The word is out: Dallas gets a big thumbs up! At least these two fans gave it the green light. I’d like to thank Caffeinated Joe and Chad for taking the time to put some thoughts to word doc for me. I, too, have seen the new Dallas, so I’ll throw in my two cents at the end, but seriously, these guys said everything I was thinking.
Beware: Minor Spoilers
My wife, my kids and I recently watched the first two episodes of the new TNT Dallas. I have to say we loved it! My daughter is coming at this from the point of view of a newbie, she has never seen an episode of the original series. She loved it, she was scared of J.R. and she thought the theme was imposing and epic. Wow! And those reactions are from this new Dallas!
My wife and I watched the original show back in its heyday and were just as pleased with this new take. Bobby is the same old good guy we have always loved, trying to do the right thing by his family, even by his scoundrel of a brother. And J.R. is slowed down and not on top - right now at least - but you can see the dastardly glint in his eye. He does not like being played for the fool and John Ross and the fake Marta have both done that - look out! Good to see Sue Ellen, too, even if she didn't have too much to do. Hope she does in the future. Even great to see Ray and Lucy at the wedding, hope there are more visits from other past cast members in the future, especially Cliff Barnes and "his" company, Ewing Oil! (Amanda By Night note: You will definitely see Cliff!)
Christopher and John Ross are also characters we knew and loved in the old show, even if they are played by new actors. These recasts aren't jarring, since the previous actors in those roles were basically kids. We can accept that these two are what those kids grew up to be. Love how they mirror their fathers, even if they aren't consciously trying to do so. The young ladies are good as the romantic interests for the boys, even if they are both kind of model-pretty and similar. Interested to see what Rebecca and her brother are up to! Lastly, Ann is a great wife for Bobby. She is not a victim or a wallflower, but comes across as an equal to him, and also comes across as a great mistress of the manor, the role Miss Ellie played for years at Southfork.
Seeing the family at Southfork is also a big plus. This was the setting for so much of the drama, I truly hope Bobby has a change of heart and keeps the ranch in the Ewing family. So, obviously I am happy with the "remake/retake/continuation" of the Ewing saga. If the quality holds up like these two episodes, I am sure we are all in for another long ride with our favorite Texas family!
So many things to say about Dallas!!! I'll start with the opening. It doesn't have the wonderful "3 Panel" opening that used to start the show, but it does use the traditional theme song with cityscape views of Dallas. Interesting new opening, which I kind of liked, but I did wish that they had also done the "3 Panel" opening that I'm used to. (I was always disappointed as a kid if they hadn't used new photos/video clips in the opening credits of the first episode of the season!)
The older characters are all exactly what we remember. Honestly, it was like those actors just walked back into their roles. From JR's mischievous smile to Bobby's playful manner to Sue Ellen's amazing voice and beauty. If I'm waxing poetic, I apologize. It was just a treat to see them recreate these iconic roles. (Amanda By Night note: Sue Ellen is totally foxy, wax away!)
The new characters are all interesting too. I like both actors that are playing John Ross and Christopher. They're both good actors and easy on the eyes. The two new love interests, Elena and Rebecca, are equally talented, but I did have to warm up to them. I also really like Brenda Strong's performance of Anne Ewing. She's gorgeous and nice and you really see that the writers have made her the "perfect" match for Bobby, in spirit and love.
I won't ruin the plotlines because I hate it when people do that, but I will say that they wasted no time in starting the official "backstabbing" that made the show so much fun.
There were a couple of mentions to Pamela (which I thought was nice) and many reference to Miss Ellie. I hate it when shows don't recognize their heritage/past history. I love that the writers embraced the history of the show and didn't try to write a completely different version of what has happened in the past. I think they're smart for recognizing that fans of the original show expect a certain amount of history and mention of past events that have shaped who the characters are and where they've come from. Oh, and also, you'll see a couple of cameos from past characters. (Not enough of those, if you ask me!)
All in all, I wasn't expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised by the effort that they've put into it.
Amanda By Night: What can I say? The fine folks at TNT made Dallas available through iTunes, and I got myself a season pass. I am pleased to support the show, but if anyone doesn’t want to pay but is still interested in seeing what the new Dallas may bring, the first episode is available for free. Who could say no to that?
I’m not sure what I was anticipating, but I think I had pretty high expectations. Dallas is not just a show I love, I treasure it because it’s given me a place to escape to when times have been tough. I love the dysfunctional antics at Southfork and look at the Ewings as part of my own crazy family. I thought I might be setting myself up for a big letdown, but what is life for if you can’t hope for something, right? So, I just went with it. I’m pleased to say, I was not disappointed one bit by the new show. Joe and Chad summed up most of it, but I’ll just say where I agree:
Ann is a fantastic match for Bobby. My favorite moment was when she pointed a rifle at an intruder’s head and promised him she never misses a target! She’s feisty, much in the same way Pam was, but is also unique enough I don’t feel like it’s Pam Part Deux. I also liked the two young female leads more than I thought I would. I thought Rebecca, played by Julie Gonzalo, is going to turn out to be a surprise, and the love triangle emerging with Jordanna Brewster’s character Elena and the two cousins, John Ross and Christopher (Josh Henderson and Jesse Metcalfe) is sure to be tasty. We’ve got class issues, romance problems, deception and mystery. It’s wonderful.
Speaking of the cousins, I just want to say I think John Ross is a fantastic character. Henderson is really working the part with a slight drawl and a whole lot of repressed anger. I also love that he’s forever agitated by his dad. In that respect, he’s completely relatable. Whenever he rolls his eyes at J.R., I have to smile. He doesn’t know what he’s in for, does he?
And of course, the original cast members are amazing. Larry Hagman is the obvious stand out. He lights up the room and hasn’t lost an ounce of dark charm. I agree that Sue Ellen was not utilized enough, and I too hope that changes. Bobby is still handsome and still naïve. I am glad these folks are back in my lives!
And I could go on and on. Time will tell if they can keep the balance of retro soap and contemporary drama, but they are definitely off to a great start!