INTRODUCTION TO DALLAS: THEN… Dallas is set in the state of Texas, USA. the programme follows the trials and tribulations of the wealthy Ewing family, made rich from oil. The trailer opens with a loud drum/whoosh and the modern image of the Dallas City skyline. We recognise that time has moved NOW… on since the original seasons because of the highways and the numerous modern skyscrapers. During this image, we hear the voice of a man saying, “All those fights, over Ewing Oil…” we now know that the man talking is Bobby Ewing, brother of JR Ewing. The audience knows from past seasons, that the two brothers did not see eye-to-eye.
The image then cuts to where weassume the voice is coming from. Aman is sat in a chair and anotherman is walking towards it. Wenotice that the man sitting downhas a lack of hair on his head so weknow that he is old.The camera then cuts closer to theold man sitting in the chair, wecannot see his face so this buildscuriosity in the audience.The man walking towards the chairsays, “We laid waste to everythingin our path, JR,” this tells us thatthe old man in the chair is JREwing, and the man walking isBobby. However, we have still notbeen shown the faces of thesebrothers. The images we do see ofJR give us the impression that he isin a care home because he iscovered in a blanket and wearingpyjamas.
The image then cuts to the face of anolder Bobby Ewing – Patrick Duffy. Hesays, “For what?” and in the corner ofthe mise-en-scene we see an out-of-focus image of JR.The answer to Bobby‟s question isanswered in the next clip: Money.The audience are familiar with the paststorylines and know that the familybecame rich after drilling for oil on theirland. The title card „Money‟ has abackground image of a river and cattle– this reminds the audience of what theEwing‟s profession was before the oilwas found, they were farmers.The trailer then cuts to a CU of ChrisEwing, adopted son of Bobby and PamEwing. We only know he is Chrisbecause he acknowledges the personhe is talking to as John Ross, who weknow is the biological son of JR andSue Ellen Ewing.
The scene then cuts to an OTS shot ofJohn Ross jnr. Who says, “Couldn‟tdisagree more,” when Chris states, “Oil‟sin the past, John Ross.” this gives theaudience the impression that John Ross isa „carbon copy‟ of what his father was likein past seasons – cared more about themoney than family.Another answer to Bobby‟s question isgiven in the next title card: Power. Thistime with a background image from upabove the galloping cattle. This imagereminds the audience of past seasonopening credits – the city is beingobserved from the perspective of a personin a helicopter, looking down over their„kingdom‟.We now see the other side of John Rosswhen he confronts Chris saying, “You‟llnever be a Ewing Christopher!” theaudience already knows from pastseasons that Chris was adopted, andJohn Ross is pulling at the heartstringsbecause he is just like his father, wants all
The scene then cuts to an OTS reaction shotof Chris. This is significant in the storybecause the two cousins are arguing over thesame issues their fathers before them had –Ewing Oil.In many ways, Chris is like Bobby: the „niceguy‟ who wants to keep Southfork Ranchgoing rather then bother with the oil supply.Where as John Ross wants the money andpower.The next title card says: Rivalry. This, theaudience assumes is what the two brothersand their sons are going through; Bobby andChris want to put all their time into the upkeepof their ranch, where JR and John Ross wantto put all their time into the oil business. Thetwo families believe they are right and theother wrong and it will be a constant battle ofegos until something drastic happens.The scene then cuts to an interior shot ofChris and who we assume is his girlfriendRebecca Sutter. He says, “ This is about meand John Ross,” so we assume that JohnRoss has done something to anger him.
The scene then cuts to an OTS reaction shotof the girlfriend looking forlorn and distressed.We know that she is not an immediate part ofthe story and is not yet part of the familyeither.The scene then cuts to black, with a loudboom.We are then slowly introduced back to thescene between Bobby and JR in the carehome. Bobby says, “I don‟t want them to belike us…” which voices his concern about howalike their sons lives are turning out to be liketheir own – constant fighting.For the first time in the whole trailer, theaudience get to see the full profile of JREwing, and how much he has grown since theend of the 14th season.
