Dallas (2012), TNT, Wednesdays 9pm
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This is a revival of the 1978-91 series Dallas, which I used to watch some of, when I was a kid. It includes some of the original characters (J.R. Ewing, played by Larry Hagman; his brother Bobby, played by Patrick Duffy; and J.R.'s ex-wife, Sue Ellen, played by Linda Gray). At the start of the series, J.R. is in a nursing home, suffering from clinical depression which has apparently incapacitated him. Bobby is running Southfork Ranch, the Ewings' home. He's married to a woman named Ann (played by Brenda Strong, best known to me for her voiceover work in Desperate Housewives, so it's nice to actually see her on screen). We soon learn that Bobby has cancer, which he's hiding from his family. Sue Ellen, meanwhile, seems to be doing quite well, with... whatever it is she does. And it seems like a lot of people want her to run for governor.

However, the main focus of the new series are J.R. and Sue Ellen's son, John Ross Ewing III, played by Josh Henderson; and Bobby's adopted son, Christopher Ewing, played by Jesse Metcalfe (who was also on "Desperate Housewives"). Christopher was once engaged to Elena Ramos, the daughter of the Ewing family's cook. However, she thought he dumped her, and he thought she dumped him. (The confusion comes from an e-mail he supposedly sent, but didn't, on the day of their wedding. I won't get into that, though.) Currently, Christopher is engaged to a woman he met more recently, named Rebecca Sutter. They marry in the pilot episode. Meanwhile, John Ross is now dating Elena, as well as being business partners with her. The two of them discover oil beneath Southfork, and want to drill, but Bobby forbids it, because of a promise to his own late mother, who didn't want anyone to ever drill on the ranch. Oh, I should mention the Ewings no longer own their old oil company, which is currently run by Cliff Barnes. So I guess all they really have is South Fork... and probably a family fortune as well. I dunno.

Meanwhile, Christopher is trying to start up his own business, involving alternative energy sources. But he runs into some problems with that. And there will be fierce competition between Christopher and his cousin John Ross. Particularly when Bobby decides to sell Southfork, partly to help fund Christopher's research, and partly because he doesn't want the young men fighting over the ranch, the way he and his own brother, J.R., always did. There's a woman named Marta Del Sol, whose father runs a land conservancy, to which Bobby wants to sell Southfork. Marta is handling the sale for her father. Meanwhile, John Ross starts accepting advice from J.R., who turns out to be healthier of both body and mind than he seemed to be, and just as duplicitous as ever. But so is his son. Oh, also I should mention that Rebecca's brother, Tommy Sutter, gets a job as a ranch hand at Southfork. (Seems an odd time to be hiring new people, but whatever. The plot demands it.) And... well, by the end of the second episode, it becomes apparent that so many people have hidden agendas and alliances that you'll be hard-pressed to keep track of who anyone is, what they really want, who they're really loyal to (if anyone), or much of anything at all. It's just terribly complicated, but it should be fun to watch the insanity unfold.

Also, it's kind of cool to hear the familiar old theme tune again.

Unfortunately, I only managed to see the first two episodes online. Now the website wants me to tell them my cable provider before they'll let me watch anything. Which is kind of silly, because if I got the channel on TV, I wouldn't have to watch it online. So, whatever... maybe someday I'll be able to see reruns or something, but I doubt it. And it's not something I care enough about to ever consider paying for.


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