“Never in my lifetime did I think one of my favourite shows would be rebooted.” No, that’s not a quote from 80-year-old Larry Hagman; it’s one from 32-year-old me! I was cautiously elated last year when TNT paraded advert after advert hyping the return of Dallas this summer. The good news is that all that hype led Dallas to be the #1 cable premiere of the year thus far. No small feat for a show that’s been off the air for 21 years, not including the couple of TV movies in ’96 and ’98. But here’s the thing: I wouldn’t be lauding the reboot if it wasn’t done well. Cynthia Cidre developed the reboot and she left nothing to chance–the writing, casting, and cinematography and all up to snuff. The best part, besides the return of several original cast members, is that most all of the shooting is being done on location in Dallas. This means no more fake outdoor scenes on the LA sound stage version of the Southfork pool…it’s all genuine Dallas this time around.
My love affair with Dallas started when our babysitter used to let me watch it with her on Friday nights. I distinctly remember watching it one night with her, and we both gasped as Bobby jumped out of his red Mercedes convertible and ran into his skyscraper office building. (Who knows what crisis was going on, but it was dramatic!) I thought this was the coolest show ever (besides Dukes of Hazzard, of course). Granted, I’m sure I actually only got to see a handful of episodes with the babysitter, but it was enough to get me hooked. We didn’t have cable growing up, so I wasn’t able to rewatch the series until I went off to college. And then when I quit college and moved home, my mornings getting ready for work revolved around watching Dallas on TNN. I even threw a Dallas-themed party one time, where each of my invited friends coordinated with one of the characters. (Totally hokey, I know…I even made everyone sit down and watch my favourite episode.) Needless to say, this show had held a place in my heart for most of my life. Even the hideously bad last couple of seasons in the early 90s were better than most of the stuff on TV at the time.
So how do you update a show that had its heyday in the early 80s for 2012? I won’t go into much tedious detail, but you bring back the core of beloved actors–Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy, and Linda Gray, in this case–and you introduce new actors to fill the roles of their late-20s sons and significant others. The production team also took the liberty of renovating Southfork’s interiors extensively; in this case, the interiors are being shot on a sound stage right in Dallas. The new interiors of the home are much more open than in the original show, but the classic features are still there: the dining room is still very formal and the grand staircase is still…well, grand. Here’s a shot of the living room–it’s hard to see, but that’s a painting of Jock and Miss Ellie above the fireplace. (Jim Davis died during the original run of the show, and Barbara Bel Geddes passed away in 2005.)
True fans, especially those who attended the 30th anniversary celebration at Southfork in 2008, will know that the true-life interiors of the real Southfork remain gloriously stuck in the 80s, which is just as it should be. The real house is obviously small by today’s standards, but even on the original run of the show one could tell the producers fudged a bit on the the proportions of the house. At least the layout was accurate, which can’t be said for many 80s shows like The Golden Girls. I’m currently rewatching that series and it’s hopeless to try to match up the exterior shots of their home with the interior. Does Sophia live in the garage or what?!?
I predict great success for Dallas 2.0, and I’m glad I have a new Southern-centric show to watch since GCB got the axe. Now I’ll play the waiting game to see if Dynasty gets the reboot. Joansie Collins is apparently game if they proceed, so only time will tell.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! I have an exciting trip coming up this week, so I’ll do my darndest to give a trip report once I get back in town from that. In the meantime, here’s my review of the Plaza in downtown Las Vegas. Kudos again to Gray at VegasSolo.com for publishing my review.