So, I’ve recently started watching the entire series of the original run of “Dallas”. Amazon recommended it to me at one point, and I remembered that I had always kinda wanted to watch it, but it ran on the cable stations that I didn’t have and I couldn’t find it on DVD. Given the massive amount of hours of the show, the price fit well into my normal “Worth it?” calculations (it’s under $1 an hour if I get through the whole thing), but the worry was that I wouldn’t want to watch it now. After much consideration, I decided to try it anyway.
I’m actually really enjoying it so far.
The set starts off with the original miniseries, but doesn’t actually tell you that, and it starts right in the middle of the story, with Bobby and Pam having gotten married and returning to Southfork to give everyone the “good news”. Obviously, it’s not taken very well, especially by J.R., and this animosity so far is driving most of the first season. From the miniseries, the focus was more on Pam — and her character is actually really interesting — but as it goes along we’re getting into more of J.R.’s machinations, because even in the miniseries he really did steal the show, and developed into the classic soap villain that he’d become.
Acting wise, Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy, Steve Kanaly and Barbara Bel Geddes turn in very good performances. Victoria Principal and Charlene Tilton, at least at the start, unfortunately don’t. But what I noticed in the early episodes is that Principal’s acting ability improves when she plays against stronger actors, like Duffy or Hagman. When she’s interacting mostly with Tilton or on her own — there’s one scene where she’s talking on the phone with Bobby that is massively stilted and awkward — she struggles. That being said, she does manage to pull off facial expressions and the like quite well and believably, which is plus. That being said, it definitely seems like the casting of these two, at least, was based primarily on their looks, especially considering just how gorgeous Principal is in the early episodes. I always thought she was attractive, but my memories were based on the later seasons. I’d say she used to look good to me, but now I find her simply irresistible, except that she always more than looked good.
For the other principles in the series, none of them really stand out; they’re generally okay. Linda Gray is a little awkward, but whether that’s due to her acting or to the character is hard to say.
I’m not even into the really interesting storylines yet, and the storylines right now are moving very quickly with little development, which I’m sure changes in the later seasons. “Who Shot J.R.?” is actually quite early in the run — Season Three — so it’s coming up soon. Over the next six months or so, I’ll probably manage to get through the entire run.