Beyond Southfork: The 5 Best TV Shows Shot In Dallas
Barney & Friends
It started as child-friendly song-and-game videos produced and distributed by a couple of Plano housewives. The first episodes on video starred Texas native Sandy Duncan alongside the big purple dinosaur. Then PBS picked up the show and shot hundreds of episodes that aired daily between 1992 and 2002. Did you know Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez appeared on the series as child actors long before they emerged as fodder for tabloids? (Ms. Gomez is, for all intents and purposes, the current Mrs. Bieber.) Teaching gentle lessons about sharing and caring, with songs that stuck in parents' heads like musical Velcro (don't start!), Barney became a legend, its title character as famous with little ones as Kermit the Frog. Trivial-but-true: Baby Bop, Barney's squeaky sidekick, was voiced by Dallas actress Julie Johnson. She's currently starring in the road company of the Broadway musical Memphis. Here's video proof that Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez once played pattycake with the big purple beast named Barney.
Prison Break, which aired on Fox for four seasons (2005-'09), may be the only show so far that has generated a spin-off series specifically produced for mobile phones. Many episodes of the TV version were filmed in and around Dallas. Dominic Purcell starred as Lincoln Burrows, wrongly convicted of murdering the brother of the Vice President. Wentworth Miller played his brother, devoted to clearing his brother's name. But instead of trusting the appeals system, he helps his brother escape from the pen, setting off four years of chase scenes. Robert Knepper played the show's best character, Thomas "T-Bag" Bagwell, a ruthless psycho convict. The show still has a rabid fan following online, and it inspired a Prison Break magazine and a spin-off novel.
The Good Guys
It only lasted about half a season in 2010 on Fox, but it's worth a nod for shooting all of its episodes in Dallas, using a slew of local talent on locations in Deep Ellum, Oak Cliff and Fair Park. West Wing star Bradley Whitford starred as an old-school alcoholic, womanizing Dallas cop named Dan Stark. Colin Hanks played his partner Jack Bailey, a rule-following, straitlaced detective. Its scripts were cliché-ridden and episodes were horrendously edited (every transition was signaled with an obnoxious gunshot sound effect), but there was something quirky and enjoyable about this series - at least until all the air went out of it in the fall of 2010. Like the other shows on this list, it provided welcome union-wage employment (that means health insurance) for a bunch of Dallas actors. No crime in that.