The CW has had some success rebooting classic Aaron Spelling shows in the past (90210) and some failure (Melrose Place). They’re dipping into the Spelling vaults again to bring the classic, campy primetime soap Dynasty back to life, but the question is will today’s viewers be as intrigued by a bunch of privileged elites? When Dynasty first debuted in 1981, ABC’s answer to CBS’ hit Dallas, nighttime soap operas and glitz and glamour were all the rage. The show was met with middling success and didn’t really take off until Joan Collins made her debut in Season 2 as Alexis, and then the camp and the catfights ruled the airwaves for nine seasons (and a reunion TV movie).
Now the Carrington clan has been relocated from Denver to Atlanta, but the family is still in the energy business with patriarch Blake Carrington (Grant Show) hoping to balance his long-time oil industry with renewable sources of energy. He’s still got the strong-willed daughter Fallon (Elizabeth Gillies) and the gay son Steven (James Mackay) to contend with, with Fallon believing she’s about to get a major promotion and Steven summoned back to Atlanta after a falling out with his father.
What they’re really being called back for is an introduction to Cristal Flores (Nathalie Kelley), an employee at Carrington Atlantic and … Blake’s fiancee. Steven likes Cristal right off the bat, but Fallon sees nothing but a gold-digger and will do whatever she can to stop the engagement, right down to having chauffer Michael Culhane (Robert Christopher Riley) follow Cristal to a rendez-vous with her ex, Matthew Blaisdel (Nick Wechsler). The evidence is incriminating but Cristal convinces Blake she was just telling him goodbye, and Fallon got another surprise, two actually: the engagement party became a wedding, and Cristal got the job Fallon expected, making Cristal her new mother and boss. And, yes, a catfight broke out! Just a small one though, but how long before they tussle in the fountain? Or will they save that for Alexis, should she arrive sometime soon (the producers have been cagey about when we’ll see her and claim to have not even cast the role yet).
As first episodes go, the premiere of Dynasty was okay. As the reboot doesn’t really rely on familiarity with the original, there are a lot of introductions to be made with the large cast of characters including Jeff Colby (Sam Adegoke), Claudia Blaisdel (Brianna Brown), Joseph Anders (Alan Dale), Monique Colby (Wakeema Hollis) and a gender swapped Sammy Jo, played by Heather Locklear in the original. Here the character is Sam ‘Sammy Joe’ Flores (Rafael de la Fuente) who is also gay, and has already hooked up with Steven before they even knew who each other was (but he’s now moved into the Carrington mansion), and Cristal’s nephew. When the three of them crossed paths at the wedding, Sam didn’t let on that he knew Steven, and later when asked if he was the black sheep of the family, Sam told Steven that Cristal was. And Anders, the butler, has already dug up some dirt on both of the Floreses. It’s gonna get juicy.
The premiere really got things rolling in the last few minutes after the wedding with Fallon dropping the bomb that she’s going to with for rival Jeff Colby and set up her own competing business. In the cliffhanger episode of the original’s first season, Blake was on trial for the death of Steven’s former lover (back then Blake was not cool with Steven being gay, and the show even tried to pair him up with Claudia for a while) and the cliffhanger for this episode finds Matthew Blaisdel killed in a freak accident while surveying some property for the company (yes, he works for Carrington Atlantic, or worked since it was actually his last day that turned out to be his final day). In the midst of the wedding celebration, Matthew’s wife Claudia, who is a bit unstable, drives up to the mansion, and storms toward Blake and Cristal screaming that Blake murdered his husband. It certainly doesn’t seem like an accident, especially if Blake wanted to make sure Matthew and Cristal never had a chance to rekindle their love. So how will this news affect Cristal? What kind of mayhem will Fallon cause for her father? What kind of trouble will the Flores family bring to the Carrington household? Tune in again next week to find out!
Oh yes, and for the fans of the original, there was a quick nod to the graphics used in the opening titles of the original series, as well as a moment of “home video” of young Steven playing the original Dynasty theme music on the piano. Nice touch.
Dynasty airs Wednesdays at 9:00 PM on The CW.
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