There’s something of an east-west divide in today’s reviews of the new “Dallas” incarnation that’s to debut on TNT tonight. The LA Times likes it a fair bit more than The NY Times.
The original, of course, was a turning point in American television. The new one, says The NYT, “doesn’t meet expectations, let alone defy them. This version is palely faithful to the original without any of its seditious zest.”
Another choice quote: “’Dallas’ is a look at a new generation of Ewings that feels old and even stodgy.”
The NYT further says the one hilarious element is how the story has been updated. Now it’s JR and Bobby’s kids who square off. The former is a fracking freak, the second a clean-energy nut.
The opening theme music is the same (but apparently the lyrics to the French version – yes, there are lyrics in French – still have not been translated for the update).
The LAT on the other hand allows that there’s “some sloppy writing” and that it can sometimes look “phony…But ‘Dallas’ never was a series that worried over a little wooden acting, or prized sense over the sensational: The narrative flexibility of the original was such that, in the mid-1980s, in order to rewrite a briefly departed Duffy back into the show, an entire season was declared to have been a dream.”
As redeveloped by Cynthia Cidre, The LAT says the show is very much the original’s heir “in spirit and execution.”
“Then as now — and acknowledging some good work among the younger set, especially the Texas-born Henderson — it is Hagman’s show. To say there is no series here that would be worth watching without him is indeed only to point out another way in which the new ‘Dallas’ is very much like the old.”