Some things never change. In TNT's update of Dallas, which premieres tonight, J.R. Ewing is still the same ornery, scheming cuss he was in the 1978-91 original, and Larry Hagman has as much fun as ever playing him. And the rest of the Ewing family is still a mixture of backstabbers and those trying not to have their backs stabbed.
Much in the real Dallas, however, has changed. In honor of the premiere of the new series, we take a look at Big D now and then. For "then," we're picking 1980, because that was when the original was at its "Who shot J.R.?" peak. -- Robert Philpot, firstname.lastname@example.org
nation's seventh-largest city in 1980 Census
nation's ninth-largest city in 2010 Census
Big energy industry
Then: Oil (you could see wells in fields)
Now: Natural gas (you can see wells in neighborhoods)
What to watch
Then: There were three commercial broadcast networks, plus PBS and a handful of cable networks. Dallas aired Friday nights on CBS, which at the time was KDFW/Channel 4.
Now: There are five commercial broadcast networks, plus PBS and more cable/satellite channels than we can accurately count. Dallas airs Wednesday nights on TNT, which didn't exist until 1988.
Then: Dallas had two dailies: The Dallas Morning News and The Dallas Times-Herald. The Star-Telegram had morning and evening editions. You had to read 'em on paper.
Now: Dallas has one daily: The Dallas Morning News. The Star-Telegram has a morning edition; the evening edition ceased publication in 1995. Both have websites, but you can still read 'em on paper.
That Texas heat
Then: A record-breaking summer, with 42 straight days of 100-degree heat and 69 100-degree days overall.
Now: A record-breaking summer last year, with 40 straight days of 100-degree heat and 71 overall, as well as a record summer average of 90.6 degrees. This summer has been kinder. So far.
What the critics said
Then: "If the production is typical of Hollywood notions about Texas, the characters will commute to the city through terrain more appropriate to a series titled Terlingua." -- Jerry Coffey, Star-Telegram TV critic, in a 1978 column announcing a five-part "pilot series" coming to CBS.
Now: "Considering that this is a series that largely takes place on a ranch and features people in cowboy hats, it deals less in Texas stereotypes than have GCB, Top Chef: Texas and several other Dallas-filmed shows. It shows off North Texas landmarks by having characters stage secret meetings at several of them (including an absurd, first-hour-closing meeting on the 50-yard-line star at Cowboys Stadium)." -- Robert Philpot, DFW.com/ Star-Telegram
Then (in alphabetical order, which is how the cast was billed): Barbara Bel Geddes, Jim Davis, Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray, Larry Hagman, Steve Kanaly, Ken Kercheval, Victoria Principal, Charlene Tilton.
Now: Jordana Brewster, Patrick Duffy, Julie Gonzalo, Linday Gray, Larry Hagman, Jesse Metcalfe, Josh Henderson. Kanaly, Kercheval and Tilton all return in recurring roles or cameos.
The sports scene
Then: The Dallas Cowboys had appeared in four Super Bowls and won two. The Texas Rangers had yet to win a pennant. The Dallas Mavericks joined the NBA that year. The Minnesota North Stars had not yet moved to Dallas.
Now: The Cowboys have won three Super Bowls since 1980, but haven't appeared in a Super Bowl since 1996. The Rangers have two American League pennants, but a World Series title remains elusive. The Mavericks won the NBA championship last year. The Stars came to Dallas in 1993 and won the Stanley Cup in 1999.
Then: Texas Stadium, Reunion Tower, Reunion Arena and Southfork Ranch are seen in the opening credits.
Now: Cowboys Stadium, Reunion Tower, American Airlines Center, Southfork Ranch, Rangers Ballpark, the Dallas Omni Hotel and the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge are in the credits, which are in the same style as the original's.