Dallas: A review of its 21st Century return!
Ok, I will admit it. When first I heard that Dallas was coming back / being remade or however it is described, my first reaction was “I’d rather chew my own leg off.” I had made up my mind I wouldn’t enjoy it, and in fact I wasn’t even going to watch it.
But it turned out Justin Lee Collins is a genius. He wanted to bring back the A-Team and we got that film with Liam Neeson and the flying tank. He wanted to bring back Fame and Star Trek. The former just won’t stay away and the latter is back courtesy of JJ Abrams. He wanted to bring back Dallas and here we are…
So as we rumbled into the last few of days of August, intrigue got the better of me and I just couldn’t resist setting a series link on TiVO. I justified it to myself in the flimsiest of ways – I owe it to you, dear reader, to watch it so I can write this review.
However, it is the reverse that is true. I am writing this review because I watched it, rather than the other way round. And I am glad I did.
You see, I am one of those who can actually remember Dallas the first time round – the later seasons anyway, along with Dynasty and I wonder when that will be revived.
Forget Fonzie and the shark – Bobby Ewing in the shower gets my vote for the cheekiest television scripting of all time. I can remember bewilderment at having wasted a year watching season 9 that essentially didn’t really happen. I can remember the inexplicable changing face of Miss Ellie. But I cannot for the life of me remember who actually shot J.R. And frankly, it doesn’t matter. He survived, and thank the heavens he did because I think television is all the better for having such a larger than life character right now.
In this world of reality, semi-reality, pseudo-reality, scripted reality, Z-list celebrity, all manner of talent shows, chefs and estate agents, and 90% of scripted dramas (even the good ones) seemingly following either vampires, lawyers, doctors or police (the latter often with the aid of a highly unlikely external consultant such as a medic, a fairytale character, an author, or even an anthropologist) it is the genuinely original and different that really shines. That’s why my personal favourites at the moment are Sons of Anarchy and Breaking Bad.
Yes, in this world of 2012, there is a very welcome parking place for J.R.Ewing. He was the original Nasty Nick, the original Dirty Den and is as utterly enthralling as he was 30 years ago. Granted I tuned in to see J.R., along with Bobby, Sue Ellen and Cliff first and foremost, but the beauty of this show is that, in the newer cast, it also captures the glamour that the original displayed week after week throughout the eighties (along with the, now frankly dated, hair and giant shoulder pads). It looks too, like it will be giving us the backstabbing, bickering and bitchiness that defined it and made it so compelling first time round.
I fully expect the storylines to be as awfully preposterous as before (and would be disappointed if they weren’t), and I don’t really expect to be supplanting SAMCRO or Walt White in my Top US TV list anytime soon, but to me, Dallas 21st Century style is a true breath of television fresh air.
I am not about to go and look out the cowboy boots I bought in Camden for some inexplicable reason several years ago, but I will be tuning in again next week. And I bet if you are entirely honest, you will be, too.
PS, Justin Lee Collins also wanted to bring back Grange Hill…