Sunday, May 19, 2024

New “Dallas” Ends Season with Great Reveal About J.R.’s Arch Enemy


“Dallas” 2.0 ended its first season on TNT last night with a bunch of revelations. My favorite one is that Cliff Barnes, played so well by Ken Kercheval since 1931, is now a super villain with a private plane. It turns out he sent his daughter in to marry his sister’s adopted son, Christopher, get pregnant and destroy the Ewing family. Hah!(I guess they’re first cousins, technically. A “Dallas” tradition of incest, since Lucy used to sleep with Uncle Ray Krebs.)

The old Cliff Barnes would never have been so smart. He was a wise guy jerk with a slight brain malfunction from a suicide attempt. But his sister Pam loved him. JR made inexcusable fun of Cliff, which made the show a hoot. The new “Dallas” is not a hoot. It’s told like a speeding train through a Dallas suped up to look like “Blade Runner.”

In this edition, former drunk Sue Ellen Ewing is now running for governor of Texas. I suppose it’s plausible since that’s not a job with high qualifications. Anyway, Larry Hagman–suffering from cancer–looked unwell in this final episode, very gaunt and much older than 80. I hope he’s all right. Patrick Duffy soldiers on. The younger cast members have improved slightly from the first episode.

But really, it’s all about Cliff. Now his daughter (presumably with old flame Afton, played by the incredibly bad actress Audrey Landers– can’t wait to see her next season) is pregnant with Christopher Ewing’s twins. Cliff, who used to live in a tacky condo and treated his girlfriends like garbage, is now some kind of evil genius. He’s like Lex Luthor. I almost fell off the couch. And no one in the Ewings ever guessed that Rebecca was Cliff’s daughter. Rebecca was his mother’s name. She’s named for her grandmother. And, essentially, Christopher’s.

Anyway, they all come back in January for more mishegos. It’s not the real “Dallas” and Cynthia Cidre would do well to develop a sense of humor. Where’s the new cartel? We need Marilee Stone. (There was a mention of the McKay brothers last night- who are they? Maybe next season. McKay senior- George Kennedy– was JR’s enemy.) But it is what it is.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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