Kristin may have shot him, but you can’t keep a good bad guy down. Twenty-one years after the dastardly JR and the oil-rich Ewing clan left our screens, they’re back to entertain us with their entertaining brew of family intrigue.

Naturally, the intervening decades have taken their toll on the original cast, with only a handful of the original 1979 line-up making it back to the sprawling Southfork ranch for the first episode screened in the US this week. Larry Hagman has overcome a spate of health issues to once more breathe life into a character that kept millions around the world glued to their television sets. Also making a return is Linda Gray, who played JR’s estranged wife Sue Ellen. According to the critics who watched the first episode of the reloaded ‘Dallas’, that old chemistry between JR and Sue Ellen has never really dissipated. Rounding out the Ewing reunion is Patrick Duffy, who tried to escape his ‘Dallas’ links with his role in the popular sitcom ‘Step By Step’, but ultimately will forever be remembered as Bobby Ewing. Eighties blonde bombshell Charlene Tilton also puts in a guest appearance as Lucy Ewing.

There are, however, a few new faces at Southfork. Jesse Metcalfe, who played Eva Longoria’s hunky plaything in ‘Desperate Housewives’ makes an appearance as Bobby’s adopted son Christopher. He’s soon locked in a battle of wills with John Ross, played by Josh Henderson.

Though plenty has changed since we last saw the Ewing clan, some things apparently stay exactly the same. While Sue Ellen is now pursuing a career in politics, JR is still his ruthless, back-stabbing old self. While Bobby tries to honour the wishes of his late mother and keep Southfork as it was while she was still alive, JR sees a much bigger picture.

“I'm taking back what should have been mine in the first place,” he says.

“I'm the one who belongs on Southfork, it's mine and only mine. Oil is my birthright. Blood may be thicker than water but oil is thicker than both.”

Critics were divided on the strength of the first show. The Hollywood Reporter went so far as to say that it was a remake that never should have been, while the San Francisco Chronicle relished the return of a television icon.

“Resist if you want to, but whether you were a fan of the original series, or still in utero when it went off the air in 1991, TNT's ‘Dallas’ will wear you down and pull you in with its mix of sex, intrigue, back stabbing, dirty dealing, blackmail and family secrets,” it said.

There’s no word yet on whether the new ‘Dallas’ will make it to South African screens. - IOL