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Dallas 2012 (spoiler free)

So, I have been catching up with new Dallas, which has been going for a while now. We've had four episodes of it so far. Episode five is either tonight or tomorrow, or some other day this week (I should probably find out). It should be on at 8pm on a Wednesday on BBC1, but is failing to be. This is not exactly co-operative of it, but I shall persevere.

So. Old Dallas was mostly about JR and Bobby. JR was evil with a smile. Bobby was not evil, but did have a spectacular temper. Hence JR would smile at you and be despicable, whilst Bobby would be valiant and heroic, but also much more likely to throw you through a window. Or into a swimming pool; those were his particular speciality. They lived on a ranch, they wore improbably large hats and very shiny boots, and they did Big Business to the accompaniment of loud and jangly music. Also Bobby would often run away from the office to be a cowboy, which was obviously the best bit of all; especially when this led to bar fights. I shall never understand people who go to bars, and don't throw anybody through a window.

New Dallas is a bit different. New Dallas is about Bobby's and JR's sons, Christopher and John Ross. Here is where the show hits a snag. John Ross is doing his best to be evil, I must credit him with that. The trouble is that he's not very good at it. And Christopher is just wet. Neither of them has thrown anybody through a window yet, John Ross isn't anywhere near perfecting an evil smirk, and - probably the worst offence - neither one of them has shown any inclination to have a fight in their swimming pool. What do they think it's there for? You have a barbecue, you throw somebody into the swimming pool. This is what Dallas is about. That, and business and cowboys, obviously. And smirking evilly.

I think I like new Dallas. It worries me a little though. I don't like it because of Christopher, who might just as well not be there at all. I don't like it because of John Ross, who might turn out to be evil eventually, but needs some serious practice. It's because, just like back in the eighties, of JR and Bobby. JR is on the verge of 82 now. Rather noticeably, he has to hold his coffee mug with two hands to stop it shaking. This matters not a jot. He still has an evil smile, he'd still cheerfully stab you in the back if he thought it would gain him anything, and he still loves himself for it. The best thing that happened on my television this week was when JR and his old enemy Cliff Barnes (76) had a head to head in Sue Ellen's office. It was all about sparks and steel and glittery eyes, and it was better than anything the younger cast have managed all season. They don't have a spark between them. They're like damp cardboard. And it makes me wonder how much better a lot of modern television would be if you recast all those allegedly pretty young things with veterans. Have a minimum age of sixty to be allowed on television, and see what happens. There's hardly any older roles around now, but Dallas has lots of them, and they're fabulous. Sue Ellen's 72, and she's clearly deadly. Bobby's still just a baby, as he's only 63, but even that's older than you usually seem allowed to be on television now. I've decided I want more of it. They're just better. Maybe that's just this cast? Maybe it's all about JR's smirk, and the way he tilts his hat; or about Cliff getting that flint hard look in his eyes whenever anybody says the word "Ewing"; or Sue Ellen smirking in a way that tells you she'd cheerfully bite your head off if you ever happen to cross her. In many ways, being reunited with Dallas is like sitting on a comfortable old sofa. It's all there. Awesome music, JR being a complete bastard, Bobby being the nicest guy in the world, Cliff looking for the earliest opportunity to cut JR's head off with a desk stapler. I wish the new characters were as good. I just can't warm to them at all, and this bothers me in all sorts of ways. I don't want to be somebody who grumbles that modern stuff is rubbish. It kind of is this time, though. Must do better, Dallas. It's not much of a new series if the only good bits in it are old.

Underneath the cut, JR and Cliff are 158 between them, and combine to be the best thing on my television all week. Firstly though, courtesy of YouTube and the 1980s, Bobby demonstrates the correct use of a swimming pool. 2012, please take note.

http://youtu.be/Xucc1bi2Yl0

http://youtu.be/kSyAjnI1KnQ

Well, why not. It's what I'd do, if I had a swimming pool. And then fast-forward to this week (apologies for the 'work of art' behind Cliff, by the way. Sue Ellen has interesting office decorations):



Industrial scale glowering from Cliff Barnes (he's had a lot of practice).



JR Ewing proves that you can't beat experience when it comes to being nonchalantly evil.

They should choose current television shows at random, and replace the entire cast with people above 70, just to see what happens. I'm starting to think that it would probably be pretty awesome.

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Comments

anewdaysjourney
Jul. 4th, 2012 07:42 pm (UTC)
Much more like Roseanne before she derailed the show with the lottery win and all that... at least, that's been my experience with it!
ladygretchen
Jul. 5th, 2012 12:18 am (UTC)
haahahhaha, so true.
swordznsorcery
Jul. 5th, 2012 06:29 pm (UTC)
I've never seen Roseanne. Something tells me it wasn't about heroes on horseback, huh. ;)

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