Dallas (tv)

The Boston Phoenix

DIRECTED BY: J.R. Ewing

REVIEWED: 12-01-97

The popularity of potboiler mini-series like Rich Man, Poor Man inspired CBS to try a nighttime soap opera. Dallas soon became the most popular show on TV, in large part because of Larry Hagman's performance as the villainous J.R. Ewing. Besides inspiring several other soaps, Dallas began the practice of ending each season with a cliffhanger -- notably the "Who Shot J.R.?" storyline. Eventually, Dallas was done in by a paradox of nighttime soaps. Such programs promise twists in their storylines, but they really depend on stable casts, just as on sit-coms. So when Dallas writers killed off Patrick Duffy's character and the ratings slipped, they simply brought him back -- by asserting that an entire year's worth of episodes was a dream. As more realistic dramas adopted continuing storylines, prime-time soaps (despite Melrose and 90210) became less common.

Taken from The Boston Phoenix's "50 Years and Counting," a retrospective of the most influential programs from television's first half-century. Click here for the full article.

--Robert David Sullivan

Film Vault Suggested Links
Dallas: J.R. Returns (tv)
Mill on the Floss (tv)
Ally McBeal (tv)

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