J.R. is dead. Cliff Barnes is behind bars. Across the impossibly lush plains of the Southfork Ranch, peace (finally) reigns supreme. However, those of you worried that the death of Larry Hagman’s scheming Stetson-wearing charmer would lead to a ceasefire within the Ewing household have little to fear. For though J.R. is dead, his legacy of bitching and backstabbing lives on.
When we last saw John Ross, Bobby, Christopher & Sue Ellen, they had finally settled their differences, thanks, ironically, to the grand plan that was put into motion by J.R. shortly before he was shot. But, as we know, reconciliation within this family of Texan oil barons rarely lasts. Now their familial union is once again on a knife-edge, as John Ross and Sue Ellen revisit plans to pump Southfork’s oil stocks despite the protests of Bobby and Christopher.
However, this is only part of the story… after all, it is Dallas! John Ross may be about to settle down with Pamela, but he’s struggling to tear himself away from Ryland’s daughter Emma. Meanwhile Christopher seems desperate to finally patch things up with Elena… although he is likely to change his mind when he discovers that she is now working for the still incarcerated Cliff Barnes.
If it all strikes you as both convoluted and preposterous, that’s because it is. Nothing about Dallas rings true in the real world. It’s set in a place filled with beautiful people of inconceivable wealth. A land where people persistently glare at one another, where everyday rhetoric is replaced with a barrage of tersely delivered phrases, and where spurs and Stetsons are not considered to be simply part of a fancy dress costume. Yet, despite its ludicrousness, Dallas has always perfectly pitched itself on the just the right side of theatricality.
Much of this success hinges on its performances, particularly its two lead stars. Josh Henderson emanates a smoldering magnetism into the show that echoes the mischievous charisma instilled by Hagman for so many years. Meanwhile Jesse Metcalfe manages to mirror Patrick Duffy by playing an all-round nice guy who is stuck with an eternal look of worry on his face.
The highest praise must be passed to Cynthia Cidre though, who has succeeded where many thought she would fail by successfully bringing Dallas in to the new televisual era. Sure it’s melodramatic for the most part, but by examining our innate thirst for money and power, the show succeeds in grounding itself within some sort of reality that gives it greater command. Mercifully though, its tone is never too serious, with the consistently witty scripts ensuring Dallas’ primary function remains to entertain.
There was a worry that the show would loose its mojo when Hagman so sadly died back in 2012, but it looks as if such doubts were premature. Ridiculous, yet somehow relatable, the world of Dallas is one you can’t help but be swept up in. J.R. may be gone, but his legacy lives on.
Dallas Season 3 is currently airing on Channel 5 every Thursday at 10pm. Seasons 1 & 2 are available to buy.