#DallasChat Daily: Who Were the Best/Worst Cast Additions?

April Stevens Ewing, Clayton Farlow, Dack Rambo, Dallas, Donna Culver Krebbs, Howard Keel, Jack Ewing, James Beaumont, Jenna Wade, Kimberly Foster, Michelle Stevens, Priscilla Beaulieu Presley, Sasha Mitchell, Sheree J. Wilson, Susan Howard

The original “Dallas” debuted with nine principal characters (Jock, Miss Ellie, J.R., Sue Ellen, Bobby, Pam, Lucy, Ray and Cliff), but the cast grew steadily as the show progressed. How did the additions measure up to the originals?

The notable newcomers over the years included Donna (Susan Howard), Clayton (Howard Keel), Jenna (Priscilla Beaulieu Presley), Jack (Dack Rambo), April (Sheree J. Wilson), Michelle (Kimberly Foster) and James (Sasha Mitchell).

Your #DallasChat Daily question: Who were “Dallas’s” best and worst cast additions?

Share your comments below and join other #DallasChat Daily discussions.

Comments

  1. Dan in WI says:

    The best hands down was Howard Keel. He took a guest recurring role and earned his starring credit with solid work. The chatacter was so many things to so many other characters. He was a father and protector to Sue Ellen. He was a savior to Miss Ellie. He was sage guru to Ray. He was great caretaker of Southfork for Bobby. And Keel himself was so dependable in every performance.

    Worst: Kimberly Foster. I guess she was a competant femme fatale but I’m not sure that was ever what Dallas needed. Yes it was a male driven show and usually lacked a strong female. I guess she was just too much of a selfish b**ch though in that role and it rubbed me the wrong way. But if that was what they were going for she did a good job. I guess I just wish that strong female was a bit more positive much more in the vein of Sue Ellen the lingerie magnate.

  2. you forgot cally, liz, mckay, stephanie

    • No, I didn’t forget them. I chose not to list every cast addition. I offered a sampling instead.

      • so ‘notable’ characters dont include mac and cally?

      • I think McKay and Cally are notable characters. I didn’t want to picture everyone, so I went with a sampling of cast additions from the original show’s early, middle and later years.

      • I think Mackay and Cally and more notable that your sampling of James and Michelle. Dont get me wrong, i adore the show, seen the whole original a number of times back to back. I just feel you could pick better characters than James and Michelle. Having said that, imo, the worst of the later series of Dallas are better than the rubbish changes and characters Cidre is bringing out now.

      • Thanks for your feedback, Sarah. I think all of the characters are notable, although you’re correct that some are more important than others. I tried to offer a mix of characters so readers would have choices for their “best” and “worst” selections. That’s the challenge with these daily questions — “Dallas” has so many characters, it’s hard to highlight all of them!

        Thanks again for reading and commenting.

        Chris

      • I agree with this. Many characters are hard to highlight as there are so many and so many dynamic characters! I love the daily questions. really getting into it now! lol!

        For me personally, best additional character from your selection is Cayton, worst is James. Again, the later years are better than today’s TNT version.

      • Yep, I love Clayton too, and I’m glad you’re enjoying the daily questions. I’m planning to put the daily questions on hold when the TNT series resumes, but if readers like you are still enjoying them, I’ll bring them back in the fall.

        Thanks again.

  3. I haven’t seen the last 2 seasons of the original Dallas so can’t comment on them but up to the 11th season the worst cast addition was April (can’t even remember her surname).
    Her character was irritating and failed on every level.
    Also not helped that she joined the show just as it began to decline and the more popular female characters began to depart – first Pam ( for whom I think April was meant to be some sort of replacement!) then Donna, Jenna and finally even Sue Ellen.

  4. I liked all of the characters mentioned with one exception. I couldn’t stand J.R.’s oldest son, James Beaumont, but he was brought on Dallas to be an antagonist and to seek revenge on J.R.

  5. My favourites were Cally,Donna, Clayton and Jack

    Michelle and James were too one dimensional

    I was never interested in the McKays

  6. sunnycd says:

    Best: Carter McKay, Cally Harper Ewing, Liz Adams (Barbara Stock). Clayton was on in 1981, so I consider him almost an original character.

    Worst: Jamie Ewing Barnes. No wonder they killed her twice.

  7. Clayton was the best addition.
    Cally the worst.

  8. Garnet McGee says:

    I got bored with the original and only watched until the first part of season 7 so I can’t comment on the later seasons. Clayton was a great addition. The show needed a good guy who could go toe to toe against JR. I also enjoyed Donna in the early seasons. It was great to see a smart career woman who did more than just shop, drink or cry.

