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 don’t know if there are a lot of people out there on the internet who are looking forward to TNT’s Dallas continuation TV series, which premieres on Wednesday June 13th, but I for one couldn’t be more excited for the series premiere. The reason why I’m so excited about this show is that I’ve been hoping for quite some time now that someone would come along and create a new primetime soap opera, which appears to be a rarity on TV these days. Perhaps my longing for a new primetime soap opera was triggered last year by ABC’s announcement that Desperate Housewives would be ending after its eighth season, I don’t know.
ABC’s Revenge had a phenomenal first season, and it definitely helped satisfy my craving for a new primetime soap opera to enjoy watching every week, but my craving for primetime soap operas still isn’t quite satisfied yet, and I’m hoping that TNT’s Dallas will help completely quench my craving for primetime soap operas. Revenge also ended up becoming my favorite new show last season, which surprised me because a big part of me was expecting ABC’s Once Upon a Time to be my new favorite show of the season. Revenge has proven to be a very addictive show to watch for me personally with Once Upon a Time still being one of my top favorite new shows of the year, but not my number one favorite new show. The reason why I went into the new TV season last fall thinking that Once Upon a Time would be my favorite new show of the year before it premiered was mainly because it was created by two of the writers from Lost, and I’ve always loved pretty much anything that involves fairytales in some way. However, like I just said, I ended up loving Revenge more and found myself consistently loving almost every episode, while I ended up having several big complaints about Once Upon a Time throughout its first season.
For starters, Once Upon a Time has a fairly large cast, but the writers quickly developed the habit of focusing pretty much only on the same small group of characters: Emma, Regina/The Evil Queen, Mary Margaret/Snow White, David/Prince Charming, Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin and Henry. While I love those characters, I found myself wanting to see more of the other characters as well. If there’s one thing that I hope the writers of Once Upon a Time do a better job of in season two, it would definitely be that I would like them to utilize the entire cast, especially given the fact that it’s supposed to be an ensemble show. There were also a fair amount of episodes of Once Upon a Time that I didn’t like very much at all, while there were only a few episodes of Revenge that I wasn’t all that crazy about, but I still liked them to a certain degree.
The writers of Revenge on the other hand did an excellent job in my opinion of utilizing its entire cast, both the series regulars and the recurring guest-stars. Also, the writers did a wonderful job of creating complex characters that do morally questionable things, but at the end of the day, you still can’t help but root for them and care about them when bad things happen to them. That’s definitely a requirement for any daytime soap opera or primetime soap opera, and I’m hoping that will also be the case with the new characters on TNT’s Dallas.
While I’m hoping that Dallas will be a show that will help satisfy my love of nighttime soap operas the same way Revenge has, I do have some concerns about it, not so much about the fact that it’s a primetime soap opera, but about the fact that it’s a continuation of an old show. Over the past few years, people have been attempting to create spin-offs or reboots of old hit shows such as Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place and Charlie’s Angels often with disappointing or mixed results. The ratings for the CW’s 90210 started out big for the CW’s standards only to have the ratings wane greatly over the years. The quality of each season of 90210 has also bounced up and down each season, with season three being the best season in my opinion. If I had to attribute the roller coaster ride that is the quality of the writing for 90210 to anything, it would be that the show has had a revolving door of showrunners, which began before the show even premiered.
After 90210 ended up being relatively successful, the CW decided to do a spinoff of Melrose Place, which I personally loved, but it unfortunately only lasted one season. If I had to attribute any one reason for why it failed, I would say that the CW’s Melrose Place failed largely because it was a good show that aired on the wrong network. The CW’s audience has always been very much geared towards teens and young adults, and even more specifically towards women. The original Melrose Place was much more of an adult show, and that’s not really the CW’s main audience. This brings me to my main concern about whether or not TNT’s Dallas will get good enough ratings to succeed.
Unlike 90210 and the CW’s Melrose Place, Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing) and Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing) will all be series regulars on TNT’s Dallas and will be just as involved in the show as the new cast members rather than how stars of the original Beverly Hills 90210 just guest-starred throughout the first season and to a certain degree in season two before they disappeared never to be mentioned again. Hopefully, Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray’s involvement with the show will be enough to bring in some of the viewers of the original Dallas to help the show succeed in the ratings department, however that probably won’t be good enough to keep the show on the air. The original Dallas aired from 1978 to 1991 and was followed by three TV movies, and perhaps I’m being to presumptuous when I say this, but I’m guessing a lot of the viewers of the original series are now well outside the 18-49 age demographic that advertisers care about the most. That means it’s very important that the show is able to attract younger viewers that fall within that demo as well, which might be hard to do if 90210 and the CW’s Melrose Place have taught me anything about getting new viewers interested in spinoffs of shows that have been off the air for at least ten years.
For the record, I’m twenty-five and I’ve only seen the first episode of original Dallas, and if I haven’t already made it clear, I couldn’t be more excited this show. All of the promos for this show look great, and the show has what I think is a great cast. Based on the promos, it’s clear that there’s going to be a lot of drama and a major rivalry between John Ross Ewing III (Josh Henderson) and Christopher Ewing (Jesse Metcalfe) both when it comes to the future of the family business and their love lives. Based on the promos, it looks like business rivalry between the two of them stems from the fact that John Ross wants the family business to continue focusing on the oil industry while Christopher wants the family business to focus on more modern forms of energy. I think that could a very relatable storyline in the sense that family businesses in today’s world have to be concerned about keeping up with the changing technology as the leadership of their company is transferred from one generation to the next, so I’m looking forward to seeing that storyline unfold.
One final comment that I would like to make about the new Dallas would be, is it just me, or does the show also seem like a bit of a Desperate Housewives reunion as well? After all, Brenda Strong played Mary Alice throughout the show’s entire run, Jesse Metcalfe who played John Rowland as series regular during the show’s first season and made several guest appearances throughout the rest of the show’s run. While Josh Henderson wasn’t a series regular on Desperate Housewives, he did have a fairly significant recurring guest-star role, playing Edie Britt’s nephew Austin McCann throughout season three. It’s also worth noting that Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing) guest-starred in two episodes of Desperate Housewives. Maybe other people haven’t thought about this all that much, but I for one think that’s kind of funny. I’ve been a big fan of Brenda Strong long before Desperate Housewives even started, so I was thrilled when she finally got a long-term acting job narrating the show as Mary Alice. However, I’m really excited to see her on Dallas where she’ll be playing an onscreen role as Bobby Ewing’s new wife, Ann.
I’ve read some spoilers for the show, and it sounds like Ann has a secret that will unfold throughout season one. I personally think it’s really funny that Brenda Strong just finished narrating Desperate Housewives as Mary Alice for eight years and the show began with Mary Alice having a secret, and her first post-Desperate Housewives acting job is starring on Dallas as a character who has a secret at the beginning of the series. Maybe Brenda Strong really likes playing characters who have secrets, I don’t know. I just think that’s funny.
I really do hope the show does well. Personally, I think that TNT is taking a big risk doing a continuation of Dallas when the success rate for spinoffs and reboots of old TV shows in recent years have been mixed at best. The way I see it, TNT’s Dallas could either be a success, or it could instantly bomb in the ratings. An entertainment news reporter for my local newspaper gave the show a rating of a B, and based on the other reviews for the show that I’ve read have also been generally positive. Hopefully this will be one spinoff that will be both critically successful as well as being successful in ratings too, because I’m really looking forward to this show.
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