Last night The CW, home to a string of teen dramas as well as most of the DC comic book series, launched its reboot of Dynasty — and I’m really hoping that it dies a nasty death because, in a nutshell, it is total drek.
Admittedly, the original series wasn’t the greatest but it had its place in the television landscape of the day, with many viewing it as something similar to what the British know as pantomime; and Alexis Carrington Colby Dexter being the ultimate pantomime villain.
I’d watch the original show with my mother and be blown away by the quality of the acting as they’d amaze us by keeping a straight face as they played out some of the most bizarre storylines.
Produced by the legendary Aaron Spelling, the original Dynasty ran from 1981 to 1989 and got a two-part revival mini series in the early 1990s.
Set in Denver, Colorado, the original show followed the family feud between the Carringtons and the Colbys, with the focal point of much of the feuding beyond the personal stuff being the control of oil. Over the course of its nine-year run, it was the natural rival to Dallas, which was absolutely huge throughout the 70s and 80s.
Dynasty would in part be responsible for a career comeback for Joan Collins, who portrayed the cunning and devious Alexis Carrington with great aplomb. It also made Linda Evans a household name and John Forsyth a sex symbol for the mature ladies.
Prior to Dynasty, Forsyth had leant his dulcet tones to the speaker phone as the mysterious Charlie in Charlie’s Angels, which was another huge show for producer Aaron Spelling. Dynasty was the first time that many younger viewers got to see Forsyth and actually put a face to the name.
The reboot, which is set in Atlanta, just doesn’t come close to the bitchiness and feel of the classic. The new crop of characters are bitchy, but it’s in a very 90210 sort of way — in that it’s not very convincing. The new location doesn’t help matters. Denver was as much a character of the original show as the cast were.
The first couple of episodes mainly focus on Blake getting engaged to Crystal, who is much younger in this new show than Linda Evans was. Much of the drama, if you can call it that, is focused on Fallon Carrington not liking the idea of her father’s engagement while simultaneously campaigning to get her old dad to pass the reigns of the company over to her. We also see Blake playing off Fallon against her gay brother Steven.
The acting and writing in this new take on the series is truly atrocious. Making people watch this series should be banned under the Geneva convention as inhumane torture.
Cast as Blake Carrington is Grant Show, who many will remember from Melrose Place back in the 1990s. From an acting standpoint, he is probably the most consistent in the new show. But there is no way that I am buying him as a multi-millionaire ruthless oil tycoon.
The new version of Fallon is played by Vampire Diaries’ Elizabeth Gillies, who is frankly boring to watch. So boring in fact that I doubt even Aliens would bother to abduct her in the same way they did with Fallon from the classic show. I’ve seen more charisma than tree bark. My plants visibly died a minute for each second she was on screen.
Playing Crystal in the series is Nathalie Kelley, who is about as excitable as a Ninja Samurai Snail whacked up on speed. She is basically Blake Carrington’s soon-to-be younger wife and will be likely be set up as one of the strong female characters of the series if it gets beyond a season.
The acting is very one-note and by-the-numbers. As is the writing. The original series has some wild and wacky plots, which were sold by solid acting performances by all of its original cast. This new version needs to do a lot to live up to the legendary status of the original show.
This reboot is so bad that even Gordon Thomson who played Adam Carrington on the original series has condemned it.
“I have had a look at the new Dynasty and I am appalled,” he told The Daily Beast. “What the f**k is The CW doing? It’s utter s**t. The acting is dreadful, truly dreadful. The writing is appalling. I don’t know what possessed the Shapiros to bother.”
He continued: “Why call it Dynasty? It’s nothing to do with Dynasty at all. It’s insulting. If the afterlife exists — it doesn’t, but if it did — Aaron would be having major fits in his grave.
“And the audience The CW is aiming for is going to think it’s s**t because it is such s**t that a cretinous 6-year-old would not be interested. It’s abominable.”
As far as I’m aware, most other surviving members of the original cast have not commented, but a few months back Joan Collins said that she’d love to appear on it. I wonder if that still holds true now?
Dynasty airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on The CW.