Dallas mourns star passing, continues on

Photo courtesy of Turner Network Television

Next Monday, Jan. 28, the gripping drama Dallas will return with a new 15-episode second season after just four short months off the air. This TNT show is a continuation of the wildly popular soap opera with the same name that aired on CBS from 1978 to 1991. The series follows the lives of the Ewings, a wealthy family in Dallas, Texas, with roots in ranching and, most importantly, the oil industry. In short, the Ewing family has never been a highly functional bunch. Betrayal, deceit and backstabbing plague the family, preventing them from becoming the ideal wealthy dynasty.

Because the current incarnation of Dallas is a continuation of the original story rather than simply a revival, several new characters and storylines have been introduced to the show. In the old series, the mother and father of the Ewing family, Ellie and Jock, had two children named J.R. and Bobby who were in their twenties. The two brothers fought endlessly and disagreed on most everything—Bobby was honest and decent, J.R. was the bad boy who lied to get his way. Fast-forward to the current series. J.R. and Bobby are older and have children of their own: John Ross and Christopher, respectively, who are both in their twenties. Essentially the show jumped forward a generation from the old series to the new, with the characters evolving behind the scenes. Consequentially, the current Ewing drama appeals to the older audiences who grew up watching the show, as well as to young adults.

The first season of the new Dallas proved just as delightfully melodramatic as the original series. Bobby and J.R. continue where they left off. They are fighting over the family ranch, and their two sons side with their respective fathers. They join in on the fray, bringing a younger and more energetic fuel to the fire. Other characters intertwine with the family feud, causing an endless supply of drama for the show’s audience.

Many of the actors and actresses of the old series returned for the new, the most famous being Larry Hagman, who plays J.R. Ewing. A Dallas legend, this actor imbued his character with all manner of drama and intrigue since the very beginning of the show. However, Hagman suffered through chemotherapy for throat cancer all throughout the filming of the new show, and in a tragic turn of events, passed away on Nov. 23, 2012. Obviously his passing hit both the Dallas crew and storyline pretty hard, especially since it requires the infamous character to be abruptly terminated in the story.

The second season was filmed over the summer, however, so J.R. will return with the show one last time. The interesting part will be seeing just how much the storyline will evolve to accommodate Hagman’s unfortunate death. Can Dallas remain as entertaining and dramatic without its most ruthless and deceitful figure? Audiences will have to wait and see how the show will continue.