Dallas : Season by season: where DALLAS went wrong (and right) … SPOILERS!

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Do you mean the patented Bobby Ewing pause? The one where he takes a big deep breath, but never fully exhales. Is that what you are referring to?
Yes, yes that one! jump2.gif


And I would also like to go on record as a big fan of your synopsis. You and the Graison Mustache are the glue that holds this board together.
Humbled!



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Very entertaining analysis of one of my favorite TV showsat least, before the dream season. There was still some good parts of the '86-87 season but not much after that, IMO.
Yes, that sums it up.


LBJ's mistress tells all:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPdviZbk-XI&


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The 86/87 season, despite its dreadful "I had a dream" opening scene, was the last year that DALLAS felt like DALLAS.

The next season was "okay-ish". After that, it just lost it.





The most profound of sin is tragedy unremembered.

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"The 86/87 season, despite its dreadful "I had a dream" opening scene, was the last year that DALLAS felt like DALLAS.

The next season was "okay-ish". After that, it just lost it. "

Agreed. I think partly because Victoria Principal, the show's female lead, left after '87, followed by each season when more long time regulars would leave (Steve Kanaly and Priscilla Presley in 1988; Linda Gray in 1989; Barbara Bel Geddes and Charlene Tilton in 1990).

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Agreed. I think partly because Victoria Principal, the show's female lead, left after '87, followed by each season when more long time regulars would leave (Steve Kanaly and Priscilla Presley in 1988; Linda Gray in 1989; Barbara Bel Geddes and Charlene Tilton in 1990).


Yes, and due to the leaving of writer/producer David Paulsen and the series' increasing campy tone.

In fact that may have been why Paulsen left: executive producer Lenny Katzman had decided to take the final seasons in a "camp" direction, and Paulsen wasn't interested.

Creator David Jacobs once said that despite the humor and satire within these shows, they "must be played absolutely straight" on the surface in order for them to work.




LBJ's mistress on JFK:



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Yes, that was the end of most of the good stuff.


LBJ's mistress on JFK:



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Re: Season by season: where DALLAS went wrong (and where it went right) …

Great article PrometheusTree64, a very well done reconstruction of DALLAS as the series ascended to the highest levels of television drama. Until regressing into apathy, self parody and then finally total ridiculousness.

What I found so utterly amazing about your article is that it reminded me why I become so addicted to the series starting with season 4, but had grown only mildly interested by season 8, until I'd completely stopped watching shortly after the start of season 9.

I mean, I knew why I started watching the 4th season of DALLAS so religiously in the first place. So I could find out what the rest of the world wanted to know at the time, which was "Who Shot JR?" of coarse.

Unfortunately, I was the last person to ask at the time because, I never watched the previous 3 seasons and didn't even know who JR was, or why anyone would want to shoot him. Or, why anyone would even care if someone shot JR or not.

So, after a quick investigation, I soon discovered that JR was in fact, a fictional TV character played by the once great comedic star of "I Dream of Jeanie" (who I had always been a fan of) and began to quickly immerse myself into the rich history of the DALLAS series, by watching the rest of the Season 3 summer reruns. I became a dedicated student of the series for the next few months, just so I could be apart of the great international collective discovery over, "Who Shot JR?".(after that season I was hooked on the series like a TV junkie for the next 4 seasons)

Then, without a real understanding of why at the time, I suddenly became very disinterested with the characters shortly after the start of the 8th season. However, after reading your article I think it did had a lot to do with the sudden introduction of Donna Reed as the NEW Miss Ellie. And, it was like as you described it,

"a feeling of depression hanging over the show all season, the sense that something precious has now been ruined."


That, and I had just turned 16 at the time, and had a car. So I didn't have much interest in spending an hour watching a show that had lost its way on a Friday night. So, by season 9 I had completely lost all interest in DALLAS.

So, in conclusion, from my now enhanced memory of the series (thanks to your article) I can say that from my perspective I think the BEST thing the series ever did was shoot JR. I mean, it became such a national and international sensation at the time that even a middle school kid like me wanted to know "Who Shot JR.". And, I didn't even know who JR was.

The WORST for me was Season 9, for all the reasons that you mentioned. Interesting story plot set-ups at the beginning of the season, without any confrontations that was promised us. No more drama before the surprise twist to the resolution of the set-up. Only phoney tact on "feel good" resolutions to confrontations that never happened.(boring)

I was so done with the series by the end of season 8, that when I first heard about how they ultimately decided to bring Bobby back at the beginning of season 10, by claiming that the entire Season 9 was all just a dream. I fell over laughing in disbelief that they would go in that direction. And, I was so glad that I had stopped watching by season 9. After all, it was all just a dream anyways, so why bother.

Best article I've seen posted on IMDB so far.

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Very nice of you brtndr thanks! cheers.gif


Great article PrometheusTree64, a very well done reconstruction of DALLAS as the series ascended to the highest levels of television drama. Until regressing into apathy, self parody and then finally total ridiculousness.

