Thursday, April 25, 2024

“Dallas”: JR Is Killed, Sue Ellen Falls off the Wagon, Deborah Shelton Is Alive


So much in the TNT reboot of “Dallas” Monday night: as Larry Hagman has passed away, J. R. Ewing died for real in mysterious circumstances in Mexico. Sue Ellen fell off the wagon after 20 or more years of sobriety.With Victoria Principal long gone as Pam, “Dallas” has more and more become Sue Ellen’s show. This is also due to Linda Grey looking like a million bucks and being considerably younger than Hagman.

Deborah Shelton, who was so hot as J.R.’s mistress and Sue Ellen’s underwear model in the mid to late 80s, returned from the vapors of TV heaven. So did Cathy Podewell, who also vanished after playing J.R.’s wife for a short time toward the end of the serial’s original run. Other returnees were Ted Shackelford as Gary Ewing (maybe Joan van Ark couldn’t make a deal), Charlene Tilton as Lucy, and Steve Kanaly as Ray Krebs. Of course, my favorite TV character of all time, Cliff Barnes, made an ass of himself thanks to the brilliant Ken Kercheval.

The new “Dallas” is not very good or interesting. There’s no humor, and the show is subject to plot and to camera effects, and a soundtrack. Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy rise above it because they know what to do. The young actors are slaves to the misery of the drab writing. For example: JR has two other children besides John Ross. Wouldn’t they have shown up at his funeral? And the wake was held in something called the Dallas Petroleum Club. Huh? It’s the Cattleman’s Club, producers. Or the Oil Barons’.

The nicest touch of the night was the reworked theme music and the nice pic of Larry Hagman. Also, Gray’s monologue at J.R.’s grave was lovely. Now, let this be the last season. This should have been the final episode. “Dallas” was Larry Hagman. Without him, it’s just an echo.

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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