On March 21, 1980, 'Dallas' viewers gasped as an unknown assailant shot J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman), the ultra-manipulative, double-dealing womanizer we loved to hate. The Texas oil baron had so many enemies, anybody could have pulled the trigger. Was it his bitter alcoholic wife Sue Ellen? His upright but resentful brother Bobby? His arch-enemy Cliff Barnes, who blamed him for stealing his daddy's oil business? Or any number of other relatives, business associates, mistresses (or their angry husbands), who had ample motive for revenge?
It was an unprecedented pop culture moment with "Who Shot J.R.?" T-shirts and Vegas laying odds about who the culprit would be. Ninety million people tuned in the next fall to find out that the shooter was Kristin, J.R.s sister-in-law whom he'd also been sleeping with.
The show never again reached such ratings heights, but the cliffhanger craze was born. Over the next 12 seasons, we were treated to crashes, fires and all kinds of bite-your-nails finales that left nearly every character's life on the line at some point. In honor of the 30th anniversary of that fateful shot, we count down 'Dallas's top 10 most memorable moments.
Well, the constant changes in cast and directors so far has been comedic, that's for sure. The project is now on its third director after Bend it Like Beckham helmer Gurinder Chadha walked away, possibly leaving the project in the hands of Betty Thomas, who previously directed the bigscreen adaptation of The Brady Bunch.
Many big names were attached to the project, including John Travolta, Jennifer Garner, Meg Ryan, Luke Wilson, Jennifer Lopez and Shirley MacLaine. Travolta, set to play oil tycoon J.R. Ewing, is the only one who still remains.
TV Squad Hot Topics
Most Popular Articles
From Our Partners
- 'The Originals' Episode 2.9 Photos: Mommy, Daddy and Hope!
- If I Am Going Down That Dark Alley Then I Want These Characters With Me
- 'The Flash': The Good and Evil from 'Power Outage'
- 'The Vampire Diaries' Winter Finale Photos: Christmas Memories
- 'Criminal Minds' Recap: Rossi's Past Collides With His Present
- More From BuddyTV
- Macy's Thanksgiving Parade 2014: The Rockettes Goof, Scary Newbies & More
- Ratings: Survivor, Hell's Kitchen and Red Band Slip; Charlie Brown Surges
- TVLine Readers Give Thanks for Castle, HTGAWM, Doctor Who, Mindy, NCIS, Freak Show, Once and More!
- Red Band Society's First Season Ending After 13 Episodes; Season 2 Unlikely
- What TVLine Is Thankful For: A Good Surprise, Homeland's Revival, Sexed-Up Murder, Sweet Jane and More
- More From TVLine
- 9 Topics to Talk About During Thanksgiving Dinner (That Won't Start Any Family Fights)
- As New Cosby Accusers Come Forward, Legal Options Remain Limited
- Watch Michael Douglas Sneak Up On His Legendary Dad
- 14 Foolproof Tips For Conquering America's Favorite Holiday: Black Friday
- Chris Rock on Tracy Morgan's Recovery and How ET's Nischelle Turner Inspired 'Top Five'
- More From ET