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.