A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this updated Dallas series picks up in present day with aging original characters returning to their bickering, plotting ways, often through the actions of their now-grown children. With few exceptions, most of the characters are motivated by greed and power and will lie, steal, and manipulate their way to their goals, so role models are hard to come by. Steamy bedroom scenes with simulated sex under the sheets and women shown in their underwear are common, as is language like "s--t" and "hell" and some rough-up squabbles when tempers fly. This fast-paced, addictive drama series is sure to win over a lot of adult viewers, but it's not recommended for teens.
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What's the story?
J.R. (Larry Hagman), Sue Ellen (Linda Gray), and Bobby (Patrick Duffy) return to the screen in DALLAS, bringing with them all of the rivalries and betrayals that made the original series a longtime hit two decades ago. The story opens with Bobby's decision to sell Southfork Ranch to a conservation group, which angers his nephew, John Ross III (Josh Henderson), who has uncovered a new oil well during a secret dig on the land. Unable to stop the sale, John Ross rushes to the bedside of his father, J.R., and rouses him from a catatonic state by revealing Bobby's plans. In no time, J.R. schemes to undermine his brother's plans and finally take over as head of the ranch, but his plans might hit a roadblock from an unexpected source. Meanwhile, Bobby's adopted son, Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe), supports his dad's wishes to protect the land from the oil drilling that has pulled the family apart, which puts him at odds with his cousin, John Ross, and John Ross' mother, Sue Ellen. But in this family, nothing's ever as it seems, and trusting the wrong person can be the biggest mistake you ever make.
Is it any good?
Sexy, seductive, and delightfully devilish, this new generation of Ewings does its forebears proud in their ploys for power (or, in a few cases, for peace). Even if this is your first introduction to this family that truly does put the "fun" in dysfunction, you'll get up to speed on the tangled family tree in no time, thanks to the show's lightening pace and razor-sharp writing. The original characters reignite their warfare as though no time has passed since the original series' end in 1991, and the newcomers file in so flawlessly, it's as if they truly have been raised in this backbiting family. With plot twists that come out of nowhere and a stunningly gorgeous cast of schemers, this is one remake that promises to live up to its parent series.
That said, the fact that this series does little to perpetuate virtuous lifestyles or positive family relationships makes it a no-no for most teens. In fact, the show does such a good job making these villainous characters enticing that it's hard to not find yourself getting wrapped up in and rooting for their schemes, regardless of the emotional fallout. Not the best message for your teens, to be sure, but it sure does make for some fun adults-only entertainment.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how this series portrays women. Do any of the female characters wield as much power as do the Ewing men? Why do you think the creators of this show failed to cast a female Ewing heir instead of two males? Is any woman on the show a good role model?
Teens: Why do you think this series was selected for an updated version? Have you seen the original? How do the two compare?
The original Dallas series was the first of its kind and ushered in a new kind of primetime drama. How do today's primetime shows compare to what Dallas is all about? Does this one stand out as any more or less soapy than the likes of Private Practice or Grey's Anatomy?
Themes & Topics
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