Thursday, June 14, 2012

TNT’s “Dallas”Verdict: A Hit! 2 Patas Up!

Best English-Language Telenovela Ever!

Hollywood, CA—I decided to watch last night’s premiere of TNT’s Dallas revival with a bit of trepidation because I am so tired of network executive snobs turning their noses up on fresh and new ideas especially Latino themed storylines. I wasn’t thrilled about another failed remake by the network vultures who are clueless as to the viewing audience—the Generation X’ers who now make up the center of the coveted adults 18-49 demographic.

So when I made myself cozy and comfy in bed, I watched not as a critic or a frustrated Latina working in the entertainment industry, no I watched strictly for entertainment reasons. I was happy that the show had cast a couple of Latinos in significant roles-- Jordana Brewster (Elena Ramos) and Marlene Forte (Carmen Ramos-- who play daughter and mother respectively.

Jordana Brewster

As a self-proclaimed expert of the original Dallas, I felt sufficiently confident I would know instantly if this new century greed loving-cheating-lying-scheming-psycho-women loving- men loving show was true to its legacy….

And, Yes! WooHoo! This viewer was entertained and addicted enough to stay up for the second hour! I breathed a sigh of relief the instant I realized this new show was being true to the original.

TNT’s Dallas opened nostalgically embracing the past. I didn’t think of the show as a remake but rather as a sequel, as another reviewer mentioned. This new show brings back three original cast members (Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray) from the super-hit CBS original soap and they play prominent roles in the new one. I’m not sure if the new show would be as appealing if the three originals were not present. It would have felt like how I felt watching Hawaii 5-O (CBS)... cheated.

The new Dallas telenovela unfolds with the introduction of John Ross Ewing (Josh Henderson) and Christopher Ewing (Jesse Metcalfe) who have are perfectly cast as JR and Bobby Ewing’s sons. Both handsome young men are chips off the old block. Their loves are Elena Ramos (Jordana Brewster), the Ewing long-time cook’s daughter and who was once engaged to Christopher and is now with John Ross. Then there is the sweet Rebecca (Julie Gonzalo), Christopher’s bride… but don’t let her sweet demeanor fool you, there’s a lot more here than meets the eye.

My niece, who is here from Mexico visiting for a few weeks, was absolutely captivated! She speaks just sufficient English to understand. She never saw the original version but loved where the storyline is heading. It was interesting to get a Spanish-language viewer’s feedback. She’s hooked! Listen up, TNT marketing executives, here’s another demographic you can tap into: Spanish-language viewers! They love telenovelas! Trust me, they’ll understand it enough to get hooked!

The new story works because the show catches up with the original Kane and Able brother rivalry. Seeing J.R. and Bobby again brought back many memories, not just of the show, but also of my life during the 80’s… a time dealing with so much backbiting, office politics, envy… Ah, but that is a story for another time.

In the series premiere, John Ross (Henderson) is secretly drilling for oil on Southfork—a Ewing family absolute sin that dates back 100 years. Uncle Bobby (Duffy), who inherited the ranch and has hopes to turn it over to a land conservancy, blows a gasket when he finds out and orders the drilling stopped. And, the legal war begins on the day Bobby’s adopted son Christopher (Metcalfe) is getting married.

John Ross is exactly like his father JR, greedy, conniving, will stop at nothing to win or get his way or get any woman he wants. Christopher, on the other hand is like his father, a good man who is looking for a breakthrough in alternative energy.  The green factor is woven into storyline… that’s good. Christopher, however, doesn’t agree with his dad’s conservation plans. Not yet, any how.

The show promises to sizzle in a love triangle that I wish had held back a little in the premiere. Refreshing and beautiful is Jordana Brewster who plays Elena, the daughter of the Ewings’ cook Carmen (Forte). Elena grew up on Southfork and is educated and loves mining for oil. As an engineer she has set her sights on land leases she believes will yield her oil to take her and her mom to new heights (financially that is).  Although the women play an important part like the original series, it is the men the storyline is centered on. It will be interesting to see how these young Ewing sons develop without being clones of their father.
Marlene Forte

Can’t wait to see what other twists and turns this new Dallas has in store for its faithful fans. This “sequel” is built with a potent addictive soap-hooking storylines and new characters that do not embarrass their predecessor.

Latinowood’s buzz for Dallas 2012 is “Southfork never looked better!” Especially with Jordana Brewster and Marlene Forte and all the other Latinos on the show!

I would be remiss not to mention Executive Producer, Cynthia Cidre (Cane/CBS), another Latina who from behind the scenes gives us hope for purity of storyline when ever it concerns Latinos. Oh, and one more thing, for any complaints about another Latina cast in a domestic (maid/cook) role, well, baby you're in Texas working with billionaires... I bet our Carmen Ramos makes a fat six-figures, carries an American Express Platinum card, and will probably later reveal she owns some of Ewing stock. Not concerned that this character is suffering too much with her image.

Dallas broadcasts Wednesday nights, 9 p.m. on TNT.

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