Dallas hit the ground running when it returned to television on TNT last year. A new group of young people were added to the mix with veteran characters Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy), J. R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) and Suellen Ewing (Linda Gray) returning. As the season progressed other cast members from the original series returned. The new "youngsters" on the show were Josh Henderson as J. R. and Suellen's son John Ross; Jesse Metcalfe as Booby and Pam's son Christopher; Jordana Brewster as Elena; and Julie Gonzalo as Rebecca.
The show was a good blend of the old and the new and kept that balance throughout the first season. Now the show is returning and more of the emphasis appears to be on the younger cast members. Christopher and John Ross are still locked into a bitter rivalry for the control of Ewing Energy. Christopher is trying to have his marriage to Rebecca annulled so that he can marry Elena. John Ross will do anything to defeat Christopher even if it means partnering with Rebecca who has now been revealed to be Cliff Barnes' daughter.
Of course the real life death of Larry Hagman casts a pall over all of this. He had already filmed five episodes before he died and those episodes will be shown. How his death will be handled on the show is still unknown. In the first few episodes available for preview he is a welcome presence.
The great thing about Dallas is the scripts. There are more twists and turns, more unexpected surprises, than with any other show currently on TV. Just when you think you know where the plot is headed it is off on an unforeseen tangent.
It is also true the younger members of the cast now seem more comfortable in their roles. Metcalfe and Henderson have settled into a cursing cousins hate fest that brings back memories of the J. R. and Bobby feuds. Gonzalo is now free to be the scheming shrew of a woman you always thought she could be when she wasn't simpering after Christopher during the first season. Only Brewster still seems out of her element on the show. Making her Christopher's love interest hasn't done anything to enhance her appeal.
Duffy, Gray and Hagman are all still top notch with Brenda Strong joining their ranks as Ann, Bobby's wife. She has some good scenes at the start of this season and should be an integral part of the plot all the way through till the end.
The wild card for this year appears to be Judith Light who makes a surprise appearance at the end of episode two. She is a jolt of fresh air with her portrayal of Judith Ryland, the mother of Ann's ex-husband. Light exudes evil in this role and should be great to watch!
It is a tragedy that Hagman is gone from this earth just as people were welcoming back his character of J. R. It is impossible to imagine Dallas without the character or spirit of J. R. being a part of it all. Hopefully his memory will be kept alive on this show for years to come.
Season Two of Dallas premiered Monday, January 28 at 9PM on TNT.