Having your dream season AND leaving it out in the rain

James from London

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I've never had a problem with the Dream Solution. The first time I saw "Return to Camelot" was one of the most blissful TV experiences I've ever had. It was as if the writers had looked inside my head and come up with exactly what I wanted to see, even without me knowing that's what I wanted. (I had a similar sensation watching the first eps of The Royle Family and New Dallas.) Having the Ewings and Barneses back to their previously dysfunctional selves (only now with added humour) was almost enough to make up for the entirety of the previous year when everyone and everything had gotten all bland and nicey-nicey.

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As I've said loads of times before, I found the second two-thirds of the dream season a major drag, the closest I ever came to giving up on Dallas altogether. (As it was, I still never missed an episode). But, as @Julia's Gun has recently pointed out on another thread, the season gets off to a really strong start with about nine (mostly) really good episodes -- which also look fantastic. This was brought home to me last week when I re-watched 'Saving Grace', aka The One After The One Where Mark Graison Comes Back From Dead At The End, which has some great stuff in it: the reactions of Cliff, JR and even Sly to Mark's resurrection are really funny, while staying totally true to their characters, and the final scene, where Mark punches JR after finding out about the wild goose chase he sent Pam the previous season, just when JR needs him on side, is a great way of having JR face the consequences of his nearly forgotten actions. There's also the gem of a scene where Miss Ellie reads Dusty the riot act about Sue Ellen which, thrillingly, is set against the front exterior of Southfork, which we wouldn't see again until New Dallas ("The Early Years" prequel notwithstanding). On other hand, there are some less welcome indications of where this season is heading: the start of Donna and Jenna's gloopy friendship ("They are precious!" Donna gushes ecstatically after being handed a pair of fluffy baby shoes); Sue Ellen gradually coming to the realisation that the key to her staying off the booze is to become all boring and pious and self-esteemy.

As a rule, I'm not that into "What if ...?" scenarios. Speaking entirely personally (and not a little pretentiously), I'm more interested in exploring what did happen than what didn't. That said, what if there was a way of incorporating the best bits of the dream season into the post-dream season, but without getting too fan-fictiony about it? What would that look like for each of the characters?

Bobby

Well, for Bobby it wouldn't look like anything because for the sake of this exercise, he'll have to stay dead. Sorry, Bob.

Ray and Donna

This one's easy because I kind of hate Donna in the dream season. She's too emotional, too intense, too sentimental, too overpowering, too everything, which is pretty much the opposite of the great, no-nonsense character she is during the rest of the series, especially the 1986/7 season where she and Ray once again feel like real, flawed, complicated people going through a slow and genuinely poignant breakup. So instead of them instantly (and simplistically) reconciling after Bobby's death, I'd push them straight into Season 9 territory.

Jenna

This is trickier. I love Angry Jenna, the one we see in the 1986/7 season, much more than Mental Breakdown Jenna of the previous year (not least because, to my mind, she isn't even having a breakdown; she's simply grieving for the man she loves a little longer than the dozen or so episodes allotted her by the rest of the characters, especially that bloody Donna, so they all decide she's gone mad). Trouble is, if Bobby simply dies rather than dumps her for Pam, what's she got to be angry about? Well, I suppose Pam could still blurt out that she was the one Bobby wanted to marry, possibly in retaliation for Jenna (or Ray on her behalf) blurting out that she is the one carrying Bobby's baby. And I suppose -- and already I feel like I'm wading further into fan-fic territory than I intended -- that you could have Jenna find out Katherine was behind her Naldo kidnap/murder trial ordeal from the 1984/5 season. But still, even though that might piss her off, is it really enough motivation to for her to cut herself off from the Ewings like she does in the real 86/7 season? Maybe knowing that Bobby chose Pam over her before he died would be humiliation enough for her to decide to move off Southfork and into that ramshackle house of hers I've always liked and start making her own way. And perhaps Miss Ellie's disapproval over the idea of Ray raising her dead son's baby would still be enough to cause a rift between her and Jenna? Hmm, I'm not sure I've entirely convinced myself.

