Dallas returns to high expectations from viewers
Larry Hagman as J.R. Ewing, left, and Patrick Duffy as Bobby Ewing in a scene from Dallas, premiering Wednesday. (Zade Rosenthal/TNT/Associated Press)
Ah, Dallas. Those massive Stetsons and equally massive shoulder pads, that brass-tastic theme song, the slick, sliding panels of Texan scenes and, of course, the deliciously dastardly and conniving oilman J.R. Ewing. A wave of nostalgia washes over me as I recall the iconic, ostentatious and addictive evening soap that occupies some of my earliest memories of television-watching.
So, when news came that the series was being given a jump start more than 20 years on, my curiosity was naturally piqued.
Any television fan can attest to the awful remakes that have cluttered the small screen in recent years, but I'm hoping that the resurrected Dallas will beat the odds. Aren't we tired of all the basically interchangeable, so-called "reality" shows? I'd much rather watch a good, soapy melodrama, provided it's also got a killer plot, fabulous dressing and magnetic characters -- preferably at each other's throats.
The original Dallas definitely fit the bill. Wednesday's two-hour premiere (on networks Bravo and TNT) returns us to the famed Southfork ranch and the ruthless scheming family forever at odds over the vast acreage.
Larry Hagman's notorious J.R. -- among television's most diabolical and, at the same time, most appealing characters -- returns, as do fellow O.G. castmates Patrick Duffy (J.R.'s good-hearted brother Bobby) and Linda Gray (Sue Ellen, J.R.'s ex-wife). The next gen is represented by J.R. and Bobby's sons (portrayed by Josh Henderson and Jesse Metcalfe, respectively), who have naturally followed in their fathers' contrary footsteps.
"It was like coming home," Hagman said of stepping into the caddish boots of J.R. again.
"It's no trouble getting into that character. I don't know how much is the character and how much is me anymore," he told Reuters.
A worldwide phenomenon by the time it ended in 1991, Dallas continues to air in syndication in some parts of the world. And the new series has already been sold to more than 30 countries outside of the U.S.
The show has fans in "Germany, England, Ireland, France, North Africa, South America, India," Hagman said. "I was amazed to find out that Dallas is very popular in India, so I will have to go over there and do some personal appearances."
Personally, I can't wait.
Did you know?
Modern dramas have Dallas to thank for popularizing the now-common concept of the TV season-ending cliffhanger. The show ended its first season with Sue Ellen in a coma and her prematurely born infant clinging to life following a car accident.
The writers topped themselves just the following season with the infamous Who Shot J.R.? ending, with Hagman's evil titan gunned down by an unknown assailant in the finale. The identity of the shooter sparked countless discussions and a glut of media coverage. And when season three came around, more than 80 million U.S. viewers tuned in, with more than 300 million more worldwide eventually taking in the episode.
Jesse Metcalfe (Christopher Ewing, left) and Josh Henderson (John Ross Ewing) take up the torch as a younger generation of quarrelling Ewings in the revamped Dallas. (Erik Heinila/TNT/Associated Press)
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