to San Francisco by Richard, who figured Angela would become mad if she saw the late "Melissa" again.
I think it was an excellent move to bring back ANA-ALICIA to the show in a different character. Although I personally would have liked it better if Melissa had rejoined the series, I think from a logical point of view it was better not to try to resurrect Melissa from the dead as I suppose this would have led to a loss of reality or a logical break in storytelling. This happened on "Dallas" where Bobby Ewing was back on the show after the "dream season" as if he had never died the season before.
ANA-ALICIA, being a fabulous actress, did a very good job. She played Samantha Ross with a voice tone and behavior different from her performance as Melissa during the past seven years.
And besides, she has been in a better position now: Due to her contract, she got paid for her rôle as Melissa for the whole 8th season, even though she was fired after the third episode. Now that the producers asked her to come back on the show, she received an additional income for her special appearance as Samantha Ross!
former Senior Editor and CFO
# 205 <8.22> Decline and Fall
The season is over... and it will lead to nowhere, just where this season started from.
The new peace between Angela and Richard established in season 7 changed into another battle between them in the current season. Now with the end of season 8, the battle between mother and son is over, too, as season 9 will show.
ANA-ALICIA as Samantha Ross will disappear. A wise choice?
Frank is siding with Angela. According to him, the long-lasting feud between the Giobertis and the Agrettis is over. Nick does not approve. What will be the next move? Nick and Ben, however, will be gone at the beginning of season 9.
The big mystery is what happens to the Ortegas? They came out of nowhere at the beginning of this season and never really fit into the story of the wealthy winegrowing families.
As the forthcoming season will be even worse than this current one, indeed this final episode of season 8 seals the "decline and fall" of the show.
former Senior Editor and CFO