Sue Ellen

I'd definitely keep all the fun Sue Ellen stuff from early on in the dream season: Miss Ellie telling her to get a grip, Dusty punching her in the face, JR calling her a bad memory who doesn't know when to go away, all the wild-eyed gibbering in the detox ward -- pretty much everything up to and including her counselling session with the very cool Bibi Besch where she concludes that "the plain truth of it is that I don't know anything but being Mrs JR Ewing - pathetic, isn't it?" But instead of then picking up the 12 Steps, she picks up a Valentine Lingerie catalogue. And rather than solemnly telling Clayton that "I have to learn to love myself so I can find my own way", she triumphantly informs JR that "hating you the way I do is enough to keep me sober," before immediately embarking on her Mandy Winger-inspired "Trash with Class" masterplan. This means there's no need for Patricia Shepard to make an appearance so we can remember her as the malevolent figure she was in the early years rather than the wacky sitcom grandma ("I know it's nobody's birthday, but I just love candles on a cake!") she regrettably becomes. I guess Dusty would still exit around the same time that he does anyway, if not a little earlier, dismayed that Sue Ellen has chosen to remain at Southfork and make JR's life a misery instead of riding off into the sunset with him.

That's enough for now. I'll have to have a think about the rest of the characters ...
 
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James from London

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Jack

Making Jack a leading man replacement for Bobby in the 85/6 season obviously didn't work, not with that cumbersome Marinos doppelgänger storyline hanging round his neck. So post-dream, it's kind of refreshing to have him back as a family outsider treated with contempt by JR who spends most of his time lounging by the pool while getting into the occasional shouting match. There again, I do like the dream season storyline where Jeremy Wendell tries to take over Ewing Oil by buying up everyone's shares, which necessitates JR and Cliff both trying to curry favour with Jack, so I'd keep him front and centre for that before pushing him into the background. (No Jenna romance cos she's busy with Ray.)

In 'Saving Grace', the dream episode I recently watched, Jack's apartment gets ransacked by someone looking for information on him. We never find out exactly who's responsible -- presumably it's Angelica Nero. I'm not yet sure where Angelica will fit into this Dream/Not a Dream season, if at all, but JR or Wendell would make just as likely culprits. In the same ep, Ray warns Jack that if he's got a skeleton in his closet, JR is sure to find it. Jack looks all worried and the implication is that he does indeed have something to hide. This is never paid off, but could easily turn out to be a reference to his naughty ex-wife April, who then turns up and the rest of their storyline plays out like it did originally, with Jack taking off after giving his shares in Ewing Oil to Jamie and then briefly resurfacing after her death. Speaking of whom ...

Jamie

As a couple, Jamie and Cliff are largely inoffensive throughout the dream season, but their post-dream battle-of-the-sexes marital bickering is a lot more fun, so I'd go with that scenario from the start. The only thing I'd be tempted to change is the circumstances of Jamie's death. An offscreen avalanche is kind of a goofy way to go, but as how she dies is less important than what happens as a result of her death, I don't really have a problem with it. But then I started to think that maybe she could be bumped off the way she was in the dream finale, via a car bomb intended for another member of the Ewing family, only this time BD Calhoun is responsible rather than Angelica. And why stop there? Maybe BD could also be behind Pam's tanker collision at the end of the 1986/7 season, which could take the place of Sue Ellen getting blown up at Ewing Oil as the season finale. But then I realised the timing would be all out of whack: BD needs to die earlier in the season so that the CIA can bury the evidence about his involvement with Ewings, and then Pam needs to stick around to see Cliff inheriting Jamie's share of Ewing Oil so she can get all upset about it. So an avalanche it still is for poor sweet Jamie.
 
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Snarky Oracle!

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Hmmm... seems like an awful lot of "what ifs" in this thread.

I, for one, am just fine with that.
 

James from London

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Angelica Nero

Oh, Angelica, one of the best things about the dream. While the rest of the season becomes increasingly tired as it lumbers along, she continues to deliver right up to the end by looking increasingly ridiculous while seething with hate. Unfortunately, she's also inextricably bound to the Dimitri Marinos double identity story which is one of the worst things about the dream. So if we dump Dimitri, as we must, where does that leave Angelica? Could she perhaps turn out to be the person behind that other, far superior double identity story, the one involving Wes Parmalee as Jock? It would certainly be interesting put outrageous Angelica in the same room as craggy, earthy Wes/Jock. It would be like the opposite ends of the Ewingverse colliding. The problem is, for the Wes/Jock story to retain its potency, we have to believe that Wes really could be Jock, or at least believe that Wes believes he could be Jock, and having some Big Bad hovering over the whole thing would kinda kill that vibe.

