"If I did give you power then you've got nothing! Nobody "gives" you power. Real power is something you TAKE!"Note:
If you want to read about the actual city of Dallas, see DFW Metroplex
was a giant Prime Time Soap
of The Eighties
(it ran from 1978-1991). For much of its run it was the most watched show in the world.
As the name might suggest the series was set in Texas, based around the Ewings, a large Dysfunctional Family
of oil barons. Family patriarch John Ross "Jock" Ewing had built up Ewing Oil and married Eleanor "Miss Ellie" Southworth, the daughter of a rancher and together they had three sons:
- John Ross "J.R." Ewing Jr. was a schemer of the highest order and a chip off the old block in terms of ambition and cut-throat tactics, but with an added dose of charm and infinitely less scruples.
- Gary Ewing was weak but well meaning and spin-off bound (Knots Landing). The Black Sheep of the family, an alcoholic drifter who dumped his daughter Lucy on his parents and took off.
- Bobby Ewing was the golden child - the youngest who seemed to possess all the positive qualities of his older brothers but none of the bad - and for quite some time was the only one who sees J.R. for who he is and has the power to stop him.
Gary's daughter, wild child teen
Lucy, and Sue Ellen, J.R.'s alcoholic faded beauty queen
wife, rounded out the family, at least until Bobby married the daughter of Jock's old rival...
Initially the show focused on Pamela Barnes, Bobby's sweet natured and beautiful new wife as she attempted to fit in with the Ewing family, but the chemistry between Larry Hagman (J.R.) and Linda Gray (Sue Ellen) quickly took center stage. Hagman's J.R. in particular became one of the great characters of television history, his greedy, sleazy yet oddly charming villain
becoming an icon of the decade
The show produced two of the most famous stories in television - both cliffhangers (a staple of the series). The first in 1980-81 was the mystery of 'Who shot J.R.?' (it was Kristin
), the answer to which was at that time the most watched episode in television history.
The second story was... less successful. When star Patrick Duffy
left the series, his character was McLeaned
. But with declining ratings, the return of the original series show runner after a brief absence, and the cast missing Duffy
, the actor returned in the final moments of the eighth season, leading to the ninth season opening with the revelation that Bobby
's death and the subsequent season eight were all an elaborate dream
. Needless to say, reaction was quite negative to say the least.
Inspired a glut of failed copycat shows (Secrets of Midland Heights
), the most successful being Dynasty
, its So Bad, It's Good
counterpart that ended up becoming the show's chief rival during the mid-1980s. It was also given a Spin-Off
, Knots Landing
, which was based around Gary Ewing, though the dream season ultimately led to both shows severing ties with each other.
There have also been three made-for-TV movies
. The first, Dallas: The Early Years
(1986), was a Prequel
that chronicled the feud between Jock Ewing and Digger Barnes in the 1930's. After the series ended, two reunion movies
were produced - J.R. Returns
(1996) and War of the Ewings
A possible movie remake
with John Travolta as J.R. Ewing and Jennifer Lopez
(!) as Sue Ellen has been in Development Hell
for years. Problems include the recent Real Life
oil crisis, the increasingly negative views of Americans toward oil companies, and doubt in the entertainment industry that fans would accept another actor portraying JR.
TNT revived the series in 2012, with a ten-episode run that included some of the original cast members but focused on the next generation of the Ewing family. Larry Hagman passed away on November 23, 2012. He was given a funeral in episode eight of the second season (which aired on March 11, 2013). The show was cancelled by TNT after airing its third season in 2014.
Now has a Character Sheet
under construction here.
Feel free to add to it!
Also needs its Awesome
and Tear Jerker
pages expanded upon.
The original show (1978-1991) provides examples of:
The revival (2012) provides examples of:
- Absentee Actor: J.R. spends part of the first season on a "business trip" to Las Vegas to take part in a high-stakes poker game organized by Cliff Barnes, with his role largely relegated to a single scene per episode. This was done to accommodate Larry Hagman's treatment after his cancer returned. It also counts as an Aborted Arc, as the storyline was dropped when Hagman recovered and returned to the show for the last three episodes of the season.
- Action Mom: When Ann (technically she's an action step-mom, since she's not Christopher's biological mother) hears someone breaking into the house, her first reaction is to grab a shotgun and confront the burglar. He tries to run, so she runs after him, shotgun and all. The only reason why he gets away is because he dives out a window.
