I never watched the original Dallas, mostly due to the fact that it began eleven years before I was born and ended when I was two years old, but I’ve heard my parents rave about it as the epitome of television drama. When TNT announced that they would be making Dallas once more, I rolled my eyes. Another remake of a classic TV show was surely going to make my parents complain–only this particular case is different. Rather than remake the same TV show with updated, crazier plotlines a la 90210, the new Dallas was to be a continuation of the old series that would include a good number of the same characters the original did in addition to the new faces of the next generation of the Dallas world. I was not able to enjoy it when during its two hour and fifteen minute premiere event last week, but I finally watched it on the DVR this morning. And damn, I’m glad I did.
So much action was packed into the premiere, I don’t even know where to begin. John Ross (Josh Henderson), J.R.’s son, and his girlfriend Elena (Jordana Brewster, of The Faculty fame) struck oil on the family property that is under the control of his uncle Bobby (Patrick Duffy, AKA the dad from Step By Step for all us 90’s kids) and about to be sold for conservation purposes. Bobby discovers he has cancer, making it imperative that he sorts out what to do with South Fork before his son and nephew end up feuding over it like he and his brother J.R. did on the original series. Bobby’s son Christopher is back for his wedding, bringing along his fiancee Rebecca (Julie Gonzalo, AKA Parker from Veronica Mars) and his discovered alternative energy source. When Bobby finds out that John Ross is drilling on family property and Christopher finds out that he’s been dating his ex-girlfriend, family hell breaks loose. All this happened within the first twenty minutes. The rest of the episode is a haze of fisticuffs, double and triple agenting, family secrets, and lies waiting to be discovered.
Being as I have no concept of anything that occurred in the first Dallas, I was thrilled to see that the new series alluded to past events without the use of overly clunky and obvious dialogue. These references-such as the ill feelings between John Ross’s parents and the fact that Bobby had been married before–that were general enough to not be overbearing and specific enough to let new viewers in on a little past drama.
The characters, including all the new ones, are incredibly developed within the premiere. This was partly due to the way the viewer is dropped in the middle of the action from the start of the episode, which was the perfect way to introduce the continuation. The serious dialogue fits well in the high family drama that provides for the center of this world. I expected far more of a cheese factor, but with all the issues presented in the first episode, there might just be too much going on for cheese.
I’ll let this line from J.R. speak for itself: “Bobby may not be stupid–but I’m a hell of a lot smarter. Blood may be thicker than water, but oil is thicker than both.”
Family drama, Texas oil barons, and a whole lot of double crossing and backroom deals–what’s not to love about Dallas? Personally, I’m about to attempt catching up on the original fourteen seasons’ worth of episodes…
Interested? Dallas is on TNT Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. EST. For any back episodes you missed, including the premiere, check out TNTdrama.com!