Plus, we've already got Jeremy Wendell, and there isn't really room on the show for two independently evil super-villains out to get the Ewings at the same time (which is probably why Jeremy disappears from the dream season just as Angelica starts to make her presence felt). So it is with great regret that I must consign Angelica to nonexistence, alongside her gorgeously enigmatic assistant Grace, her enjoyably wooden other assistant Nicholas and my personal favourite, Freddie the brilliantly mad bomb-maker, whose services she employs at the end of the season.

Can't she be Calhoun's assistant, a bad B.D. girl? (or is that too fanficish?)

I'm not sure mercenaries actually have assistants, certainly not ones that wear bright red headdresses in broad daylight.

Jeremy Wendell

I'd keep all of Jeremy's machinations intact from both seasons, which means he'd spend the entire year trying to get his hands on Ewing Oil, employing one doomed scheme after another like some demented Roadrunner-style villain, till he finally, unexpectedly succeeds at the last moment.

First of all, as in the dream season, he tries to persuade each of the Ewings, save JR, to sell him their shares in the company. His plan almost succeeds before Pam announces her last minute change of heart at the Oil Baron's Ball. But then, no sooner do we see a close-up of Jeremy's defeated face followed by Pam telling JR she'll "see you at the office, partner," than Wes Parmalee stands up and announces that he is Jock and anyone wishing to do business with Ewing Oil should speak to him -- and of course Jeremy is first in the queue, offering to buy the company. As we know, that takeover attempt also fails after Wes throws in the towel, as does Jeremy's scheme to acquire April's shares of Ewing Oil after she double-crosses him and sells out to JR instead. So when the opportunity to expose the Ewing Oil/CIA cover-up presents itself towards the end of the season, Jeremy is more determined than ever to grab it. By now, the audience would be so accustomed to seeing Wendell lose that the last thing they're expecting is for him actually succeed and wind up with the company. Plus, there's something satisfying about the family going against JR at the start of the season by almost selling their shares of Ewing Oil to Jeremy, then agreeing to sell their shares to JR at the end of the season ... only for Jeremy to then dash in and finally swipe the whole caboodle from under his nose.
 
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LMLDallas78

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Bobby stays dead is easy to cope with now but maybe not so much then. I could have coped with stay dead Bobby then, even though I missed him, I quickly got over him because Dallas came back with a bigger bang than ever! But many fans would not have forgotten about him and Larry certainly couldn't.

Jamie was ok although very irritating at times. Not sure if it was Jennilee or her character.

I really like Jack although mainly as I'm older now. Took me a while to take to him as a Bobby replacement then and as I began to like him his storyline deteriorated. Jack was more cocky than Bobby but I feel the writing for him could have been so much better. He was very likeable so that was a shame.

I actually loved Angelica Nero and thought Barbara Carrera was really great but again the writing for her let her down. I'm not sure which way I would have liked her to go but definitely not how she went.

Always a fan of Jeremy Wendell and wanted a much bigger role for him. He should have been around much longer and had a much bigger impact.

When PP Jenna first appeared I had high hopes for her but this was short lived and her character had a complete change in personality which PP just couldn't play convincingly I'm afraid and she ended up dull and extremely boring.

I liked Donna and although I can see what you mean about how she became I still really enjoyed her storyline during the dream. Susan showed how versatile she could really be.

And now Sue Ellen........well let's not change a thing. As long as she isn't in that explosion that's all that matters. Linda's acting in the dream was amazing. I did think she turned things around a little too quickly but it doesn't matter, Sue Ellen was still so interesting especially with DR Jerry. I enjoyed Patricia and Sue Ellen but also liked their bitchy sides which I wish was shown a bit more.

Sue Ellen's bitchy side turned comedic in the later seasons and although Linda pulled this off, proper bitch Sue Ellen was more enjoyable.
 