(later on, when talking to a Southfork security guard) Guard: Next time, Ms. Ewing, shoot him.
Ann: Oh, I will.
- She gets another moment in the third episode when she hears someone in the stable storage room. Again, her first reaction is to grab a gun (this time, out of her horse's saddle) and confront the intruder. However, this time, it's just J.R., who is quite nonchalant about having a gun in his face.
J.R.: Bullets don't seem to have much of an effect on me, dear.
- When Sue Ellen says that she'll have to drop out of the race because she doesn't want to be a party to Ryland's corrupt activities, Ann goes to his office alone, convinces him to give a confession implicating himself by pretending to seduce him, then karate-palms him in the face. She then tells him if he tries anything like that again, he'll be introduced to "the business end of my shotgun".
- When Harris is revealed to have kidnapped Ann's daughter and raised her to hate her mother, Ann goes to Harris' home and shoots him.
- All There in the Manual: The show's official Facebook page has a timeline filling in the events between the end of the original series and the revival.
- Amicable Exes:
- Ann and Harris Ryland initially appear to be this when she visits in order to request that his company cease moving tanker trucks into Southfork on J.R.'s orders. The "amicable" disappears when it's revealed that Harris is a slimebag. The two of them end up kissing each other during "Where There's Smoke", with Harris' mother Judith watching.
- By the time of the revival, J.R. and Sue Ellen have become this.
- And Starring: Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy, and Linda Gray get the coveted "And Starring" credit in the main titles.
- Anti-Villain: In the third season, Harris Ryland is revealed to be working on a CIA operation to protect Ann and his own family from the Mendez-Ochoa cartel.
- Auto Erotica: In "J.R.'s Masterpiece", Emma seduces John Ross by luring him into the backseat of a nearby sedan.
- Badass Boast: In "A Call To Arms", John Ross delivers one to Governor McConaughey:
My father took down three senators, two governors and a vice-president... and he taught me everything he knows. Your head's gonna look real nice above my fireplace... Governor.
- Badass Family: The Ewings. Individually they are formidable, but when they unite, you better watch out.
Sue Ellen: You can either be on our side, or you can be among the casualties.
- Bald of Evil:
- 'Smiling' Frank Ashkani, Cliff's right-hand man.
- Harris Ryland, who schemes with Cliff to take down the Ewings in the second season.
- Bash Brothers: Christopher and John Ross during J.R.'s wake, after getting fed up with one too many insults and diatribes about J.R. and their family.
- Beard of Sorrow: Christopher gets this in the third season after breaking up with Elena.
- Becoming the Mask:
- Throughout the first season, Rebecca supposedly does this when she finds out that she's pregnant and doesn't want to defraud Christopher. Turns out that Cliff's her father, and he sets her back on the path of trying to take the drilling technology from Christopher.
- John Ross gets this in season two. His business arrangement with Pamela against his brother blossoms into full-on love, and he ends up marrying her. He also puts aside his differences with Christopher to stop Cliff and Ryland. Then, at the end of the season, he nonchalantly cheats on Pamela with Emma Ryland, implying that his actions throughout the season were just a front for his true motives.
- The Bus Came Back:
- Gary Ewing (Ted Shackleford) returns to Dallas in the second season (after the ending of Knots Landing, some 20 years earlier), and spends time at the Southfork ranch with the rest of the family.
- Mandy Winger (who was last seen being sent off to Los Angeles by Sue Ellen) returns for a cameo in "J.R.'s Masterpiece".
- Butt Monkey: John Ross would really like to be a Magnificent Bastard like his daddy. Unfortunately for him, he falls square into this trope instead. (At first....)
- Call Back: In "The Price You Pay", J.R. tells John Ross, "Nobody gives you power. Real power is something you take," echoing Jock's words to Bobby during a famous scene in the original series' fourth-season episode "Executive Wife".
- The Cameo: Several, befitting a show about important businessmen in Dallas.
- Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, shows up in a season one episode.
- Jones, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings appear at the memorial service in "J.R.'s Masterpiece".
- Canon Discontinuity: The revival ignores the two TV movies of the 1990s, picking up plot threads directly from the original show.
- Character Blog: The aforementioned Facebook page is written from J.R.'s perspective.
- After J.R.'s death, the page was picked up by John Ross.
- Chekhov's Gun: Used frequently.
