TV Review: ‘Dallas’

Dallas TNT Review Season 3

TNT using reboot to launch 'Private Lives of Nashville Wives'

The cast of “Dallas” certainly gives great billboard, with new additions only enhancing its heat index. That said, the initial thrill of TNT’s better-than-expected reboot — followed by the sadness of Larry Hagman’s death, which was deftly incorporated into the narrative — has given way to a kind of shark-jumping malaise. Sad as it is to say, Hagman’s flinty-eyed, mischievous smile gave the show its teeth, and the third season can’t ratchet up the camp factor enough to compensate for his absence. Give the producers credit for surviving this long, but as “Dallas” currently stands, stick a Southfork in it; it’s done.

What season two presented as “J.R.’s masterpiece” — orchestrating his own death in order to achieve from-beyond-the-grave vengeance against a rival and protect his family — would have been an appropriate place to call things quits. As is, “Dallas” returns with a good deal of unfinished business, despite J.R.’s sacrifice, as the family is left to keep battling for control of Ewing Oil under the tense combination of J.R.’s brother Bobby (Patrick Duffy) and son John Ross, aka J.R. III (Josh Henderson).

Wasting little time, the show seeks to establish some momentum by resetting the table in terms of shifting alliances and back-stabbling. That bit of shuffling places Elena (Jordana Brewster) in a new role, while enlisting an old friend (Juan Pablo Di Pace) to help her. Meanwhile, Elena’s ex and Bobby’s adopted son, Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe), rebounds pretty spectacularly by meeting Heather (“90210’s” AnnaLynne McCord), who doesn’t exactly look like she should be working as a ranch hand.

“Dallas” did such a nifty job of weaving its Calvin Klein-ad-friendly next-generation together with the original cast as to represent that rarest of reboots, one that paid tribute to the original without either bastardizing it or feeling awash in nostalgia.

Now, however, the show just appears to be recycling earlier beats, resulting in flourishes that feel more suited to daytime soaps than primetime serials. There’s probably still a modest audience for that, but for a series where most of the machinations have to do with energy and power, “Dallas” simply appears to be running on fumes.

Nevertheless, TNT looks determined to get a bit more mileage out of the Ewings, using the drama as a lead-in to an utterly banal new reality soap, “Private Lives of Nashville Wives,” which can’t even make squabbling twin sisters interesting. The music-centric program also has the bad fortune to arrive at a moment where Nashville is already overexposed — witness the eponymous ABC serial and A&E’s “Crazy Hearts: Nashville” — as networks continue to chase the Southern/rural audience with results as repetitive as a she-done-me-wrong song.

“You’re not half the man your daddy was,” Bobby snaps at John Ross during one exchange.

Nor is “Dallas” half the show it was without him.

TV Review: 'Dallas'

(Series; TNT, Mon. Feb. 24, 9 p.m.)


Filmed in Dallas by Cyntax and Horizon Scripted Television.


Executive producers, Cynthia Cidre, Michael M. Robin, Robert Rovner, Bruce Rasmussen; co-executive producer, Taylor Hamra; producer, Ken Topolsky; director, Steve Robin; writers, Cidre, Rovner; camera, Rodney Charters; production designer, Richard Berg; editor, Mark Strand; music, Rob Cairns; casting, Patrick J. Rush. 60 MIN.


Jesse Metcalfe, Josh Henderson, Jordana Brewster, Julie Gonzalo, Brenda Strong, Mitch Pileggi, Emma Bell, Juan Pablo Di Pace, Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray, AnnaLynne McCord

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  1. Indre says:

    Sorry guys but in my opinion Dallas season 3 is such a mess! A lot of not logical things and it becoming really disappointing to wach it. 1 and 2 season was soo cool and i watched it almost non stop but with third one it’s something wrong. Sorry! But it’s my opinion.

  2. Brian Bruce says:

    I have to disagree on the comment about Dallas not being half the show without JR. JR made a pathway for his son to take over after his passing. That comment. “You’re not half the man you’re daddy was”. It was part of a heated argument between an uncle and his nephew, which most families have. They would say anything to win. Bobby knew he was wrong when he said it and that is what scared him the most. John Ross cannot replace JR, but he certainly is his daddy’s equal. Even though Larry Hagmans passing had an effect on the show.. The producers, writers and the actors, plus everyone else who made this show possible did a great job keeping JR into the storyline as if he was still there. The same as Bobby’s comment to John Ross. The one’s who think that Dallas is not half the show without JR is just as wrong and just as scared to be wrong as Bobby was! Larry Hagman might not be around in body, but he certainly is in spirit and I have a feeling is saying way more than I would ever think to say! #SaveDallas #SaveDallas2015

    • Jason says:

      I agree Brian, this review was clearly made by a person that did not understand the new show. John Ross was a different character than JR and was clearly growing into his own by the end of season 3. Like you said, Bobby made a mistake in saying that and knew it wasn’t true. He underestimated John Ross just like this critic did of the show.

      I really blame TNT for the lack of promotion and poor scheduling especially in its second half of season 3. That buried the show despite it held its own during major competition last summer. This show deserves to be saved and find a new home. #SaveDallas #SaveDallas2015

      • Brian says:

        I agree with you Jason. I don’t know about you but I believe TNT did it on purpose in order to make room for another Reality program….

