Comparing the first episode of the original series of that 1980s soap to the recent reboot…
TV’s Dynasty as remembered in the 1980s to a 2017 remake made for a new generation.
Dynasty Trailer Season 1, OM F and photos © CBS Television Distribution and Netflix
Recently there has been a splurge of remakes and reboots from retro films such as Point Break (2015) to The Predator (2018) and TV shows eg Dallas (2012-14) and Magnum (2018). So its kinda inevitable that somewhere, sometime somebody excitedly screamed “Let’s have Dynasty have theirs” in a planning meeting. Here the powers that be all deciding on a new TV soap for us retro telly addicts to get hooked on. And thus the TV soap about the Carringtons and the Colbys was remade for my (1970s and 1980s) and later generations.
With the new Dynasty (2017) with the more familiar names in the character rather than the cast list (for me anyway). As surprisingly the only acting talent I’ve recognised so far – as still only about halfway through Season 1 – is Aussie soap’s Neighbours‘ Jim Robinson aka actor Alan Dale as Joseph Landers, Blake’s majordomo.
Dale’s now making an impact with wonderful cutting and perfectly timed one-liners. Played to delightful precision which would make his Neighbours‘ character shudder. Joseph was the father to Kirby, the wettest character in the original series. And Joseph with little to do but support his daughter as she bedded yet another Carrington or Colby.
It wasn’t always that way with, the original cast having a who’s who for every generation. In a nutshell… there were headlining names from the Golden Days of Hollywood such as John Forsythe (replacing George Peppard), Charlton Heston, Barbara Stanwyck, Rock Hudson and Ricardo Montalban.
Along with later on-screen darlings of the 1960s and 70s such as Joan Collins, Helmut Berger, Katharine Ross, George Hamilton, Linda Evans, Ali McGraw and Stephanie Beacham. Adding a few names of stars that my generation knew from films and TV such as Maxwell Caulfield, Heather Locklear, Michael Praed, Billy Dee Williams and Pamela Sue Martin. Mix them together and what have you got? All the ingredients for a soap for an all-star ensemble cast making up the original Dynasty of the 1980s.
All these acting names however from the entire original series. So to give the new series a fair trial lets return to as The Sound of Music‘s Maria Von Trapp would say and go back to the very beginning and compare those first pilot episodes. So it’s back to the 1980s for a 3 parter of a first episode from the Dynasty original series and flashforwarding jumping 37 years later to the new sparkly new Dynasty series.
Both series start with the same plot, telling of the time leading up to and including the wedding of wealthy magnate Blake Carrington to his younger second wife. In order not to confuse you lets start with that original series. Set in Denver, Colorado.. the oil rich Carringtons live in the house last inhabited in Heaven Can Wait (1978)).
Blake Carrington (John Forsythe), is a bit of a silver fox.. he’s recently taken to and got engaged to the lovely young blonde Krystle with a K, who was his secretary. Krystle, a bit of a goody goody was played by Linda Evans. Krystal has given up her job to be Mrs Carrington and stepmother to his two adult kids. The son accepting her and the daughter resenting her, as echoed by these characters in the new series.
These kids namely, the ambitious, flirty and catty Fallon (Pamela Sue Martin) and more sensitive, black sheep Steven (Al Corey). Fallon is devoted to her father. Fallon doesn’t want to be married off as part of a business deal but is aware she even won’t make upper management in the company because she’s a woman. Despite being the spawn of Blake. She’s bedding the family chauffeur, Michael Culhane (Wayne Northrop).
Her father suggests she should
merge marry into the more wealthy Colby family, with Jeff Colby – nephew of oil super magnate, Cecil Colby. – in mind. Here Jeff played by the gorgeous man in a suit, one time crush, John James. Fallon resents this as she feels Blake should concentrate on marrying his heir, Steven off. But Blake has his reasons primarily as to his disgust that son is gay. a fact he hasn’t told Fallon. In addition. Steven isn’t keen to take over the company – unlike his sister – and has different political views from his father.
