TV Report Card | 'Dallas' Season 2 Review

Overview: Another season of the sudsy drama that surrounded the Ewing family dynasty. It was a season riddled with heartache and off-screen tragedy that would make this the most complicated season faced by any TV series in recent times, after Larry Hagman the core of what made "Dallas" all that it was, passed away.

Storyline Direction: This was one of the tightest written shows of the 2013 season; brilliant at every turn. The plots played with a cunning worthy of JR Ewing. Cynthia Cidre (Showrunner) delivered a tender and heartfelt tribute to the character and actor Larry Hagman who made JR one of the most recognizable TV characters of all time.

The episode centering on JR’s passing and funeral was one of television's finest hours. Titled “JR’s Masterpiece” it was just that, a masterpiece. It was on a whole other par of writing and production. Everything down to the slow tempo version of the famous theme song was filled with reverence and respect for the legend.

After dealing with an incredible blow, the series moved forward and at a good pace, giving us the pay-off of knowing who killed JR before the season ran out. The first half of the season focused on Anne’s arrest and trial for shooting her ex-husband. All of that was well done and established Harris Ryland (Mitch Pileggi) as the main antagonist for future story and as a villain you love to hate.

The introduction of Anne and Harris’s daughter Emma was promising and the reveal of her pill addiction had its moments. The story was mostly rewarding for Anne (Brenda Strong) and Harris’s characters. Emma (Emma Bell) quickly became a pest and a distraction from other more interesting characters. The poor little rich girl shtick can get old quick and this was no exception.

Her whining and brooding made her a nuisance. At first I was confused as to whether viewers were supposed to root for her or detest the little schemer. As for what the writer’s intended or not. I was not a fan. Same goes for the newly introduced Drew (Elena’s brother) he was annoying and left irredeemable by the end of the season.

The other big story was the resolution of the mystery surrounding the whereabouts of the long lost Pam (Victoria Principal). It was another well-paced story with a decent pay-off.  The brightest spot of the season was the relationship between John Ross and Pamela.

A season of watching their romantic relationship develop was met with a frustrating end. All of that said, this was a superb season that equaled if not surpassed its first, a major coo within itself.

Performance Quality: This season was filled with marvelous turns. Linda Grey (Sue Ellen) and Patrick Duffy (Bobby) were phenomenal. Josh Henderson (John Ross) had a tremendous moment during the scenes where he identifies JR and during the final reveal of the events surrounding JR’s death.

Julie Gonzalo was electrifying this season. She has transformed the character of Pamela from the hapless victim of Christopher’s wandering heart to a con artist extraordinaire, to a woman scorned; to a protective and devastated mother and finally resilient fighter. Her poor little rich girl shtick never grew old, we were (or at least I was) always rooting for her.

Ken Kercheval seemed to be having a fun time with his portrayal of the villainous Cliff Barnes, something that transmitted to the screen. Brenda Strong portrayed Ann with a fortitude and genuine kindness that matched even that of Patrick Duffy. Linda Grey played Sue Ellen’s wavering sobriety wonderfully.

Patrick Duffy’s gentle breakdown alone in JR’s room was by far the highlight of the season. Knowing the actors were mourning the life of Larry Hagman added weight that couldn’t be escaped. It was clear on everyone’s faces, the love they each felt for Hagman, from those who'd known him for a short time and those that had spent a great deal of their lives working beside him, it was a strong testament to his impact on them. 

Musical Direction: Great music. There were a few recycled songs; they were good enough to justify it though. Sonya Isaacs’ cover of "Down in the River to Pray" was the standout musical moment; it was the perfect song to send off the legendary Larry Hagman and JR Ewing.

Overall Grade: A+, a fantastic season. Cynthia Cidre commanded tremendous respect for pulling it all together. The drawbacks of the season were Emma and Drew. As annoying as they were, hopefully Emma’s awfulness was purposeful. As for Drew, rarely does a show have a cast of characters where everyone is well-liked so I can’t hold that against the show. Wish more series were like this one, it’s incredible.

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