Reviews

October 12, 2017

SHOWBUZZDAILY Series Premiere Review: “Dynasty”

 

DYNASTY:  Wednesday 9PM on CW – In the Queue

The new DYNASTY isn’t the fall’s worst new show, but it’s the most puzzling.  Was there really a surge of interest among CW’s 18-34 target demo for a revival of an ABC soap that went off the air 28 years ago?  The show has a bit of pop culture cachet for the image of Linda Evans and Joan Collins catfighting in a fountain, but other than that, it seems to have had little staying power.  (Here’s something to make TV executives weep:  at its peak, Dynasty had an audience of around 60 million viewers each week, more than 5x last night’s audience for This Is Us.)  If the idea was that the Age of Trump was a ripe moment for a return to the celebration of super-wealth and campy power plays, it seems like that could misfire badly, especially for a young audience.  Of course, all of this would make sense if series creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage (of The OC and Gossip Girl) and Sallie Patrick (a writer/producer, notably of Revenge) only had a genuinely fresh take on the material, but at least in the opening hour, the new Dynasty seems oddly content to simply follow in the footsteps of the original.

To be sure, things have been freshened up a bit.  Blake Carrington’s (TV soap veteran Grant Show) new wife is the Latina Cristal (Nathalie Kelley, recently a witch-demon on The Vampire Diaries), rather than Krystal, and she’s scarcely older than her arch-foe, Blake’s daughter Fallon (Elizabeth Gillies, of Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll).  (As in the 1980s Dynasty, ex-wife Alexis is talked about but not seen in the early going.)  Jeff Colby (Same Adegoke) is black.  Blake’s son Steven (James Mackay) is much gayer than Al Corley was allowed to be.  There’s talk of fracking and going green.

Fundamentally, though, this is still Dynasty, complete with a catfight between Cristal and Fallon on Cristal’s wedding day.  Even compared to Schwartz and Savage’s own soaps, it feels old-fashioned and lacking in zing, let alone in comparison with This Is Us or CW’s current Jane the Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, each marvelously distinctive.  The reboot doesn’t even have the appeal of TNT’s Dallas, which offered Larry Hagman and a variety of other original cast members in their iconic roles.  Despite all the 1% of 1% excess on display, Brad Silberling’s direction provides no visual flair either.

Gillies and Kelley have both shown a gift for bitchiness in their previous roles, and perhaps as the season goes on, the creative team will establish a point of view that makes their Dynasty feel like something expressive rather than just repetitive.  At its start, though, the series is instantly redundant.



About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on screened.com and the-burg.com. In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."




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