Jock Ewing Fan

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I was OK with bringing PatricK Duffy back as Bobby. It was essential to the show's interactions, and the loss of Bobby clearly led to a decline in the show's quality.
The issue was the way that he was brought back. There were a number of scenarios that were [plausible, at least in soap opera terms. IE the machine gave a false reading and Bobby was revived, maybe his memory was impaired, temporarily.
I have always said the dream season was terrible, didn't look like Dallas at all
 

DallasFanForever

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Bobby stays dead is easy to cope with now but maybe not so much then.
I think the biggest problem with Bobby staying dead is Pam. You really can’t have one without the other, as it showed again after her departure later on. Neither character was ever the same without the other, and of course the same can be said for J.R. and Bobby as well.


really like Jack although mainly as I'm older now. Took me a while to take to him as a Bobby replacement then and as I began to like him his storyline deteriorated.
I liked Jack but I think the problem was he wasn’t ever going to replace Bobby. I don’t see it ever being the same.


I have always said the dream season was terrible, didn't look like Dallas at all
It didn’t look much like Dallas as it unfolded, I agree, but in a way that was kind of the charm of it for me. We were able to see unusual plots and characters acting quite differently than what we were used to and I’m glad we got that. I like to look at it as an alternative Dallas for one year only that we’d never see again. It’s nowhere near being my favorite season but there are definitely some things I enjoy about it.
 

CeeCee72

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The things about the dream season that worked were centered around the core characters. SE's battle against and triumph over alcohol, JR's vulnerability and epiphany, Pam's moving on and starting over with Mark. Ray and Donna adopting Tony.

The things that didn't work were the Dynasty-like plots and characters. Angelica and Matt. The stupid ball in Martinique. That damn emerald mine.

As others said, there were other ways to bring back Bobby. I wish they had kept the things that worked and jettison the things that didn't.
 

DallasFanForever

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. SE's battle against and triumph over alcohol
Such a great storyline and a shame it was lost. I know her recovery was a little fast and perhaps unrealistic but her story that season was definitely one of the high points.


Pam's moving on and starting over with Mark
I was glad he returned. With Bobby gone Mark was the most logical choice for Pam. It validated her endless search for him the previous season and proved she was right. Had Bobby been brought back some other way then we could’ve had them both fighting over Pam the next season with the roles now reversed. Would’ve made for good drama.
 

CeeCee72

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Such a great storyline and a shame it was lost. I know her recovery was a little fast and perhaps unrealistic but her story that season was definitely one of the high points
At least it wasn't as fast as what we got the next season. Mandy hurt her feelings in a restaurant and BOOM, sober.
 

Laurie Marr

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The various issues of the dream season were more than compensated for by Season 10 - to my mind the last great season of the show. I wouldn’t be keen on sacrificing that - even as a thought experiment.
 

southfork88

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Between the 1985-1986 season (Dream Season) and 1986-1987 (Season 10), I undoubtedly prefer the former, even if season 10 still had a semblance of the classic series. Then it was a disaster, but I wouldn't write those off either for some still enjoyable scenes and characters.
 

James from London

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Pam

The best character in the dream. Grieving for Bobby and “carrying the torch” for him give her a clear through-line from beginning to end, in spite of the weird plotting and increasingly sappy vibe going on around her — with Mark’s return from the dead thrown in as interesting complication along the way. The only stumbling block is the emerald mine/Colombian kidnap story which takes her away from the heart of the show, i.e., Dallas itself (just as JR’s excursion to Martinique does him). Therefore, I now toss that plot line out of the nearest airlock, even though I’m kinda fond of Matt Cantrell, especially his eloquent description of playing college football with Bobby (“a profane and painful way to spend a Saturday afternoon”).

Keeping JR and Pam in Dallas for the full season means plenty of time to see them “butt heads” at Ewing Oil, which most people (at least in this tiny corner of what today’s kids call “the fandom”) seem to think is the Dream’s biggest missed opportunity. Again the question is: what would this look like? I guess the nearest DALLAS came to depicting such a scenario on screen was when Donna stood in for a blind and bullet-ridden Bobby at the start of Season 7. She and JR had a handful of very enjoyable scenes barging in and out of each other’s offices delivering insults and ultimatums … and that was kind of it. Great fun, but not really enough to sustain a full season — yet it’s hard to see how much further an entire year of JR and Pam locking horns could go. With each of them controlling the same amount of shares in the same company and with the same overall goal — to see Ewing Oil succeed — I think you’d end up with a dramatic stalemate pretty quickly.

