Dallas 2012 (TNT) (Renewed) - Series Premiere: Synopsis, Review and Ratings
‘Dallas’ (TNT Wednesdays 9/8c) revolves around the Ewing family. The series continues on the 1978-series, also named ‘Dallas’. In contrast to the 1978-series, the 2012 version of ‘Dallas’ revolves mainly about John Ross Ewing III (Josh Henderson, ‘Desperate Housewives’) and Christopher Ewing (Jesse Metcalfe, ‘Desperate Housewives’), the sons of the two brothers who were the main characters in the 1978-series: Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) and J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman).
Update: After averaging at 6.9 million viewers for its first season, TNT announced the renewal of 'Dallas' for a 15-episode second season on June 29th. The sophomore season of the reboot show is scheduled to premiere in 2013, most likely during the summer.
The first episode starts with John Ross and his girlfriend Elena (Jordana Brewster, ‘As the World Turns’) when they find oil on the Southfork ranch premises. However, Bobby won’t let them drill because of a promise he made to his mother. Instead, Bobby wants to sell the ranch to invest in his son Christopher’s idea of using frozen methane as an energy source, a new environmentally friendly solution. What he doesn’t tell his family is that he has another reason to sell the ranch: he has cancer and he is afraid that if he dies, Christopher and John Ross will fight over the ranch. John Ross tries to persuade Bobby not to sell the ranch, but with no effect. So John Ross turns to his father J.R. for help. J.R. has been living in a nursing home, but when he hears his son’s story he rises once again to claim ownership of Southfork. Just as he’s done in the past he uses his son as a tool to get what he wants. However, John Ross has learned from his father and tries to double-cross him. Too bad J.R. is too wise not to notice this. However, he isn’t smart enough to notice that the woman he is working with, Marta (Leonor Varela, ‘Cleopatra’), is not the person he thinks she is.
John Ross persuades Elena to spy on Christopher and his project. Elena and Christopher used to be together and Christopher tells her about the problems his project is facing without thinking twice. It seems that extracting the frozen methane may cause earthquakes, which could mean the end of the project. Elena does not tell John Ross about this, but she wasn’t the only card in his deck. He procures the information from someone else and tries to blackmail Christopher into stopping Bobby from selling the ranch by threatening to expose him. Christopher is convinced Elena told John Ross about the earthquakes and confronts her. During their argument they discover that the only reason they broke up was because Christopher supposedly sent her an e-mail saying he didn’t want to go on with her. However, Christopher swears he wasn’t the one who sent that e-mail and they both suspect John Ross. Christopher was going to tell his father about the dangers of his project anyway, and with John Ross threatening him he has another reason to do so. After telling Bobby about the risks, Bobby decides he still wants to sell. This is probably because of his disease, although he still won’t tell his family. His new wife Ann (Brenda Strong, ‘Desperate Housewives’) finds his medication however, so now she knows.
In the meantime, Christopher and his fiancée Rebecca (Julie Gonzalo, ‘Eli Stone’) are getting married. Rebecca’s only bridesmaid can’t make it, and John Ross suggests Elena to take over the role. Although this is quite awkward, due to Elena’s previous relationship with Christopher, she agrees to do so. She doesn’t seem all that thrilled about Christopher and Rebecca getting married, though.
The second episode continues where the first left off, showing that the attorney who handles the sale of the ranch, works for John Ross and has decided to blackmail John Ross into giving him more money. John Ross contacts Marta to procure the money. But first he is confronted by Elena about the e-mail Christopher supposedly sent. John Ross denies to have sent the e-mail and is angry with Elena because he realizes that if this e-mail hadn’t been sent, Elena would have married Christopher and he would have never been with her. They take some time to think about it and decide to break up. They will remain business partners though.
With his relationship with Elena out of the way, John Ross decides to focus his attention on Marta. When he asks her for money to pay the attorney she drugs him and records their lovemaking with a camera, without a doubt to use it against him later on.
Rebecca and Christopher break off their honeymoon because Christopher isn’t OK with his father selling the ranch just so he can invest in him. His father tells him he is going to sell the ranch either way because he doesn’t want John Ross and Christopher fighting over it. He still doesn’t tell Christopher about his disease, however. With Christopher at home there are a few more confrontations between him and John Ross, mainly about the e-mail they both claim they didn’t send.
Rebecca seems to be quite an innocent person in all this, but nothing could be farther from the truth. It turns out she and her brother, who got himself a job on the ranch after the wedding, have a plan of their own. What this plan exactly means remains to be seen.
At the end of the second episode we see J.R. as he visits Marta’s father, the person he was working with to secretly buy the ranch from Bobby. When he arrives there, however, he discovers that Marta wasn’t who she said she was. With all the deceiving and double-crossing in this case it’s hard even for the players to know who’s on their side and who isn’t.
This series started off as quite hard to follow. There were a lot of characters that were introduced after one another and if you haven’t seen the original series it can be hard to understand who is who. This is quickly resolved however, and when it comes to understanding the personalities the storyline makes it really clear who wants what. It’s very evident that the backstabbing hasn’t lessened in the past years. It makes for an entertaining series.
The different storylines make the series entertaining because there is a lot going on. However, it also makes the bigger picture harder to see. It’s important to know who is siding with whom right from the start because this has consequences later on. However, especially between J.R. and John Ross it’s hard to know who works for who. There is a lot of blackmailing and bribing involved and the loyalty shifts from one to the other with the blink of an eye.
All in all the series is an entertaining continuation on the original series. If the series speaks to the same audience as it did all those years ago remains to be seen (after all, these people have aged quite some years by now) so it really needs to deliver new storylines to appeal to a younger audience. It can’t constantly fall back on old storylines without any explanation. The writers seem to realize this however, as the pilot episodes show quite clearly. They haven’t ignored the original series either however, and they are letting the key-aspects seep through in the new series. If they can find the right balance between new and old, this series could be quite the success.
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