Created by

 

Richard & Esther Shapiro

 

 

 

Directed by

 

Irving J. Moore et al.

 

 

 

Starring

 

John Forsythe

 Linda Evans

 Joan Collins

 John James

 Pamela Bellwood

 Gordon Thomson

 Pamela Sue Martin

 Jack Coleman

 Michael Nader

 Lee Bergere

 Catherine Oxenberg

 Kathleen Beller

 Emma Samms

 Geoffrey Scott

 Heather Locklear

 Diahann Carroll

 James Farentino

 Lloyd Bochner

 

 

 

Theme music composer

 

Bill Conti

 

 

 

Country of origin

 

United States

 

 

 

No. of seasons

 

9 + mini-series (1991)

 

 

 

No. of episodes

 

222[1] (List of episodes)

 

 

 

Production

 

 

 

Executive producer(s)

 

Aaron Spelling

 Douglas S. Cramer

 Richard & Esther Shapiro

 

 

 

Running time

 

46 Minutes

 

 

 

Production company(s)

 

Aaron Spelling Productions

 

 

 

Distributor

 

Metromedia/20th Television (before 2006)

 CBS Television Distribution (2006-present)

 

 

 

Broadcast

 

 

 

Original channel

 

ABC

 

 

 

Original run

 

January 12, 1981 (1981-01-12) May 11, 1989 (1989-05-11)

 

 

 

Chronology

 

 

 

Related shows

 

The Colbys

 Dynasty: The Reunion

 Dynasty: The Making of a Guilty Pleasure

 

 

Dynasty is an American prime time television soap opera that aired on ABC from

January 12, 1981 to May 1989. The series, created by Richard & Esther Shapiro

and produced by Aaron Spelling, revolved around the Carringtons, a wealthy oil

family living in Denver, Colorado.[2] Starring John Forsythe and Linda Evans as

oil magnate Blake Carrington and his new wife Krystle, Dynasty was ABC's

competitor to CBS's prime time series Dallas.[2][3]

 

Ratings for the show's first season were unremarkable, but the second-season

arrival of Joan Collins as Blake's scheming first wife Alexis heralded Dynasty's

rise into the Top 20.[4][5] By the fall of 1982, it was a top ten show and by

1985, it was the #1 series on American television.[4][6] Dynasty was nominated

for a Golden Globe Award for Best TV Drama Series every year from 1981 to 1986,

winning in 1984.[7] Dynasty spawned a successful line of fashion and luxury

products, and also a spin-off series called The Colbys. Dynasty dropped from #7

to #24 during the 1986-87 season,[4] and was ultimately canceled in May 1989

after a nine-season run.[8] A two-part mini-series, Dynasty: The Reunion, aired

in October 1991.

 

 

 

 

 

  Contents

    [hide]  1 Beginnings

     2 Series history 2.1 The Carringtons

       2.2 Enter Alexis

       2.3 The "Moldavian Massacre"

       2.4 Continuing seasons and decline

       2.5 Miniseries finale 1991

      

    3 The catfights

     4 Spin-offs and television events

     5 Behind the scenes

     6 Commercial tie-ins

     7 Broadcast history

     8 Reception 8.1 Nielsen ratings

       8.2 Awards and nominations

      

    9 DVD releases

     10 See also

     11 References and notes

     12 External links

    

 

[edit] Beginnings

 

Producer Spelling, already well known for his successful ABC series, including Starsky and Hutch, Charlie's Angels, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Vega$, and Hart to Hart,[9] took on Richard and Esther Shapiro's vision of a rich and powerful family who "lived and sinned" in a 48-room Denver mansion.[2] Esther Shapiro claimed that an inspiration for the show was I, Claudius, a fictionalized depiction of the Julio-Claudian dynasty of Roman emperors.[10] The working title for Dynasty was Oil, and the starring role originally went to George Peppard. In early drafts of the pilot script, the two main families featured in the series were known as the Parkhursts and Corbys; by the time production began, they had been renamed the Carringtons and Colbys. Peppard, who had difficulties dealing with the somewhat unsympathetic role of patriarch Blake Carrington,[11] was quickly replaced with John Forsythe. Filmed in 1980, the pilot was among many delayed due to a strike precipitated by animosity between the television networks and the partnership of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Dynasty finally premiered on ABC as a three-hour event on January 12, 1981.

