I was in high school when the prime time soap opera "Dallas" made its debut in 1978. I don't remember when I first started watching -- I don't think I watched right from the very start -- but certainly by midway through the second season, I was hooked.
I have fond memories of watching the infamous "Who Shot JR" episode that kicked off the fourth season in November 1980 -- one of the most-watched TV episodes of all time, and one of those "where were you when..." moments that everyone remembers. By then, I was in second-year university and living in a dorm. I had a small black & white TV set in my room, but one of the girls on my floor had that rarity (for a student in those days), a colour TV set, and was kind enough to set it up in the lounge area. Everyone packed in to watch the episode together, & we all cheered as Sue Ellen confronted her scheming sister (who also happened to be her husband's mistress), Kristin (as played by Bing Crosby's daughter!!) with the declaration, "It was YOU, Kristin, who shot JR!"
Like many people, I thought the show went downhill after the infamous scene in which "good" brother Bobby -- dead, buried and mourned for an entire season -- shows up in Pam's shower, revealing the entire preceding season to have been a dream. The convoluted plotlines seemed to be getting more and more ridiculous, and it got more and more difficult to keep track of all the various mistresses, girlfriends, subsequent husbands & wives, & illegitmate sons & daughters. (I recently looked up the show on Wikipedia, which contains a detailed list of characters, a convoluted family tree, & season-ending cliffhanger descriptions -- and oh my heck, what memories that brought back!!)
(And on an ALI note -- I'd forgotten how prominently ALI themes figured in several of the plotlines: John Ross was born prematurely after a drunken Sue Ellen gets into a car accident. Pam had a miscarriage after she gets into an argument with JR and falls -- or gets pushed? -- from the barn loft. She & Bobby adopted Christopher, the biological son of Kristin (but not, thank goodness, JR). And Pam got into the car accident that led to her exit from the show while returning from a visit to her doctor and finding out that she could have children after all.)(She was on her car phone with Bobby, telling him the good news, if I recall, when her car struck an oil tanker & went up in flames -- perhaps the earliest depiction on screen of the hazards of talking on a cellphone while driving?)
But I stuck it out to the bitter end -- which wound up with (what else?) a cliffhanger, in which JR, goaded on by a devilish apparation played by Joel Grey, raises a gun to his temple and we hear a shot, which brings Bobby running up the stairs of Southfork & gasping, "Oh my God!" Cue the closing music & credits.
But now, after 21 years -- it's back!! Starting next Wednesday on TNT in the States and Bravo on Canada, the new series picks up some 20 years later, with JR, Bobby and Sue Ellen (who,rumour has it, is running for governor!!) joined by a new generation of Ewings -- JR & Sue Ellen's son, John Ross, Bobby's son Christopher, and others, battling it out anew for control of Ewing Oil and Southfork, the beloved family ranch.
I can't wait. : )
Were you a "Dallas" fan? Will you be watching? (And if you were in pre-school -- or not even born -- when the original was on -- I don't need to hear it, lol.)