Before “Dallas” wraps up its successful first season on TNT, a quick tip of the 10-gallon hat — having seen the remaining episodes, which will air Aug. 1 and 8 — to what represents one of the savviest TV reboots of a familiar series I can remember.
The real kick in “Dallas,” as I noted in my initial review, comes from the way exec producer Cynthia Cidre has woven the old and new characters together, though I’m increasingly hearing from fans of the original series (and I wasn’t) they’re tuning in primarily for the old guard, with the younger contingent essentially serving as attractive, willing-to-take-their-shirts-off window dressing.
Credit the producers and network, too, with having the balls to let Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy play such central roles in the proceedings — as opposed to just getting the story rolling and passing the torch — turning the former into an Entertainment Weekly cover boy, improbably, at the age of 80. Frankly, it’s worth tuning in just to hear Hagman say “Darlin’,” and see women threaten men with shotguns.
Without giving anything away, I also found these last couple of episodes to be extremely clever and well done — incorporating the show’s strong guest stars (including Carlos Bernard and Mitch Pileggi), throwing in some genuinely unexpected twists, tying up some loose ends while dangling enough others to bring the show’s fans back for a second season. And frankly, my favorite moment involved a teddy bear. Honest.
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After all the 1970s and ’80s staples that have gone this reboot route before — from those that met quick deaths (“Charlie’s Angels,” “The Bionic Woman”) to the few that survived (“Hawaii Five-O”) — “Dallas” is among the precious few to truly earn its spurs.
Well done, darlin’.