Welcome back, Ewings. Where y'all been? Only in television limbo, it turns out, because everything that ever was on TV eventually is reborn. (Out of desperation, apparently. What else explains the soon-to-return Munsters?)
Dallas is back as a "new" series tonight at 8 p.m., with a two-hour premiere on cable's TNT. (Join the Observer at the Angelika in Mockingbird Station tonight for a free screening of the first episode. Get there early to stake claim on a good seat.) Larry Hagman reprises his role as J.R. Ewing, the oil-rich-then-poor-then-rich-again family's wickedly brilliant patriarch. Patrick Duffy's back as nicer brother Bobby. Linda Gray alights from the time machine as Sue Ellen. New Ewings will be played by Josh Henderson, Jesse Metcalf, Jordana Brewster, Julie Gonzalo and Brenda Strong. (Look for Dallas actress and singer-dancer Linda Leonard in a sweet scene a few minutes into tonight's episode.)
The Ewings' homestead is still Southfork ranch (which is actually north of Plano), but little shooting for the new show will be done on location here in Big D. Not much of the original Dallas, which aired on CBS from 1978 to 1991, was shot here either after the first five episodes. In later years, they got sloppy about letting LA double as D-town. It was fun to spot the palm trees and mountains rising from Southfork's back 40.
Dallas isn't the only major TV series to have its roots here, however. These five did, too: