‘Swan Song’: Making a ‘Dallas’ Classic

Ask “Dallas” fans to name their favorite episode and many will say “Swan Song,” the 1985 segment in which Bobby dies heroically after saving Pam’s life. Although the death was later written off as a dream, the episode remains moving and memorable. To mark its 30th anniversary, I spoke to eight “Dallas” insiders who had […]

Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 183 — ‘Dead Ends’

The title “Dead Ends” refers to Pam’s fruitless search for Mark Graison, but it also describes “Dallas’s” final batch of eighth-season episodes. This show is now killing time. The writers don’t have enough story to fill 30 hours of television, and so the material they’ve come up with is getting stretched thin. There are occasional […]

Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 166 — ‘Family’

I want to like Jamie Ewing. Really, I do. She arrives at Southfork at the end of the eighth-season episode “Jamie,” but we don’t get to know her until the following installment, “Family.” The character has a lot of potential: She’s a fresh face when the show badly needs one, and the fact that she’s […]

Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 149 — ‘Twelve Mile Limit’

The final scene in “Twelve Mile Limit” begins with a shot of a man in a brown suit carrying a big bouquet of flowers into Edgar Randolph’s hospital room. We don’t see the mystery man’s face until he places the basket on a tray table and the camera pans up, revealing that it’s J.R. “Hello, […]

Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘I Wonder What It Is?’

In “Past Imperfect,” a seventh-season “Dallas” episode, J.R. and Sly (Larry Hagman, Debbie Rennard) stand in the Ewing Oil reception area, reviewing papers. J.R.: All right, Sly. I’ll check these out. You can work on them tomorrow. Good night. SLY: Thank you, J.R. She grabs her purses and approaches the elevator as the doors open. […]

Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 144 — ‘Past Imperfect’

In “Past Imperfect’s” best scene, Clayton Farlow storms off the elevator at Ewing Oil, barges into J.R.’s office and shoves him onto the sofa. Clayton, who is newly engaged to Miss Ellie, has just discovered J.R. has been poking into his past — and he’s none too pleased about it. “When are you going to get […]

Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘Sly, Why Did You Betray Me?’

In “To Catch a Sly,” a seventh-season “Dallas” episode, J.R. (Larry Hagman) stands in his office doorway as Sly (Debbie Rennard) gets ready to leave for the night. J.R.: Sly, would you mind hanging around for just a few more minutes? There’s something I’d like to discuss with you. SLY: [Nervous] Uh, yes, sir. He […]

Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 142 — ‘To Catch a Sly’

One of the reasons J.R. Ewing is so entertaining is because he’s always a few steps ahead of the “Dallas” audience. We watch him plot and scheme, never knowing what trick he’s going to pull out of his sleeve next. That’s why the show’s seventh-season corporate espionage storyline is so unusual. From the beginning, viewers […]

Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 137 — ‘Check and Mate’

“Check and Mate” brings J.R. and Bobby’s contest for control of Ewing Oil to a satisfying but somewhat silly conclusion. In the final scene, the brothers learn J.R. boosted the company’s profits by $40 million, making him the clear-cut winner. With his victory clenched, J.R. announces he’s reneging on his earlier promise to split the company […]