- Larry Hagman / J.R. Ewing
- Patrick Duffy / Bobby Ewing
- Jim Davis / Jock Ewing
- Barbara Bel Geddes / Miss Ellie Ewing
- Linda Gray / Sue Ellen
- Victoria Principal / Pamela
- Charlene Tilton / Lucy
The story : At Southfork Ranch, near Dallas, the Ewings made their fortune from oil. Parents Jock and Ellie run the family with an iron fist. John Ross, the eldest son, is no soft touch, which partly explains his wife Sue Ellen’s addiction to alcohol. When second son Bobby marries Pamela, tensions rise. For Pamela is the daughter of a rival clan, the Barnes.
Why is this series a milestone ? It’s a perfect reflection of the free-spirited America of the 80s. Rich people flaunted their wealth without restraint. No awareness of planetary or social issues. The whole plot is based on deception and backstabbing between two families or within the same family. It was also the first time that the good guy, Bobby, was eclipsed by the bad guy, in this case his evil brother, J.R., who soon became the star of the series. Cliffhangers and twists keeps viewers on the edge of their seats from one episode to the next, without worrying about realism. And still, despite a total lack of subtelty, it worked, even for me ! I was a teenager back then, discovering how fictional characters can seem to become friends we meet every week, and how looking at “problems” you’ll never have helps you escape reality. What’s more, back then you couldn’t bingewatch, and waiting for a new episode every week -with its lot of cliffhanger- contributed to the addiction. Dallas may not be a masterpiece, fat from it, but it was remarkably efficient, as demonstrated by its longevity.