The new Dallas is just a few months away, and apparently it takes place in a bathhouse! No, just kidding. It takes place at Southfork Ranch, but this new teaser campaign, which features Dallas faces old (Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, Patrick Duffy) and new (Jesse Metcalfe, Josh Henderson, Jordana Brewster), pokes fun at the series’ infamous cliffhanger, in which Pam Ewing (Victoria Principal) awoke to find her deceased husband Bobby (Patrick Duffy) showering in their bathroom. After an excruciating summer of guessing, the truth was finally revealed in a season opener that would go down in infamy: The entire 1985-86 season never happened. It was all a dream.
Duffy decided to leave the series at the end of 1986, and was killed off by a car driven by his sister-in-law. Audiences were up in arms over the death of the show’s most popular character, and, with the encouragement of Larry Hagman, Duffy decided to return to the series, on one condition: No one could know—not even his co-stars. The idea of making the whole season a dream was first proposed by Duffy’s wife as a joke, but the producers liked it. The sequence was shot separately from Principal, who thought she was reacting to finding the body of another character, Mark Graison, lying in her shower. When Duffy shot his scenes, it was under the false pretense of shooting a shampoo commercial. So even Principal was shocked to see Bobby alive when the cliffhanger was finally aired.
A quick fix, the dream sequence was widely derided by fans and produced tons of continuity errors—not just on Dallas, but on spin-off show Knots Landing, as well, which had incorporated several plotlines involving Bobby’s death, and whose producers were apparently furious that they hadn’t been consulted. Then again, there are people who actually love the dream season idea, and not just for its kitsch factor. Sci-fi fans see it as an early exploration of the alternate worlds concept that later became popular on shows like Lost and Fringe.
For better or worse, Dallas would never quite escape the dream season’s shadow. And when you can’t beat ‘em, you can always use ‘em to promote your series reboot. The new Dallas premieres June 13 on TNT.