  9. Donna and Clayton were the best. They both suffered from dull writing at times but they were really nearly as essential as the core originals.

    I think Jenna just doesn’t click with me. Probably just not enough humor or charm to her. I kind of like the original version of her but Priscilla probably should have been given lighter story lines. She was better in the Naked Gun.

  10. Mitch was horrible.

  11. Completely agree with Dan in WI about Clayton. He sums it up perfectly so no reason to expand on that. Also agree with Mike Eder that Clayton and Donna were the best overall cast additions. Susan Howard’s portrayal was such a great contrast to the other ladies in the family. Donna seemed more real, stronger, smarter than the other ladies. My favorite story line with Ray and Donna was in the dream season with the special needs children. That was such a heart-warming story arc and Susan & Steve shined during that time. I was so sad to see it lost with the return of Bobby. Both Donna and Clayton should always be included with the original cast as Dallas main stays.

    Other favorite cast additions: Joan Van Ark and Ted Shackelford as Gary & Val, Mary Crosby’s Kristin, Lois Chiles Holly Harwood, Jared Martin’s Dusty, Priscilla Pointer’s Rebecca Wentworth, Morgan Brittany’s Katherine, John Beck’s Mark Graison, Audrey Lander’s Afton, Timothy Patrick Murphy’s Mickey Trotter, Jenilee Harrison’s Jamie, Prisciall Presley’s Jenna, Dack Rambo’s Jack, Deborah Shelton’s Mandy Winger, Karen Kopin’s Kay Lloyd, Cathy Podewell’s Cally Harper.

    Worst cast additions: Leign McClosky’s Mitch (dry and boring), Donna Reed as Miss Ellie (no one can replace BBG), Christopher Atkins Peter Richards (bad actor, bad casting, too whiney), Barbara Carrera’s Angelica Nero (too over the top), Marc Singer’s Matt Cantrel (boring), Ian McShane’s Don Lockwood (complete miscast as a Sue-Ellen love interest), Lesley-Anne Down’s Stephanie Rogers (every time I saw her smirk in the opening credits it made me cringe), Gayle Hunnicutt’s Vanessa Beaumont (too regal to be a former love of J.R.’s).

  12. Almost fogot another favorite – Fern Fitzgerald’s Marilee Stone!

    • Dan in WI says:

      I think of her as an always there recurring character though I guess technically she doesn’t appear until the first FULL season (which we know call season 2). Don’t forget she started out as a DOA member prior to Seth Stone’s Asian Offshore Oil suicide.

  13. I think Clayton was a perfect addition as the new man in Miss Ellie’s life. He and Barbara Bel Geddes had wonderful chemistry.

    I agree with Jaime about Donna being a great contrast to the other Dallas ladies. I too liked her and Ray’s storyline about the special needs children during the dream seasen, but I also enjoyed watching Donna being active as a politician, having the courage to hold her own in a men’s domain.

    Chris, I have a question: I really enjoy reading and commenting on the daily topics, I think it’s a great idea, but do you plan to continue your reviews of the original series some time? I think they’re so great, and I miss them! 🙂

    • I love Clayton and Donna too. I wish the new show would bring back Donna. I’d like to know what she’s up to these days.

      Thanks for your comments on the classic episode critiques. I’m glad you enjoy reading them. I love writing them and I plan to bring them back in the fall. Stay tuned!

  14. Worst – Cally, Mark, Leslie, Angelica, April, the Mckays, Michelle, James, Matt and Peter – All a waste
    Best – Clayton, Holly, Dusty, Mickey, Aunt Maggie, Katherine, Jack, Jaime, Afton, Kristen and Donna – brought depth and character

  15. Anonymous says:

    I agree with most replies that Clayton was far and away the best addition to the cast. He was a strong man of great integrity and apart from Bobby, the only one who could stand up to JR on a regular basis. He was a wonderful husband for Miss Ellie and a protective loving father to Sue Ellen through all her ups and downs. Unlike some others, I liked Cally – I think she was a breath of fresh air in the series and held her own well against the other characters. The one I could not stand was April. Everything about her was totally fake. Her phony smile, her suspiciously smooth cheeks, her excessively curled hair – she started off as a gold digger and became a supposedly reformed character but I never believed in that. No way was she good enough for Bobby as a second wife!

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