What I found so utterly amazing about your article is that it reminded me why I become so addicted to the series starting with season 4, but had grown only mildly interested by season 8, until I'd completely stopped watching shortly after the start of season 9.

I mean, I knew why I started watching the 4th season of DALLAS so religiously in the first place. So I could find out what the rest of the world wanted to know at the time, which was "Who Shot JR?" of coarse.

Unfortunately, I was the last person to ask at the time because, I never watched the previous 3 seasons and didn't even know who JR was, or why anyone would want to shoot him. Or, why anyone would even care if someone shot JR or not.

So, after a quick investigation, I soon discovered that JR was in fact, a fictional TV character played by the once great comedic star of "I Dream of Jeanie" (who I had always been a fan of) and began to quickly immerse myself into the rich history of the DALLAS series, by watching the rest of the Season 3 summer reruns. I became a dedicated student of the series for the next few months, just so I could be apart of the great international collective discovery over, "Who Shot JR?".(after that season I was hooked on the series like a TV junkie for the next 4 seasons)

Then, without a real understanding of why at the time, I suddenly became very disinterested with the characters shortly after the start of the 8th season. However, after reading your article I think it did had a lot to do with the sudden introduction of Donna Reed as the NEW Miss Ellie. And, it was like as you described it,


"a feeling of depression hanging over the show all season, the sense that something precious has now been ruined."




That, and I had just turned 16 at the time, and had a car. So I didn't have much interest in spending an hour watching a show that had lost its way on a Friday night. So, by season 9 I had completely lost all interest in DALLAS.

So, in conclusion, from my now enhanced memory of the series (thanks to your article) I can say that from my perspective I think the BEST thing the series ever did was shoot JR. I mean, it became such a national and international sensation at the time that even a middle school kid like me wanted to know "Who Shot JR.". And, I didn't even know who JR was.

The WORST for me was Season 9, for all the reasons that you mentioned. Interesting story plot set-ups at the beginning of the season, without any confrontations that was promised us. No more drama before the surprise twist to the resolution of the set-up. Only phoney tact on "feel good" resolutions to confrontations that never happened.(boring)

I was so done with the series by the end of season 8, that when I first heard about how they ultimately decided to bring Bobby back at the beginning of season 10, by claiming that the entire Season 9 was all just a dream. I fell over laughing in disbelief that they would go in that direction. And, I was so glad that I had stopped watching by season 9. After all, it was all just a dream anyways, so why bother.

Best article I've seen posted on IMDB so far.

Re: Season by season: where DALLAS went wrong (and right) … SPOILERS!

Fantastic synopsis, it really brought me down memory lane. I haven't seen the original episodes since it was on TNT (or TNN, I forget) in the 90's. I forgot just how amazing the season with Jock's Will and the competition over Ewing Oil was. Thanks Prometheus.

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Thanks, fredunger! hat.gif



Re: Season by season: where DALLAS went wrong (and right) … SPOILERS!

The Jessica Redux episode in season 13 is poop. The producers had not only "jumped the shark", they let the shark write the episode. Watching those flashbacks and listening to Clayton and McKay scheme over Dusty's West Star stock was more than I could stomach. They referred to themselves as dinosaurs for crying out loud. Anyway, I just had to unburden myself.

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Yes, Jessica's return is indeed poop.



Re: Season by season: where DALLAS went wrong (and right) … SPOILERS!

Wow, I really enjoyed reading this. Absolutely brilliant recap and expos of all the seasons. Often, the off-screen machinations made for more interesting reading than JR's on-screen manoeuvrings. Thanks for posting, Prometheus!


Feed me a stray cat

Re: Season by season:

Glad you enjoyed it, francis!



Non-sequiturs are delicious.

Re: Season by season:

I was a fan of the show until the Season 10 premiere. It showed that the producers had no respect at all for the viewers. They should have brought Patrick Duffy back as another character, Jock's illegitimate son, like Heath in The Big Valley. Or maybe as a long lost Ewing cousin. Instead they did the biggest shark jump in tv history. It was a totally unbelievable plot device. I never watched the show again after that Season 10 premiere episode.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Re: Season by season:


I was a fan of the show until the Season 10 premiere. It showed that the producers had no respect at all for the viewers. They should have brought Patrick Duffy back as another character, Jock's illegitimate son, like Heath in The Big Valley. Or maybe as a long lost Ewing cousin. Instead they did the biggest shark jump in tv history. It was a totally unbelievable plot device. I never watched the show again after that Season 10 premiere episode.


A lot of people had the same reaction and never came back; plus, the show slid into gradual camp after that.

For me, the only way they could have done it and minimized the damaged was a) to use the Federal Witness Protection Program scenario (it could be explained in a single episode, and it could make the entire Angelica Nero mess of a plotline make a little more sense retroactively) or, b) if it had to be a dream, make it Bobby's dream while he was flat-lined.

But no Leonard Katzman had no intention of making it work: he was giving the finger to the writers who'd run the show during the year Bobby died.

No explanation is perfect when you're reviving a character from the dead, of course, but telling the audience that Ewings were duped about Bobby's death is much different then telling the audience that the audience was duped.

