… And the Rest: Dallas Decoder’s Other VIPs of 2013

Cynthia Cidre, Josh Henderson, Ken Kercheval, Patrick Duffy, TNT, Victoria Principal

Linda Gray is Dallas Decoder’s Woman of the Year, but she isn’t the only person who shaped the “Dallas” franchise in 2013. Here are five more.

Cynthia Cidre, Dallas, TNT

The boss

Cynthia Cidre. Larry Hagman’s death forced the “Dallas” showrunner to rewrite Season 2 on the fly, but she proved up to the challenge — and then some. Cidre penned the exquisite “J.R.’s Masterpiece” funeral episode, which lovingly honored the franchise’s biggest star and kicked off the fun, freewheeling “Who Killed J.R.?” mystery. Cidre also deserves applause for answering the question that has bugged “Dallas” diehards for 25 years: Whatever happened to Pam Ewing? Some fans didn’t like the answer, but if you ask me, Cidre redeemed the character and fixed one of the old show’s biggest blunders. Bravo.

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Patrick Duffy, TNT

The glue

Patrick Duffy. This was the year Bobby Ewing got pissed! He also got sad, frustrated and more than a little devious. Duffy did a beautiful job conveying Bobby’s internal conflict, especially when he read J.R.’s letter in the moving season finale. And just as Bobby held the Ewings together, Duffy played an influential role behind the scenes. Before Cidre proceeded with the twist ending to “Who Killed J.R.?” — he was dying of cancer and arranged his own death — she sought the blessing of two people: Hagman’s son Preston and Duffy. That says a lot about the respect people feel for Patrick Duffy. He’s earned it.

Dallas, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, TNT

The future

Josh Henderson. No one on the new “Dallas” has faced as much scrutiny as Henderson, who had the unenviable task this year of sliding into the boots of the legendary Larry Hagman. But if Henderson felt any temptation to imitate his on-screen daddy, he wisely resisted it. Where Hagman swaggered, Henderson struts. Where J.R. was confident, John Ross is cocky. In other words: Henderson has given John Ross his own brand of cool. This young actor has become the future of the “Dallas” franchise, and if his performance this year is any indication, we’re in good hands. I can’t wait to see what he does next year.

Cliff Barnes, Dallas, Ken Kercheval, TNT

The genius

Ken Kercheval. After Hagman, Kercheval has always been “Dallas’s” most fascinating actor. In 2013, he was as electric as ever. Longtime fans still wonder what made Cliff so evil, but I just sat back and enjoyed the ride Kercheval took me on, especially in the shocking scene where Cliff ordered the bombing of the Ewing Energies rig. Besides, as Cliff tightened his squeeze on the Ewings, Kercheval offered more flashes of his old character’s combustability. The scene where Bobby hands his enemy the keys to the Ewing kingdom? That was classic Cliff. You may hate his character, but Kercheval is brilliant.

Dallas, Pam Ewing, Victoria Principal

The enigma

Victoria Principal. Hill Place Blog suggested I include Principal on this list as a joke, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. As Hill Place put it: What other “Dallas” star generated more discussion, debate and dissent this year without appearing in a single frame of film? Principal remains a powerful figure in the “Dallas” mythology. Like a lot of my fellow Principal fans, I wish Pam had come home to Southfork in 2013, but the actress’s public statement in March made it clear she has no interest in reprising the role. (Sigh.) So rest in peace, Pam. Like your old rival J.R., you won’t be forgotten.

Who did I miss? Share your choices for “Dallas’s” 2013 VIPs below and read more opinions from Dallas Decoder.

Drill Bits: J.R. Ewing, Ready for Action

Dallas, Figures Toy Company, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Figures of interest

It took a few decades, but J.R. Ewing is finally an action figure.

Figures Toy Company is now selling two J.R. figures: “Oil Tycoon,” which comes dressed in a three-piece business suit, and a “Who Shot J.R.?” version that features a replica of the vest Larry Hagman wears in the famous scene where J.R. is gunned down.

Both figures are 12 inches tall and come with cowboy hats. The figures sell for $79.99 apiece or $159 for a set. Figures Toy Company began accepting orders on its website last week and plans to ship the figures in December.

Each figure will be limited to quantities of 750 during the initial production run, so collectors should order them while they can.

“I am an avid ‘Dallas’ fan from when I was a child,” said Anthony Balasco, the company’s founder and chief financial officer. He remembered how Mego Corporation scuttled plans for a line of “Dallas” figures during the show’s heyday and decided Figures Toy Company would finish what Mego started.

To create Hagman’s action figure likeness, the Figures Toy Company sculptor relied on photos of the late actor provided by Warner Bros., the studio that licenses “Dallas” merchandise. “The only challenge was to decide what year/time period to use for J.R. We choose the earlier years when the show was at its most popular ratings,” Balasco said.

Figures Toy Company, which Balasco founded in 1989, also sells figures based on other classic TV shows and entertainers, including “The Dukes of Hazzard,” the 1960s “Batman” series and the rock band KISS. A line of “Gilligan’s Island” figures is in the works too.

There are no plans to make figures based on other “Dallas” characters, but Balasco is open to the idea of giving other Ewings the action figure treatment.

“If the fans want the line to continue, then please let us know by purchasing the J.R. Ewing figures,” Balasco said. “We would love to be able to offer Sue Ellen to go with J.R.”

You heard the man, “Dallas” fans. Place those orders today!

Preston Hagman Speaks

In case you missed it: Preston Hagman, Larry’s son, tells “Entertainment Tonight” he isn’t angry that his father was snubbed during the recent Primetime Emmy tributes: “I think my dad was a trailblazer in the industry to set the stage for other actors. So it’s not anger. It’s definitely disappointment.”

Bringing Up Baby

Dallas Decoder offers belated congratulations to Jordana Brewster and her husband Andrew Form, who recently welcomed their first child, a boy named Julian. Perhaps when he gets a little older, Julian will enjoy playing with a J.R. Ewing action figure?

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