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DALLAS: Madison’s Thoughts, An Early Retrospective of The New ‘Dallas’

Written by Alexander Tucker   // 06/20/2012

DallasDallas: Welcome back to Dallas, everybody! (My thought on the series premiere-Episodes 1×01 “The Changing of the Guard” and Episode 1×02 “Hedging Your Bets”)

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As I mentioned in the my blog post, Dallas (2012 TNT TV Series): Who’s Excited to see this? Will this “continuation” work? (My thoughts on the promos for the series premiere and people making reboots/continuations of old popular TV shows), I wanted to blog about this show since I’ve been looking for another show in addition to Revenge to help satisfy my craving for more primetime soap operas, and this show definitely didn’t disappoint me in terms of satisfying my desire for more primetime soap operas.

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In one of the extended promos for the show, Patrick Duff made a comment saying that he thought the first episode had the equivalent of five episodes worth of action, and he wasn’t lying. Both of the episodes were very action packed. Sometimes I think that can be a bad thing for the writers of a TV show to put enough action in the series premiere to equal several episodes, because it makes it feels rushed. One show that comes to my mind when I say this would be the late reboot of V from ABC. That was one show that had a series premiere that had too much action for its first episode alone, which it made it feel too rushed for my taste, but I digress. In this case, I think it’s a good thing that Cynthia Cidre’s script for the first episode was action packed, especially considering the fact that this is a cable series and the first season of Dallas is only going to be ten episodes long. The first two episodes did a great job of introducing all of the characters and getting right into the action. Although, I have to say that there were so many twists and turns in the second episode, especially in terms of the sale of Southfork, which made the second episode kind of hard to follow at times, but I still liked the second episode even more than I liked the first episode, and I absolutely loved the first episode.

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Based on the first two episodes, it looks like one of the main elements of the show is going to be the rivalry between John Ross Ewing and Christopher Ewing. For the record, I’ve only seen the first episode of the original Dallas, so I had to do some research to get some background information on the details of Christopher’s parentage for anyone else like me who might not have watched the original series. Based on my understanding, Bobby Ewing and Pamela Barnes, literally bought him from his biological mother Kristin Shepard, because Pamela had recently had a miscarriage and was in a severe state of depression because the doctors had told her that she most likely wouldn’t ever be able to carry a baby to term. There might be more to how Bobby and Pamela gained custody of Christopher, but I’m not sure. John Ross Ewing III is the son of J.R. Ewing and Sue Ellen Ewing. John Ross and Christopher’s rivalry is basically based on two things: They are both in love with Elena Ramos despite the fact that Christopher marries Rebecca Sutter at the end of the episode. Secondly, John Ross and Christopher have different views on the future of Ewing Oil. John Ross thinks the family should continue to work in the oil, while Christopher thinks they should start working with alternative energy sources, which Bobby supports. Part of the reason Bobby supports Christopher’s interest in using Methane as an alternative energy source stems from the fact that his mother’s (Ellie) will stipulated that there wouldn’t be anymore drilling for oil on Southfork Ranch. He also said that he didn’t want the two of them fighting over Ewing Oil the same way he and J.R. did in the past.

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Dallas

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As for the John Ross-Elena-Christopher love triangle, apparently, Elena ended up with John Ross after she received an email on the day of her wedding to Christopher, which she believed was from Christopher since it was sent from his email address, saying that they were a mistake and that he wanted to break things off with her. Since Christopher didn’t send it and John Ross denies sending it, I’m guessing that J.R. sent it, especially after the comment he made about not even knowing how to send emails. He seems like the type of man that would do something like that, and then play dumb about it.

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As for who I’m rooting for when it comes to the John Ross-Elena-Christopher love triangle, I’m definitely rooting for John Ross. John Ross is definitely my favorite of the characters from the younger generation. I found him rather intriguing, and I’d love to know more about his relationship with Sue Ellen. It sounds like there’s a lot of baggage there. If I had to give any of the characters on the show an award for the least likable character show on the show, I would definitely give that award to Christopher. He annoyed the hell out of me in pretty much every scene he was in both episodes. Plus, he gave me a major potentially abusive boyfriend/husband vibe when he confronted Elena and she told him about the email. Although, Christopher did say my favorite line from the first episode, which would be “I ain’t a virgin. But I ain’t a whore, either.” when he was meeting with the businessmen about his methane energy project and he didn’t like the terms of their business proposal. I loved that line.

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It turns out that Christopher’s methane energy project was linked to triggering an earthquake, which killed a lot of people. After John Ross found out about that, he basically gave Christopher an ultimatum saying that he had to tell Bobby not to sell Southfork ranch in order to finance his methane energy project, or he would tell Bobby himself. Christopher ended up telling Bobby about his methane energy project being linked to causing earthquakes and that he shouldn’t sell Southfork ranch until he could find a way to safely drill for methane. I loved that whole thing with John Ross forcing Christopher to tell Bobby not to sell South fork. That was a classic soap opera move.

