Before Tony Soprano, there was J.R. Ewing.
With one caveat - J.R. didn't have a psychotherapist; instead, he sent his victims to psychotherapists.
When "Sopranos" alter-ego James Gandolfini died unexpectedly at 51 on June 19, a natural question arose.
Who was the bigger television villain/cult hero among these two notorious peas in a pod? Soprano the high-stakes gangster, or Ewing the high-stakes shyster? Let's save the suspense now: "The Sopranos" was a vastly overrated show. It was overflowing with Italian mobster stereotypes: angry temper tantrums, silly X-rated profanity and gratuitous violence. Will someone please explain what is so revolutionary about that? Puh-leese. The hype is not ripe.
Ewing, Stetson cowboy hat and all, appeared on the "Dallas" series from 1978 to 1991. We're not talking about the lame re-creation of the show with the same title that airs on cable's TNT.
Ewing was known for spinning shady deals in the oil business, backstabbing his friends and family and grinning like a fox while destroying lives at any cost to accomplish his goals.
Perhaps Soprano should have visited Dr. Phil instead of Dr. Melfi (Lorraine Bracco). Then maybe his situation would have turned out better.