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Friday, July 6, 2012

The New Dallas: An Outright Pleasure

The new Dallas on TNT is being promoted as this summer's "guilty pleasure".  I disagree - it's just a real pleasure, period.  I don't feel at all guilty about really enjoying it.

J.R. and Bobby are as ruthless and infuriatingly decent as ever.   Larry Hagman's J.R. continues unscathed, in an arc that runs straight through the original series to the solar power commercials in 2010 (and their great J.R. cackle) to the J.R. now on the screen - older, sure, but every bit as cut throat.  He still loves Sue Ellen, who looks like she's barely aged a day.  Bobby is excruciatingly sincere, as always, which makes him an ideal opponent brother for J.R.

The next generation is also excellent.  Christopher - adopted son of Bobby and Pamela (not yet in evidence) - is not quite as decent as his father,  not quite as willing to forgive.  He sends his beautiful wife Rebecca packing, not long after they get married, because she may have been using him in her brother's scheme (the brother certainly is).   Christopher's professional interest is not oil in the ground, but alternate sources, and this creates a refreshing new scientific element in the show, as he struggles to work out technical issues.

John Ross - J.R. and Sue Ellen's son - is maybe a tad less ruthless, but he's learning, quickly.  He's discovered oil on South Fork, and needs to move Bobby out of the way so he can start digging.  His business/technological partner is another beauty, Elena, who was on track to marry Christopher, until Rebecca's brother sent her a bogus email from Christopher calling it off.  Elena also has a hot and cold romantic relationship with John Ross, and Jordana Brewster does a good job of playing the torn between two lovers part.

Cliff Barnes, Ray, Lucy are also on hand.  The key to this Dallas, even more so than in the original series, is that just about everyone is more or less or different than they seem to be.  Alliances shift with the frequency of the summer breeze, but my money is on J. R. succeeding, as he always did, whoever his opponent.

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The Plot to Save Socrates

"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book

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