- The tape Marta/Veronica makes of her and a drugged John Ross having sex comes back into play several episodes later when Christopher (who has resolved to fight dirty and stop JR from drilling) bribes a doorman to get access to John Ross' apartment, and discovers the CD she left for him, which he later uses as leverage.
- Childhood Friends: Elena was friends in her childhood with Joaquin/Nicolas (when she lived in Mexico) and Christopher (when she moved to Southfork).
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder:
- J.R., of course, to the point that Bobby blatantly says that he knows J.R. is going to backstab everyone the moment he sets foot in Southfork after leaving the assisted care facility.
- John Ross is trying to follow in his daddy's footsteps, with somewhat less success.
- Continuity Nod:
- With a few minor changes (no cast pictures, the cast isn't listed in alphabetical order, updated to modern-day Dallas) the opening credits are almost exactly the same as the original series'. They even include a flyover view of the new Cowboys Stadium like the original's shot of Texas Stadium.
- The opening credits show more of the modern city of Dallas, as more buildings have sprung up since the mid-80s, such as the Omni Hotel, the Bank of America and Chase Towers, and the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. Dallas has become quite the city in the past thirty years.
- The original teaser poster for the new series (which has the cast standing around covered with towels, with the words "They're back, and no, you're not dreaming" above it, references the infamous "dream season" from the original series.
- J.R. (referencing the classic "Who Shot J.R.?" storyline) telling Anne "Bullets don't seem to have much of an effect on me, dear."
- In "Family Business", Christopher and John Ross play a basketball game at Southfork, and make reference to being skilled enough to play a match against the "McKay boys", a reference to the children of Carter McKay (George Kennedy) from the original series.
- "J.R.'s Masterpiece" features cameos by Mandy Winger and Cally Harper, two of J.R.'s former mistresses.
- The third-season premiere, "The Return", begins with Bobby standing in Southfork's graveyard and looking at each of the tombstones - J.R., Ellie and Jock, the last of which is accompanied by a short snippet of Jock's theme from the original series.
- The third-season finale, "Where There's Smoke", ends with Southfork being set on fire. Again.
- Convenient Miscarriage: Pamela Rebecca suffers one after the oilrig explosion in "Guilt and Innocence".
- Criminal Doppelgänger:
- The woman claiming to be Marta Del Sol is not the real Marta Del Sol.
- Christopher discovers in "Revelations" that his wife, Rebecca Sutter is impersonating someone who lives in Des Moines, Iowa. The audience later learns that Rebecca is Cliff Barnes's daughter.
- Cut Apart: In season two, Tommy Sutter's body is found thanks to the machinations of J.R. and Frank. In a montage, we see Pamela Rebecca frantically packing as she tries to make a getaway, while the police rush to apprehend the suspect. They bang on the suspect's door. Pamela, horrified, opens the door to...her father, Cliff. Meanwhile, Frank is being arrested - Cliff framed him for the crime in return for his betrayal.
- Deadly Nosebleed: Rebecca gets this during the first season. It turns out she's pregnant with twins.
- Death Equals Redemption: Subverted. While most people still remember JR's dirty dealings, the Ewings paint JR as a friggin' saint after his death.
- Destination Defenestration: Marta/Veronica gets thrown out a window (offscreen) by Vicente's goons after a confrontation with John Ross.
- The Dragon: Frank Ashkani in the first two seasons, and Roy Vickers in season two.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: In "Ewings Unite!", Bobby reveals that Katherine Wentworth died during the interim between the two series.
- Everything Sounds Sexier in French: Rebecca invokes this in the first episode, luring Christopher away from a business meeting by pretending to only speak French so they can sneak off and have sex in the locker room.
- Expy: It's a minor throwaway character to establish some plot, but J.R.'s buddy in Mexico is worth $60 billion. Carlos Slim, anyone? Interesting, since J.R. is established to be buddies with Jerry Jones.
- Face-Heel Turn:
- After Christopher breaks off the relationship with Rebecca, she goes to her father, Cliff Barnes and agrees to fully cooperate in his scheme against the Ewings.
- After Elena learns from Cliff that J.R. cheated her father out of a lucrative piece of land years earlier, she goes down to Mexico and meets with the Mendez-Ochoa cartel (led by her childhood friend, Joaquin) and begins working on their behalf against the Ewings.
