Drill Bits: ‘Dallas’ is on DVD. Go Ahead and Get Carried Away.

Dallas, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, No Good Deed, TNT

Arrested development

The first season of TNT’s “Dallas” was released on DVD last week. It has all 10 episodes and 2 hours of bonus material, including some Larry Hagman goodness you’ve never seen before.

In other words: Take a day off work. You’re going to need it.

The extras feature more than 25 deleted scenes, including three sequences starring Hagman. My favorite: a moving exchange from “Family Business” in which J.R. promises Ann he’ll protect Sue Ellen from Harris. I won’t give away anything else here, but trust me: This scene alone is worth the price of admission.

A lot of this unused footage will help you see the characters more clearly. Examples: We finally get to see the moment Sue Ellen decides to run for governor, as well as a wonderful exchange where Christopher talks about what it was like for him to grow up as Bobby’s son. The latter scene features beautiful performances from Jesse Metcalfe and Patrick Duffy, who described it as one of his favorite first-season moments during my brief chat with him last year.

Curiously, the deleted scenes don’t include the one with Josh Henderson from the publicity shot above, which TNT released to promote “No Good Deed,” the episode where John Ross is arrested for Marta’s murder. We also don’t get to see J.R. and Sue Ellen’s dance from “The Last Hurrah,” although given the number of fans who are clamoring for it, something tells me it won’t stay buried forever.

(We do, however, get to see Elena’s visit to a bank, where she scans a plaque listing the board of directors. Sue Ellen’s name is there, along with production designer Richard Berg and other members of the “Dallas” crew.)

The DVD’s other highlight: an audio commentary from executive producers Cynthia Cidre and Michael M. Robin, who do a nice job explaining how much work – and love – went into making the “Changing of the Guard” pilot. Robin, the episode’s director, calls the scene where Bobby visits J.R. in the nursing home one of the highlights of his career, while Cidre reveals it took 10 hours to film the episode’s fantastic dinner scene.

The bonus material also includes new segments on the making of the first season and “Dallas” lore. Also included: the behind-the-scenes production videos that were posted on the “Dallas” website last year, including costume designer Rachel Sage Kunin’s fun “Dressing Dallas” piece.

I could go on, but really, why are you still reading this? Go get the DVD and see for yourself!

Life After J.R.

“Dallas’s” second season begins two weeks from tonight, and the press is beginning to publish stories about what we’ll see. The best preview so far comes from Entertainment Weekly’s Karen Valby, who reports Hagman filmed five episodes before his death on November 23. An extra scene that had been cut from an earlier episode will be inserted into the sixth installment, while Episode 7, which Cidre handwrote in the days after Hagman’s death, will explain J.R.’s absence. His funeral will be seen in Episode 8, which TNT will telecast Monday, March 11.

“Drill Bits,” a roundup of news about TNT’s “Dallas,” is published regularly. Share your comments below.

Comments

  1. I’d like to watch the deleted scenes. I wonder how it will work to insert a scene from an earlier episode? Sounds interesting. Getting excited about the new season!

  2. Dan in WI says:

    There is just so much good stuff in the deleted scenes. There is real character development left on the cutting room floor. Now this must be in part because you have to make sacrifices when you only have ten episodes to work with. But on the other hand Cidre has stated she feels she needs to be fast paced to hold a “modern” audience, she might have done the cutting anyway.

    But it is so cool seeing Harris Ryland as a part of the Sue Ellen for governor recruitment. It adds more to the scene when Sue Ellen is trying to get the tankers back. The scene where Christopher compares being Bobby’s son to being Jock’s son is but another example missing character development that explains so much.

    Now as for the Cidre/Robin commentary on “Changing of the guard.” There are some nuggets there. But there also so many factual inaccuracies about the original Dallas that shows yet again how little homework they have done. One example: Cidre claims that the old show never filmed in Texas. Not true. Initially the old show was filmed completely in Texas. Then little by little more and more of it was shot in California studioes until the last years were all California.
    So what should I make of this? On the one hand we have Christo on the Ulitmate Dallas podcast telling us Cidre does care, has seen the error of her ways and then we have this…
    I do like this new show. The story was good even if a bit too fast paced. Just please do a little more research.

Trackbacks

  1. […] another clue the new episodes will start in late February. This year, the first-season DVD set was released in early January, about three weeks before TNT began televising the second-season […]

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