Dallas, a saga of power, loyalty, and ambition, has defined television drama for five decades. The Ewing family's enduring legacy continues to captivate audiences, with its complex characters, unforgettable storylines, and compelling plot twists. This retrospective delves into the heart of this iconic series, exploring its lasting impact and the timeless appeal of the Ewing family drama.

A Dallas Retrospective: 50 Years Of Ewing Family Drama

As a middle-aged adult in the 1980s, I was mesmerized by the larger-than-life characters and over-the-top drama of ‘Dallas.’ The show’s portrayal of Texas as a land of wealth and excess captivated audiences for over a decade, helping to redefine the state’s reputation. But beyond its impact on popular culture, ‘Dallas’ pioneered serialized storytelling on television, paving the way for the Golden Age of Television that we know today.



Taking a look back, it’s clear that this iconic TV show left an indelible mark on popular culture and redefined the way we view Texas and its inhabitants. From its global appeal to its cultural significance, ‘Dallas’ became more than just a television show – it was a phenomenon that captivated audiences for over a decade.

The Dallas fandom was unlike anything before it – millions of viewers tuned in every week to watch the Ewing family navigate their complicated lives. The show’s excessive drama, plot twists, and campy nature made it impossible not to get hooked. And with each cliffhanger ending, leaving fans desperate for more, ‘Dallas’ became one of the first shows to perfect the art of serialized storytelling.

But beyond its entertainment value, ‘Dallas’ had a profound impact on how we view Texas. It helped redefine the state’s identity as a land of excess and wealth, where power games were played out in high-stakes settings. The show portrayed both positive and negative aspects of Texas culture, but ultimately left an impression that endures today.

As we delve deeper into the impact on Texas culture, it becomes clear just how significant ‘Dallas’ truly was.

Impact on Texas Culture

The influence of the popular TV show on Texas culture is still evident today, with its portrayal of wealth, power, and excess shaping the state’s identity. ‘Dallas’ helped to redefine Texas as a land of oil tycoons, glamorous parties, and cutthroat business deals. However, it also perpetuated negative stereotypes of Texans as greedy and ruthless individuals. Despite this, the show’s impact on the state cannot be denied.

‘Dallas’ had a significant effect on Texas tourism. Fans from all over the world flocked to Southfork Ranch in Parker, Texas, where much of the show was filmed. The ranch became a tourist destination in its own right and attracted thousands of visitors each year. Additionally, hotels and restaurants in Dallas saw an increase in business due to ‘Dallas’-related events and marketing campaigns.

The legacy of ‘Dallas’ can still be seen in popular culture today. Its influence can be seen in other television shows such as ‘Dynasty‘, ‘Empire‘, and ‘Succession‘. Moreover, many Texans credit the show for their interest in pursuing careers related to oil or business. Although some may argue that it reinforced negative stereotypes about Texans, its lasting impact on both popular culture and Texan identity cannot be ignored.

As we consider how ‘Dallas’ influenced Texas culture through its excessive drama and larger-than-life characters, it is important to note that it was also a pioneer in terms of serialized storytelling. This format paved the way for future shows like ‘Breaking Bad‘ and ‘Game of Thrones‘. In exploring this aspect further, we can see how ‘Dallas’ not only shaped our perception of Texas but also changed television forever.

Serialized Storytelling Pioneer

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While it may seem like a distant memory, the impact of ‘Dallas’ on television and popular culture cannot be denied. The show’s pioneering approach to serialized storytelling laid the foundation for many modern shows that followed in its footsteps. By focusing on morally compromised protagonists, complex plot twists, and character development over multiple seasons, ‘Dallas’ set a new standard for what audiences could expect from their favorite programs.

The Ewing family served as the perfect vehicle for this type of storytelling. Their larger-than-life personalities and constant power struggles kept viewers coming back week after week to see what would happen next. From J.R.’s devious scheming to Bobby’s attempts at doing the right thing, each character was fully fleshed out with their own strengths and flaws. This level of investment in characters became a hallmark of successful television dramas that followed.