  3. Randelle says:

    DALLAS is another great hit! Reality shows are ignorant, silly and all the same bs drama! Thank goodness TNT had the “balls to move forward” and bring something with, drama, guts and soul! This is now my favorite cable network! Cheers!!

    • Brian says:

      I agree. I don’t know about you but I believe TNT did it on purpose in order to make room for another cheap reality program!

  4. Regina Pittman says:

    Dallas is the BEST series in years. Thank God that it’s Not Another crappy Reality show. Thank you Tnt for bringing us such a great show, and thanks to the producers and writers for fantastic storylines and wonderful actors. Please don’t listen to the Bad critics, that obviously need to find another line of work. Keep it up, I can hardly wait from week to week to find out, what the new twist and turns are. FRANTASTIC !!!

  5. I also do not agree with this critic or some of the other comments. Dallas is fun and fluff. If you’re expecting intense realistic drama, watch Breaking Bad on DVD. While the loss of Larry Hagman is a great one, I thoroughly enjoyed the second half of Season 2 without him. Linda Gray is still one of the most entertaining actresses on television today. Long live Dallas TNT!

    • Jason says:

      I agree Frank, this show is fun and the opposite of Breaking Bad which I enjoyed in its own way. But give me some Dalllas fun amid the world today. Dallas was and is about escapism into the Ewings lives and is simply entertaining. Season 3 has proven that the show can and will survive Larrys loss. Miss him but still love the show!

    • I totally don’t believe that Breaking Bad is TV worth watching……great story – yeah really – a dude who’s dying chooses to go into the home brewed meth business? Really scintillating story to put on our TV – great things to put into our kids minds……..

    • Kristina Gio says:

      You need to watch more TV if you believe that

      • Thetoothsayer says:

        “If you’re expecting intense realistic drama, watch Breaking Bad on DVD.”

        You disagree what that? Yikes.

  6. Kristina Gio says:

    I was given the chance to review the first two episodes of TNT’s Dallas season 3 and have to agree with this article. The show does not stand up very well at all, especially with so much competition. The second episode goes up against Bates Motel on A&E and for those who enjoy great characters and intelligent plotting then you won’t be tuning into TNT.

    The opening episode feels like a day time soap, the dialogue is riddled with terrible cliches and even the actors seem somewhat embarrassed with the delivery. I’m sure fans of day time soaps will enjoy the third outing for the Ewing family but anyone over the age of 30 will find it a total turn off.

    Maybe there is enough of a fan base to keep it going, maybe fans of 90210 will keep it afloat.

  7. louise irvine says:

    I have to also agree that the new show is on par with the orignal one. i absolutely love it. i grew up a as a kid watching Dallas, loved it then and love it now, along with my family

  8. Stephen Collin says:

    Hi Brian, I saw your article on “The Come Back To Dallas, Victoria Principal Facebook Page”…..It would be absolutely amazing to see an article from you about how the loss of Victoria Principal and Larry Hagman will affect the future of the show. Love all your articles, by the way!

  9. TNT Dallas is one of the worst shows on television. It is an embarrassment to the original show, which was great TV in it’s day. Larry Hagman added a bit of spark to the first season, but it went downhill fast. I won’t be watching the third season, I’ve had more than enough.

  10. I must say I agree with this review of Dallas. As a long time Dallas fan (since the 80’s) , I was excited about the new Dallas. I have enjoyed it as well, but Dallas fans are like Trekkies (or Trekkors) are to Star Trek. We love our characters; we love the relationships and sub plots; We love lesser known characters, and applaud when we see them return. We understand the family lineage and how all the stories of the Ewing family are epic in proportion…here’s the problem. The Producers of Dallas don’t care about the fans of the original Dallas. They don’t understand the past storylines and how they were told. There are many storylines/characters that have have occurred in the past original series that should be resolved in the new series (Bobby’s son Lucas to Jenna Wade, JR’s other son James to name a few).Most felt cheated by the Pam Ewing debacle of last season. And why Not bring Dallas’ best female villain back to wreck havoc on the Ewings? (Morgan Brittney aka Katherine Wendtworth).. all the producers want is a hot young pretty cast…guess what, story, story , story should always come first.. not pretty young faces. The new Dallas made one huge mistake.. it forgot its past and where it came from. For an Epic TV series like Dallas to survive , you cannot forget your past original characters and unresolved storylines. Its the unforgivable sin , and most likely will be the death nail for the new Dallas. Permanently bring back some original Dallas cast members, and integrate them into the show, otherwise you leave many a fan feeling cheated.

  11. Diana Prince says:

    I absolutely and unequivocally disagree with EVERYTHING stated in this review. The show is completely on par with the excitement of the original. Every time I hear the theme song I get excited shivers throughout my body. I grew up on the original, have every DVD and still going on those. I believe the new generation cast mixes excellently with the original generation. You should visit the fan boards online (try soap chat) and see the thorough enthusiasm that goes on there! It beats garbage TV with idiot punch lines (I mean come on – pairing Robin Williams with Sarah Michelle Geller? Who was snorting the coke and shooting the heroin when they came up with that dumb show?) Dallas has quality written all over it. 2 and a Half Men – don’t even get me started – just another lame show based on guys that act badly, are idiots and cannot get their crap together.

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