Can TNT’s Dallas Survive Without Larry Hagman?

Dallas (TNT) Season Finale Revelations Episode 10

It’s hard to determine what genre of television program that I enjoy. It seems that I like them all. I tend to take pleasure in shows that have equal amounts of comedy and drama — lots and lots of scandalous drama. What can I say? I like conflict. Perchance that’s why I love TNT’s brilliant reboot of Dallas so much. Since it premiered this past summer, I’ve been hooked like phonics — especially on its resident diabolical scoundrel, the conniving J.R. Ewing played to perfection by Larry Hagman.

By now, I’m sure we’ve all heard that Hagman, a veteran of television and film, passed away on November 23, 2012 due to complications from throat cancer. Without a doubt, the world lost one of its finest actors. I mean, let’s keep it real — nobody played a villain better than Hagman. When it comes to titillating soap operas, people usually root for the good guys to prevail. I typically don’t. Sorry, folks — I always found myself rooting for J.R. to trump his do-good brother Bobby, and take over the Southfork ranch once and for all. Heck, Bobby’s boring. Bad guys have all the fun.

Having said that, who’s going to have the fun now that Hagman’s gone? Now, that’s a stumper bigger than the one concerning who shot J.R.! According to Entertainment Weekly, the show is well into shooting its second season and Hagman had already filmed a few episodes. The man was a jackhammer. The second season is set to debut in January which is plenty of time to find a suitable way to write him off. However, how do you write off a character as deliciously evil as J.R. Ewing?

Ah, how this brings out the artist in me!

You want my opinion? Of course you do!

I suppose they could have another whodunit mystery. That would be pretty fun, wouldn’t it? I think it would be a nice throwback to the classic Dallas. Or maybe they can just say that J.R. had an epiphany and decided to leave the ranch in Bobby’s possession. Maybe he found Jesus. I don’t know. I’m grasping for straws. Either way, I’m definitely interested to see what the writers do. However, I think I’m a little more interested in knowing who’ll replace Hagman as the show’s main antagonist. Josh Henderson is doing a bang up job as J.R.’s equally conniving son John Ross, but I don’t think he can carry an evil plot all by himself. He’ll need a little help. To that end, my mother suggested that the new villain be Ann’s ruthless ex-husband, Harris Ryland, played by Mitch Pileggi. I think that would be awesome. He’s certainly got some big shoes to fill though.

As J.R., Hagman turned heads and delivered some of the best lines. I wasn’t even born when the first episode of the original incarnation of Dallas aired. In fact, I’ve only ever seen a handful of episodes. Nevertheless, you don’t have to be a Dallas fanatic to know that Hagman owned his character. When I think of the city of Dallas, Texas, I don’t think of those damn Cowboys. No, I think of Hagman — and that says a lot.

Not only was Hagman charming and hardnosed as J.R., but he was capable and convincing. That’s what counts in my book. The actor could do no wrong. I definitely believe that the show can survive, but it’s certainly lost a fundamental ingredient — one that will be both missed and cherished.

Southfork will never be the same again.