05/09/2012 20:40 BST | Updated 05/11/2012 10:12 GMT

TV REVIEW: Dallas Returns - Old Grudges, New Intrigues, Keeping Everyone Happy

The oil flew into the air, and Dallas was back in business. This completely contrived opening sequence served lots of happy purposes, not least dowsing everyone sexily in Castrol GTX. We had our history - Miss Ellie had forbidden digging on Southfork - and our future - Uncle Bobby would be furious.


The youngsters are exhibiting the same passions and rivalries as their Dallas forebears

A key scene between Bobby and JR told us all we needed to know, with Bobby beseeching his silent brother to put the bitterness of the past to bed - "All those fights, JR... I don't want to them to be like us."

The great snoozing dragon didn't appear to hear much, however, until his negligent son John Ross turned up, mentioning the two magic words - "family" and "oil". From then on, it wasn't long before the hat and the grin were back in place, hostilities safely restored.

There were some concessions to the new. The ranch was greener, the scenery was brighter orange, with dappled sunlight redolent of The Mentalist or CSI: Miami, the music was everywhere. And Jock Ewing would have turned in his grave at the sight of some English subtitles accompanying some sexy French foreplay.

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But the values of the old show were intact, with Bobby's honourable fury, the inevitable fisticuffs between cousins John Ross and Christopher - which was kind of about oil, but we all knew it was really about the love of a woman. Sound familiar? Initially, I wondered if these two butting rhinos had been cast the wrong way round - Josh Henderson seemed too fair and clean-cut to be mischief-making, but by the time his neck was pulsating, the bottle of Scotch was wobbling in his hand and he was double-crossing his own daddy, his malefactor credentials were secured.

Meanwhile, Bobby learned he was unwell, but had family business to attend to, a family wedding... the nearest we'll get for now to the traditional Southfork BBQ, complete with some familiar old friends - nice to see Lucy and Ray still hanging out together (hope they've remembered they're related by now).

In its fresh form, Dallas appears a glossy soap operatic family/business intrigue somewhere between that Florida dynastic Jimmy Smits vehicle Cane (I watch too much telly), and Flamingo Road (it gets worse).

But it has a massive head start over any contemporary rivals. Along with some powerful enough storylines to draw in new fans, Dallas has kept strong its strands of nostalgia to afford old fans a happy wallow. As JR would have it, "her daddy and I go way back."

Who's Who in the new era...

Dallas Who's Who