Saddle up, folks: TNT is reviving the long-dormant daddy of all nighttime soaps, Dallas, and thanks to a press screener I’ve got the scoop on all the forthcoming back-stabbing and loaded looks. Are you a lifelong fan of the original or simply a potential newcomer to South Fork ranch? Either way, read on to determine out whether you should hitch your rig to the latest iteration of the series.
When does the drilling start?
Dallas debuts Wednesday, June 13, at 9pm on TNT with a special two-hour premiere.
Who will be gracing the screen?
It really is the old and the new, with Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy reprising the iconic roles of J.R. and Bobby Ewing. Linda Gray will also be back as Sue Ellen Ewing, J.R.’s long-suffering ex-wife. The new addition to the old guard is Brenda Strong (Desperate Housewives), as Bobby wife, Ann. But most of the focus is on a new generation of Ewings, and the young and beautiful are on full display with Josh Henderson (90210) as J.R. and Sue Ellen's son Jon Ross; Jesse Metcalfe (Desperate Housewives) as Bobby's adopted son Christopher; Jordana Brewster (Fast & Furious) as Elena Ramos, John Ross's girlfriend and Christopher's former fiancee; and Julie Gonzalo (Eli Stone) as Christopher's current fiancee.
Who is behind this resurrection?
The original Dallas was created by David Jacobs and ran for 14 seasons from 1978-1991. It established a template for the high-stakes nighttime soap opera, which became a staple of the 1980s. Dallas 2012 was developed by Cynthia Cidre, who created CBS's short-lived but similarly plotted family soap Cane in 2007.
What's the show all about?
Dallas in its original form was a modern retelling of the Hatfields and McCoys and centered on two families, the Ewings and the Barnes, warring over land and oil. But the meat of the story was always the rivalry between brothers J.R. and Bobby Ewing, and the fight for control over Ewing Oil; J.R. was devious, dirty, and driven by greed, while Bobby was the moral compass of the clan, always wanting to do what’s right. That set-up happily remains intact for the new series, which TNT is billing as a "continuation" of the original. Dallas 2012 literally hands down the rivalry to the next generation, with J.R.’s son John Ross (Henderson) proving that the apple don’t fall far from the oil well and wanting to drill, drill, drill all over the sprawling South Fork Ranch, which his family has owned for 150 years. But John Ross butts heads with his cousin Christopher (Metcalfe), the adopted son of Bobby Ewing and a leader in clean energy, who wants to preserve the land, just like his daddy. Throw in the sexy daughter of the Ewings' housekeeper, Elena Ramos (Brewster), who has both John Ross and Christopher’s heart, and you've got light sweet crude galore.
Who should go drilling for this oil?
If you've got a hankering for back-stabbing family rivalry, then this is your show. Obviously, if you were a fan of the original Dallas, you'll at least want to see “what happened” to your favorite characters and have passing interest in how the next generation plays the oil game. If you are a newcomer to South Fork, rest assured that TNT has taken into consideration those weaned on One Tree Hill and Melrose Place.
What makes this rig gush?
For my money, the show shines brightest when John Ross (Henderson) is on screen. He throws down the gauntlet as J.R.’s son and is a lot of fun to watch. But then, evil is always more entertaining than good when it comes to soaps. Larry Hagman’s J.R. Ewing is still a thing of wonder; even after considerable aging, the old gray mare comes out of the gate swinging. As father and son, they are a reason to give this show a chance.
Where are the leaks in the pipeline?
Dallas 2.0 could be also be titled Loaded Looks. So much screen time is dedicated to people giving each other weighted glances that it almost becomes comical. This property comes with a bit of camp already installed, but TNT is playing it with a very straight face, at least for the first few episodes. I’ve love to see a little more sparkle in my Texas tea.
Should I invest in this project?
Curiosity will win out for those who grew up with the original. And it pays off, somewhat. But it's the younger demographic that will make the ship sink or swim. I would say give it a whirl; the characters could develop, over time, into a fabric more worthy of the legacy. Let’s just hope they up the stakes even more.
Do you have a trailer or clip I can look at?
I reckon’ we do.
What might I tipple while watching Dallas?
A VERY strong cocktail may help you strike oil. Might I suggest a variation on the Long Island Iced Tea, appropriately renamed Texas Tea in honor of the Lone Star State?
Dallas debuts Wednesday, June 13 at 9pm on TNT.