TNT's 'Dallas' Reboot Cancelled: Why It Will Be Missed

Brilliant storylines, a strong cast and sleek production were not enough to save TNT’s enthralling Primetime sudser. After three seasons the exceptional “Dallas” reboot has gotten the ax. Yesterday’s announcement comes with an especially bitter taste given the finale left various storylines in limbo. The most fans can hope for is that TNT will green light a TV movie to close things up. It’s not the first time that “Dallas” has left the airwaves and after several TV specials throughout the 90’s, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the series rise one last time.

Of the unanswered questions, the major ones lingering in the wake of the finale were the paternity of Elena’s (Jordana Brewster) baby and whether Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) actually died in the explosion. Personally, I had doubts. To its credit there were other storylines that drew to an appropriate close. Anne (Brenda Strong) and Bobby (Patrick Duffy) reconciled and she made peace with her once mortal enemy/ex-husband, Harris (Mitch Pileggi).

Sue Ellen (Linda Grey) had become sober. While her jaded son John Ross (Josh Henderson) forged an alliance with Harris’ devilish mother Judith (Judith Light) and learned he had a long lost half-sister. His story ended on a mixed note, down and determinately hopeful.

What’s sad is despite deteriorating ratings, the series never lost its grip on quality storytelling. The actors had really melded as an ensemble and Josh Henderson had come into his own in the role of J.R.’s cunning heir. The series would wisely shift the focus towards him.

The always reliable Patrick Duffy had grown into a strong family patriarch. Bobby’s journey was perhaps the most rewarding to revisit, years after the original series. He still had his signature moral center but he’d matured in his idealism and his realization of compromise was a realistic right-of-passage into later adulthood.

A troubling aspect was the waning presence of Pamela (Julie Gonzalo), the series’ resident vixen in previous seasons. Her marginalization began during the John Ross/Emma affair storyline and the subsequent fallout only led to a minor bump in her presence. Gonzalo had done a wonderful job building the character of Pamela from shifty con-woman to emotionally damaged rich girl.

It was her dynamic performance and chemistry with co-star Josh Henderson that had created a power couple for the show. The series lost an opportunity in not fully showcasing their potential. 

The most obvious or probable reason for the declining rating of “Dallas” was the passing of the incomparable Larry Hagman and his iconic performance as J.R. For viewers who’d tuned in precisely to see him, the loss was insurmountable. The series did spin a spectacular final story for J.R., who continued his manipulations from the beyond the grave. However, it might not have been enough for long-time viewers.

The saddest part of losing “Dallas” is the show had so many stories left to tell. It was one of the few series to never grasp at straws for stories. Its characters were richly designed to naturally provide indefinite drama. Showrunner Cynthia Cidre had given the show powerful legs to stand on and its legacy will stand tall.

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