TNT has opted not to renew Dallas. Many thought the show would not find an audience in this new century, and were probably shocked it aired for three seasons. For others they were three fantastic seasons… and to some, they were two great seasons, and a third that just went a bit beyond where it started, and perhaps that last statement is why the show has not been renewed.
The show, which brought back Larry Hagman‘s J.R. Ewing for 17 memorable episodes did something few shows have successfully done. It picked up characters from years gone by, and carried their stories forward. Bobby (Patrick Duffy) Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) and J.R., along with Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval) and other familiar faces, were familiar to one generation, and struck that old familiar chord, while new faces captured the hearts of another generation, notably Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe), John Ross (Josh Henderson), Elena (Jordana Brewster), Pamela Rebecca Barnes (Julie Gonzalo), Harris Ryland (Mitch Pileggi), Judith Ryland (Judith Light), and Emma Brown (Emma Bell).
Suddenly two generations, who thought when it came to television shows they might very well have nothing in common, found themselves meeting on the common ground of South Fork Ranch, in Dallas, Texas. People who once had entirely different answers when asked the question “What show do you know Patrick Duffy from?” (Or Larry Hagman?) were suddenly giving the same answer, though they may still have meant entirely different shows if fans of the original show which aired from 1978 to 1991 on CBS did not realize TNT had given the show a new life.
And there were some loyal fans of J.R. who tuned in until he was shot, tuned out for a while… then tuned in again when it was time to find out WHO SHOT J.R.!, and tuned in once more in 2012 when Dallas returned to television, only to leave the show once more with the passing of Larry Hagman in the second season of this new incarnation.
The new incarnation of Dallas offered all the soapy intrigue I had ever heard the original contained, though I never watched the first incarnation so I can not speak directly to it. But I recall hearing for what seemed like MONTHS people asking the question of the season, “WHO shot J.R.?” and when they finally found out, it was the most shocking revelation in television history, or so it seemed to all of the Dallas viewers in my life. And somehow, when Larry Hagman died, it seemed appropriate that J.R. had once again been shot.
To me, Larry Hagman may always be the star of I Dream of Jeanie, Judith Light will always be the Boss, so do not bother to ask me “Who’s The Boss?“, Jordana Brewster is without a doubt Fast and Furious, and Jesse Metcalfe leaves Desperate Housewives (like Brenda Strong) in his wake, and Passions inflamed wherever he goes. I can go Step By Step through the cast, if I try, see, I got to Patrick Duffy, just that quickly. There was even a Veronica Mars cast member — Julie Gonzalo. And I stayed Earth-centric for those shows, for Mitch Pileggi I concede, my first choice is a trek to Stargate: Atlantis where his performance was second to none.
In it’s originally incarnation, according to IMDB Dallas ran for 14 years, and 356 episodes. A remarkable feat. With a return of several members of the original cast, South Fork Ranch, and a new twist on the oil industry and modern life in Texas, another 40 episodes and 3 seasons were added to the mythology and legacy of the Dallas tale.
Who knows, another 20 years down the line Jesse Metcalfe and Josh Henderson might return to Dallas once more, and add another generation to the story of a ranch that seems to have an endless supply of tales to tell.
Larry Hagman. When it comes to Dallas, the man was a Legend.
One of the particularly nice things the show Dallas did was a special “memorial” opening credits segment for the episode when J.R. died as a tribute to Larry Hagman, with a slower rendition of the them song. This was a particularly beautiful tribute to the actor, the character, and the man at the beginning of the episode “J.R.’s Masterpiece” a title which describes the opening credits as well as what follows.