Nominated for 18 Emmys and 15 Golden Globes in its thirteen season run, Dallas is the epitome of the prime-time drama/soap opera genre. Premiering in 1978 as a five part mini-series, the show combines the usual sex and innuendo of classic afternoon soap operas with the freewheeling adventure of Texas wildcats and filthy rich capitalist oil barons.
The combination of business dealings and rampant affairs tested well with both the male and female demographic, prompting CBS to make Dallas a regular part of its prime-time lineup. The result was one of the most successful television shows in history. In fact, the so-called ‘Who shot J.R.?” episode (“A House Divided” Air Date: 3-21-1980) still reigns as the second most watched TV show in history (the season finale of MASH is #1).
With one of most memorable characters ever created (the man everyone loves to hate), it’s no surprise that Dallas held the #1 or #2 spots in the Nielsen ratings for most of the 1980s…
Dallas spent most of its television life in the Friday night time slot following the successful CBS series, The Dukes Of Hazzard. Creator David Jacobs originally intended to create a series around a poor Texas girl, Pam Barnes (Victoria Principal), who marries into a wealthy family (The Ewings) with whom her family has been feuding for decades.
The first five episodes mostly center around the family discord faced by Pam and her husband Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) as they attempt to bring their families to a truce.
But it soon became apparent to producers of the show that Bobby’s scoundrel of a brother, Ewing Oil President J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman), would be the true star of the show. Son of Ewing Oil founder Jock Ewing (Jim Davis) and his wife Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes), J.R. sought to make Ewing Oil the largest independent oil company in the world, and he intended to go to any lengths necessary to get what he wanted.
And as you’ll see, sooner or later, J.R. always gets what he wants… Along the way, he butts heads with life-long rival Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval), drives his own wife Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) to alcoholism, and even mortgages the beloved Southfork Ranch (Miss Ellie’s childhood home and current residence for the majority of the Ewing clan). Southfork foreman Ray Krebs (Steve Kanaly) and Ewing grandchild Lucy (Charlene Tilton) add flavorful subplots to a series often dominated by J.R. ‘s nefarious schemes. In short, Dallas offers its viewers everything – money, sex, violence, conspiracy, intricate business dealings, etc.
If you haven’t seen it, then immediately start watching from the beginning episodes of the first season. You won’t be disappointed…!
The Dallas DVD features a number of exciting episodes including the series premiere “Digger’s Daughter” in which the youngest of the Ewing sons, Bobby, introduces his wealthy family to his new bride, Pamela Barnes. But given the long-standing feud between their two families, not everyone is pleased.
In fact, older brother J.R. immediately begins plotting to break up the marriage… Other notable episodes include “Election” in which J.R. ‘s nemesis Cliff Barnes sees his congressional hopes undercut by a Ewing-financed opposition campaign, and the season finale “John Ewing III” in which Sue Ellen’s alcoholism threatens the life of her unborn baby.