Monday, 20 August 2012

Dallas: The Return Of A Legend

It left television screens 21 years ago, leaving an audience of fans heartbroken after over a decade of constantly twisting turns, Dallas was one of the biggest shows in television history…. Now it’s back, and better than ever.

In section 15 of Southfork Ranch, John Ross Ewing (Josh Henderson) and Elena Ramos (Jordana Brewster) are digging for oil. After years of searching, they finally struck oil, where else but on the very estate owned by their family.

Christopher Ewing (Jessie Metcalfe) is at a Tennis club trying to gain investors in his renewable energy idea, energy generated through natural methane dug from the sea bed.

Both Ewing’s have something interesting on the table, much like their fathers J.R. (Larry Hagman) and Bobby (Patrick Duffy) used to over two decades earlier. But neither like the plans of the other cousin, and it’s a given that neither will their respective fathers. 

Bobby is sick, he has a intestinal cancer, and quick treatment will ensure that the disease does not spread. Before he submits to surgery that may either renew or end his life however he wants to make sure all the family are working on the same team. Visiting J.R. in his nursing home where he has sat in a dormant state for the best part of a decade, Bobby tells J.R. he wants the boys to get on, no fights like they used to have.

Instead of dampening the fire, the opposite occurs and both cousins and Bobby end up in a feud with each other trying to keep or break Miss Ellie’s (J.R. & Bobby’s mother) dying wish, not to drill for oil on Southfork. On Christopher’s wedding day things come to a head, and J.R. wakes from his haze, bitter and burning with hatred for Bobby and his siblings. But does J.R. hold all the cards?

21 years may have past since Dallas left our screens, but little has changed, some of the key players may be different, but those that truly hold the power are still the same. Behind every powerful man is a woman scorned, and Sue Ellen Ewing (Linda Gray) returns as a strong power base and ally for John Ross. And while he is not there from the start, the series has the mysterious feel of Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval) the Ewing’s biggest enemy, all over it. Popular characters Ray Krebbs (Steve Kanaly), and Lucy Ewing (Charlene Tilton) are also on hand to lend a little support.

In the US Dallas has scored a regular 8 million viewers, a record for a cable network (the show is shown on TNT), and the stories that are weaved are better, more twisted, and exciting than they ever were. All we need now is someone stepping from the shower after being dead for a long period and we’ll be back on top form. 

From episode one the groundwork is set on story arcs that spread beyond the first series (a second series has already been commissioned). And these arcs are on a truly massive scale, with affairs, conspiracies and murder all order of the day.

Unlike the original series there is no time to breath at least not during the first series, each episode is jam packed with important plot (in a Lost style), no one scene has no value, everything moves slowly towards playing a bigger picture.

On the really positive side, I suspect that many will be expecting the old cast to have minor roles, this is not the case, they are their in the action all the way through. And as soon as you see J.R. on his two feet for the first time, you just know that the game is well and truly on.

Dallas is definitely the one to watch, whether it gets the popularity it received last time remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain, the global audience has not yet seen enough of the Ewing’s.

Dallas returns to the UK on Channel Five at the back end of September, and begins on various European Channels from December. Other audiences will get to enjoy Dallas from early next year.

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