Goodbye, J.R.

I don’t know who came up with the idea that J.R. Ewing was the man we loved to hate, but nothing could have been further from the truth. Do you know anyone who hated J.R., ever? He was always the “Dallas” character we cared about most. The “Who Shot J.R.?” hysteria didn’t occur because people […]

‘Dallas’s’ Second Season Gets Off to a Promising Start

At one point during “Dallas’s” second-season premiere, J.R. offers Sue Ellen a sly grin and declares, “I never learn my lesson.” Maybe not, but the people who make “Dallas” seem to have learned theirs. This has been a good show from the beginning, but diehards like me couldn’t help but feel bothered by some of […]

Oh, ‘Pioneers’! Soaps Tribute is a Sprint Down Memory Lane

“There’s not a show on right now, at this moment, that isn’t soap,” Joan Van Ark declares during PBS’s “Pioneers of Television” tribute to the nighttime soap operas of the 1980s. She’s referring to the emergence of serialization as the dominant form of storytelling in prime time, and so she has a point. Carrie and […]

Dallas Decoder’s Man of the Year: Larry Hagman

A few days after Larry Hagman’s November 23 death, his son Preston told a television interviewer that his father’s work on TNT’s new “Dallas” series extended Hagman’s life during his struggle with cancer. I believe it. I also believe the relationship between star and show was mutually beneficial. “Dallas” kept Hagman alive, but he kept […]

J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman and Me

Like his famous alter ego, Larry Hagman dodged death so many times, I assumed he was going to live forever. Waking up to the news last Saturday morning that Hagman was suddenly gone left me feeling a little dazed. Without putting much thought into it, I grabbed an old J.R. Ewing publicity shot, scanned it […]

Linda Gray is Speaking Up — Just Like Sue Ellen Would

Atta girl, Linda Gray. In a candid interview with Ultimate Dallas last week, the actress expressed her disappointment with the amount of screen time her character, the indomitable Sue Ellen Ewing, has received on TNT’s “Dallas” revival. The cable channel has telecast five hours so far, and Gray has been missing from two of them. […]

TNT’s ‘Dallas,’ a Good Show Poised for Greatness

TNT’s “Dallas” is a good show on the verge of becoming a great one. It has the potential to surpass the original “Dallas” in overall quality, much like “Star Trek: The Next Generation” is now more highly regarded than its 1960s precursor. Of course, it took Captain Picard and his crew awhile to hit their […]

Dallas Isn’t ‘Brokeback Southfork,’ But It’s Pretty Gay

By today’s standards, “Dallas” isn’t a “gay” show. Southfork never hosts a “Brokeback Mountain”-esque love story. There are no same-sex office romances at Ewing Oil. Dusty Farlow wears ascots to keep dust out of his face, not because he’s fabulous. Yet “Dallas” is very much a show with gay sensibilities. It regularly explores themes – […]

Pam Ewing, Prime-Time Pioneer

If re-watching “Dallas’s” first season taught me anything, it’s this: Pam Ewing is one of prime-time television’s pioneering women. No, really. When “Dallas” begins, Pam isn’t the Miss Goody Two-Boots many of us remember from the show’s heyday. She’s spunkier, scrappier – and more sexual. The show makes no secret of the fact Pam isn’t […]

‘Dallas’ and Me

My earliest memory of “Dallas” isn’t watching it – it’s wearing it. In the summer of 1980, when I was 6, I was one of the millions of people swept up in the hysteria over J.R. Ewing’s shooting. I begged my mom to get me one of the “I Shot J.R.” t-shirts everyone seemed to […]