Mulling over an alternative approach, I find myself thinking about, of all things, ‘The X-Files’ — specifically its penultimate season where Agent Mulder (the believer) has disappeared and Agent Scully (the agnostic) is left behind. Almost as a tribute to her fallen partner, she finds herself compelled to leave aside her own scepticism and occupy his former role as believer in the supernatural. It’s a strangely moving transition. So let’s put Pam in the Scully role where she is forced to put her own somewhat self-righteous moralising to one side and adopt Bobby’s more pragmatic approach to dealing with his brother, as well as the oil business in general. This would also mirror the journey taken by Bobby himself when he originally took over Ewing Oil after JR was shot. Initially determined to run the company completely on the up and up, he soon found himself swimming in murkier moral waters. I ain’t saying the overall arc of the non-existent 1985/6/7 season would be The Corruption of Pamela Ewing, but it’s as close as we’ll ever get.

In practice, what does this mean? Thank you for asking. Well, let us return to my frankly brilliant Oil Baron’s Ball double-whammy scenario, whereby Pam’s announcement to JR that she will be joining him at Ewing Oil is immediately followed by Wes Parmalee’s public declaration that he is Jock. (I know — you’re awestruck — it’s understandable.) Straight away, Pam is thrust into in the position of asking “What would Bobby do?” Well, what Bobby did do, if memory serves, is threaten to beat Wes up if he didn’t leave town. Though it’s hard to imagine Pam doing that, she can still honour Bobby’s devotion to his dead daddy by siding with JR against Wes in public, while still having that nice heart-to heart conversation with her not-so-mother-in-law-anymore, where she suggests that Wes “moves something in you, Miss Ellie — that man, whoever he is.”

As the season progresses, she can still do the same morally outraged thing she did in 86/87 when she finds out about JR’s involvement with BD Calhoun, but is then obliged team up with him against BD’s threats to the family, just as Bobby did. While I can’t quite picture her standing shoulder to shoulder with Ray in that toy train theme park shootout in order to rescue JR and John Ross from Calhoun’s clutches, she’d nonetheless be right by JR’s side to threaten the editor of the Navarro newspaper after he leaks the truth about the Ewing Oil/CIA cover-up, and then hate herself for it afterwards, same as Bobby did. This would all lead to her deciding to sell her shares of Ewing Oil back to JR, like she did at the end of the dream, only with some gravitas rather than deciding on a whim that “the fight’s just not important anymore.”

Throughout the season, any hunger for more direct Pam/JR conflict would be sated by having Pam keep her office at Barnes Wentworth (like she does in the 1986/7 season) in the optimistic-bordering-on-insane hope that, by having a foot in both companies, she can somehow bring about an end to the Barnes/Ewing feud. As before, Cliff swindles and double-crosses her, JR accuses her of betrayal, voices are raised and doors are slammed.

Oh, and I’d also have her nip out of one of her offices during her lunch break for the scene in Jenna’s boutique where she offers to buy her baby - I like that bit.

Mark

If Pam’s now a de-facto Bobby, Mark’s now a de-facto Pam — a morally righteous bystander who watches disapprovingly as Pam gets sucked into covering up for JR’s actions the way Bobby was. Mark is a manly man so he’s not gonna get all emotional and high-strung the way Pam did, but he can still act as her conscience at the same time as allowing his resentment over her devotion to Bobby’s memory to occasionally cloud his judgement (as it did in the dream). I don’t think Pam and Mark need to marry cos that was kinda boring the first time round, but her ovaries can still get the A-OK before getting blown to bits as before. So with Bobby still dead and Pam burnt to a crisp, I guess that would leave Mark to duke it with a Ewing Oil-less JR the following year. Bit weird, but that can be someone else’s nonexistent problem to solve.
 
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Chris2

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The only thing I’d change is Pam getting blown up. Instead, after two years of running Ewing Oil with JR, she sells for the reason you mention above. And then she moves far away from the Ewings for a more peaceful life (and perhaps with a non-Pornstache boyfriend).
 