 

[edit] Series history

 

[edit] The Carringtons

 

As Dynasty begins on January 12, 1981, powerful oil tycoon Blake Carrington

(John Forsythe) is about to marry the younger Krystle Jennings (Linda Evans),

his former secretary.[2] Beautiful, earnest, and new to Blake's world, Krystle

finds a hostile reception in the Carrington household the staff patronizes

her, and Blake's headstrong and promiscuous daughter Fallon (Pamela Sue Martin)

resents her. Though devoted to Krystle, Blake himself is too preoccupied with

his company, Denver-Carrington, and blind to Krystle's predicament. Her only

ally is her stepson Steven (Al Corley), whose complicated relationship with

Blake stems from their fundamental political differences and Steve's resistance

to step into his role as future leader of the Carrington empire. Meanwhile

Fallon, better suited to follow in Blake's footsteps, as a woman is

underestimated by and considered little more than a trophy to father Blake.

She channels her energies into toying with various male suitors, including the

Carrington chauffeur Michael Culhane (Wayne Northrop). At the end of the

three-hour premiere episode "Oil", Steven finally confronts his father,

criticizing Blake's capitalistic values and seemingly-amoral business

practices.[12] Blake explodes, revealing the secret of which Steven thought his

father was unaware: Blake is disgusted by Steven's homosexuality, and his

refusal to "conform" sets father and son at odds for some time.[12][13]

 

In counterpoint to the Carringtons are the Blaisdels; Denver-Carrington

geologist Matthew (Bo Hopkins) unhappily married to the emotionally fragile

Claudia (Pamela Bellwood) is Krystle's ex-lover. Returning from an extended

assignment in the Middle East, Matthew quits and goes into business with

wildcatter Walter Lankershim (Dale Robertson), and as Blake's behavior begins

pushing Krystle towards Matthew, the men are set as both business and romantic

rivals.[2] Blake is further enraged when Steven goes to work for longtime friend

Matthew, in whom Steven sees qualities lacking in Blake. Though previously in a

relationship with another man, Steven finds himself drawn to Claudia, who is

putting her life back together after spending time in a psychiatric hospital.

Fallon makes a secret business deal with Blake's old friend and more-powerful

business rival Cecil Colby (Lloyd Bochner), marrying his nephew Jeff (John

James) to secure Cecil's financial assistance for her father. When Blake

stumbles upon Steven in an innocent goodbye embrace with his former lover Ted

Dinard (Mark Withers), Blake angrily pushes the two men apart; Ted falls

backward and hits his head, the injury proving fatal.[2][12] Blake is arrested

and charged with murder,[2] and an angry Steven testifies that Ted's death had

been the result of malicious intent. A veiled surprise witness for the

prosecution appears in the season finale "The Testimony," and Fallon gasps in

recognition: "Oh my God, that's my mother!"[2][13]

 

[edit] Enter Alexis

 

