Fans of ’80s nighttime soaps remember having to wait through a whole summer in 1980, and an actors’ strike, to find out who shot J.R. Ewing. There were t-shirts, magazine article speculation, bets taken, and even suspension of the Turkish parliament (really!) so the members could get home in time to watch.
It turned out to be Sue Ellen, one of my fave characters of all. And now Dallas will return to television next year, courtesy of TNT—we’re gonna get to see what’s happening with the Ewing gang at Southfork Ranch now! I know, right! I’m as pleased as punch. I threw myself at the mercy of the Supreme H&H in order to bring you the dish on this epic show. I can hardly contain myself.
Dallas ran a total of 13 seasons after its initial airing as a five-part miniseries. Even though I was young when it aired, I was still hooked—I’d sit in the corner, really quiet and pray that my mother wouldn’t send me to bed. It was the one night out of the week that my parents relaxed the reins and allowed us the opportunity to experience real life, and not the wholesome, watered down happenings of the neighbors and my mom and dad’s boring, old relationship.
So what kept me glued to the TV every week?
Up first, let’s kick it about the crème de la crème of soap opera couples: J.R. and Sue Ellen. After all those months of waiting back in 1979, we found out that the lovely Sue Ellen—fed up with J.R.’s countless affairs and verbal abusiveness— shot him. As we would expect, all was forgiven and our friend Sue Ellen didn’t do a day in jail. I do remember wondering why she never took a shot at him again. And, I am pleased to announce, both actors, Linda Gray and Larry Hagman, will return to reprise their roles in this new version.
Another favorite, Bobby, a habitually good guy was happily married to the sweet and loving Pam. I remember telling myself, repeatedly, to find a guy like Bobby and not his scheming, conniving brother. In my mind, Pam was one of the luckiest girls alive. Her guy was both rich and handsome, and of course had a heart of gold. In case you don’t remember, Pam was Digger Barnes’ stepchild, which didn’t win any points from J.R., nor Sr. Nonetheless, their relationship—while not totally free of ups and downs—endured.
The head of the Ewing Clan, Jock and Miss Ellie, were so tolerant of one another it almost hurt. Common with most long term relationships, they’d learned to appreciate each other for both the good and the bad.
In a more awkward storyline, middle son Gary’s daughter, Lucy, had a relationship-unbecoming with Ray, who turned out to be her half-brother. (crickets) Moving on.
All that rolled up into a show that had everything—spice and intrigue combined with dirty dealings and sexy situations. Don’t you love it?
With that out of the way, I supposed you’re wondering what they could possibly have left to cover at all those years of the original show?
That’s easy. There’s a new JR in town. He goes by the name of John Ross III, played by Josh Henderson. You got it right. J.R. has a son that is smoking hot and all grown up, with as much deviant behavior as his father. And who’s his rival? None other than Christopher, adopted son to Bobby. His role is played by Jesse Metcalf. Okay, so I want to watch for those two reasons alone.
In the new show, we can expect the show’s newest rivals to square off in a battle of good and evil over oil, horses, and sex for what viewers hope will be better than the original. Based on the preview scenes, I’m thinking they’ll have enough fire and tenacity to pull it off. Metcalf is certainly a start in the right direction.