Even now, decades after its original run ended, ‘Dallas’ continues to influence television and pop culture at large. Its legacy can be seen in shows like ‘Breaking Bad,’ which similarly focused on complex antiheroes navigating dangerous situations over multiple seasons. It’s clear that without the groundbreaking work done by ‘Dallas,’ modern TV would look very different today.

As we reflect back on the impact of ‘Dallas,’ it’s impossible not to think about some of its most memorable moments. From cliffhangers like “Who shot J.R?” to shocking plot twists involving long-lost relatives or secret affairs, there was never a dull moment in Southfork Ranch. These moments helped solidify ‘Dallas’ as one of the most beloved and influential shows in TV history – a true testament to its lasting impact on our cultural landscape.

Memorable Moments

Looking back at its memorable moments, it’s clear that ‘Dallas’ was more than just a TV show – it was a cultural phenomenon that helped redefine what audiences could expect from their favorite programs. One of the most iconic moments in television history came when J.R. Ewing was shot, leaving viewers on edge and sparking a nationwide frenzy of speculation over who pulled the trigger. The cliffhanger ending to season three left fans eagerly anticipating the resolution, and cemented ‘Dallas’ as must-see TV.

But ‘Who Shot J.R.?’ wasn’t the only moment that made ‘Dallas’ unforgettable. The show also had an impact on fashion, with characters like Sue Ellen and Lucy wearing memorable outfits that would become synonymous with 80s style. And of course, there were the character relationships – Bobby and Pam’s romance drew comparisons to Romeo and Juliet, while J.R.’s scheming against his family members made for some truly dramatic scenes.

All in all, ‘Dallas’ created a legacy that is still felt today in popular culture and Texas identity. From its groundbreaking use of serialized storytelling to its unforgettable cliffhangers and character dynamics, this show set itself apart from anything else on television at the time – or since. As we look back on 50 years of Ewing family drama, it’s impossible not to be impressed by what this series accomplished – but there’s even more to explore when we take a closer look at the cast and characters who brought it all to life.

Cast and Characters


Despite their humble beginnings in Hollywood, the cast members of ‘Dallas’ developed into beloved characters over the course of 14 seasons. The show’s writers explored complex family dynamics and power struggles within the wealthy Ewing family. Characters like J.R., Bobby, and Sue Ellen underwent significant character development throughout the series – they started off as one-dimensional archetypes but became more nuanced as time went on.

Of course, no discussion of ‘Dallas’ is complete without mentioning the on-set drama that surrounded its production. Larry Hagman famously clashed with co-stars and crew members alike during his tenure as J.R., leading to tensions behind-the-scenes. However, fans remained loyal to the show despite any turbulence happening off-camera – it remains a touchstone of American pop culture today.

Final Thoughts

As I reflect on the legacy of ‘Dallas’, I can’t help but feel a sense of awe at how this show has managed to captivate audiences for over 50 years. From its larger-than-life characters to its scandalous plot twists, ‘Dallas’ helped redefine Texas and its reputation as a land of excess and wealth. It was a show that broke new ground in serialized storytelling, paving the way for the Golden Age of Television.

But what is most remarkable about ‘Dallas’ is its enduring influence. Even today, people still talk about the iconic ‘Who shot J.R.?’ cliffhanger and the moral ambiguity of its protagonists. The show’s impact on popular culture cannot be overstated, and it continues to inspire new generations of television writers and producers.

In many ways, ‘Dallas’ was ahead of its time. Its exploration of complex characters and relationships laid the groundwork for some of today’s most beloved dramas. As we look back on 50 years of Ewing family drama, I can’t help but wonder what other groundbreaking shows have yet to be created. Who knows? Maybe one day we’ll be looking back on another show with just as much admiration and nostalgia as we do with ‘Dallas’.

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2 thoughts on “A Dallas Retrospective: 50 Years Of Ewing Family Drama

    1. Hi Stephon, welcome to the blog! I too watched Dallas while in High School. Since then I have watched all the Dallas episodes via streaming 4 times. The last time was before starting this blog several months ago. I’m now doing it again! 🙂 Just can’t seem to get enough of Dallas!
      Thanks for the comment! -Dora

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