"DALLAS" Series premiere tonight at 9 on TNT. : B+
Big oil, big hats, big yee-hawwwww.
This is how you do "Dallas."
TNT's "sequel series" -- don't call it a reboot -- reunites original stars Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray as those fussin', feudin', always entertaining Ewings.
Co-executive producer/ writer Cynthia Cidre's smart take on the prime-time soap (1978-1991) pays homage to the past while moving the battle to the next generation.
In the two-hour premiere, those upstart young'uns -- J.R. and Sue Ellen's son John Ross (Josh Henderson) and Bobby's adopted son Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) square off for the future of Southfork and control of the Ewing fortune.
Violating Miss Ellie's will, John Ross digs for oil on Ewing property and hits a gusher. Christopher wants to go green but the technology is treacherous.
"I am sick to death of this family devouring itself over money," Bobby (Duffy) snaps.
He decides to sell the ranch to a land preservation group, rousing J.R. (Hagman) to all sorts of scheming.
Among those caught in the cross fire: Bobby's wife, Ann (Brenda Strong, "Desperate Housewives"), Christopher's fiancee Rebecca (Julie Gonzalo), and Elena (Jordana Brewster), John Ross' girlfriend and Christopher's ex.
Just about everyone -- including white hat Bobby -- is hiding something.
At 80, Hagman looks frail, but he chews every scene as if it were prime rib.
"Son, never pass on a good chance to shut up," he advises his chip off the old scoundrel. Next week, in a moment that tips its Stetson to the infamous 1980 "Who Shot J.R.?" cliffhanger, J.R. is confronted by a rifle-toting relative.
"Bullets don't seem to have much of an effect on me, darling," he drawls.
The other Ewings have not been forgotten. Look tonight for cameos from trashy niece Lucy (Charlene Tilton) and half-brother Ray (Steve Kanaly). Next week, that no-good Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval) drops by with a proposition for nephew Christopher. Despite all the references to Bobby's great love Pam, actress Victoria Principal has not committed to a return.
That's OK. The new generation seems more than eager to fill some big boots.
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