The trailer then goes into fast mode, theytry and cram 7 or more significantmoments into the space of just 1/ 2seconds. The first image in the montagewe see is of Chris in a pure white room.We can see a desk lamp on a table sowe assume that it is some one‟s office –but not necessarily his because he is notdressed in office attire.The next image is a topless John Rosswith a woman we assume is his girlfriend– Elena Ramos, standing behind him.The audience can tell that they are in hisapartment, it is lavish and has a view ofthe city behind him which means hisapartment is high up.The third image is of two menexchanging money. The audience cantell that they are men because theirhands are rough looking and havebroader wrists. We can‟t see who isexchanging the money which makes theaudience suspicious and curious.
The next image is of Rebecca looking downon Chris. We know from Bobby‟s past thathe was meant to marry a woman butchanged his mind last minute so he couldmarry another. Because John Ross is so likehis father, we do not want Chris to copyBobby with his girlfriend.The next image is an OTS shot of a manand a woman greeting Bobby. They are alldressed in suits and dresses, and thedecorations around them hint to theaudience that the scene is set at a wedding.We are not familiar with these characters butbecause they are shown in this vital momentwe know they must be significant to thestory.The next image we see is of Chris lookinglost and confused, as though he is searchingfor someone because they may well be indanger. He is dressed in a suit, the same asthe last image so the audience assumes thathe too is at the wedding, but who‟s weddingis it?
The next image is of John Ross exiting ahouse looking slightly shifty and wary. Weknow he is not at the wedding because of theclothes he is wearing. At the end of the shothe is reaching out in front of him to get into acar.The next image is of Bobby riding a horse.This is a stereotypical image of a „DallasCowboy‟ because he is also wearing acowboy hat. We assume he is lookingonwards towards his house because that isthe next image.This series of images were accompanied by asequence of fast drum beats – for each beatthere was a new image.The scene then cuts to a familiar sequence; aslow zoom/pan leading up to the main houseof the Southfork Ranch. During this sequencewe hear the voiceover of Chris saying, “Mywhole life, I‟ve been trying to get the Ewingname back on top.” this tells the audience thateven though we see Bobby and Chris as the„good guys‟ they are still obsessed with thepower of their name.
From the image of the house, the channel icon„TNT‟ shows up along with the website addressfor the show so the audience can get moreinformation. TNT is often used by cowboys incartoons, so here the audience can make aconnection with the branding.The scene then cuts to a BCU of Chris talkingto Bobby. They are both dressed in suits andties which shows off their wealth. The scene isset in what looks like Bobby‟s office; there iswood panelling on the walls and Bobby issitting in a big, tan leather chair, so we knowthey are talking business.We then see the reaction shot of Bobby, wesee that he is wearing a suit and bow tie so webegin to wonder whether this conversation istaking place during the wedding that we haveseen previously.The next scene is of John Ross and Elena.John Ross is looking over to the right, weassume that he is looking at someone, possiblyChris because of the emotions portrayed on hisface. John Ross looks angry and Elena islooking worriedly at him.
In the next scene, the audience hears JohnRoss saying, “I‟ll always be JR‟s son to them,”voicing his concern about not being able tomake a name for himself because of his father.He argues that he is only in line to take overEwing Oil because the fact that he is the soleheir to it, not because he has earned it.The next image is of Chris kissingRebecca, she is dressed in a white dress andis all made up. The audience now realises thatthe wedding from the images before is hiswedding to Rebecca.Instead of one of the characters speaking avoiceover, the audience hears a different voicesaying, “Next summer… TNT invites youback…” they are speaking this during anothermontage of images, including this image wherethe audience assumes it is either Chris‟s stagnight or another celebratory event because thescene is set in a bar and they are all holding upalcohol in one form or another.
The scene then cuts to an aerial shot ofDallas city. This is a familiar sequencebecause in the past seasons, the openingcredits have been mostly of aerial shots ofDallas. This city is now more modernisedand business has taken over which canbe seen as a metaphor for the Ewingfamily: they have been corrupted bypower and greed.The scene cuts to a BCU of Elena talkingdown to John Ross saying, “There‟s nopoint going to war…” this makes theaudience assume that she doesn‟t wantJohn Ross to be like his father, shedoesn‟t want him to put all his time andeffort into the family oil business.The scene then cuts back to the slowzoom of the ranch house. The narratorthen says, “…to the one place, that has itall…” this is referring to the manydramatic and tedious storylines fromprevious seasons.
