30 Years Later, ‘Dallas’s’ Shower Scene Still Makes a Splash

In so many ways, “Dallas” is the show that invented modern television. It’s not just that J.R. Ewing gave rise to Tony Soprano, Frank Underwood and the myriad antiheroes who now dominate dramatic TV storytelling. “Dallas” also changed how we watch TV. Before the series debuted in 1978, prime time was marked by episodic fare […]

Happy Holidays, Everyone!

Before this holiday season ends, I want to take a moment to thank everyone who reads Dallas Decoder. Please know how much I appreciate your continued support. I don’t get to write about “Dallas” as often as I once did, but this was a special year for me nonetheless. I posted my first one-on-one interview […]

Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 195 — ‘Resurrection’

“Resurrection” brings Mark Graison back from the dead and Sue Ellen Ewing back from the brink. His revival is the more surprising of the two, although hers is more satisfying. In the episode before this one, Sue Ellen went through a harrowing detoxification after her drinking landed her on skid row. The audience never doubts […]

Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 192 — ‘The Family Ewing’

“The Family Ewing,” the first episode of “Dallas’s” ninth season, chronicles the immediate aftermath of Bobby’s death. Miss Ellie, sad but sturdy, tries to plan the funeral while holding her family together — a task complicated by J.R.’s anger, Sue Ellen’s drinking and lingering questions about why Bobby and Pam were together when he was […]

The Best & Worst of Dallas: Season 8

“Dallas’s” eighth season had its share of ups and downs. Here are the highs and lows. Performances Victoria Principal does her best work during “Dallas’s” eighth season, a.k.a. The Year Pam Gets Her Groove Back. The actress displays her old fire during Pam’s clashes with J.R., but nothing beats her performance during Bobby’s season-ending death. […]

‘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 […]

Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘Be a Family’

In “Swan Song,” “Dallas’s” eighth-season finale, Bobby (Patrick Duffy) lies in a hospital bed, surrounded by Pam (Victoria Principal), Jenna (Priscilla Beaulieu Presley), J.R. (Larry Hagman), Miss Ellie (Donna Reed), Clayton (Howard Keel), Donna (Susan Howard) and Ray (Steve Kanaly). RAY: Bob. BOBBY: Hey, Ray. [Sees Ellie] Oh, Mama. I’m sorry. ELLIE: No. No, Bobby. BOBBY: All […]

Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 191 — ‘Swan Song’

“Swan Song” is a masterpiece. This is the best “Dallas” episode ever made because it dares to set aside so many of the show’s conventions — wheeling, dealing, double-crossing — to focus on what matters most: the characters and their relationships. Mostly, “Swan Song” tells the story of Bobby and Pam’s long-awaited reunion, which is […]

Swoon Over ‘Swan Song’ During Our Sept. 18 #DallasChat

You’re invited to a special #DallasChat on Twitter to mark the 30th anniversary of “Swan Song,” the classic episode that features Bobby and Pam’s tragic reunion and his famous “deathbed” scene. Let’s all watch “Swan Song” beginning Friday, September 18, at 8 p.m. Eastern. During the episode, share your memories and observations on Twitter using the […]

Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 190 — ‘Deliverance’

“Deliverance” is the next-to-last episode from “Dallas’s” eighth season, but if you didn’t know better, you might think it was the finale. By the end of the hour, the year’s two major storylines are resolved: Cliff and Jamie’s lawsuit to claim two-thirds of Ewing Oil ends in humiliating defeat, while Jenna gets out of prison […]