- Special Features
- Log In/Register
Review – Dallas
Rating: 3. “Dallas,” the top-rated southern-soap series that ran from 1978–1991, is back this season with a new cast, a new generation, and a lot of the same old problems. The show’s two-hour premiere will be broadcast on TNT on Wednesday, June 13th at 9 p.m.
USA Today says, “This ‘Dallas’ may be new, but it’s not improved.” They write, “You can find mummies who look fresher than this mold-encrusted relic, and who have newer ideas in their empty, embalmed heads. Not, of course, that this embarrassing throwback has any idea to offer beyond a desire to cash in on the standard-setting success of the CBS original in the 1980s.”
The New York Times says the show “doesn’t meet expectations, let alone defy them. This version is palely faithful to the original without any of its seditious zest.” They add, “Texans used to be big hat; now they are old hat. So, unfortunately, is ‘Dallas.’”
Entertainment Weekly liked the show, saying, “The new TNT version of Dallas is a rare example of an artistically successful — well, entertainingly successful, at least — TV-classic update.” They even went so far as to call David Jacobs, the creator of the original “Dallas” series, an “auteur.” “Overall,” they write, “Dallas is a solidly constructed soap opera, with strong dialogue and oily plot twists.”
Variety says, “TNT’s take on the classic primetime serial is exactly as it should be: Texas-sized, frothy and unwilling to settle for a double-cross when a triple can be executed.” They also say that the show “does a deft job of wedding old and new, setting a fresh generation of Ewings at each other’s throats while credibly (enough for these purposes, anyway) incorporating the old guard,” and add that although “Audiences have seen plenty of Texas [on TV] in recent years…there’s no substitute for old-fashioned crude.”
The Washington Post said the show, “does the near-impossible. It reclaims the soapy and sinister charm that made this saga a hit for 14 seasons until relinquishing its hold on CBS’ Friday lineup in 1991.”
The Kansas City Star featured an in-depth review, saying, “the presence of Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray as JR, Bobby and Sue Ellen Ewing – arguably the most important characters from the original series – means that you should take it as seriously, on its less than serious terms.” They also noted the fact that, while the original “Dallas” aired on CBS, “CBS is not what it was when “Dallas” reigned, and advances in television technology mean that even in this relatively more economy-minded venue, it is a fancier affair – and given looser standards and practices, an edgier, more explicit one – than the original. But as redeveloped by Cynthia Cidre (the 2007 CBS prime-time soap “Cane”), it is very much its heir, in spirit and execution.”
The San Francisco Chronicle also liked it, saying, “TNT’s new take on “Dallas” is so calculating, it’s almost worthy of JR Ewing himself, and I mean that in the most complimentary way…Resist if you want to, but whether you were a fan of the original series, or still in utero when it went off the air in 1991, TNT’s “Dallas” will wear you down and pull you in with its mix of sex, intrigue, backstabbing, dirty dealing, blackmail and family secrets.” They also noted, “The female characters are especially elusive and underwritten, with the exception of Strong’s Annie, who has her own secrets to hide.”
On the other hand, the Washington Times called the “Dallas” reboot “vapid” and “unimaginative.” They said, “it’s a show that wants to have it both ways: offering a reductive view of upper-class life that robs the show of its dramatic potential even as it attempts to lure viewers in with the spectacle of wealth and success.” Even more critically, they added, “‘Dallas’ tries to let viewers live vicariously through the privileged lives of its characters, while at the same time reassuring them that they’d never truly want those lives as their own. Where’s the drama in that? Where’s the suspense? If the wealthy are so uninteresting, then why care about their fate at all? And if wealth is its own punishment, then what is there for the audience to root for? Forget whether it’s fair to the rich: It’s unfair to ordinary viewers.”
The Wall Street Journal writes, “As the premiere episode nears its end, the plot begins thickening agreeably with so many secrets, dark revelations, shocks and betrayals it all begins to seem familiarly and comfortably absorbing. Enough anyway to evoke memories of the ‘Dallas’ that America and half the world came to know and love during its long run on CBS (1978-91).”
The Washington Post called it “A satisfying role in the sentimental hay,” and said it’s the show’s “reverence for the deceit and despair that so thoroughly colored the original” that makes it successful. They add that “The new version also has a healthy respect for the general ‘Dallas’ canon, embracing 13 years of convoluted story lines and long-gone characters instead of pretending the whole mess never happened.”
The Sioux City Journal is a bit more skeptical, saying, “It’s fun to see the parade of past pranksters but if you don’t have a history with ‘Dallas’ you’ll wonder why these people get screen time without contributing much to the storyline.” They also say that, in order to succeed, “this ‘Dallas’ needs to go out on its own, enjoy the spoils from the earlier one and explore new plotlines. Some look re-tilled; others need more nurturing.”
Columbus Alive was less appreciative, however, writing, “the melodrama is utterly unwatchable — it’s not even so bad that it’s funny,” and adding that “The cast isn’t capable enough to make the convoluted, yet meaningless writing — an amazingly obnoxious contradiction to pull off — any better. If anything they make it worse.” The show is “supposed to be epically dramatic,” they say, “but it’s actually just dumb.
Get Our Free Newsletter
Our daily TV show pick for tonight is "The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show" on CBS at 10:00. After all, we like fashion as much as the next guy.