In the first episode of the second season, titled "Enter Alexis," the mysterious

witness removes her sunglasses to reveal British actress Joan Collins as a new

arrival to the series.[2] Collins' Alexis Carrington blazed a trail across the

show and its storylines; the additions of Collins and the "formidable writing

team" of Eileen and Robert Mason Pollock are generally credited with Dynasty's

subsequent rise in the Nielsen ratings.[2] The Pollocks "soft-pedaled the

business angle" of the show and "bombarded viewers with every soap opera staple

in the book, presented at such a fast clip that a new tragedy seemed to befall

the Carrington family every five minutes."[2] Alexis' testimony nonwithstanding,

Krystle is immediately put off by the former Mrs. Carrington's condescending

attitude and manipulations; Krystle's subsequent discovery that Alexis had

caused Krystle's miscarriage by intentionally startling her horse with a gunshot

settles Alexis as Krystle's implacable nemesis. Other new characters of the

season are the psychiatrist Nick Toscanni (James Farentino), who tries to seduce

Krystle while bedding Fallon and plotting against Blake, and Krystle's greedy

niece Sammy Jo Dean (Heather Locklear), who marries Steven for his money. The

season finale sees Blake left for dead on a mountain after a fight with Nick. By

that time, Dynasty had entered the Top 20.[4][5] In the third season, Alexis

marries Cecil on his deathbed and acquires his company, Colbyco. In the

meantime, Adam Carrington (Gordon Thomson), the long-lost son of Alexis and

Blake who had been kidnapped in infancy, reappears in Denver. Also introduced

are Krystle's ex-husband, tennis pro Mark Jennings (Geoffrey Scott), and Kirby

Anders (Kathleen Beller), the daughter of longtime Carrington majordomo Joseph

(Lee Bergere). Kirby catches Adam's eye but weds Jeff after his divorce from

Fallon. In the middle of the season, news that Steven has been killed in an

accident in Indonesia comes to the Carringtons; he survives, but undergoes

plastic surgery and returns to Denver portrayed by Jack Coleman. In the third

season cliffhanger, Alexis lures Krystle to Steven's cabin and the two are

locked inside while the cabin is set ablaze by an unseen arsonist (later

revealed to be Joseph, who had meant for the fire to kill only Alexis and not

Krystle).

 

With the show's popularity soaring in the fourth season, former President Gerald

Ford guest-starred as himself in 1983, along with his wife Betty and former

Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. New characters included the charming and

ambitious Farnsworth "Dex" Dexter (Michael Nader), the unscrupulous playboy

Peter De Vilbis (Helmut Berger), and Blake's illegitimate African American

half-sister, Dominique Deveraux (Diahann Carroll). The main storylines included

a custody battle between Steven and Blake over Steven and Sammy Jo's son Danny,

and a false accusation of illegal weapons dealings orchestrated by Alexis to

ruin Blake's financial empire. In the season finale, Fallon disappears just

before her second wedding to Jeff (now divorced of Kirby) as her car seemingly

collides with a truck on a stormy night (to accommodate the departure of Pamela

Sue Martin from the series), while Alexis is arrested for the murder of Mark

Jennings.

 

In the fifth season, Alexis is exonerated and her secret daughter Amanda Bedford

(Catherine Oxenberg) comes to Denver and discovers that Blake is her father.

Steven has married Claudia but leaves her for a man, and Sammy Jo discovers she

is the heiress to a huge fortune. At the end of the season, an amnesiac Fallon,

now portrayed by actress Emma Samms, reappears while the rest of the family go

to Europe for the wedding of Amanda and Prince Michael of Moldavia (Michael

Praed). During the season, the series attracted controversy when Rock Hudson's

real-life HIV-positive status was revealed after a romantic storyline between

his character Daniel Reece and Evans' Krystle. Hudson's scenes required him to

kiss Evans and, as news that he had contracted AIDS broke, there was speculation

Evans would be at risk. Driven by the new head writer and producer Camille

Marchetta, who had devised the wildly-successful "Who Shot J.R.?" scenario on

Dallas five years earlier, Dynasty hit #1 that year.[4][6]

 

[edit] The "Moldavian Massacre"

 

Undoubtedly the most famous Dynasty cliffhanger is the so-called "Moldavian

massacre" during the May 1985 season finale. Amanda and Michael's royal wedding

is interrupted by terrorists in a military coup of Moldavia, riddling the chapel

with bullets and leaving all of the major characters lying seemingly lifeless.

It became the most talked-about episode of any TV series during the calendar

year of 1985, with a viewership of 60 million.[14] In 2011, Ken Tucker of

Entertainment Weekly named it one of the seven "Unforgettable Cliff-Hangers" of

prime time dramatic television.[15] When the series resumed in the fall, viewers

quickly learned that only two minor characters had died: Steven's boyfriend Luke

Fuller (Billy Campbell) and Jeff's love interest Lady Ashley Mitchell (Ali

MacGraw). In the 2006 CBS special Dynasty Reunion: Catfights & Caviar, Gordon

Thomson reiterated that it was the follow-up that was the letdown, not the

cliffhanger itself. Joan Collins was conspicuously absent from the season six

opener; she was in a tense contract renegotiation with the show, seeking an

increased salary.[16] As a result, the first episode had to be rewritten to

explain her absence and many scenes were given to Krystle. Collins' demands were

met (she reportedly signed a $60,000 per episode contract) and she returned to

the series in the season's second episode. Although Collins' character was

absent from the season six opener the show garnered a 28.1 rating since viewers

wanted to see who survived the season five cliffhanger.[citation needed]

 

[edit] Continuing seasons and decline

 

 

 

 

 

Forsythe and the women of Season Six (1985-1986)

