Who shot Dallas? TNT did, but only after J.R. Ewing left the building. The TNT retool of the 1980s classic TV drama had something most second takes don’t have–a big original irreplaceable star. Larry Hagman strode the planet like a TV-sized Elvis–as big and weird and successful a star in his genre as there ever was. You think Hagman wasn’t a little odd? After his liver transplant in 1995, the actor decided that he would no longer speak on Sundays. And by all accounts he never uttered another word on a Sunday for the rest of his long life.
TNT made sure that when it relaunched Dallas it included Hagman, sort of the way new religions always remember to include a God. The series got off to a surprisingly good start and hoped to join the list of dramas that are now being called the golden age of television. But the 81-year-old Larry Hagman died during the second season. And as with Elvis, the enthusiasm waned when Hagman had left the proverbial building.