It happens tomorrow night: Wednesday, June 13 at 9/8C marks the premiere of ‘Dallas’ on TNT. It’s not a reboot or a remake; it’s a continuation of the series you (or your parents) loved to watch from 1978-1991.
I got my hands on the two-hour premiere for a sneak preview, and here’s what I’m willing to share!
Three principal characters from the original series return: Larry Hagman as J.R. Ewing, Patrick Duffy as Bobby Ewing, and Linda Gray as Sue Ellen Ewing. They’re all billed as featured actors in the intro, which looks closely enough to the original, powerful intro that it will give any original Dallas fan goosebumps.
The return of these characters is absolutely brilliant, and serves to the Dallas novice as an excellent way to understand the dynamics of the Ewing empire. I’m especially impressed with Hagman’s performance. Without giving away too much, I’ll just say they’ve found a way to make his age and his character work in the series. Patrick Duffy is also excellent as the “good guy” and family peacemaker.
Here are the characters you really need to know about:
John Ross Ewing (Josh Henderson): The son of J.R. and Sue Ellen Ewing. Like father, like son. This guy is a complete D-bag. He’s obsessed with oil and power, doesn’t give a crap about anyone else in the family, and thinks drilling is the future. He’s determined to find more reserves in more places and drill the tar out of South Fork Ranch, and doesn’t care who or what he hurts in the process.John Ross is extremely distant from his dad, who is not in the best of health.
Christopher Ewing (Jesse Metcalfe): (Hey, look, it’s Jesse Metcalfe from Desperate Housewives!) Christopher is the son of Bobby and Pamela Ewing, and is determined to bring new, alternative energy to the forefront. So, naturally, he’s feuding with his cousin John Ross. Christopher’s about to get married, but he’s harboring a secret that John Ross is determined to reveal unless he gets what he wants from Christopher.
Ann Ewing (Brenda Strong): (Hey, another DH Alumna!) Ann is Bobby’s wife, refers to herself as a “straight-shooting Texan,” and has just found out Bobby is harboring a very personal secret regarding his health. She clearly loves Bobby (who doesn’t that isn’t a D-bag?) and wants to stand by her husband and her family, in spite of knowing “what it feels like to be an outsider.” What?
Missing from the premiere are Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing), who is reportedly going to be on later in the series, and Victoria Principal (Pamela Barnes Ewing), whose character was severely burned as a way to be written out of the series in the late 80’s. She is still alive as far as we know, but Pamela was last portrayed by another actress after the burning and subsequent plastic surgery. We all know plastic surgery and death can never stop original actors from returning! There are no official reports that Principal will be in the series this season.
Oh! I haven’t even mentioned Sue Ellen! She’s changed quite a bit, and there are several surprises in store. She’s become a very prominent philanthropist and her life has turned around, due in no small part to getting rid of JR.
For fans of the classic series, this is great. For the younger generations, this is great. Even if you were only a casual Dallas-watcher or only saw a few episodes ten years ago, it’s extremely easy to follow. Meanwhile, the characters are well-developed with enough secrets to keep you wondering, and the on-location shoots in and around Dallas (instead of a fancy Hollywood studio) make it even more brilliant.
I have high hopes for Dallas on TNT and think this will turn out to be an excellent summer series! So tune in to TNT on Wednesday, June 13 at 9/8C for the two-hour premiere!
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