|CBS | Season Premiere Date: November 2, 1990|
Ratings were fair, but they were nothing compared to when the show moved to Friday nights, when the ratings well didn't run dry for a long, long time.
The Ewing family lived at the sprawling South Fork ranch, in hoity-toity Braddock County just outside Dallas. Like any good power family, there was a matriarch and patriarch, and three sons- this core group, their extensive romantic relations, and the Barnes clan of rival oilers were all Jacobs needed to create a self-contained histrionic world of intrigue, dysfunction and passion. Borrowing from Romeo and Juliet, the youngest Ewing boy, Bobby, fell for a beautiful Barnes girl. And with a nod to the biblical Cain and Abel, Bobby and older brother J.R. didn't exactly play nice with each other like you might expect brothers to. Whereas J.R. was nearly a hundred percent scoundrel, Bobby had discernable streaks of honesty and integrity…but that patented Ewing viciousness certainly reared its head once in a while. The South Fork ranch housed Jock and Miss Ellie, the king and queen of South Fork, J.R. and long-suffering wife Sue Ellen, and Bobby and Pamela…though why they all lived under one roof demands a little poetic license, because money certainly wasn't a problem, and it wasn't like there was a whole lot of binding inter-family harmony.
Here's just a taste of the drama devices that ensued: insane asylums, car accidents, affairs, illegitimate children, gunfights, fistfights, catfights, lies, drinking problems (both real and imagined), poufy 80's hairstyles for the ladies and best of all, notorious season finale cliffhangers.
The most famous, of course, came at the end of the 1979-80 season, when a mysterious late-night intruder shot J.R. in the chest while he was toiling away at the office one night. The resulting "Who Shot J.R.?" publicity raced around the globe, because by that time, Dallas was an international hit in just about every developed country in the world. Odds on the shooter's identity were figured, bets were placed, and theories were construed– since there were about fifteen possible candidates, fans and pundits were kept very busy indeed. Don't read the next part of this sentence if you want to remain one of the few of-age humans who doesn't know whodunit… it was Kristin, J.R.'s scorned sister-in-law and recent romantic entanglement.
Dallas was conceived as a show that had plenty of sex and romance for the female audiences, and a lot of cowboy posturing and business intrigue for the male viewers. The formula worked, because by the early 1980's, it was one of the most popular shows in TV history. There were magazine covers galore, a spin-off named Knots Landing about Gary, the middle Ewing son who wasn't seen or heard from much during proceedings at South Fork, and primetime serialization imitators like Dynasty and Falcon Crest.
So for the show that kicked off the nighttime drama trend that's status quo today, we tip those ten-gallon hats and breathe a secret sigh of relief that J.R. was just a fictional character who couldn't manipulate us in real life. Because let's be honest, that guy could have taken most of us down.
CBS Broadcast History:
April 2, 1978- April 30, 1978----Sundays----10:00-11:00 P.M.
September 23, 1978- October 14, 1978----Saturdays----10:00-11:00 P.M.
October 15, 1978- January 14, 1979----Sundays----10:00-11:00 P.M.
January 26, 1979- November 27, 1981----Fridays----10:00-11:00 P.M.
December 4, 1981- May 17, 1985----Fridays----9:00-10:00 P.M.
September 27, 1985- May 16, 1986----Fridays----9:00-10:00 P.M.
September 26, 1986- May 13, 1988----Fridays----9:00-10:00 P.M.
October 28, 1988- March 9, 1990----Fridays----9:00-10:00 P.M.
March 16, 1990- May 11, 1990----Fridays----10:00-11:00 P.M.
November 2, 1990- December 21, 1990----Fridays----10:00-11:00 P.M.
January 4, 1991- May 3, 1991----Fridays----9:00-10:00 P.M.… Expand
- Series Overview
Season 14 Overview
Air Date: November 2, 1990
S14:E26. Dallas Reunion: Return to Southfork
Air Date: November 7, 2004
S14:E23. Conundrum (2)
Air Date: May 3, 1991
S14:E22. Conundrum (1)
Air Date: May 3, 1991
S14:E21. The Decline and Fall of the Ewing Empire
Air Date: April 26, 1991
S14:E20. Some Leave, Some Get Carried Out
Air Date: April 19, 1991
S14:E19. Farewell, My Lovely
Air Date: April 12, 1991
S14:E18. Those Darned Ewings
Air Date: April 5, 1991
S14:E17. When the Wind Blows
Air Date: March 29, 1991
S14:E16. Fathers and Sons and Fathers and Sons
Air Date: March 8, 1991
S14:E15. Win Some, Lose Some
Air Date: March 1, 1991
S14:E14. Smooth Operator
Air Date: February 15, 1991
Air Date: February 8, 1991
S14:E12. Designing Women
Air Date: February 1, 1991
S14:E11. "S" is for Seduction
Air Date: January 18, 1991
S14:E10. Lock, Stock and Jock
Air Date: January 11, 1991
S14:E9. Sail On
Air Date: January 4, 1991
S14:E8. The Odessa File
Air Date: December 21, 1990
S14:E7. The Fabulous Ewing Boys
Air Date: December 14, 1990
S14:E6. Heart and Soul
Air Date: December 7, 1990
S14:E5. Tunnel of Love
Air Date: November 30, 1990
Air Date: November 23, 1990
S14:E3. One Last Kiss
Air Date: November 16, 1990
Air Date: November 9, 1990
S14:E1. April in Paris
Air Date: November 2, 1990