One of the ironies of this mess, was that Bobby's firs year back (and Pam's last year) was knee-slappingly good. But many fans couldn't get past the "I had a terrible dream!" speech which opened the season.



Non-sequiturs are delicious.

Re: Season by season:

People close to the show have gone around for 28 years claiming the Dream scenario was "brilliant" and "the only way to bring Bobby back" and pretend it wasn't as destructive or as controversial as it actually was seen as being back in 1986.

But the show never recovered.



Non-sequiturs are delicious.

Re: Season by season:

That was definitely one of the best articles I have ever read on IMDB, and possibly anywhere. I don't know if it's because you were so into it yourself, or an objective view having just watched them all, but if it WAS objective I would surely recommend you go further and do more of that for other shows.

-
You were born with nothing. Everything after is a bonus.

Re: Season by season:


That was definitely one of the best articles I have ever read on IMDB, and possibly anywhere. I don't know if it's because you were so into it yourself, or an objective view having just watched them all, but if it WAS objective I would surely recommend you go further and do more of that for other shows.

Thank you, Isabella_Rose!



The most profound of sin is tragedy unremembered.

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Re: Season by season:

OP you said "How could a plot device that ruined totally the reputation of the most successful drama series in global television history be brilliant"

Please explain the latter of that sentence and where you got that it was the most successful drama series in global television history and provide some proof of this claim

Re: Season by season:

"Provide proof"?

That's like asking me to prove I LOVE LUCY was the most successful sitcom and series in global television history. It just was. It's well-documented.

Same with DALLAS in the drama category.



The most profound of sin is tragedy unremembered.

Re: Season by season:


Other thoughts - for me, the show lost so much with the departure of Susan Howard, who I thought was one of the best on the show. One particularly memorable scene is when Donna and Ray find out that the baby has Down's syndrome, and Ray suggests abortion but Donna screams this baby is alive. Also I really liked the portrayal of her friendship with Miss Ellie.

You are also completely right about Pam's departure being poorly handled. Miss Ellie's exclamation that "We'll just have to put it behind us" was ridiculous (erm, your daughter in law and mother of your grandson was just engulfed in a fireball, and is now wrapped head to toe in bandages. It's not really something that can just be put behind you) as was the fact that neither she nor Sue Ellen even visited her in hospital. Sue Ellen barely even mentioned what had happened. Just absurd.


Yes, and that happened because Leonard Katzman was mad at Susan Howard (she publicly dissed the dream scenario) and everyone disliked Principal (so her write-out, a la titles like "The Mummy's Revenge", was snarky).




The most profound of sin is tragedy unremembered.

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Re: Season by season: where DALLAS went wrong (and right) … SPOILERS!

I haven't quite read through everything yet, but I just wanted to note:


Adding to the effective, reflective tone of the season is the striking cinematography by new D.P., Bradford May: all of a sudden, the downtown offices and the rooms at Southfork no longer look like the flat-lighted studio sets they once did, and now appear instead like real rooms in a real house. As a result, there has never been a stronger sense of place to Southfork. So much so that there is almost a loudness, a resonance, even to the silences. Both this and the vivid narrative give DALLAS a new level of artistic maturity it's never reached before, and weekly ratings seem to show that the audience approves.


I'm in the middle of a second rewatch and I just started said year (Season 7). I remember the first time I saw it - I practically did a double take because the show looked so fantastic visually. I wouldn't even know how to describe it - cinema quality?

Anyway, I'm very much impressed by it. A standout for sure.

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Yes, Bardford May's camerawork is terrific. Naturally, Lenny Katzman hated it.


LBJ's mistress on JFK:



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Katzman was an odd guy: he both "made" and arguably destroyed DALLAS.


LBJ's mistress on JFK:



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He did? And he was the reason Bradford May was let go? You mean season 7 (8 on DVD) could have looked just as good as season 6 if it weren't for Katzman? I'm fuming!!!!

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May apparently wanted to move on to directing, too.


LBJ's mistress on JFK:



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Nice write-up! One thing that bugged me in the final two seasons is that they wound up filming on the studio ranch for the entire seasons while previously we would get to see the real ranch for half the season.
What bothers me the most about the final two seasons is that the plot lines are repeats of what we have seen before: JR is in love with Kelly and next thing he hates her and wants a divorce. This is exactly the same he did to Sue Ellen. Then of course you have the constant fights between JR and Cliff..yawn! JR going behind Bobby's back.yawn!
And no Sue Ellen, no Ray, no Pamela, no Jenna didn't help either.

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Yes, Larry Hagman conceded years later that the last two seasons "weren't up to par" and Patrick Duffy admitted just a couple of years ago that towards the end of DALLAS "we lost perspective about what qualifies as a good story."


LBJ's mistress on JFK:



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Anybody have any opinions on EMPIRE? Is it like DALLAS or more like the EMPIRE producer's favorite, DYNASTY?


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Empire's first season was great.

Second season not so much - you could see the Network meddling.

Now the third is kind of interesting, as far as Andre is concerned.



Hate-watching says more about the viewer than it does about the show.
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