Will TNT’s new version of Dallas strike ratings oil or come up dry?

J.R., Bobby and Sue Ellen welcome a new generation of Ewings to Southfork.

Howdy y’all. I’m a big Dallas fan. Big as all Texas even. How much do I love the old Dallas show? Well, let’s just say I remember who played Julie Grey and how many Dallas dudes she messed around with before she got tossed off that rooftop and I stayed with the show right through the scene where Cabaret star Joel Grey (no relation to Julie) showed up as The Devil to tempt J.R. into (almost) shooting his brains out in the series finale. Hell, I even watched the two Dallas movies with Tracy Scoggins as a geriatric J.R.’s lingerie-clad aide-de-camp Anita Smithfield and the “Return to Southfork” cast reunion show CBS did a few years back.  That’s dedication for ya, folks, and I feel it puts me in a good position to gauge how TNT’s reboot will fare. Mind you, I realize this continuation of the show is firmly entrenched in the present day and will focus on the photogenic newcomers who will carry the Ewing torch into the 21st Century, but I watch 90210, Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries, too, so I can tell if the TNT suits will be hitting the Gen Y bullseye with their storytelling. Believe me when I say that I have every hope that the show will be a hit. We could use a distraction like Dallas about now. The economy continues to drag along despite what the politicians and media keep telling us and there’s all sorts of international crazy stuff going on that beckon yet another military engagement by the U.S. Sounds a lot like 1978 when the original Dallas miniseries aired on CBS, hitting its stride in 1980 with the “Who Shot J.R.” cliffhanger that arguably changed television forever. TV shows got real soapy after that and remain so to this day.  Shows like Grey’s Anatomy (no relation to Julie or Joel), The Good Wife, reality shows and even the procedurals have serialized storytelling and end their seasons with OMG cliffhangers to keep viewers tuning in. This may give the showrunners at the new Dallas a steep hill to climb since it will be harder to set the show apart from the competition. Airing the show during the summer may be a stroke of genius considering most other original basic cable programming is mired in quirky private eye fare. Time will tell whether TNT hits the right balance between the nostalgia pull of the Dallas brand among the show’s original fans and the social media-ready buzz appeal needed to rope in young viewers. I for one will be watching and wishing J.R. and the gang all the best. I’ll be posting about the journey along the way and hope you’ll drop by for a spell and weigh in with your thoughts on a weekly basis.

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