The TNT network has resurrected Dallas, one of the most popular television dramas of all time. The premiere on June 13 saw the return of familiar faces from the original — Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy, and Linda Gray playing J.R., Bobby, and Sue Ellen respectively. Added to the mix are some intriguing new faces: Josh Henderson, Jesse Metcalfe, Jordana Brewster, Julie Gonzalo, and Brenda Strong as the next generation of Ewings.
Just like the original Dallas, the new series centers on the ruthless rivalries and power struggles within the oil and cattle-rich Ewing dynasty. Famous for its ratings-grabbing cliffhangers, such as the “Who shot J.R.?” phenomenon, the original Dallas was a long-running hit (debuting in 1978) that offered stories of wealth, seduction, scandal, and intrigues. Hagman says, “It’s high-drama on the Southfork Ranch all over again.” And he promises more plots and schemes that may threaten to destroy his entire family.
The producers felt the series should go back to the original concept of Dallas by bringing original cast members back, but tell new stories with new cast members. The stories will focus on the oil industry today and the clash with alternative energy fuels by pitting twoEwing offspring against each other. It’s J.R.’s son John Ross (Josh Henderson) versus Bobby’s boy Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) to control the resources of Southfork, the seat of power for theEwing clan.
Patrick Duffy as Bobby Ewing has emerged as the new family patriarch who will stop at nothing to keep John Ross and Christopher from perpetuating the family battle that tore the Ewings apart for so many years. However, Linda Gray as Sue Ellen Ewing, John Ross’ mother, hopes to see her son take his rightful position as head of the family.
Duffy credits the producers and writers for creating a seamless transition from the old show and the new. “It was like snapping your fingers and we were Bobby and Sue Ellen and J.R. again, with no time whatsoever in between.”
Duffy says even though they made several Dallas TV movies after the series, he never thought they’d be doing a weekly version of Dallas in 2012. “Linda and Larry are my closest friends, and it would hurt me to think we’d never work together again. This new series is the best thing that could happen to me personally.”
All are happy that they are filming the show inTexasagain. TheTexaslocations have been popular tourist destinations since the original show, with folks wanting to visitPlano,Texas, home to the Southfork Ranch, fictitious headquarters of Ewing Oil.
The original Dallas ran from 1978 until 1999 with the series evolving into special movies during the later years on CBS. And it spawned another popular primetime soap opera, Knots Landing.
During its long run, Dallas had cast members come and go, and among the most memorable moments were the “Who shot J.R.?” cliffhanger, plus Duffy’s memorable “stepping out of the shower scene” that explained his “death” for a season was just a bad dream.
“I thought it was a piece of brilliance to do the shower scene and bring the show back exactly to the kernel of the original success,” says Duffy, explaining it helped the show have another five years on the air. “It was a way to go back to what made Dallas what it is. It brought the entire cast back to the starting point.” He points out that’s the essence of what the new series is doing.
With all the competition out there, Hagman is hoping that Dallas will become a hit again with folks that remember the original. And he wants a young audience that is tuned into the new technologies, “who can tune it in on their iPhones and other devices and watch the show wherever they go. I’m always grateful for new fans,” he says.