May 3, 1991
Monday, April 29, 2013
This Week in Television History: April 2013 PART V
Listen to me on TV CONFIDENTIAL:
As always, the further we go back in Hollywood history, the more that fact and legend become intertwined. It's hard to say where the truth really lies.
May 3, 1991
Prime-time soap opera Dallas airs its last episode.
The episode was watched by 33.3 million viewers (38% of all viewers in that time slot)
The show debuted in April of 1978, and broke ratings records in 1980 when 83.6 million viewers tuned in to find out "Who Shot J.R.?". In the final episode, titled Conundrum (An homage to It's a Wonderful Life) J.R. is contemplating committing suicide. The drunk J.R. walks around the pool with a bourbon bottle and a loaded gun, when suddenly another person appears, a spirit named Adam (portrayed by Joel Grey), whose "boss" has been watching J.R. and likes him. Adam proceeds to take him on a journey to show him what life would have been like for other people if he had not been born. At the end of the episode Adam encourages J.R. on to kill himself. J.R. will not do it, as he does not want Adam to be sent back to heaven with his job incomplete. At this point Adam reveals that he's not an angel, but a minion of Satan. Bobby has returned home. The gun goes off while Bobby is in the hallway, and he rushes to J.R.'s room. He looks at what has gone down, gasps, "Oh, my God," and the series ends on that note with the fate of J.R. never settled (although it eventually would be five years later, in the reunion movie, Dallas: J.R. Returns.).
In 2010, cable network TNT announced they had ordered a pilot for the continuation of the Dallas series. After viewing the completed pilot episode, TNT proceeded to order a full season of 10 episodes.
The new series premiered on June 13, 2012, centering primarily around John Ross and Christopher Ewing, the now-grown sons of J.R. and Bobby. Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray returned in full-time capacity, reprising their original roles. The series is produced by Warner Horizon Television, a subsidiary of Warner Bros., which holds the rights to the Dallas franchise through its acquisition of Lorimar Television and is a sister company to TNT, both under the ownership of TimeWarner.The new series is a continuation of the old series, with the story continuing after a 20-year break. It does not take the events of the TV movies Dallas: J.R. Returns or Dallas: War of the Ewings as canon. Instead we find the characters as they are today, 20 years after the events of the Season 14 cliffhanger. In an interview with UltimateDallas.com, Cynthia Cidre was asked to describe the new Dallas. She responded, "I tried to be really, really respectful of the original Dallas because it was really clear to me that the people who love Dallas are [like] Trekkies, really committed to that show and I really did not understand that before, so I never wanted to violate anything that had happened in the past. On the other hand that was the past, twenty years had gone by, so at the same time I think we're properly balanced between the characters of Bobby Ewing, J.R. and Sue Ellen. I also have the new cast and it's John Ross and Christopher, the children of Bobby and J.R., and their love interests. Total respect and a balance of old and new."