I’ll admit I got very excited when the theme song to Dallas fired up.
The sweeping shots, the Texan landscape, Southfork -it all stirred up memories of a classic television series and dynamite storytelling.
I even thought the idea of bringing back original cast members to pass on the baton to a younger generation was an interesting idea. At least we weren’t going to have some other actor pretending to mimic Larry Hagman. Instead their offspring were now adults carrying forth the Ewing name.
And then I watched the episode. What a let down. This thing is so dull I just wanted to dig out some old VHS tapes of the original, except I don’t have any.
It’s the day of Christopher Ewing’s (Jesse Metcalfe) wedding to Rebecca (Julie Gonzalo) at Southfork, the family estate that his father Bobby (Patrick Duffy) is trying to sell. But cousin John Ross Ewing III (Josh Henderson) has been drilling for oil on the land once more, and has a mean streak inherited by his father.
Bobby is now married to Ann (Brenda Strong), presumably after Victoria Principal declined offers to return as Pamela…
Elsewhere, JR Ewing (Larry Hagman) is withering away in a nursing home (still trying to figure out who shot him, perhaps?) and Sue-Ellen (Linda Gray) turns up for the wedding, and hopefully a drink or two. It has to be said, Linda Gray still looks amazing, even after all these years.
Also attending the wedding were surprise cameos by Charlene Tilton (Lucy) and Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs). Hadn’t read they were making an appearance so that was a surprise, even if they had bugger all to do.
Much of the episode centres around do-good Bobby trying to sell Southfork and a feud between Christopher and John Ross. Rebecca (Julie Gonzalo) and John Ross’ squeeze Elena (Jordana Brewster) are so lacking in zest you could probably interchange them without it affecting the performances at all.
Fans of nostalgia will be relieved to hear Larry Hagman and his eyebrows will get more to do before the premiere episode wraps.
The series sorely lacks Barbara Bel Geddes as matriarch Miss Ellie (not even Donna Reed could be raised from the dead for this one). There’s just not enough authority in this clan, as much as they try to steer Bobby into the role.
My hope is that the episode’s biggest faults are due to the need to set-up the new characters, and inform younger generations who are unfamiliar with the original. In truth I don’t think the show has any hope of winning over a young audience. I suspect this will be a curiosity piece for nostalgics like me who, if they’re lucky, may stick around for the new cast.
I admire their Texan spirit in giving this a damn good shot. But so far it falls way short of the plotting of the iconic original.
By the end of it I was kinda hoping Pam would open up the shower door and it would all just be a dream….
Dallas airs 9pm Wednesday on Nine.