Power, greed, oil, and sex, some things never change on Southfork Ranch, the fictional setting of the 1980s’ iconic prime-time soap, Dallas. TNT has brought back Dallas, the saga of the Ewing family, with a new show premiering Wednesday, June 13, on the cable network. Two University of Miami School of Communication alumni are the creative forces behind the new show. Cynthia Cidre, A.B. ’78, and Michael M. Robin, B.S.C. ’85, are executive producers of the TNT version of Dallas, adding fresh faces and more twisting plot lines to the series.
“The new Dallas is a beautifully acted, intelligently written, gorgeously shot show, which will give you whiplash with its cliffhangers. I like to think of it as the 24 of epic family drama,” said Cidre, an established screenwriter (Cane, The Mambo Kings) in Los Angeles.
Dallas picks up with the next generation of Ewings struggling for control of Southfork and the family’s oil empire. The show also stars original cast members Larry Hagman (J.R.), Patrick Duffy (Bobby) and Linda Gray (Sue Ellen). When black gold once again springs forth on the ranch so does the drama. Stirring up trouble in Texas is J.R.’s son John Ross, played by Josh Henderson, who feuds with Bobby’s son, Christopher (Desperate Housewives’ Jesse Metcalf) over the future of the family business. John Ross wants to refine the oil the old-fashioned way for profit, while Christopher aims to go the clean energy route. Tension grows with a love triangle between the two younger Ewings and Elena, played by Jordana Brewster (The Fast & the Furious), the daughter of the family's housekeeper.
"The interpersonal dynamics and the interpersonal fights are in place," Robin said. "We've tried to make sure that as we've brought this forward and freshened it with all these new faces that you get to watch the real generational fight within the family. These are the things that people love."
Robin is no stranger to creating a successful cable TV show, he just wrapped the crime drama, The Closer, after seven season.
A live online chat with the Dallas cast, Robin and Cidre takes place after the premiere Wednesday on tnt.com.
“If you loved the previous Dallas show you should definitely watch the new show since ours is not a 'reboot' or a 'remake', but a 'continuation' of the old show,” Cidre added. “It'll be as if the cameras had left Southfork and Dallas in 1991 and have now returned. If you're too young to have seen the old show, you should watch the new show to see how deliciously fun television can be."
Early reviews of the show were positive.
"This Dallas has been rejiggered in a canny manner," wrote Ken Tucker, TV critic for Entertainment Weekly. "Overall, Dallas is a solidly constructed soap opera, with strong dialogue and oily plot twists."
Cidre’s and Robin's path to Dallas began in Miami at the School of Communication. Cidre credits the SoC for providing the base for this latest endeavor.
“The School of Communication taught me how to write scripts. Writing is the foundation of all entertainment,” Cidre said. “No matter what job I'm doing on Dallas, whether it's writing a script, giving notes to another writer, sitting behind the director on set producing the show, or cutting the film in an edit bay, I am using the structural skill I learned from writing.”
*Watch a preview of Dallas here: