Thursday, June 14, 2012


So, last night was the premiere of the...well, it's not a reboot so much, sequel series, I guess, to the original Dallas television show. It picks up years later where Bobby and J.R. Ewings sons are grown, and the Ewings are at each other's throats once again. It certainly is a continuation. I was glad they didn't title it Dallas: The Next Generation or something that effect. Even with the advent of whole television series being released on DVD and television enthusiasts going back and catching up on worthy series and what not they might not have experienced growing up, I feel like Dallas hasn't received the sort of critical re-evaluation and re-discovery as some other television shows have gone through.

It's hard to think, though, just how popular this series was back in the day. Gaining particular fame with the at-the-time HUGE cliffhanger from the 1979-1980 season which left everyone wondering "Who Shot J.R."

Later it would be more infamous with whole "dream season" and Bobby in the shower. Do I need to explain that? This was incredible, really. They had a whole season where Patrick Duffy thought he wanted to leave the show so they wrote him out and then he came back and then this happened:

For me, for years, Dallas was basically just the theme song. (An awesome theme song to be honest) But I hear the theme song and I think I am 6 years old, and it is nine o'clock on a Friday night and it is time for me to go to bed, because this was definitely my parent's time

(stupid embedding is disabled for some reason)
Dallas Intro

Yeah, they would send me to bed as the strains of this started to kick off in their room. But, I, of course was never allowed to stay up and indulge. So when they started to release the seasons of the show on DVD, I finally had a chance to see what all the fuss was about and I came away with two things:

1) Surprise. My parents are nice people, but anyone that knows them also knows that, at least now, they are very conservative people. Watching Dallas I was struck at how nuts and raw it was, but I was probably more struck that my parents LOVED this show so much, even with how salacious it was (and it probably seemed moreso then).

2) Other Surprise. But watching the show, I could totally understand how they would keep going back week after week. I wrote before how there hasn't seemed to be a critical reevaluation or general rediscovery of this show, even though it was so huge, I mean I guess in critical terms it wasn't a "good"" show, but man did the writers have the chops to over and over again come up with some of the craziest storylines, AND the cliffhangers and double crosses which kept people coming back every week (or me crazily reaching for the remote to watch the next episode). It might not have been "good", I guess (it was) but it was SUPER entertaining.

It's also interesting to think that, even though they might not admit it, but the showrunners of today's hour long dramas might have picked up some of this show's DNA on how to write a compelling drama and keep people coming back.

So that brings us to the NEW Dallas. Look, I wasn't looking for the reinvention of the wheel here. Heck, I never even thought they needed to bring Dallas back. It seemed like something that was so fun that it should just stay frozen in amber in a particular time. It also made me feel like an old person, a charge I am not immune to, because you also didn't want to see something like Dallas  get watered down. In the end, I am not sure how "good" this show will be as either, it might stick as a good Summer, timewaster. I mean they definitely did have all the Ewing generations double and triple crossing eachother so that's fun, and Sue Ellen running for governor,. Oh, and one of those triple crosses actually happening for NO reason on the 50 yard line of the Dallas Cowboys stadium, that's the kind of nonsense that makes something like this even better.

But, I mean, the show has a real uphill battle on getting people to care about the next generation of Ewings. I mean, it's not like the young kids are clamoring for a return of Bobby and J.R.'s feud, and the older people could probably care less about what these hot-bodied youngsters are yelling at eachother about. Just make it as ridiculous, and they might have something. One thing they do have though is national treasure, Larry Hagman as bad guy J.R. Ewing. People would say back in the day that people would tune in back in the day to see what J.R. got up to next or if he got his comeuppance. My Mom would argue that they wanted to see Bobby Ewing succeed against his conniving brother. Sorry, Mom, after watching it I think the former people were right. Even now, watching the show, at 81, Larry Hagman's J.R. is still one of the main reasons to watch, to watch him be woken from a practically comatose state because of the power of Haterade, to go up against Bobby again for the control of Ewing Oil, was a great thing to behold, and he had the best lines. Seeing 10-15 minutes of J.R. every week might just be reason enough to go back.
Oh! One thing I was happy about was they didn't change the theme song too much. I mean it's a BIt different from say 1979 but overall it is the same which I was happy about.

It was also funny how they shoehorned in Ray Krebbs and Lucy at the wedding. I am going to assume they might be back for more in later episodes but here they amounted to "Hey! There's Ray Krebbs! Hey! There's LucY!"-type of throwback cameos.


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