The "Dallas" cast: (back, from left) Patrick Duffy, Larry Hagman,… (TNT )
June 12, 2012|By Curt Wagner | RedEye
Larry Hagman's J.R. Ewing doesn't show up until nearly 15 minutes into the premiere of TNT's "Dallas" update, but when he does, oh boy.
"Bobby was always a fool," the irritable oil baron says of his brother (Patrick Duffy), with whom he has feuded all their lives.
Seeing J.R. again makes me giddy as a wildcatter striking oil. "Dallas" (9 p.m. Wednesday, TNT; 2.5 stars out of 4) is back, with all the scheming, bad blood and eye candy that kept the original series on TV for 357 episodes from 1978 to 1991.
Executive producer Cynthia Cidre has captured the soapy tone of the original, but focuses on a new generation of Ewings. J.R.'s son, John Ross (Josh Henderson, impressively wicked and looking great in a Stetson), and Bobby's adopted son, Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe, kinda wimpy), continue the hostilities that defined their daddies' relationship. Whether fighting over the women in their lives (Jordana Brewster and Julie Gonzalo), oil drilling or the family's Southfork Ranch, they're chips off the old blocks.
Cidre was wise to bring back Duffy, Linda Gray, who plays J.R.'s ex, Sue Ellen, and especially Hagman. J.R. is one of TV's greatest villains, and Hagman is relishing the chance to revive him. When Bobby's new wife, Ann (Brenda Strong), thinking she hears a prowler, aims a shotgun at J.R., you can practically hear a wink in Hagman's voice as he evokes the "Who shot J.R.?" history.
"Bullets don't seem to have an effect on me, darlin'," he purrs.
I'm not saying "Dallas" is great TV (although that moment sure is). Some of the dialogue is groan-worthy, some plot turns totally predictable and some of the soapy silliness is just, well, silly.