Sunday, August 5, 2012

Dallas 2: I was Wrong

Skeptical best describes my mood when the DVD preview of the new/old series Dallas arrived.
TV Reboots generally do not work.
After all I'd patiently sat through several new versions of Charlie's Angels. I'd tried to warm to the Melrose Place remake, the Brady Brides nonsense, the horrible reunion of Mary Tyler Moore and Valerie Harper.
On TV it seems there's no room for a second act and before you mention Hawaii 5-0 all the resemblance I see is in the location.
But after a hiatus of 21 seasons Dallas made it back after a few missteps --a few years back John Travolta was all set to play J.R. Ewing in a movie version before wiser heads prevailed.
But TNT and Warners which holds the rights from Lorimar did make the attempt. And Dallas 2 has been somewhat of a success during the lean summer months.
I've just watched the last episode of the first season and not to fret --a second season is on the way.
In the finale titled Revelations every melodramatic cliche is trotted forth and it's a satisfying brew --maybe viewers out there are getting tired of all those awful reality TV things parading as drama.
The series new writer and producer Cynthia Cidre latched onto the Dallas style which is confrontational. Back from the original are Larry Hagman, Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy.
Although the years have not been altogether kind this threesome can still growl and strut on cue and all know a little something about scene stealing tricks such as the rolling of eyeballs, the whispered confrontational, talking so slow to throw every body else off their game.
Dallas is out and out melodrama. The only concession is a more modern and fluid shooting style --the original was flatly lit with buckets of close ups. This one is mainly scenes of two to five characters shaming each other, posturing, threatening.
With afternoon soaps almost gone Dallas is a delightful throwback to a style of acting that seems almost lost.
Incidentialy the newer characters are all lookers: Jesse Metcalf, Josh Henderson, Jordana Brewster, Julie Gonzalo plus Brenda Strong as Bobby Ewing's new wife. The women are immaculately made up and coiffed in every situation. The guys tend to take their shirts off a whole lot.
And the theme remains the same: the dysfunctional family that conspires together stays together.
The only other series currently running to give competition is The Borgias.
When I first watched Dallas 2 back in June I wasn't sure it would last. But I was making a big mistake -comparing the old with the new.
I remember several press visits to Larry Hagman's Malibu pad where he entertained TV critics in his living room hot tub as his mother Mary Martin served canapes on the balcony.
That was the old --ostentatious and quite a bit vulgar,
The new Dallas still exalts wealth but in a far more casual way. The young heroes and villains have learned from JR's mistakes --they keep their emotions better hidden.
 If Dallas 2 were on a regular network like CBS ratings would do it in. But 6 million viewers on TNT guarantees hit status and renewal. No need to mention the old Dallas hit 25 million fans on occasion.
And now I'm wondering what other TV staple will be the next resurrection candidate: Perry Mason, Falcon Crest, Owen Marshall?

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