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Dallas

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The first episode opened with big shocker right off the bat: Bobby has Stomata cancer (Stomach Cancer). Bobby didn’t want to tell anyone until after Christopher’s wedding, but he was frequently hit with severe stomach pain throughout the episode, which he tried to hide from everyone. His new wife, Ann, ended up finding the pills that his doctor gave him to treat his cancer, and she used a generic search engine to find out that they are used as an oral form of chemo, which the doctor said was highly effective at treating the kind of cancer Bobby has. I can’t wait to see how the whole Bobby has stomach cancer storyline plays out. Side note: I always hate when shows have characters use a generic/fake Google search engine. Is it really that expensive to show people using Google on TV shows?

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I have to say that one of the weirdest things for me when I was watching the first two episodes of Dallas was listening to Brenda Strong talk with a southern accent. After eight years of hearing her narrate Desperate Housewives and seeing her play numerous guest-roles on various TV shows, it was quite an adjustment for me to watch a show where she’s talking with a southern accent. I have to say that she’s doing a great job playing Ann though.

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If you ask me, Ann is one tough cookie, especially considering how she ran after the guy who broke into hers’ and Bobby’s house with a gun. It’s so great to see Brenda Strong in an onscreen role, not that I didn’t love her as Mary Alice on Desperate Housewives, because I did. She did an amazing job of narrating the show. I watched the original pilot of Desperate Housewives on YouTube a while back, and Sheryl Lee’s narration, as Mary Alice was just downright bad on so many levels. The producers of Desperate Housewives definitely made the right decision when they decided to recast the role of Mary Alice and Brenda Strong got the part, but I digress.

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Ann also seems pretty smart too. I initially thought the scene where Ann gave Rebecca the book of Ewing family recipes a bit random, but after reading some comments on the IMDB message board for Dallas and thinking about the episode some more, I think Ann did that because she’s suspicious of Rebecca and she did that as a way to catch Rebecca in a lie down the road. I’m thinking that might also why she gave Rebecca’s brother, Tommy, a job as a ranch hand on the Southfork ranch. If that’s Ann’s intention, then she is definitely pretty smart and good a reading people because the scene between Rebecca and Tommy toward the end of the second episode pretty much confirmed that they have a scheme that they are working on. It looks like they are after Christopher’s money, and possibly more than that. I can’t wait to see how that plays out.

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Dallas

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When it comes to what I think of the original characters, I have to say that I found Bobby rather stuck up, self-righteous, condescending, especially when it comes to how he treats John Ross and just downright annoying. I hope the writers make Bobby more likable in the future episodes. However, I did like all of the scheming between Bobby, J.R. and John Ross regarding the sale of Southfork ranch. I have to admit that I did find all of the twists and turns regarding the sale of Southfork kind of confusing and hard to follow, but I still liked that storyline. It looks like J.R. is the one who’s getting screwed over in the end though based on how the second episode ended. I can’t wait to see how that storyline plays out.

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Like I’ve been mentioned before, I’ve only seen the first episode of the original Dallas, but I absolutely loved Sue Ellen and J.R. in the first two episodes. It really makes me want to go back and watch every season of the original Dallas. Sue Ellen seems like quite the powerhouse now, if you ask me. I can’t wait to see if they do anything else with Sue Ellen loaning Elena money to buy some oil leases. I for one hope they do more with that storyline. Perhaps it could create some conflict between Sue Ellen and Elena down the road.

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I love that J.R. is still manipulating and scheming against people at his age. J.R. is basically my favorite kind of character from a soap opera in terms of how he manipulated Bobby and J.R. and schemed against them. I’ve always loved characters on soap operas who are constantly scheming and manipulating people. I’m also looking forward to seeing more interactions between J.R. and John Ross.

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I have to say that I found it somewhat predictable when J.R. snapped out of his non-responsive state of depression after John Ross came to visit him and was telling him about how Bobby was forbidding him from drilling for oil on Southfork. Maybe other people didn’t find that predictable, but I did since I’ve seen a lot of soap operas where characters snap out of a coma or a catatonic state after a family member begs them for help with something. That was a classic soap opera move. I still loved that scene, regardless of how predictable I thought it was.

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One last minor complaint that I have about the first two episodes is that I absolutely hated how John Ross and Christopher constantly called each other “Cousin” as if it’s their name. It reminded me a lot of the Berenstain Bears book series. Also, my dad is constantly calling my uncle “Brother” as if it’s his name, so John Ross and Christopher also reminded me a lot of that as well. Maybe some people might think I’m being too nitpicky about that, but I consider people constantly addressing members of their family by their role in the family to be a major pet peeve of mine.

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All in all, I thought that the first two episodes of Dallas were great for the most part, and I think that Dallas is definitely off to a great start. TNT’s Dallas in combination with Revenge is definitely going to satisfy my thirst for new primetime soap operas. With that said, I give episode 1×01 “The Changing of the Guard” a rating of an A- and Episode 1×02 “Hedging Your Bets” a rating of an A.

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Read more from me at The Random Thoughts of a Writer or Follow Me on Twitter @writer6

 


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