'Dallas' returns, minus J.R. Ewing

Thursday, 20 February 2014 12:23 PM Written by 

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With the key art from season three of "Dallas" (9 p.m. Monday) -- see above and more after the jump at the bottom of this post -- it's clear that TNT has decided to stake the show's future on its younger cast members, which, after the death of J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) probably makes sense from a self-preservation view but it may also be the show's undoing.

Read more after the jump. ...

There's no sign of Bobby (Patrick Ewing) or Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) in the selling of season three of TNT's "Dallas" reboot (9 p.m. Monday), though they're still heavily featured in the first two episodes. The focus of the campaign and the first episode is on the young'uns.

J.R.'s son, John Ross (Josh Henderson), is again at loggerheads with Bobby and a now-bearded cousin Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) and John Ross threatens to go fracking on Southfork land. "Dallas" positions John Ross as the second coming of J.R. but Henderson is more douchey than Hagman's rascally schemer. It's not the same and the more the show pushes John Ross on the audience, the more the audience is likely to flee.

When the story isn't about the young characters, it shifts to the older characters who are all about dredging up the memory of the late J.R. as the show desperately clings to its more storied past.

"Bobby bettered J.R. more often than he should have because J.R. underestimated him," Sue Ellen tells John Ross. "You're better than your father was. I just don’t want you to make the same mistake."

"Having you around is sort of like having J.R. back in my life," Bobby tells John Ross. "I had to learn to roll with him, I can learn to roll with you. We are a family."

"I stopped JR, I stopped you once, you're not half the man your daddy was," Bobby says, speaking what I was thinking about John Ross.

"If JR were alive he would have told John Ross the path he's on will lead to nothing but heartache and misery," Sue Ellen says. "J.R.'s not alive so it's up to me to make sure my son is not destroying his life."

It's a shame because that this new "Dallas" actually does have an ideal J.R. successor in Judith Light's Judith Ryland, who returns in episode two. She's not a Ewing, but grandma Ryland is far more entertaining than any of the young hunks fighting around the pool at Southfork. 

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