- In the pilot episode, Rebecca Sutter says that her father is a very good poker player. Later on, we learn that Cliff Barnes (who was organizing a high-stakes poker game in the first season) is her father.
- Rebecca and Christopher go to meet Cliff in "The Price You Pay", and Rebecca acknowledges Cliff with a long look and stilted greeting to each other when they first meet. This later gets picked up on when it's revealed that Rebecca is Cliff's daughter, and she was in on the plan all along to take Christopher's drilling technology.
- The opening credits for "J.R.'s Masterpiece" prominently focus on his signature engraved belt buckle. In "Legacies", a facsimile of said belt buckle is used to frame Cliff Barnes for J.R.'s murder, thus completing J.R.'s "master plan".
- Gambit Pileup: It would appear there are several machinations afoot regarding possession of Southfork, and many of the strings are being pulled by a Criminal Doppelgänger of the daughter of one of J.R.'s Mexican friends.
- Plus, the family attorney's true allegiance is in question. J.R. is trying to get him to screw Bobby, but John Ross is trying to get him to screw J.R. at the same time.
- And then, what is Rebecca and her "brother's" true motives?
- And who really sent the email that broke up Christopher and Elena? It was Rebecca, but she shifts the blame on Tommy for Christopher to discover
- Generation Xerox: Bobby really doesn't want Christopher and John Ross to turn out like he and J.R. did. Unfortunately, by the time of the pilot, it may be too late.
- Groin Attack: When Ann chases J.R. out of Bobby's room in "Family Business" she threatens to shoot him if she ever catches him near Bobby again, and she says that since J.R. doesn't have a heart, she'll shoot him somewhere more vital, accompanied by a quick look downward.
- Gun Struggle: Rebecca and Tommy at the end of "Family Business".
- Hollywood Healing: Bobby gets a second brain aneurysm at the end of "Family Business". In the next episode ("Revelations"), he has surgery off-screen, and is out of the hospital by the middle of the episode. While it's explained that the procedure to remove the aneurysm was non-invasive, he's out of the hospital after what appears to be an overnight stay, and has no bandages or evidence that he was even there in the first place.
- Hope Spot:
- In the last two episodes of season 1, it seems like John Ross and Christopher have finally put their differences aside and are ready to combine their plans into a new business venture. John Ross proposes to Elena and she accepts, and Christopher and Rebecca are patching things up. Even J.R. is ready to bury the hatchet with Bobby and end his pursuit of power. Then Rebecca shoots Tommy after backing out of their scheme. J.R.'s latest backstab attempt is fully revealed to Bobby, causing him to have a brain aneurysm. Elena discovers John Ross's part in J.R.'s scheme and breaks off the engagement. Christopher discovers Rebecca isn't who she says she is and ends it with her. He goes to find Elena and they rekindle their old romance. Rebecca meets with Cliff Barnes who is really her father and vows to help him in their original scheme. Finally a heartbroken and vengeful John Ross vows to steal everything from Christopher with J.R.'s help, proving that neither of them have learned a thing.
- In "Legacies", the driving forces of the season are reconciled. Bobby finally shuts down Cliff's vendetta against the Ewings for good by framing him for J.R.'s murder, Harris Ryland is arrested for drug trafficking, Christopher and John Ross learn who shot J.R. (it was Bum, acting on J.R.'s orders) and the family finally gets Ewing Energies back for good... except that Cliff convinced Elena to go after the Ewings for screwing over her family decades earlier, and John Ross cheats on his newlywed wife with Emma Ryland, proving that he once again hasn't learned a thing.
- Hostage Situation: In "Blame Game", Vicente Cano takes the Ewings hostage after they screwed him over in the previous season's finale, "Revelations".
- Incest Subtext: Harris and his mother are... oddly close, to the point that in one conversation, Judith puts her arm around her son and mentions how Emma is "our daughter".
- Ironic Echo: The revival echoes many of the themes and major plots that defined the original series, often very specifically:
- The original series was kicked off with a Ewing marrying a Barnes (Bobby and Pamela.) Same goes for the new series, with Christopher and Rebecca.
- The scene in the pilot episode where Elena goes to Christopher (who, in desperation, has found new evidence to help his methane drilling research), finds him asleep in his office and makes him a cup of coffee when he wakes up is used again four episodes later in a different context. Christopher goes to Elena, he sleeps on her couch and she serves him coffee again, while he refrains from showing her a videotape of John Ross and Marta/Veronica having sex.
