TV review: Dallas

The popular US hit drama Dallas is back on our screens, with the usual mix of scheming, threats and revelations.

Larry Hagman as JR Ewing and Josh Henderson as John Ross Ewing
Larry Hagman as JR Ewing and Josh Henderson as John Ross Ewing

But this second run of the rebooted series has a Stetson-shaped cloud hanging over it.

Actor Larry Hagman, who plays JR Ewing, died in November after a long battle with throat cancer. This has posed a problem for the writers who have struggled to write him out of the show.

Many viewers have been speculating on whether a remake of television’s most famous cliff-hanger, ‘Who Shot JR?’ may be in store.

Hagman returned to Dallas to reprise his role as the scheming oil baron in June last year. He filmed five episodes of the second series before he died.

During 13 years in the long-running soap, he became one of the most distinctive faces on television screens across the globe. And in last night’s episode – the third chapter of the second series – he showed nothing had changed as he plotted with son John Ross to reclaim his birthright and take down Ewing Energies.

With his Texan drawl he manipulated the younger Ewing to turn family members against each other and convince his mother to call in her loan from ex-girlfriend Elena.

He was later seen reading articles about himself online chuckling: “I was quite a scoundrel wasn’t I?”

The episode revolved heavily around the disappearance of Tommy Sutter who was killed in series one by Pamela Barnes, the malicious daughter of Ewing family rival Cliff Barnes. And while there was plenty of action, secrets and lies, I couldn’t help but feel the series will not be the same without Hagman who has truly made it his own.

He may only have been in last night’s instalment for a total of 10 minutes, but his dominant presence was felt throughout the episode as ex-wife Sue Ellen declared: “I was married to that man for 17 years. I think I know when I’m being played.”

Meanwhile, a new face arrived at Southfork, Andres Ramos, brother of Elena.

Ramos witnessed his father’s death as a young man and returned to the famous ranch to drill the land where his father died.

Watch this space for more arguments and confrontation.

Ann Ewing, wife of Bobby, had problems of her own as battle lines were drawn with ex-husband Harris Ryland, a transport executive who is as sly as he is rich.

Ann has been desperate to repair relations with her estranged daughter Emma, who avid fans will know was brutally snatched from her arms as a child and raised by Ryland, believing her mother was an unfit drug addict.

Rushing to her defence, Bobby enlisted the help of his brother to bring Harris down but unbeknown to him, JR had already been scheming earlier in the episode striking a deal with Frank, Cliff’s right-hand-man and delivering yet another one-liner: “It’s a rare and beautiful thing when enemies share the same enemy.”

Viewers were left on the edge of their seats at the end of the episode, when Harris finally got his comeuppance, but they will have to wait until next week to find out his fate. But I, like many others, will be tuning in rather to find out the fate of JR.

Producers are keeping tight lipped over how the next two episodes will play out, but we can rest assured that the villain we all love to hate is bound to go out with a bang.

Charlotte Lilley

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