Later in 2011, Dallas– the hugely successful, wildly implausible, stupidly entertaining soap about a rich Texan oil family – will return to American television screens.
With the scheming, cigar-chomping patriarch JR Ewing set to don his 10-gallon hat once more (the new series will centre on his son John Ross, but Dallas just wouldn’t be Dallas without JR and his shark’s grin, so Larry Hagman will be reprising the role here and there), it seems there’s never been a better time to return to the source.
This boxset contains the final series of the original show, and after 13 previous seasons of philandering, double crossing and giant bouffants, you might expect a wealth of bonus material. Sadly, there are no extras on this disc – a bit of an oversight with a show, nay, a phenomenon this big, especially as so many of the cast are still around to talk about their monstrous caricatures.
Honestly, for your own sanity, the lack of extras is probably a blessing in disguise. No viewer wants to end up in a straitjacket similar to the one JR is trussed up in at the start of the series, having had himself committed for the previous year’s cliff-hanger in order to manipulate some valuable stocks out of a fellow inmate.
While he’s busy trying to escape, his brother Bobby and April are in Paris on honeymoon, only this being Dallas, kidnap and murder are never far away (although since its carried out by a hail of machine gun fire, it’s interesting there’s about the same amount of blood loss you’d see from a nasty paper cut).
After an exhausting 22 episodes of family feuds and business double-crossing, the show reaches its hysterical (in both senses of the word) conclusion with JR, abandoned by his family and inconsolable having lost the oil company, having his very own It’s A Wonderful Life experience, a mysterious ‘angel’ showing him how life would be without him in it. It’s a fittingly OTT end.
Dallaswas never great quality television, and even the glow of nostalgia can’t change that. The acting was often, somehow, both melodramatic and wooden at the same time, the plotlines preposterous and the honking, portentous incidental music outright hilarious. It doesn’t look any better 20 years on. But, trash as it is, it’s trash that millions treasure as they’re given grotesque cartoon rich people to judge, root for or despise – even if it was all just a dream...
With no extra features fans won’t see anything new, but this is perfect sofa-surfing material to switch your brain off to.