June 14th, 2012
10:57 AM ET
After 21 years, "Dallas" returned to primetime Wednesday night on TNT just as outlandish and over-the-top as ever. But for some TV critics, that's not a compliment.
The show is essentially picking up where it left off, with Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy reprising their roles as J.R. and Bobby Ewing, respectively. ( Linda Gray's Sue Ellen is back as well.)
In this new version, the older Ewings have spawned a new generation, with Josh Henderson playing the son of J.R., John Ross, and "Desperate Housewives'" Jesse Metcalfe portraying Bobby's adopted son Christopher. This time around, John Ross is the oil-hungry Ewing while Christopher plans to make use of alternative energy sources.
TNT stayed close to familiar territory with its updated version and the fight over Southfork is still going strong. Yet while that may please returning fans, it could also make "Dallas" feel outdated, Salon points out in its review.
"The new 'Dallas' isn't even entertaining," and "could not feel more irrelevant," the review critiques. "To the best of its ability, the original 'Dallas' was modern, not to mention playful and salacious, whereas the new 'Dallas' is a flat reanimation of an out-of-date format."
Although USA Today also found "Dallas'" return to be wholly needless, the review did give kudos to Larry Hagman. Calling the return of the former characters "the only wise decision the show's re-creators [made]," the review adds that Hagman was, "as always ... in a class by himself." Too bad, the review noted, that he returned in an "embarrassing throwback" without anything fresh to offer.
The Hollywood Reporter was just unimpressed with TNT's "Dallas" revival, warning that even the nostalgic shouldn't revisit this long-running soap.
"This is pandering of the lowest kind," THR says in its review. "The writing is brutal and obvious, the acting is comical, and none of it is bettered by the directing ... 'Dallas' is terrible."
But the New York Post suggests that the familiar backstabbing and betrayal will win you over eventually, saying in its review that the new "Dallas" is "more ridiculous, campier, more preposterous and so totally over the top that it's skirting insanity," counting those as reasons to love the updated spin.
Entertainment Weekly also found the new "Dallas" to be "a rare example of an artistically successful TV-classic update." TNT's version has its flaws, but overall, it's still a "solidly constructed soap," "wooden dialogue, oily plot twists" and all.
TNT is owned by the parent company of CNN.
What'd you think of "Dallas'" return?
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