- In the original series, Pam Ewing lost her baby via an accident that J.R. is accused of deliberately causing at the end of the first season. Likewise, in the new series' second season, Rebecca loses her unborn twins after an explosion which Christopher is accused of causing. It was actually a plot executed by Elena's brother Drew, following orders from Cliff Barnes.
- Just in Time: In "Blame Game", Christopher rushes to stop Vicente Cano from kidnapping Elena to use as leverage against the Ewing family. He manages to rescue Elena, but Vicente pulls a gun on him. Christopher pulls himself over Elena to shield her... and then her brother, Drew, shoots Vicente in the chest with a rifle from offscreen.
- Kick the Dog: Cliff does a number of shady and backhanded things throughout the first season and beginning of the second, but when he allies with Harris Ryland and detonates a bomb on the Ewing Energies oilrig (despite knowing full well that his daughter, who is carrying unborn twins, is on board), he firmly establishes himself as a straight-out villain. It doesn't work, either, as the characters discover the sabotage just a single episode later.
- Knight Templar Parent: Harris acts this way towards Emma. He constantly tries to steal her back from her mother (even trespassing on the Ewing's property), checks up on her constantly and tells her not to fraternize with any man he doesn't like (to the point of getting his goons to beat Drew up and showing the end result to a crying Emma).
- Last Disrespects: Cliff Barnes crashes J.R.'s wake to rail at Bobby, Christopher and John Ross for the deceased's actions over the years, before being escorted out by his daughter.
- Latino Is Brown: Both the young female leads are played by Latin American actresses. The dark-skinned, dark-haired, dark-eyed Jordana Brewster (Brazilian) plays a Mexican character, while the lighter-skinned, brunette, green-eyed Julie Gonzalo (Argentinian) plays an Anglo character.
- Like a Son to Me: Cliff indicates this to Frank after the Dallas police discover the body of Tommy Sutter, and uses that fact to convince Frank to kill himself at his arraignment hearing.
- Like Brother and Sister: Joaquin/Nicholas regards Elena as a sibling, and states that they are part of the same family, despite being from different bloodlines.
- Love Dodecahedron: John Ross to Elena and Marta Del Sol/Veronica, Elena to Christopher and John Ross, and Christopher to Rebecca and Elena.
- The Man Behind the Man: Cliff is this to Pamela Rebecca Barnes and Frank in the first season, then Governor Sam McConaughey is this to Cliff and Ryland in season two.
- Mathematician's Answer: John Ross asks Pamela at their impromptu wedding if she is marrying him because she loves him, or hates her father for killing her children and wants him to suffer. The response: "I do".
- Mercy Kill: J.R. was dying of cancer, so as part of his "masterpiece", he had Bum shoot him with a gun stolen from Cliff, as a means to frame him for his death.
- The Mole:
- Christopher's colleague Eric was in on the plot against Ewing Alternative Energy.
- The fake Marta Del Sol was working for J.R. and John Ross against Bobby.
- Pamela Barnes has become this against her father Cliff, because he was responsible for her babies' deaths.
- Elena becomes this for Cliff Barnes after discovering that JR cheated her father out of lucrative land deeds.
- Moment Killer:
- In the third-season episode "Playing Chicken", Pamela tries to seduce John Ross after he comes home from work, but the mood is ruined what Pamela reveals her skimpy bustier, which (unbeknownst to her) is what Emma wore when she seduced John Ross just a short time prior.
- The same thing happens in the third-season mid finale, "Where There's Smoke". Pamela finds out about John Ross' infidelity, and her response is to surprise John Ross and Emma as they're making out in his apartment and begin a threesome with them. They don't get very far before Pamela begins convulsing from an unknown medical condition.
- Moment of Weakness:
- In the third episode, Christopher kisses Elena after the weight of everything that's happened (the failure of his alternative energy project, the revelation that his father is being treated for intestinal cancer, realizing Elena left to be with John Ross because of an e-mail he never wrote) crashes down on him. Interestingly, this is immediately subverted when he goes to Rebecca and tells her what happened, resolving to make their marriage work.
- In the second season premiere, after Sue Ellen is accused of bribery, which destroys her campaign for governor, she pours herself a glass of wine (her struggles with alcoholism having been a long-term problem) but when J.R. shows up and promises to help her, she pours the glass down the drain, followed shortly thereafter by the whole bottle.
