Sunday, April 14, 2013

‘Dallas’ rolls towards second season finale – still powered by J.R. Ewing



The heart of the original ‘Dallas’ television show was the relationship between J.R. and Bobbie Ewing.

Sure, the secondary characters – especially Miss Ellie – were important to storytelling, but ‘Dallas’ really was about sibling rivalry.

What made J.R. and Bobbie such great leading men is that – even though they were often at each other’s throats – they were also loyal to each other.

With the ‘Dallas’ reboot rolling to its second season finale Monday night – that central relationship is still what’s driving the story arc today.

‘Dallas’ was hit with a severe disappointment – one that could have ultimately derailed the show – when Larry Hagman died a few months ago. Wisely, show producers gave Hagman one of the best television send-offs in recent memory – one J.R. himself would have been proud of – and then they tied the mystery of his death into the heart of the show and the future of its storylines.

In other words: J.R. may be dead, but he’s still controlling everyone around him.

‘Dallas’ could have imploded under the weight of what it was trying to undertake – but the storytelling in season two is even better in than the first season. Unfortunately, ratings struggled.
 
I hope TNT wises up and keeps ‘Dallas’ as a summer show – where there’s less competition – and where it can thrive.

Patrick Duffy has done an admirable job of anchoring ‘Dallas’ in Hagman’s absence. He has made Bobby’s grief palpable – and his rage scorching. Bobby wants someone to pay for J.R.’s death – even though J.R. drove him crazy.

Josh Henderson, as the dour and scheming John Ross, is the other anchor. He can never take Hagman’s place – it’s impossible – but I think the writers were wise this year to not make John Ross evil 100 percent of the time.

The big mistake of the first season was painting Christopher as the white knight and John Ross as the black knight. They both need shades of gray.

Henderson is a terrific little actor – and he shines no matter who he is on the screen with. When he’s on the screen with Julie Gonzo’s spectacular Pamela/Rebecca (she’s still being called both, oddly) – the duo sizzle.

Last week’s surprise union between J.R.’s son and Cliff Barnes’ daughter has all the ingredients of great storytelling.

The side story of Bobby’s wife, Ann, her troubled daughter, Emma, and her diabolical ex-husband
Harris is also breathtaking to watch. The way the writers have weaved Harris into Cliff and Bobby’s stories is truly masterful.

The only weak spot on the ‘Dallas’ canvas continues to be Jesse Metcalfe’s Christopher and Jordana Brewster’s Elena. Both characters seemed to be written weakly – and outside circumstances are constantly threatening them.

It doesn’t help that Metcalfe and Brewster have absolutely no chemistry. As actors, their range is also limited. Sorry, it’s the truth. Every time Henderson is on screen with Metcalfe, he completely dominates him when it comes to performance. The same goes for Gonzo when she’s onscreen with Metcalfe.

Still, Brewster and Metcalfe don’t drag ‘Dallas’ down. They don’t elevate it – but they don’t drag it
down.

In the two-hour finale – set to air Monday night – viewers are going to be treated to a cornucopia of stories.

As it stands, Bobby had to cede Ewing Energies to Cliff Barnes, Christopher’s mother (Cliff’s sister) Pam may have been found, and John Ross and Pamela have gotten married with the express purpose of making Cliff pay.

Whew.

It’s going to be an action-packed finale.

Here’s hoping TNT wises up and returns ‘Dallas’ to the summer slate. I would hate to see it cancelled before its time – and right now, I see a lot more schemes in the Ewings’ future.

What do you think? Do you think this second season of ‘Dallas’ has lived up to the hype?

1 Comments:

Blogger Enaira Fontaine said...

There’s something I learned about the Ewings long ago - above everything else, family comes first. They have proved this time and time again; yes JR drove everyone around him crazy with his scheming and lying but when it came down to family, he did what was right. I was telling my co-worker in my office at DISH that it seems as if John Ross operates under that same umbrella, most of the time. He is so good at being bad that he is already the one I love to hate. He won’t ever take JR’s place but that’s ok too. There’s no word yet on whether or not we will get a third season but I sure hope so because this season has been explosive. When TNT does renew the show, I’ll be prepared with DISH Anywhere. It allows me to turn my iPad into a TV anytime, anywhere and I can catch up on what I’ve missed.

April 17, 2013 at 8:35 AM 

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