Though still a top-10 show, Dynasty dropped from #1 to #7 in the ratings for its

sixth season,[4][17] which featured a lookalike woman named Rita who poses as

Krystle (with both roles played by Evans), introduced Alexis' sister Caress

(Kate O'Mara), and launched the spin-off The Colbys. Spurned by Blake, Alexis

finds his estranged brother Ben (Christopher Cazenove) and the two successfully

plot to strip Blake of his fortune. Steven's budding relationship with closeted

Bart Fallmont (Kevin Conroy) is ruined by Adam's business-motivated public

reveal that Bart is gay, and the May 21, 1986 season finale finds Blake

strangling Alexis while the rest of the cast is in peril at the La Mirage hotel

which is accidentally set on fire by Claudia.

 

As the seventh season begins in September 1986, Blake stops short of killing

Alexis, Claudia has died in the fire, and Amanda (now played by American Karen

Cellini following Oxenberg's firing from the series) is rescued by a returning

Michael Culhane, Blake's chauffeur from the earliest seasons. Blake turns the

tables on Ben and Alexis and recovers his wealth, but loses his memory after an

oil rig explosion. Alexis finds Blake and, with everyone believing he is dead,

perpetuates the belief that they are still married. Living with a clean slate,

Alexis finds herself softening to Blake, but ultimately tells him the truth as

he reunites with Krystle. Krystina receives a heart transplant but is later

kidnapped; Sammy Jo's marriage to Clay Fallmont (Ted McGinley) crumbles and she

falls into bed with Steven; Amanda leaves town, and Ben's daughter Leslie

Carrington (played by Terri Garber) arrives. Adam's season-long romance with

Blake's secretary Dana Waring (Leann Hunley) culminates in a wedding, which is

punctuated in the May 6, 1987 season finale by Alexis' car plunging off a bridge

into a river and the violent return of a vengeful Matthew Blaisdel. Although the

first episode of season seven premiered with a high neilsen rating of a 20.1,

the constant storyline changes lead to Dynasty falling out of the neilsen's top

20 to #24.[4]

 

With The Colbys cancelled, Jeff and Fallon return for Dynasty's eighth season,

their marriage now falling apart again. Matthew, returned from the dead but

troubled by headaches, holds the Carringtons hostage in hopes that Krystle will

run away with him. Steven ends the siege by reluctantly stabbing his old friend

to death. Alexis is saved by a handsome, mysterious stranger, Sean Rowan (James

Healey). She later marries him, not realizing that he is Joseph's son and

Kirby's brother, bent on revenge. Steven and Sammy Jo's reconciliation is

short-lived, and the pursuit of children unravels Adam and Dana's marriage. Sean

begins to manipulate and destroy the Carringtons from the inside, with he and

Dex fighting to the death in the March 30, 1988 season finale. Blake comes home

to find Krystle missing and their bedroom in shambles. The show had now dropped

out of the top 30 to #33.[4]

 

The ninth and final 19881989 season brought a move from Wednesday to Thursday,

and new Executive Supervising Producer David Paulsen, who took over the plotting

of the series. In a money-saving move, Evans appeared in only a handful of

episodes at the start of the season as an ailing Krystle seeks brain surgery in

Switzerland but is left in an offscreen coma. Similarly, Collins was contracted

for only 13 out of the season's 22 episodes; former Colbys character Sable

(Stephanie Beacham) was brought in as both a platonic confidante for Blake and a

nemesis for Alexis, and Tracy Scoggins also reprised her Colbys role as Sable's

daughter Monica. A storyline involving a murder and an old secret tying the

Carrington, Colby, and Dexter families together spans the season as Alexis and

Sable spar first over business and then over Dex.