DallasFanForever

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Between the 1985-1986 season (Dream Season) and 1986-1987 (Season 10), I undoubtedly prefer the former, even if season 10 still had a semblance of the classic series. Then it was a disaster, but I wouldn't write those off either for some still enjoyable scenes and characters.
I’ve never understood the season 10 being great mindset but that’s just my opinion. I know most here will disagree but I always felt it was a weak season to be honest. There are some episodes I enjoy, like the Wes Parmalee storyline and the end of Ewing Oil, but overall I’ve never been a big fan of it.
 

LMLDallas78

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With that said Pornstache, Mark would go on to much bigger and better things.

With the stage name Marko "Oil Me Well" Craisco, he would be in great demand and very successful. Pam could only dream of his come back.
 

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I've never had a problem with the Dream Solution. The first time I saw "Return to Camelot" was one of the most blissful TV experiences I've ever had. It was as if the writers had looked inside my head and come up with exactly what I wanted to see, even without me knowing that's what I wanted. (I had a similar sensation watching the first eps of The Royle Family and New Dallas.) Having the Ewings and Barneses back to their previously dysfunctional selves (only now with added humour) was almost enough to make up for the entirety of the previous year when everyone and everything had gotten all bland and nicey-nicey.

View attachment 51715
I've never had a problem with the Dream Solution. The first time I saw "Return to Camelot" was one of the most blissful TV experiences I've ever had. It was as if the writers had looked inside my head and come up with exactly what I wanted to see, even without me knowing that's what I wanted. (I had a similar sensation watching the first eps of The Royle Family and New Dallas.) Having the Ewings and Barneses back to their previously dysfunctional selves (only now with added humour) was almost enough to make up for the entirety of the previous year when everyone and everything had gotten all bland and nicey-nicey.

View attachment 51715

As I've said loads of times before, I found the second two-thirds of the dream season a major drag, the closest I ever came to giving up on Dallas altogether. (As it was, I still never missed an episode). But, as @Julia's Gun has recently pointed out on another thread, the season gets off to a really strong start with about nine (mostly) really good episodes -- which also look fantastic. This was brought home to me last week when I re-watched 'Saving Grace', aka The One After The One Where Mark Graison Comes Back From Dead At The End, which has some great stuff in it: the reactions of Cliff, JR and even Sly to Mark's resurrection are really funny, while staying totally true to their characters, and the final scene, where Mark punches JR after finding out about the wild goose chase he sent Pam the previous season, just when JR needs him on side, is a great way of having JR face the consequences of his nearly forgotten actions. There's also the gem of a scene where Miss Ellie reads Dusty the riot act about Sue Ellen which, thrillingly, is set against the front exterior of Southfork, which we wouldn't see again until New Dallas ("The Early Years" prequel notwithstanding). On other hand, there are some less welcome indications of where this season is heading: the start of Donna and Jenna's gloopy friendship ("They are precious!" Donna gushes ecstatically after being handed a pair of fluffy baby shoes); Sue Ellen gradually coming to the realisation that the key to her staying off the booze is to become all boring and pious and self-esteemy.

As a rule, I'm not that into "What if ...?" scenarios. Speaking entirely personally (and not a little pretentiously), I'm more interested in exploring what did happen than what didn't. That said, what if there was a way of incorporating the best bits of the dream season into the post-dream season, but without getting too fan-fictiony about it? What would that look like for each of the characters?

Bobby

Well, for Bobby it wouldn't look like anything because for the sake of this exercise, he'll have to stay dead. Sorry, Bob.

Ray and Donna

This one's easy because I kind of hate Donna in the dream season. She's too emotional, too intense, too sentimental, too overpowering, too everything, which is pretty much the opposite of the great, no-nonsense character she is during the rest of the series, especially the 1986/7 season where she and Ray once again feel like real, flawed, complicated people going through a slow and genuinely poignant breakup. So instead of them instantly (and simplistically) reconciling after Bobby's death, I'd push them straight into Season 9 territory.

