Just for fun, I went back to the first few episodes of Classic Dallas to see if some of the criticisms people have of New Dallas applied there. Kinda interesting:
1. New Dallas is ignoring a lot of important characters (Margaret, Lucas, Cally's son, James).
As of the end of episode 4 of Classic Dallas, there was no mention yet of Jock's brother Jason or the Ewing cousins Jack and Jamie. No mention that Ray was Jock's son, or that Jock had had an affair or had a previous wife. No mention of Ellie's brother Garrison or Sue Ellen's sister Kristin, or Pam's first husband or Bobby's ex-fiance. Gary was mentioned but not seen. They all came in the second season or later. Guess they wanted to focus on the core cast that first shortened season, although they had time to do stories focused on Lucy's teacher, Julie Gray, and Luther Frick.
2. New Dallas doesn't pay attention to details and rewrites history.
In Barbara Curran's excellent book on Dallas, she notes that in episodes 1 to 3 Bobby's secretary is named Connie. In episode 4 he has a new secretary named Jeanne. In episode 5, J.R. introduces a new Ewing secretary named Susan, and in episode 8 the actress who played Susan is now playing Bobby's secretary, named Connie. I suppose it's possible Bobby had four secretaries over 8 episodes, two with the same name and two who were twins, but more likely the producers just didn't feel the name and actress playing the Ewings' secretary was that important a detail in the big scheme of things. The secretaries and actresses stabilized to Connie and Louella in the second season.
In episode 1 Ray tells Pam that Miss Ellie's father gave Southfork to Jock. In episode 19, J.R. tells Sue Ellen that Miss Ellie's father left Southfork to Garrison in his will, and when he was presumed dead it went to Ellie. That appears to be a rewrite to fit the story they wanted to tell at that point (Garrison dying).
3. The young characters on New Dallas aren't developed and can't act.
It took episode 4 of Classic Dallas to really give Sue Ellen something to do. As the casting director said of her in Barbara's book, "All we wanted . . . was kind of a walk-on actress who could look as if she had once been a Miss Texas in the Miss America contest." So, she set the table and drove Miss Ellie places and had drinks on the sofa. And Larry Hagman famously told Linda Gray after her first episode that she was terrible. They could have developed Sue Ellen in episode 2, but instead made the plot about Lucy's teacher being blackmailed to develop Lucy more. Sue Ellen developed more in season 2, and Linda Gray earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for the 1980-1981 season.
4. New Dallas wastes time with pointless scenes like Bobby birthing a calf.
In episode 2 of Classic Dallas there's an extended scene in a disco where there are at least two 20- to 30-second stretches of nothing but close-ups of people disco dancing. Maybe close-ups of Victoria's chest and backside while she was dancing somehow advanced the story of the Barnes-Ewing feud or Bobby's role in Ewing Oil, but those scenes seemed pretty pointless story-wise other than to show how attractive and limber the cast was.
5. New Dallas's rating dropped from 6.9 to 4.7 in the second week. People are losing interest.
In Barbara's book she notes the first episode of Classic Dallas was ranked 18th for the week and had a 21.5 rating. The second episode dropped to 50th and had a 15.2 rating--about 70% of the first week (New Dallas kept 68% of the first week's audience for comparison). Ratings then stabilized and started to grow, although the episodes fluctuated from a ranking of 11th to 59th week by week in the second season. It didn't have a Top 10 episode until the 31st episode.
6. Lucy never called Bobby "Uncle Bobby."
Fair enough. But in episode 1 of Classic Dallas Julie Gray answers J.R.'s phone as "John Ewing Jr.'s office." Not John Ross Ewing Jr.'s office. Not J.R. Ewings's office." You'd think his secretary of many years would know everyone called him J.R., especially since she does it herself. And J.R. called Jock "Father" rather than "Daddy." That was very inconsistent to what we remember, unless it was done just to establish who he was--kind of like calling someone "Uncle Bobby."
It's kinda interesting Classic Dallas had its growing pains and unmentioned history the first few episodes, too, but seemed to correct most of them by season 2. Maybe New Dallas will, too.