Dallas: newly revamped show splits US TV critics

Larry Hagman and Linda Gray are among the original stars to feature in the new series

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More than 30 years after TV audiences asked: 'Who shot JR?', US critics are split on the newly-revamped Dallas.

The series, which follows a new generation of Texan oil family, the Ewings, has its debut in the US tonight on the cable network, TNT.

Reviews have been mixed, with the New York Times calling it "stodgy" while another reviewer regarded it as "darker and sleeker" than the original show.

Channel Five will screen the 10-part series in the UK in September.

The original Dallas aired from 1978 to 1991 and centred around a long and bitter rivalry between brothers JR Ewing, played by Larry Hagman, and Bobby Ewing, played by Patrick Duffy.

Dallas scene Josh Henderson as John Ross Ewing and Larry Hagman (right) who returns as JR in a scene from Dallas

In the new version, cousins John Ross Ewing - played by Josh Henderson - and Christopher Ewing - played by Desperate Housewives' Jesse Metcalfe, continue the family rivalry as the future of the family fortune lies in their hands.

Original cast members Hagman, Duffy and Linda Gray also return to Southfork ranch as JR, Bobby and Sue Ellen.

Writing in USA Today, Robert Bianco has been scathing in its assessment, commenting that the remake has little to offer beyond a "desire to cash in on the standard-setting success of the CBS original in the 1980s".

He also described the performances as "wooden" and the dialogue as "often risible".

The New York Times has also been critical, describing the new generation of Ewings as feeling "old and even stodgy".

Cast of Dallas The young cast of the new series which has its first airing in the US tonight

"This version is palely faithful to the original without any of its seditious zest."

However, Lori Rackl of the Chicago Sun-Times was more positive in her assessment, saying while the new Dallas is full of implausibilities, it offers something different.

"A nostalgic romp in a dysfunctional ranch that was a Friday night fixture on many a TV set," she added.

Writing in the Knoxville News Sentinel in Tennessee, Terry Morrow said the 2012 Dallas "has all the charms of the original while giving a sleeker and darker tone to the proceedings".

Dallas began as a mini series in 1978 and went on to become one of the most-watched television shows around the world for 13 years.

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