Top critical review
16 people found this helpful
Review of 'Dallas' Season 11 [MINOR SPOILERS]
on April 27, 2009
'Dallas' Season 11 brings forth a lot of what defined the series' success; J.R.'s battle this season is to reclaim the now fallen Ewing Oil empire; Sue Ellen continues to find her way and make sense of her relationship with J.R.; Clayton and Miss Ellie have their own relationship issues to work out. For me though, the eleventh season was just average. It lacked the drama and emotional intensity of the 'dream' season but it was definitely less awkward that season 10 which attempted to make-up for the dream season. Still, the eleventh season felt a bit sedate and tame compared to season's past. Even with 30 episodes, this season felt rather anti-climatic.
Part of my issue with this season is that it definitely felt as if the producers were either running out of ideas or trying to shift the focus from the core group of characters we've come to know and care about to a slew of new characters. Some of them, such as Sue Ellen's new interest Nicholas Pearce, were interesting and just as strong as the long-running characters. Others, such as the femme fatale of the season Kimberly, or J.R.'s new lackey, Casey Denault, simply felt flat and cookie-cutter. The character of Bobby was also rather underwhelming during the season, coming off as rather detached for the most part. The characters of Ray and Jenna simply lost steam and were left to a rather lame rip-off plot of 'Fatal Attraction'. To me, the only characters that really shined this season were Sue Ellen, who has the ultimate plot to get back at J.R. for years of wrong-doing, and Miss Ellie who finds herself in a role often held and played out by Sue Ellen.
There really was no real, threatening, big conflict this season. For part of the season, the focus seemed to be on the children and episodes felt a bit like an ABC After School Special rather than the 'Dallas' we all know and are obsessed with. John Ross, Christopher, and Charlie play a big role in this season and for me as a viewer, I'd prefer the focus have been more so on the adults. The character of Pam is completely demolished and her actions simply seemed to go against all of her seasons of development. Even J.R.'s fight to reclaim Ewing Oil isn't as gripping because most of the plot feels old at this point; it feels exactly like the fight he puts up for the company each season. The season is filled with rehashed plots; Sue Ellen realizing J.R. will never be faithful to her, J.R. playing different family members against one another to get what he wants, a fight over John Ross, a murder/court trial.
With these complaints, there were still good moments in the season, including the emerging character of April Stevens and how she definitely plays well with so many characters. Seeing Sue Ellen spend an entire season sober and in control, plotting and playing her cards just as well as J.R. probably saved this season from being a total bore. I also enjoyed most scenes that involved Miss Ellie and watching as she found herself in the odd position of finally being able to relate to Sue Ellen and see what it's been like for her in her relationship with J.R. The surprise return of Lucy toward the end of the season even provided for some great moments and perhaps a great interlude to more to come in the next season.
In all, 'Dallas' is still better than most shows on t.v. now and is worth the viewing. It's definitely more soap opera-ish this season than previous; you have a mob plot, abduction, scheming, plotting, hook-ups, politics and many more elements that make this a guilty pleasure and must-see-tv. Check it out, you probably won't be let down, especially with the season finale that definitely leaves Sue Ellen Ewing in the spotlight and makes this more so her season than any other before.