Meanwhile, in the current series, it’s to Atlanta we go! Energy magnate at Carrington Atlantic Blake Carrington (Grant Show) has taken a fancy to his young public relations officer, Cristal Flores (Nathalie Kelley) after she speaks out in a company meeting. The actor much younger than Forsythe, and a missed opportunity from a Forsythe fellow silver fox, John Slattery. And with Show’s Blake with more liberal his views regarding his wife still working after they wed. Dynasty now showing more diversity in interracial relationships with Blake marrying Cristal a Hispanic woman, and both the chauffeur and Colby clan African-Americans.
Blake’s children here still introduced as Fallon and Steven. Fallon (Elizabeth Gillies) – who is hoping for promotion by her father – is just as bed-hopping and bitchy. With a nod to the first series, the remake also shows her eating the head of the bride in that wedding cake decoration of the pair – but here in front of her stepmother to be. Leading to the show’s first catfight. Oh, and she’s still sleeping with that chauffeur named Michael Culhane (Robert Christopher Riley).
In this series., Blake knows his son, Steven is gay, and accepts this so much he undermines his daughter who hopes to make a particular business deal. This by asking Steven (James Mackay) to secure it, by knowing the similar sexual orientation of his business partner. And literally sending the right man for the job. Steven is disgusted at his father’s motives and feels he was “whored out” and takes solace at a bar.
There (and then unbeknownst to them) he meets Cristal’s nephew Sammy Joe (Rafael de la Fuente). Another crucial difference here is the original and remake with Sammy Jo being Krystal’s niece in the original series played by Heather Locklear. As many a grown man I know will remember primarily for her scenes sliding down the bannister at the Carrington mansion.
The original pilot having more flirty scenes taking place between characters with leading comments rather than James Bond innuendo as they play pool or take a bath. Compared to the now raunchier scenes of a sexual nature. An example being with Blake’s kids meeting their stepmother with their father in a state of undress on his office desk.
Both Krystal and Cristal share a past love, Matthew Blaisdal – then played by Bo Hopkins and now by Nick Wechsler. Both these Matthews married Claudia, a woman with health problems with mental health problems after a breakdown. Back then there appear to be more wistful feelings for both Krystal and later Matthew (after seeing him after a lengthy absence from Denver) to tell him about the wedding. Particularly as Blake appears more ruthless. With just Matthew still in love with her in the later one.
However, in both Blake knows about their past. Blake appears to engineer a chance meeting in both series for these ex-lovers. However, Krystal / Cristal feel he manipulated this meeting for the pair to put her love to the test. Leading to her making doubts about their wedding. The wedding does go on without a hitch but both leading to an explosive cliff hanger…
So as the new Dynasty series 2 starts over here (no spoilers here please), I’m sure that acting talent playing the Carrington kids Steven and Fallon will be quaking in their reboots. This if they know all of Blake’s children had another acting name to fill their shoes in the series run. But I’ll end in true soap 2 parter style with those immortal words… to be continued. This review to come as inevitably the first Mrs Carrington, Alexis is reportedly due to return in one time, desperate housewife.
Dynasty | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix Netflix India
This review was added to Phyllis Loves Classic Movies’ They Remade What? Blogathon. Other reviews with these casts the original Dynasty. The series in a behind the scenes biopic, Dynasty A Guilty Pleasure. Pamela Sue Martin starred in The Poseidon Adventure and Strong Medicine. Pamela Bellwood in Airport 77. Elizabeth Gillies in Vacation. John Forsythe and Linda Evans starred in The Love Boat and 1980s Prime Time Soap Stars. John James starred in The Love Boat, Fantasy Island and The Colbys. Heather Locklear and Pamela Sue Martin in Hotel. Alan Dale in Neighbours reviewed HERE and his Hollywood career reviewed HERE.