The “Dallas” revival continues on TNT! Be still my inner child of the '80s!
What do you think so far? I mean, it's about land (Southfork) and mineral rights and the “awl bidness” — and, to really bring the storyline and the Ewing clan up to date, it's got an alternative energy thing going.
Oh, and there is plenty of Texas cheese.
The new series started with John Ross Ewing, J.R.'s son, completing a well on Southfork (unknown to Bobby, who promised his mama, Miss Ellie, that nary a drillin' rig would poke a hole in sacred Southfork).
The rig looked like it was made by Tonka. Or maybe it was a water well-drilling rig converted. Anyway, when the well came in, up blasted the crude — and then down it showered on John Ross and his crew — like it was the 1930s or something. I observed to my wife: “I think the people who made ‘Twister' are the ones who made the new ‘Dallas.'”
When the well popped, John Ross was catching a snooze on a mattress set out apparently for just such purposes (and Lord only knows what else, knowin' the Ewingses) — and danged if in his excitement he didn't doff his cowboy hat AND TOSS IT ON THE BED.
(Who can blame him? A few clicks on a soon oil-sheened laptop by his girlfriend, or fiancee, or ex, I couldn't keep them straight, revealed that the well was coming in at a rate of TEN THOUSAND BARRELS a day! From a pool of TWO BILLION BARRELS under Southfork! And it was all new news! “Whoop,” they hollered, “eeee!”)
BUT: Everybody knows that in the cowboy world John Ross was just asking for T-R-O-U-B-L-E. It is major BAD LUCK to throw your hat on a bed! What a plot portent.
If the “Dallas” writers knew that, if they knew what John Ross was doing, they'll flash back to that scene and note that long-held cowboy hat superstition when John Ross gets into trouble, as he surely will.
But I wouldn't count on it. Later, when Bobby finds out about the well on the sweet soil of sweet Miss Ellie's Southfork, he heads to court and sends out the sheriff to stop the well in its tracks and John Ross in his boots. And he apologizes to the roughnecks, allowing as to how he knows times are hard in the awl bidness and that he hopes they can find other work.
Which suggests that the writers really don't know the story of the awl patch right now, and probably know less about the cattle bidness and cowboy lore.
On Bobby's side of the family, his adopted son, Chris Ewing, is going whole hog into the alternative energy bidness, specifically harvesting methane hydrates. That's ice that burns, as demonstrated — maybe with a chunk of some dry ice doused with Red Devil or Ronsonol or something — in the first episode.
Now, I know nothing about methane hydrates, but a friend of mine who does told me that the problems Chris and his experimental harvesting crew encountered — seaquakes in the China Sea, I think — are entirely plausible, since methane hydrates are extremely volatile and harvesting them would be fraught with explosive danger.
In the second episode, Southfork itself, the ranch, was the thing. Bobby abandoned plans to sell it to a nature conservancy, of all things. J.R., pretending to be a doddering old fool from his years in an “old folks home,” sent in his boy, the dastardly J.R., to grab the place so fast in a finely tuned hornswoggling of hornswogglers that it left me dizzy.
Will “Dallas” continue to engage the energy business and land-use issues, however faultily? Or will awl wells and hats and cows soon become no more than props for another nighttime horse opera? We'll find out. Here's hoping the writers at least try to keep the show and its already preposterous plots plugged into the real world.
And it's a shame the show isn't set in Oklahoma City, where the real action is in energy.