Jenna

This is trickier. I love Angry Jenna, the one we see in the 1986/7 season, much more than Mental Breakdown Jenna of the previous year (not least because, to my mind, she isn't even having a breakdown; she's simply grieving for the man she loves a little longer than the dozen or so episodes allotted her by the rest of the characters, especially that bloody Donna, so they all decide she's gone mad). Trouble is, if Bobby simply dies rather than dumps her for Pam, what's she got to be angry about? Well, I suppose Pam could still blurt out that she was the one Bobby wanted to marry, possibly in retaliation for Jenna (or Ray on her behalf) blurting out that she is the one carrying Bobby's baby. And I suppose -- and already I feel like I'm wading further into fan-fic territory than I intended -- that you could have Jenna find out Katherine was behind her Naldo kidnap/murder trial ordeal from the 1984/5 season. But still, even though that might piss her off, is it really enough motivation to for her to cut herself off from the Ewings like she does in the real 86/7 season? Maybe knowing that Bobby chose Pam over her before he died would be humiliation enough for her to decide to move off Southfork and into that ramshackle house of hers I've always liked and start making her own way. And perhaps Miss Ellie's disapproval over the idea of Ray raising her dead son's baby would still be enough to cause a rift between her and Jenna? Hmm, I'm not sure I've entirely convinced myself.

Sue Ellen

I'd definitely keep all the fun Sue Ellen stuff from early on in the dream season: Miss Ellie telling her to get a grip, Dusty punching her in the face, JR calling her a bad memory who doesn't know when to go away, all the wild-eyed gibbering in the detox ward -- pretty much everything up to and including her counselling session with the very cool Bibi Besch where she concludes that "the plain truth of it is that I don't know anything but being Mrs JR Ewing - pathetic, isn't it?" But instead of then picking up the 12 Steps, she picks up a Valentine Lingerie catalogue. And rather than solemnly telling Clayton that "I have to learn to love myself so I can find my own way", she triumphantly informs JR that "hating you the way I do is enough to keep me sober," before immediately embarking on her Mandy Winger-inspired "Trash with Class" masterplan. This means there's no need for Patricia Shepard to make an appearance so we can remember her as the malevolent figure she was in the early years rather than the wacky sitcom grandma ("I know it's nobody's birthday, but I just love candles on a cake!") she regrettably becomes. I guess Dusty would still exit around the same time that he does anyway, if not a little earlier, dismayed that Sue Ellen has chosen to remain at Southfork and make JR's life a misery instead of riding off into the sunset with him.

That's enough for now. I'll have to have a think about the rest of the characters ...


Jenna

This is trickier. I love Angry Jenna, the one we see in the 1986/7 season, much more than Mental Breakdown Jenna of the previous year (not least because, to my mind, she isn't even having a breakdown; she's simply grieving for the man she loves a little longer than the dozen or so episodes allotted her by the rest of the characters, especially that bloody Donna, so they all decide she's gone mad). Trouble is, if Bobby simply dies rather than dumps her for Pam, what's she got to be angry about? Well, I suppose Pam could still blurt out that she was the one Bobby wanted to marry, possibly in retaliation for Jenna (or Ray on her behalf) blurting out that she is the one carrying Bobby's baby. And I suppose -- and already I feel like I'm wading further into fan-fic territory than I intended -- that you could have Jenna find out Katherine was behind her Naldo kidnap/murder trial ordeal from the 1984/5 season. But still, even though that might piss her off, is it really enough motivation to for her to cut herself off from the Ewings like she does in the real 86/7 season? Maybe knowing that Bobby chose Pam over her before he died would be humiliation enough for her to decide to move off Southfork and into that ramshackle house of hers I've always liked and start making her own way. And perhaps Miss Ellie's disapproval over the idea of Ray raising her dead son's baby would still be enough to cause a rift between her and Jenna? Hmm, I'm not sure I've entirely convinced myself.
Hey, what's wrong with a fan -fic?
 

James from London

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Hey, what's wrong with a fan -fic?
Only that anything can happen, so you can bring in lots of stuff that didn’t happen, and I wanted to see what would happen if you stuck as closely as possible to what did happen. Cos, like I say, I’m ultimately more interested in what did happen than what didn’t happen. Or in this case, the tension between the two.
 
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Jock Ewing Fan

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In a sense, "Conundrum" was a dream season in one episode. Not the consensus opinion, perhaps, but I thought it was OK.
Bobby and Ray's fates seemed particularly believable.
It gave us a chance to a little more self-awareness in JR.
Cliff was successful without the Ewings as an adversary seemed believable.
 
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