If Dallas Debuted Now Instead Of In 1978 It Would Still Be Highly Successful

Discussion in 'Dallas - The Original Series' started by Kenny Coyote, Feb 5, 2019.

  1. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    I don't think DALLAS and the other fantastic prime time soaps DYNASTY, KNOTS LANDING and FALCON CREST were only popular because they didn't have much competition.
    The sprawling family sagas just happened to be very popular, both the novels and the movies.
    The British soap operas THE BROTHERS and UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS came before DALLAS. Epic mini-series was must-see TV.

    Maybe it was the combination of the soap opera and the popular Western genre that made DALLAS such a smash hit. And of course the characters and the casting - I think Pamela Ewing was the 70s equivalent of Betty Anderson (Peyton Place) in terms of popularity.

    If DALLAS debuted today it would probably look like TNT DALLAS and I would definitely watch that, but in this day and age it's simply not possible to capture a worldwide audience, for reasons already stated in this thread.

    But I think that the point of this topic is that DALLAS deserves even more praise then it already got. I don't understand why this is so important.
     
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  2. darkshadows38

    darkshadows38 Soap Chat Fan

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    it's not that Dallas needs more praise but we are just talking about would this show or that show be successful ? and i don't think it would, i saw recently they are bringing back Bewitched and i didn't read the article but correct me if i'm wrong and i may be. but i think they are making it a black cast. now i love a show like Family matters that has a black cast, but i really hate it when they take a show and than just change the color to the cast. i dunno if they still are going to do it but i had heard oh a year or two ago they were going to a i think make a black or purto Rican sorry for my bad spelling family. for All in the family and that would not work at all but than that show regardless if it even had a white cast at all would not work today either.


    Dallas did come out at the right time i think... off the top of my head i can't think of any other soaps that were on at the time since Dallas i believe started that trend that is to a degree still around but reality shit and game shows and crap like that are what's popular now. though i never will get why they call it reality when everything on that show any of them is

    scripted. i will say that shows do i think get a lot better chance to not being cancelled right away for bad ratings. hell look at the show Heart of Dixie that show did a full run with ratings as low as 001. i think i saw? but that was the CW. CBS and the various channels do give some shows a better chance these days since it's rare that a show even gets 20 million anymore for example. though the superbowl or any sport championship does and can get ratings that high and though i'm not a sports fans at all it makes sense that ratings would get that high for those. hell Soap opera's day time i mean even are dying as well. when we were kids and i'm talking about any of us i'm 40 now so anyone older than me or hell even younger in their 30's even can relate to this, where 10 years ago we had decent amount of those on and today what is the number 2 or 3? if that? i never thought i'd say As The world Turns end or Guiding Light, though i wasn't that much of a daytime soap fan and even my mom stopped watching those in the late 90's.

    but guiding light was around going back to the radio days that's how old that was and i was shocked that one ended. in short and yeah i know i'm all over the place on this sorry about that, it's been a long day at work. my point is it is i think getting a lot harder for shows like Dallas for example to work at all. the last one that was around that i loved was Desperate Housewives. and that was a vastly different kind of show than that type of show normally is. i always thought of it as a black comedy of soaps since it had so much humor in it.
     
  3. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Fan

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    Taylor Bennett Jr definitely does understand the culture of Texas! And you said the above better than I could have.
    Like a lot of things we talk about on this board, it's not very important. It's just interesting to think about, "Hey, what would happen if. . . "
    And that is very true. Many things, including Dallas, are all about timing.

    And on a side note, Dark Shadows, I've noticed you have been jumping in more frequently. I like it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2019
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  4. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    I got the impression that Dallas was being defended when it really doesn't need any defence.
    And that it is so awesome that it would mesmerize audiences regardless of the era. I guess we'll never know for sure.

    But, just for the fun of it, let's reverse the situation: what if the most popular "current" continuing dramas had debuted in 1978.
    The Sopranos, Mad Men, Game Of Thrones, Grey's Anatomy etc.
    Would Dallas still be the most talked about tv series?
     
  5. Mustard

    Mustard Soap Chat Fan

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    If Dallas went out today as it did in 1978, there wouldn't be many viewers and it would be cancelled early.

    Back then, with fewer TV channels and no internet, watching TV was almost like a shared national or international experience. If somebody back then watched something on TV, the chances were a lot higher that a lot of other people also watched that same show. Whereas today, everyone kind of does their own thing a lot more. People tape shows to watch them later, or watch it online, or they don't bother and watch something else from the hundreds of other channels available.
     
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  6. darkshadows38

    darkshadows38 Soap Chat Fan

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    grey's would i think would have worked had it been made back than too i dunno about the others though as for Dark shadows i haven't watched the entire run of the show hell in years. i've been watching one or two episodes a day thus far
     
  7. Rove

    Rove Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    I look back at those early seasons of Dallas and I don't see the big, bold and glossy series. That was to come later. While the Ewing family were supposed to be drowning in millions I think it was clever on the writers/producers part to not overstate that wealth and concentrate more on telling a good yarn about family squabbles, power for Ewing Oil and Southfork shenanigans.
     
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  8. darkshadows38

    darkshadows38 Soap Chat Fan

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    they also wore in the early seasons at least clothes that most people can buy as well if my memory is correct
     
  9. Mustard

    Mustard Soap Chat Fan

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    The Ewings don't flaunt their wealth much. Jock wasn't born rich and had much of that gruff working man's attitude, and Miss Ellie was always a down to Earth ranch girl at heart. J.R. is the one that fits a new mould, as he was born into wealth and represents that side which is obsessed with profiteering for Ewing Oil. But even J.R., being as devoted to Jock as he was, has picked up much of what his daddy told him.
     