- Sue Ellen faces the same temptation the night before J.R.'s funeral. This time she succumbs.
- Ms. Fanservice: Emma is a notable example. In the third season, the majority of her scenes involve her in various states of undress, with the camera (and John Ross) often focusing on her backside as she moves.
- Not Quite Dead: Ultimately subverted in season two. In "Ewings Unite!", Christopher learns that his mother, Pam Ewing, didn't succumb to the terminal disease she was diagnosed with the twelfth season of the original series, and went to live in Abu Dhabi with another man, which led to J.R. searching for her before his death. In "Legacies", it's revealed that she was dead all along, and Cliff covered up her death in order to stop Christopher from accessing her shares of Barnes Global.
- Obfuscating Senility: J.R., at 75, is a lot sharper and more capable than he lets on at the beginning of the first episode. He pretends to be a harmless old man who almost everyone else thinks is senile, and is more concerned with reliving the "good old days" then having anything to do with Bobby's plans to sell Southfork...all while he's pulling incriminating evidence from the family in plain sight.
- Off The Wagon:
- Gary is revealed to have done this before the beginning of the series, which resulted in Valene leaving him.
- Sue Ellen does this in "J.R.'s Masterpiece" (after being tempted several episodes earlier), due in part to J.R.'s death.
- Oh, Crap: Sue Ellen has this reaction in "No Good Deed" when the police find evidence exonerating John Ross for the murder of Marta, because she bribed the medical examiner into ruling her death a suicide and, as a result, letting the real murderer walk free.
- Overlord Jr.: John Ross III. As soon as he realizes Southfork is going to be sold to a conservancy, he goes to J.R. for help and eagerly gets involved in the elder Ross' schemes.
- Pet the Dog: After close to a whole season making everyone's life miserable in his pursuit of Southfork, J.R. finally relents in "Family Business" after seeing Bobby have a seizure, and ends up signing the deed back to Bobby.
- Product Placement:
- Most of the characters drive Chevrolet vehicles, with emphasis on the logo on their hoods.
- "Truth And Consequences" has a sequence where JR talks with the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones, and considerable attention is paid to the game being played at the Cowboys Stadium.
- HP Computers gets one at the beginning of "Guilt By Association".
- According to Producer Cynthia Cidre, this is why the Southfork ranch (located in Parker, TX) is now set in Dallas proper instead of the (fictional) suburb of Braddock: The show itself is receiving money from the city of Dallas for tourism purposes.
- Promoted To Opening Credits: Mitch Pileggi (Harris) and Juan Pablo Di Pace (Joaquin/Nicolas) get this in the third season.
- Refusal of the Call: Christopher in season one. He is more than happy to let Southfork get sold to a conservancy and focus on his methane drilling. However, J.R. and John Ross' machinations eventually force him to start fighting dirty in order to protect his family and the ranch.
- Remember the New Guy:
- Elena Ramos, who was never mentioned in the original series, is portrayed in the revival as best friends with John Ross and Christopher since they were all children. She's also the Ewing's housekeeper, Carmen's (who was never seen in the original either), daughter.
- 'Smiling' Frank is revealed in "Collateral Damage" to have been picked up from the streets of Islamabad as a young boy by Cliff Barnes 30 years earlier (setting it, in the show's timeframe, around season 4-5 of the original series), and was supposedly brought up by Cliff for most of his life, yet he was never seen or hinted at before his introduction in "The Price You Pay".
- Heather (played by Annalynne McCord) is introduced in the third season as having worked at Southfork for quite some time, and immediately begins a relationship with Christopher and speaks up for several characters almost as soon as she's introduced.
- Revival: The rebooted series follows the original surviving characters (J.R., Bobby and Sue Ellen in the main cast; Cliff, Lucy and Ray as guest stars), and focuses on a growing battle between John Ross Ewing (J.R.'s son) and Christopher Ewing (Bobby's son) over the rights to Ewing Oil. The show also follows up on a plotline from the original series - namely, the right to drill for oil on the Southfork Ranch (which was a major source of contention in the early seasons). The series was also internally referred to as "Season 15" by TNT.
- Rewrite: The show plays fast and loose with some of the past events in the series, which are changed to reflect plots in the new series:
- In the original series, Ellie owned the Southfork mineral rights, and passed them onto J.R. and Bobby. In the new series, it is said that her father gave the rights to the Ewing brothers.
