Dallas, pretty much like Dynasty, was a soap opera par excellence in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Decades after the Ewing family carried on their clandestine affairs, backstabbing, manipulation, bribery and a cornucopia of family politics over Southfork Ranch and Ewing Oil, they are now doing it all over again with a modern remake. While fans salivate over the prospect of seeing veterans Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy |and Linda Gray reprise their celebrated roles, it is the sexy new generation of Ewings that takes over the reins with grand stand-offs, artful schemes and rivalries to match. Debashine Thangevelo takes a trip down memory lane before checking out this revamped offering…
BRING ON THE NOSTALGIA
CREATED by David Jacobs, initially as a five-part miniseries, Dallas proved to be a phenomenal hit. As such, it enjoyed an additional 13 seasons.
The story centred on the Ewings, a moneyed Texan family with influence in the oil and cattle-ranching industries through their Ewing Oil and Southfork Ranch.
Barbara Bel Geddes was the matriarch, Miss Ellie, with Jim Davis as the patriarch, John Ross “Jock” Ewing. Of their three sons, JR (Larry Hagman) and Bobby (Patrick Duffy) never saw eye to eye when it came to running the family business. Gary (David Ackroyd) was very much like his mother and JR – after sibling Gary married waitress Valene Clements and they had a daughter, Lucy – drove his brother and sister-in-law off Southfork. Lucy was raised by her grandparents.
JR was obsessed with profits while Bobby was always guided by his moral compass and their sibling rivalry often ended in heated face-offs and things weren’t helped by their dislike of each others spouses: JR married Sue Ellen (Linda Gray, a former Miss Texas) and Bobby fell for Pamela Barnes (Victoria Principal), the daughter of the Ewings’ biggest rival, Digger, and the sister of Cliff (Ken Kercheval).
Just to give a bit of background, Jock, back in the 1930s, cheated his then partner, Digger, out of his share of the company. And that’s how the Ewing and Barnes war was born!
CLIFFHANGERS OVER THE SEASONS
Season 1: While Pam, who is pregnant, goes to the loft of the barn to find her cousin Jimmy, an inebriated JR tries to convince her to talk Bobby into staying at Southfork. But she doesn’t want to hear any of it and tries to escape… only to fall and miscarry. While JR, during a confrontation with Sue Ellen, denies pushing her, she doesn’t share his sentiments on whether he feels bad that she lost the baby.
Season 2: A pregnant Sue Ellen, seeking solace at the bottom of a bottle – not helped by her affair with Cliff, or the fact that she thinks he could be the father – has a serious car accident while trying to escape from the loony bin. While the doctors manage to deliver John Ross Ewing III, Sue Ellen remains on the brink of death.
Season 3: After alienating almost everyone in the state of Texas, JR is shot twice in his office.
Season 4: Cliff finds the body of a woman floating in the pool and believes JR, who was watching him from the pool balcony, is responsible.
Season 5: Cliff, distraught about Sue Ellen returning to JR, who almost bankrupts his mother’s company, tries to commit suicide.
Season 6: In an act of revenge against JR, Walt Driscoll tampers with his car. Unfortunately, Sue Ellen and Mickey Trotter (Ray Krebb’s cousin) are the unfortunate victims with Mickey paralysed and in a coma. Ray and JR then get into a fight, where a candle tips over and Southfork is left burning with Sue Ellen and John Ross fast asleep inside.
Season 7: Bobby, sitting in JR’s chair at Ewing Oil, is shot from behind three times.
Season 8: As Bobby leaves Pam’s house, someone tries to run her over. He pushes her out of the way, but later “dies” in hospital from the injuries he sustained.
Season 9: JR’s new nemesis, the ruthless businesswoman Angelica Nero, tries to kill him and his cousin Jack by putting a bomb in Jack’s car and placing one at Ewing Oil. At the end of the episode, Pam is in bed, the day after marrying Mark Graison. Hearing the shower, she opens the door, only to find Bobby…
(PS. This entire season was then revealed to be a dream Pam was having) Season 10: Ewing Oil is closed by the US State Department because of JR’s unethical dealings.
Season 11: After witnessing her new beau Nicholas Pearce fall off the balcony from JR’s penthouse suite, Sue Ellen shoots JR three times before handing herself over to the police.
Season 12: Sue Ellen, after blackmailing JR with a biopic on their marriage should he ever decide to double-cross her, leaves Dallas on a triumphant note.
Season 13: After deliberately checking himself into a sanitarium to convince Jessica (Clayton’s sister) to sign over her voting majority in Westar Oil, JR’s plan goes awry. Let’s just say, there’s nothing like a woman scorned and Cally Harper, along with his illegitimate son, James Beaumont, ensures he stays put – but after signing a property waiver first.
Season 14: After years of plotting for control of Ewing Oil and Southfork, JR loses the company to Cliff and the ranch to Bobby. The series ends with a shot heard from JR’s bedroom and Bobby rushing in, saying: “Oh, my God!”
RETURN OF THE HEAVYWEIGHTS
Bobby Ewing: Always the family man, he is determined to keep his promise to his mother to never allow any oil drilling on Southfork. This time around, Bobby is married to Anna (Brenda Strong), an old friend of Sue Ellen’s.
Sue Ellen Ewing: After getting one over on JR, she has come into her own and is now running for governor while continuing to use John Ross as her pawn.
JR Ewing: After years in a nursing home for clinical depression, JR is determined to stop at nothing to reclaim his former glory as the president and co-owner of Ewing Oil.
ALWAYS THEIR FATHER’S SON
And so the good vs greed battle continues between John Ross Ewing III (JR and Sue Ellen’s son) and Christopher Ewing (Bobby and ex-wife Pamela Barnes’s adopted son).
While John Ross tries to impress his father by plotting to start drilling at Southfork, Christopher foils his attempts at every turn. And so the rivalry continues.
THE LOVE INTERESTS
The gorgeous Elena Ramos, who grew up with John Ross and Christopher, is the daughter of the Ewing family cook. But she is no pushover. Her Master’s degree in energy resources is bound to come in handy with the power struggles between the two cousins – both of whom love her.
Then there is Rebecca Sutter, who ties the knot with Christopher. Unbeknown to him, she is the daughter of Cliff and Afton Cooper.
Vincente Cano (Carlos Bernard), a Venezuelan businessman, is in cahoots with JR and John Ross. He is also prone to violence and crossing him could have serious ramifications for the father and son.
• Dallas is on M-Net (DStv Channel 101) and M-Net HD (DStv Channel 170) at 9pm on Tuesday.