Saturday, June 9, 2012

Dallas update could be timely in this political climate

The 1980s was a time of decadence and big hair – and the television show ‘Dallas’ reflected both of those things week in and week out.

Sure, ‘Dallas’ was one of those shows that you either loved or hated – but if the ratings were any indication, people loved it – right until it went off the air in 1991.

Even though it started in 1978, ‘Dallas’ really was a show about the 1980s.

The Ewing clan – led by matriarch Miss Ellie – was a dysfunctional group of individuals that focused on their greed and bedroom antics more than anything else.

At the center of the Ewing clan were brothers J.R. and Bobby – a duo that warred like nobody’s business. They were polar opposites, with Bobby (Patrick Duffy) having a heart of gold and a giving nature and J.R. (Larry Hagman) being portrayed as a genuinely cold man that only loved his children and his parents.

When I heard about the ‘Dallas’ reboot I was dubious at first. And, I should stress, this is not actually a reboot. It’s just a continuation with a much younger cast.

The more I hear about the show, though, and from what I’ve seen in previews – ‘Dallas’ might actually be a show that can fit into the current political climate.

We’re dealing with an oil family here – one that is clearly part of the 1 percent and wants to stay that way. Not only are they part of the 1 percent, though, they got rich by drilling oil.

Both Duffy and Hagman are back – even though the show revolves around their warring offspring John Ross Ewing III (Josh Henderson) and Christopher Ewing (Jesse Metcalfe).

Technically, both John Ross and Christopher should be well into their 30s by now – but they’re being portrayed as young 20-somethings to appeal to a younger demographic.

They’ll be joined by Jordana Brewster (Fast and Furious) as Elena Ramos, Linda Gray and Brenda Strong, among a bevy of other young actors.

What’s interesting about ‘Dallas’ – which kicks off its 10-episode first season on Wednesday – is that it is going to delve into alternative energy discussions as well – so it really is kind of a microcosm of today’s political landscape.

In the real world, Bobby, J.R., Christopher and John Ross would all be diehard Republicans screaming “drill baby, drill” at the top of their lungs. Since this is Hollywood, though, Bobby and Christopher would appear, at least, to have a more liberal agenda.

While I see a lot of potential for ‘Dallas’ to be poignant, viewers probably shouldn’t forget that this is still a soap filled with lusty young hotties who are better looking than they are talented. I’m sure there will be a lot of sex and bed-hopping going on amongst the younger set while the older set tussles for control of South Fork.

The problem is, while Henderson has proven himself to be a capable actor, Metcalfe has done just the opposite. He's got the appeal and charisma of week-old lettuce. That same can be said for Brewster, quite frankly. She may be beautiful, but she's beyond boring.

Either way, I’ll tune in Wednesday out of sheer curiosity.

I was a child when ‘Dallas’ first started to air, but by the end of its run I was watching right alongside my mother.

I doubt the new show will be able to live up to the camp that was its predecessor – but it does have some of the original talent on board -- and that is definitely a plus.

Show runners should take note, though. People will tune in to see J.R. and Bobby duke it out again – so they probably shouldn’t pull a ‘90210’ and dump the older folks. People don’t react kindly to that – and ‘90210’ has floundered since they dumped the original cast members. Just a friendly suggestion.

‘Dallas’ premiers at 9 p.m. Wednesday on TNT.

What do you think? Will you tune in to see what the new ‘Dallas’ is about?


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