- Boardwalk Empire
- Ray Donovan
- Three Stooges repeats
- Breaking Bad
- Black Mirror
- Ray Donovan
- The Mindy Project
- Children's Hospital
- South Park
Morris Levy is the producer of the HBO film, "Seduced and Abandoned" in which actor Alec Baldwin and director James Toback’s attempt to raise financing for a new film. When not busy producing movies, here's what Levy likes to watch:
Check out our interview with Levy for more insights.
Glenn Howerton plays Dennis Reynolds on FX's It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (on which he is also a writer and executive producer). For a guy that funny, you might be surprised (or not) to learn that he's also a fan of dark dramas. Here's what he likes to watch:
More insights on the actor/writer and It's Always Sunny can be found in our interview with Glenn.
Featured TV Reviews
TV Show Review – Six By Sondheim
Rating: 5 (out of 5). HBO’s “Six by Sondheim” is a documentary that pays tribute to Stephen Sondheim. This story of his life is told by James Lupine, the man who collaborated with Sondheim on “Sunday in the Park With George,” “Into the Woods” and “Passion.” The film focuses on six Sondheim songs to provide [...]
TV Show Review – Bonnie & Clyde
Rating: 3 (out of 5). A&E, Lifetime and the History Channel will all air the two night mini-series, “Bonnie and Clyde.” This new version of the story of the famous couple comes complete with a Clyde who is oddly gifted with a second sight and a Bonnie who wants to be an actress. The critics [...]
TV Show Review – Kirstie
Rating: 3 (out of 5). Kirstie Alley is back on TV as Broadway star Madison Banks in this new comedy series on TV Land. Arlo (Eric Petersen), the son she gave up for adoption 26 years ago, shows up one day, and she has to adjust to this new situation. The critics are comparing it [...]
TV Show Review – Mob City
Rating: 3 (out of 5). TNT’s new series “MobCity” takes us to 1947 Los Angeles and the war between the mobsters and the corrupt police force as they fight for control of the city. This film noir series from Frank Darabont (Walking Dead, Shawshank Redemption) is heavy on mood and cast but perhaps light on the [...]
- TV Show Review – Six By Sondheim
New on VOD
Here are the new VOD films for the week of December 10, 2013. Click on a movie title for more information, trailers and reviews.
Fast & Furious 6. Rating: 4 (out of 5). The sixth installment of the Fast and Furious franchise, the film follows a professional criminal gang led by Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) who have retired following their successful heist in Fast Five(2011), but remain wanted fugitives. U.S. Diplomatic Security Service agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) offers to clear the group's criminal records and allow them to return home in exchange for helping him to take down a skilled mercenary organization led by Owen Shaw and his second-in-command, Dominic's presumed-dead lover Letty Ortiz. The film premieres on VOD on Tuesday, December 10. According to Chicago Tribune, “it’s a surprising, unlikely delight.” Reviews, video and more.
The Hunt. Rating: 4 (out of 5). Things are finally starting to look up for Lucas, after a tough divorce and the loss of his job. But a lie that he molested a child starts to shatter his life, and he is forced to fight for his life and dignity. This Danish film will be available on VOD starting December 10. USA Today gives it 4 stars (out of 4), and writes, “Unsettling, forthright and thought-provoking, The Hunt is also brilliantly titled.” Reviews, video and more.
Some Velvet Morning. Rating: 4 (out of 5). A man, Fred, arrives on the doorstep of his mistress, Eve, after four long years, and says that he finally left his wife. When she rejects him, his persistence turns into obsession, and a dark history between them is revealed. Neil Labute writes and directs. The film will be available on VOD starting Tuesday, December 10th. Film.com describes it as “A horror film with no blood, a rough ride that kicks you in the stomach.” Revies, video and more.
Here Comes the Devil. Rating: 2 (out of 5). Felix and Sol’s preteen son and daughter get lost overnight after taking a casual hike to a desolate, cave-riddled mountainside. The children return but things turn for the worse, though, when their behavior changes. The film will be available on VOD starting Friday, December 13th. According to Screen Crush, “This is a hardcore midnight cult WTF-fest that’s odd, noisy and weird.” Reviews, video and more.
Battle of the Year. Rating: 2 (out of 5). The Olympics of breakdancing called Battle of the Year, held every year, attracts the best teams from around the world. The US hasn’t won in fifteen years. B-Boy Dante (Laz Alonso), a Los Angeles-based Hip Hop mogul, wants to put America back on top, so he enlists the help of his championship basketball coach friend, Blake (Josh Holloway), to train his team. “Battle of the Year” comes to VOD on Tuesday, December 10th. The Hollywood Reporter thinks “The young dancers' undeniable skill and athleticism is squandered in this formulaic, overly familiar dance movie.” Reviews, video and more.
Hours. Rating: 1 (out of 5). Nolan Hayes (Paul Walker) arrives at a New Orleans hospital with his wife going into early labor. The day that is supposed to be one of the happiest turns into one of the worst, as Hurricane Katrina hits and forces an evacuation from the hospital. Nolan and his premature newborn were told to stay in the hospital and wait for the ambulance. But when no one returns to help, Nolan is forced to make life-and-death decisions. The film will be available on VOD starting Friday, December 13. According to We Got This Covered, ““Hours” is one of the most relentlessly tedious films of the year, despite star Paul Walker's valiant efforts.” Reviews, video and more.