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TV Review: Dallas, (Channel 5)

Gerry Corner watches JR rise from the TV graveyard

Written by . Published on September 11th 2012.

TV Review: Dallas, (Channel 5)

WAS that really JR Ewing I saw up to his old scheming tricks. Or was it all a dream? Well, it wouldn't be the first time, you know.

Back in the Eighties, Dallas was the talk of the nation, and the Terry Wogan show, for all manner of reasons, not least the “Who Shot JR?” cliffhanger that broke audience records and the entire content of the infamous ninth series which, viewers were subsequently told, Bobby had imagined in his sleep.

JR's not looking too clever either. The
nurse says he's clinically depressed. The
only sign that he's not clinically dead is
his eyebrows which are arched into the
shape of a Texas Longhorn's classic features

Now it's back and we need no longer rely on the Conservative Party for our weekly fix of wealth, sex, intrigue and power struggles.

A batch of young blood is backed up by the best of the old guard, a bit like the England football team. For JT read JR, along with Bobby (Patrick Duffy) and Sue Ellen, played by Linda Gray who's the only one who isn't now grey and appears to have been cryogenically frozen since her last appearance, 20 years ago. Or is that the botox?

Larry Hagman resurrects JRLarry Hagman resurrects JR

Like fathers, like sons. Bobby's boy, Christopher (Josh Henderson), champion of alternative energy sources, is green and pleasant, while John Ross Junior is brooding, with a heart as dark as an oil sump.

There's trouble from the start – that's drama for you – when John Ross (Jesse Metcalfe), who's inherited his daddy's baddy genes, does the one thing he's been told he must never do, and drills for oil on the family ranch.

The explosive opening, with oil bursting from a throbbing drill head, struck me as more than a mite suggestive. “Hold the drill, pull it now!... Oh, come on! Come on! Come on, come on, come on!” And then, as it bursts forth, an ecstatic, “oh, baby!” No wonder they call it crude.

Meanwhile, Bobby, who's been killed off in Dallas once already, is told he's dying again. The good news is, he's got a good chance if he starts the chemo right away; the bad news is he's too busy for all that: “I've got family business to attend to.”

Later, Bobby goes riding among his cattle who at least understand how he feels; their lives are also due to be cut brutally short – but that's ranching for you.

Occasionally, Bobby clenches his teeth and clutches his stomach, which I'm assuming is the tumour giving him gyp, although watching George Osborne on the news has that affect on me.

JR's not looking too clever either. The nurse says he's clinically depressed. The only sign that he's not clinically dead is his eyebrows, which are arched into the shape of a Texas Longhorn's classic features. Or are they meant to be the devil's horns, a clue that mischief may not be far away.

He gets a visit from brother Bobby. “I worry about Christopher and John Ross. I want them to have the chance to be a family, without all of the bitterness and bad blood you and I had,” says Bobby, cheeringly.

Back at Southfork, Bobby's spawning a whole new generation of bitterness and bad blood: “I've decided to sell Southfork. The time has come.” Quite why the time has come, he doesn't specify, but I'm guessing it's mainly for plot reasons.

Linda Gray, back as Sue EllenLinda Gray, back as Sue Ellen

Don't be too hasty, cautions John Ross, you're sitting on a couple of billion barrels of the most sought after crude oil in the world. This would make us richer than we ever imagined, he says temptingly. But Bobby and Christopher don't care too much for money and consider John Ross to be a fracking liability.

The news is enough to rouse JR from his torpor. How can you be depressed when there's double dealing to be done? Like always, JR is the life and tarnished soul of the party.

A new generation of women – John Ross's girlfriend is Christopher's former flame – add a layer of implausible intrigue. The new Dallas is fashioned from slick material but look too closely and you see the holes.

Channel 5 did well out of episode one, but how long will we want to watch JR scheming to make a fortune by swindling everybody else out of their money? After all, we have bankers for that now.

*Dallas, Channel 5, Wednesdays, 9pm.

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8 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Georgina Hague shared this on Facebook on September 11th 2012.
Angie Sammons shared this on Facebook on September 11th 2012.
Bazza TurnbullSeptember 11th 2012.

It was a good laugh 30 odd years ago but then again so was I.

PhwoarrrSeptember 12th 2012.

S'wellen? You still would, wouldn't you?

EssoSeptember 12th 2012.

More Cliff Barnes!

Cliff Edge-HillSeptember 13th 2012.

I can remember watching the first series of Dallas at 9pm on BBC-2 on Saturday nights in 1978. Wogan didn't catch on to it until the second series and the BBC repeated the first one after the second to cash in on the Wogan publicity for it.

Poisoned DwarfSeptember 13th 2012.

It won't be the same without Cliff Barnes and his Chinese takeaways.

"Rye Kreyyybsh"September 14th 2012.

He's in it next week!

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