- By the end of the original series, Cliff Barnes had soundly beat J.R. and acquired Ewing Oil, which (as the backstory to the 2012 series indicates) he sold off years later, and lived handsomely off the profits. At the end of season 1, it's revealed that he's much more evil than before. Not only does he want Christopher's drilling technology (using his own daughter to get in close to Chris, who's his own nephew), but he's also willing to cover up deaths - as seen in Tommy's case - if it gets him closer to what he wants.
- According to "Legacies", Cliff Barnes (having learned of Pam Ewing's death in Abu Dhabi in 1989) arranged for a doctor to create the illusion she was still alive, so that Christopher couldn't inherit her shares of Barnes Global. This is despite the fact that, in the original series' timeframe (season 12), Barnes Global did not exist yet, and Cliff was at his most sympathetic as a character at that point in the narrative.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When Bobby gets a court order stopping John Ross from drilling on Southfork land, John Ross tells the workers to keep drilling, but they leave, saying that they "ain't tanglin' with Bobby Ewing."
- Shipper on Deck: Of all people, J.R. is/was this for Elena and John Ross. It hasn't come up in the show itself but in the Facebook timeline he seems to have been quite keen for them to end up together.
J.R.: Turns out Christopher and the Ramos girl are getting awfully cozy. Shared their first kiss under the family oak tree. Should’ve been her and John Ross, if you ask me.
- Special Edition Title: The second-season episode "J.R.'s Masterpiece" features a slower, more mournful rendition of the main theme that plays over footage of J.R. walking out of Southfork, to acknowledge Larry Hagman's passing.
- Spin-Offspring: Although the last generation still has a big part, the revival claims to focus on J.R. and Sue Ellen's son, John Ross, and Bobby and Pam's son, Christopher as well as Cliff Barnes's daughter, Pamela Rebecca.
- Time Skip: Twice in the show to date. In "Trial And Error", a title card is used to show that a month has passed between Ryland's shooting and the court hearing, and in "Let Me In", after Christopher breaks his unborn child's bed, the action skips forward three weeks.
- Victorious Childhood Friend: Nicolas capitalizes on Elena's resentment of the Ewings, and their past in Mexico, to seduce her after coming back to Dallas.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- When Sue Ellen tells John Ross she's going to keep pressing Gary to try to get the oil on Southfork pumping again after J.R.'s death, John Ross is livid at her for worrying about business right after his father's death.
- John Ross gets this from Bum (who rails at him and says not to make the same mistakes as his father) when he begins an affair with Emma.
- You Look Familiar:
- Mitch Pileggi (who plays Ann's ex-husband, Harris Ryland), in addition to being an extra in a very early episode in the 80's, had a three-episode role in the original series as a mental patient who bullied J.R. when he was in a mental institution.
- Brenda Strong (Ann) had a role in a tenth-season episode of the original series as one of Cliff's one night stands.
- Glenn Morshower (who plays Lou, a lawyer who helps the Ewings throughout the first season) played a small role as a campaign aide in the original series' first-season episode "Black Market Baby".
- Barry Corbin, who played Sheriff Washburn in the original series, appears as J.R.'s lawyer during the will-reading scene in "Ewings Unite!".
- In the revival, Sam Anderson plays a recast of Dr. David Gordon (who was established as Pam's doctor/pretend fiancee in the last episode featuring her in the original series), while in the original series he played a detective during Season 8 who helped Bobby prove Jenna innocent of murder.
- Your Cheating Heart: John Ross begins an illicit affair with Emma in the third season, after he wedded Pamela in the previous season. Later subverted when Pamela finds out about the affair. Instead of calling out John Ross on it, she dresses up in her green bustier and surprises John Ross and Emma at his apartment, where they begin a threesome. Then she has an unspecified seizure just before things really get going.
- Your Days Are Numbered: Played straight and seemingly subverted:
- The pilot episode establishes that Bobby has a rare form of intestinal cancer, which motivates his decision to sell Southfork to the Del Sol Conservancy. After a couple episodes of Bobby having dramatic chest pains which cause him to clutch his stomach and waver, he gets surgery (off-screen) and is told that although there's chance of a resurgence, he should be fine if he continues taking treatment.
- J.R. is discovered to have been suffering from cancer just before his death in "The Furious and Fast" in "Legacies".