The scene then cuts to Rebecca and Chriskissing each other – an addition to the manystorylines, whilst there are old ones that canbe rekindled, new ones are occurring all thetime.It then marks the entry of Sue Ellen, formerMiss Texas and JR‟s ex-/wife, getting out of aflashy car and wearing a deep red dress.This shows wealth but could also beinterpreted as possible danger for the family.She meets with John Ross and says, “Thinkof me as your ally.” this tells the audiencethat she is classed as the „bad guy‟ nowalong with JR and John Ross. Maybe shewants revenge on one of the other charactersand is manipulating John Ross to do it.This scene is being played out whilst thefamiliar theme tune of the old seasons ofDallas is playing in the background. Thisallows the audience that are familiar with theold seasons to relate to and reminisce aboutthose episodes. New audience membersmay recognise the theme tune and itssignificance but will not know what hashappened until now.
The trailer then cuts back to where we sawJohn Ross confronting Chris about not being areal Ewing. This time, Bobby is confrontingJohn Ross saying, “No drilling on my ranch.”This shows anger towards John Ross thathadn‟t been seen before from Bobby. In thefirst few seconds of the trailer, Bobby is seen tobe the calm and collected one, but now he isletting his anger show.Elena is standing very close to John Ross asthough she is holding him back from Bobbyand Chris, and Bobby is standing between thetwo boys as though he is stopping a fight andkeeping them apart – another hint that the The scene then cuts back to the care homebusiness side of their lives has taken over. where JR is sat in his chair with the sameThey are fighting against each other rather blanket and pyjamas on. We can see thethan with each other. side of John Ross‟ face so we can tell that he has come to his father to ask for help and advice about the company. JR says, “Bobby was always a fool…”. Which tells the audience that JR is not the helpless old man he is perceived because he is in a care home. The old family feud is still there.
The whole way through these scenes, there isa relatable soundtrack playing behind it. It givesthe impression that even though the times havemoved on the characters are still classed as„cowboys‟.The scene then cuts to a MS of a womanpointing a gun at something and then pullingthe trigger. We don‟t know who the woman is orwho or what she is pointing at but we know thatshe is not one top be messed with.The scene then cuts to a mirror reflection ofRebecca getting fitted for her wedding dress.This is significant because it marks the start ofa new era – Bobby has now married Ann, andstarted anew and now so has his son. The next image is of John Ross and two men in hard hats. We assume that these men work for John Ross through the oil company. They are drilling for oil and they are looking away from their jobs because someone who is not meant to be there has arrived to make a fuss. During this montage of images, the narrator starts to say, “Television‟s landmark drama returns…” which ensures that the audience know the series was big in its day.
The infamous Dallas theme tune is stillreplaying behind all the action, allowing theaudience to relive the stories from theprevious seasons.Again the mood turns sour when Bobbyexclaims, “I am sick to death with thisfamily, devouring itself over money!”. It showsBobby shouting at John Ross andChris, making himself seem like the „goodguy‟ again because he doesn‟t want themoney. The scene then cuts to Chrisconfronting John Ross, it seems at his ownwedding because of the dress attire and theflower garlands in the back of the mise-en-scene.For the first time in the trailer we see JR out ofhis chair by the window and in regular clothes.This makes the audience wonder whether hewas in a care home at all. We see him goback to the all-powerful CEO of Ewing Oil weremember as he confronts his son about notgiving the oil company to him, explainingthat, “It is mine.”
We see a short clip of a reaction shot fromJohn Ross, where we notice that he is notshowing many emotions. This, we relate toJR because he doesn‟t portray manyemotions either.The trailer ends with a brand new title card –brand new series, brand new design. This isthe first time in a while the audience mayhave seen this sign, so the creators havemade it appear shiny and new as thoughtthey are wanting the audience to know thatthe series is not like the originals, it is brandnew.During this title card, the Dallas theme tuneincreases in volume to emphasise themeaning behind it.The last image the audience sees is of aman riding a horse – we assume this man isBobby because we saw him before riding ahorse. „dallastnt.com‟ is pasted across thescreen as a reminder for the audience togather more information about the seriesfrom it.