I have fond memories of watching the original Dallas with my mom, mostly just to see the clothes and the Texas setting. (We lived in the state at the time the show debuted.) I gave the new version a try, but for some reason, I didn’t stick with it. Perhaps because the next generation seemed so young to me now, perhaps because there’s just a lot of good TV out there and not enough time. The theme song still has a weirdly Pavlovian effect on me, though, reminding me of just how outsized so much about Texas is.
The show continues from the original, with J.R.’s son John Ross (Josh Henderson, the weak link of the cast) trying to run the family oil company but clashing with uncle Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) and his son Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe), who wants to invest more in methane and alternate fuel technologies. As well, both the younger men are involved with Elena Ramos (Jordana Brewster) and Pamela Rebecca Barnes (Julie Gonzalo). It’s still very much a soap opera among the rich and powerful, with sex, betrayal, blackmail, and murder all on display.
I was curious about this DVD set, because the second season was being filmed when Larry Hagman, who played the irascible cornerstone of the show J.R. Ewing, passed away, and so a number of the special features are dedicated to his legacy. Episode 8 focused on the character’s funeral. The four-disc set contains all 15 episodes of season 2, plus the following extras:
Deleted scenes for almost every episode.
Fashion Files, short (3-minute) discussions with Brewster and the costume designer, Rachel Sage Kunin, about key costume items from selected episodes. It’s insightful about what elements they’re trying to highlight about the characters.
An extended version of “J.R.’s Masterpiece”, the funeral episode, with over 7 extra minutes, available with or without commentary by Cynthia Cidre (creator of this version of the show and writer of that episode) and Michael Robin (episode director).
“Dallas at PaleyFest 2013″, a half-hour panel appearance with the cast members and creative team.
“The Battle for Ewing Energies: Blood Is Thicker Than Oil”, 12 minutes on the family plots that drive the show and how J.R.’s death affected them.
“Memories of Larry Hagman: A Cast and Crew Tribute” (10 minutes) was particularly memorable for me due to the then-and-now photos. It’s not many people who play the same role 34 years apart. The participants all have great, playful, revelatory stories about Hagman, particularly Brenda Strong (who plays Ann Ewing, wife of Bobby). I admit, this piece brought tears to my eyes.
“One Last Conversation With Larry Hagman”, an unedited interview that runs seven minutes that seems to have originally been created for publicity use, covering basic questions about how Hagman worked on the show.
I’m not converted to seeing Dallas as a must-watch, but I really appreciated the honors to Larry Hagman and the chance to see him one last time. The third season of Dallas returns tomorrow (Monday) night on TNT. (The studio provided a review copy.)
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