But recounting the plot is not as much fun as seeing many of the old cast members reprising familiar roles. Ken Kercheval's insecure Cliff Barnes, who's best when he's wriggling under the thumb of the more powerful and clever J.R., who forever torments the hapless Cliff. Linda Gray as the cuckolded former wife of J.R., Sue Ellen, makes an elegant comeback to the Texas plains, and Patrick Duffy, as the rock-solid, principled Bobby, slips comfortably back into the saddle. George Kennedy (it's hard not to think of Breath Assure when watching and listening to him), Audrey Landers and Omri Katz, as J.R.'s teenage son, all show up to spice up the proceedings. But Hagman, just months from having a liver transplant, has the most fun. Looking a lot grayer and more stout, Hagman's eyes shine with glee after each improbable fiscal scheme he concocts plays out into his greedy hands. The executive producing team, original producers Lee Rich and the late Leonard Katzman (who died Sept. 5) plus Duffy and Hagman, bring a continuity to the reunion show, which should leave loyal viewers wanting more. Indeed, the snappy script by Arthur Bernard Lewis is open-ended possibly for a May sweeps re-reunion? Katzman directs ably and production designer Jack Marty and costume designer Janet Lawler house and dress the larger-than-life Ewings in elegant opulence. Carole Horst

But recounting the plot is not as much fun as seeing many of the old cast members reprising familiar roles. Ken Kercheval’s insecure Cliff Barnes, who’s best when he’s wriggling under the thumb of the more powerful and clever J.R., who forever torments the hapless Cliff. Linda Gray as the cuckolded former wife of J.R., Sue Ellen, makes an elegant comeback to the Texas plains, and Patrick Duffy, as the rock-solid, principled Bobby, slips comfortably back into the saddle. George Kennedy (it’s hard not to think of Breath Assure when watching and listening to him), Audrey Landers and Omri Katz, as J.R.’s teenage son, all show up to spice up the proceedings. But Hagman, just months from having a liver transplant, has the most fun. Looking a lot grayer and more stout, Hagman’s eyes shine with glee after each improbable fiscal scheme he concocts plays out into his greedy hands. The executive producing team, original producers Lee Rich and the late Leonard Katzman (who died Sept. 5) plus Duffy and Hagman, bring a continuity to the reunion show, which should leave loyal viewers wanting more. Indeed, the snappy script by Arthur Bernard Lewis is open-ended possibly for a May sweeps re-reunion? Katzman directs ably and production designer Jack Marty and costume designer Janet Lawler house and dress the larger-than-life Ewings in elegant opulence. Carole Horst

Dallas: J.R. Returns

Production

(Fri. (15), 9-11 p.m., CBS) Filmed by Eagle Point Prods. in association with Olive Oil Prods. and Warner Bros. Television. Executive producers, Lee Rich, Leonard Katzman; co-executive producers, Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy; director, Leonard Katzman; writer, Arthur Bernard Lewis,

Crew

Camera, Don Reddy; editor, Fred W. Berger; production design, Jack Marty; sound, Skip Frazee; music, Jerrold Immel; casting, Rody Kent.

With

Cast: Rosalind Allen, Christopher Demetral, Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray, Larry Hagman, Omri Katz, Deborah Kellner, George Kennedy, Ken Kercheval, Audrey Landers, Tracy Scoggins, Deborah Rennard, Buck Taylor, George O. Petrie. This welcome reunion show is a delicious return to "Dallas" for its fans, but telepic probably won't win over newcomers. One of the most popular and enduring shows on TV (365 episodes aired over 13 seasons), "Dallas" ushered in the era of the nighttime soap. The Texas saga itself spawned "Knots Landing" and inspired a host of imitators including "Falcon Crest," 'Flamingo Road," "Dynasty" and last season's cliffhanger of "The Simpsons." But back to Southfork Ranch. When we last saw J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman), he had a gun pointed at his temple a shot rang out and the only person to see what occurred was brother Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy). It turns out J.R. shot at a mirror and has been living in exile in Paris for the past five years. But now he's back and wants control of Ewing Oil again. And sets out to achieve his goal in the most Machiavellian manner possible.
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