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  10. Rove

    Rove Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    Wasn't it Victoria who said they wore their own clothes in the 5 part mini series? One of my intelligent soapchat stars will have this information :)
     
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  11. Rove

    Rove Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    That's what I liked about the early seasons. Jock wanted Ewing Oil to be a success and instilled that power to succeed in his sons, JR and Bobby. From my perspective Jock wasn't driven to be filthy rich, he appeared to enjoy the chase of the deal more.

    Of all the main characters on Dallas it's Jock we still know so little about. Even watching Dallas: The Early Years didn't give up much on Jock's past. Where did the Ewing family stem from?
     
  12. Taylor Bennett Jr.

    Taylor Bennett Jr. Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    I think it would only fair for the 2000s shows to have 1978 network tv production values and restrictions and vice-versa. Game of Thrones might have been incredibly cheesy on a late 70s network budget. Breaking a bad and Maybe Grey's Anatomy would have had the best shot of the shows you listed?

    Going the other direction, I think the dark tone of 1978 'miniseries' Dallas might have translated well to a grittier, cinematic approach like the Sopranos.
    Jock is absolutely the force that everyone in the show fears. As he said, "who do you think Ewing Oil is? It's me!" No Jock, no Dallas.
     
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  13. Billy Wall

    Billy Wall Soap Chat Active Member

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    I don’t know if I’d go that far. Dallas had some very good seasons post Jock.
     
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  14. pete lashmar

    pete lashmar Soap Chat Fan

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    If Dallas premiered today all 22 episodes would be put on Netflix for us to binge watch till our heart's content - but then again it probably wouldn't because it would only have about 13 episodes, would star young inexperienced actors and would be cancelled after one season due to it not having any "gimmick".

    Sadly, shows don't get the chance to breathe anymore. In the 70's & 80's a show was given a certain amount of wiggle room. Dallas started as a mini series, then moved on to a regular series and then became a soap, it never did hit the ground running, it was a slow build and only really hit the heights of it's success after J.R got shot - after that it enjoyed another few years at the top before producers gambled with new changes that started it's decline.

    I also doubt any new series would have the ability to tell the stories in the way there were originally - nowadays it has to be fast fast fast and Dallas never worked like that, it would unravel slowly throughout a season - not something they'd allow nowdays, it's just not how TV works (unfortunately).
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
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  15. Sarah

    Sarah Super Moderator Staff Member Original Member Since 1998

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    Many series will ask actors to do this - if it's not big budget or until it BECOMES big budget :)
     
  16. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    Yeah. Like Miss Ellie said after the Frick & Co debacle, "we can't involve the police". So typical!
     
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  17. Rove

    Rove Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    Yet commercial networks are whinging why their ratings - year in, year out - are shrinking. It also explains why they are clamouring to join the streaming industry. Here in Australia our 3 commercial networks are pressing the federal government to change the law regarding the networks having to produce a certain number of hours of local (Australian) content. The networks don't wish to invest in producing new Australian drama. They just wish to create more pseudo reality nonsense.

    It's why after all these years we still have Home & Away and Neighbours on screen. They're both established shows which the audience know and contribute to the local content regulation. If the 2 commercial networks wished to cancel either series they'd have to replace it with.....? It's too much of a gamble to invest in something new.

    But what is the commercial televisions loss is streaming (Netflix) services gain. Writers/producers are clamouring to offer their stories to these services because they are given the freedom to produce it how they wish. They're not constrained by TV Executives with over reaching clout and those hideous focus groups. We the viewer are judge and jury.

    And this is the future. No longer at the mercy of "old thinking" commercial networks delaying the broadcast of my favourite series. No longer having to tolerate commercial breaks. A series like Dallas lends itself to binge watching. It's a character driven series. Imagine what those "golden years" would have been like if Dallas was airing on a service like Netflix today. No longer constrained by producing 42 minute episodes we could have had 1 hour episodes or on special occasions like an end of season episode they could have been movie length.

    I'd imagine those behind the scenes would have relished the opportunity for this kind of story-telling. Which brings me to a question. Has anyone asked David Jacobs on his thoughts regarding streaming services and if Dallas was to begin today would he have done things differently?
     
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  18. darkshadows38

    darkshadows38 Soap Chat Fan

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    well it wold make sense that in the mini-series that they wore their own clothes. but i was thinking of the show itself, than you fast forward like say (1989) very late in the series though i still haven't seen that era of the show i have seen pics and they were wearing clothes that looked expensive that's what i mean. now i dunno if they were or if they were back in the early 80's but you get what i'm saying. it's also been awhile since i last watched the show so i could be wrong as well
     
  19. JR Ewing Fan

    JR Ewing Fan Soap Chat Member

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    I don't even remember. It's had to have been over a decade though.
    But even after Jock was dead, his spirit was still all over that show.
     
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  20. JR Ewing Fan

    JR Ewing Fan Soap Chat Member

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    I don't even remember. It's had to have been over a decade though.
    I think Dallas was a product of it's time just like the westerns were so popular in the 50's. Today's audiences just don't have the patience to get invested in a continuing drama that unfolds over the whole season. I watch very little current television. It just doesn't interest me. I just watch the classics.
     

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