 

Ratings, however, continued to drop and were further exacerbated by the timeslot

switch as now the series was facing off against the strong NBC Thursday night

line-up, which had regularly drawn the lion's share of the audience that night

(led by The Cosby Show, which had supplanted Dynasty as the #1 show on

television in 1986 and had continued to hold that lead). In May 1989, new ABC

entertainment president Robert A. Iger cancelled Dynasty; with the last episode

of season nine now the series finale, the show ended with Blake, Alexis, and Dex

in mortal peril.[8][18]

 

[edit] Miniseries finale 1991

 

With the series cancelled in 1989, the final episode (featuring multiple

cliffhangers and most of the main characters in dire straits and even mortal

peril) was initially left unresolved. As an attempt to wrap up these loose

plotlines, a two-part miniseries, Dynasty: The Reunion, aired in October

1991.[8] However, while The Reunion resolved some storylines, it ignored

others.[8]

 

[edit] The catfights

 

Over the run of the series, the rivalry between Alexis and Krystle is a primary

driver for the melodrama. Alexis resents Krystle's supplanting of her position

as mistress of the Carrington household and tries to undermine her at every

opportunity, while Krystle makes increasingly bold efforts to keep Alexis from

interfering in the lives of their mutual loved ones. The pair have numerous

verbal spats, accented by slaps across the face, but on more than one occasion

they have physical altercations. "Unfortunately, the thing people remember about

this show is the catfights," noted Collins in 1991.[8] Krystle and Alexis

famously brawl in Alexis' cottage[19] and later in a lily pond,[20] hurl mud at

each other at a beauty salon,[2] and slide down a ravine together into a puddle

of mud[21] before their final showdown in a fashion studio in the 1991

miniseries Dynasty: The Reunion.[8] In 2008 Entertainment Weekly termed Alexis

and Krystle's catfights "the gold standard of scratching and clawing."[22] Later

in the series Alexis battles Blake's half-sister Dominique Deveraux (Diahann

Carroll)[23] and her own cousin Sable Colby (Stephanie Beacham);[24] Heather

Locklear's Sammy Jo has catfights with both Amanda (Catherine Oxenberg) in a

swimming pool[25] and Fallon (Emma Samms) in a horse trough and the mud around

it[26], as well as a slapping match with Claudia (Pamela Bellwood). Evans even

battles with herself at the climax of a 19851986 storyline in which Krystle is

imprisoned and replaced by a lookalike, also played by Evans.[27]

 

 

 

A spin-off, The Colbys, debuted in 1985 as Fallon "returned from the dead" and

ex-husband Jeff followed her to Los Angeles, where they became embroiled in the

family intrigues of Jeff's wealthy California relatives. Pamela Sue Martin had

been asked to reprise the role of Fallon but declined which led to the casting

of Emma Samms in the role. Ratings for The Colbys were poor and the show lasted

for just two seasons, ending in 1987. Both Fallon and Jeff returned to Dynasty

after the series ended.

 

The Colbys (originally titled Dynasty II: The Colbys) is an American prime time

soap opera which originally aired on ABC from November 20, 1985 to March 26,

1987. Produced by Aaron Spelling, it was a spin-off of Dynasty, which had been

the highest rated series for the 19841985 U.S. television season.[1] The Colbys

revolved around another wealthy, upper-class family, who were distant relatives

of the Carringtons of Dynasty and who owned a large multi-national corporation.

Intended to surpass its predecessor in opulence, the series' producers were

handed an immensely high budget for the era[2] and cast a handful of well-known

movie stars among its leads, including Charlton Heston, Barbara Stanwyck,

Katharine Ross and Ricardo Montalban. However, The Colbys was ultimately a

ratings disappointment, and was canceled after two seasons.

 

 

 

 

Premise[edit]

 

On Dynasty, presumed-dead heiress Fallon Carrington Colby (Emma Samms) reappears

alive, suffering from amnesia and using the name Randall Adams. Drawn to

California after recognizing the name "Colby," she meets playboy Miles Colby

(Maxwell Caulfield), not realizing that he is the cousin of her ex-husband, Jeff

(John James). A mutual business venture brings the Colbys of California to the

Denver mansion of Fallon's father Blake Carrington (John Forsythe).[3]

 

Set in Los Angeles, The Colbys focuses on the extended Colby family as Jeff

relocates to California to start his life anew and comes face to face with

Fallon, now married to his cousin Miles. A fierce rivalry is sparked between

Jeff and Miles, and the love triangle spans the series. Miles' father,

billionaire Jason Colby (Heston), has a rocky marriage to the icy Sable

(Stephanie Beacham), in part due to his longtime attraction to Sable's sister

Francesca (Ross) Jeff's estranged mother, and the former wife of Jason's

deceased brother. Other characters include Jason's powerful sister Constance

(Stanwyck), Miles' twin sister Monica (Tracy Scoggins) and their third sibling

Bliss (Claire Yarlett).

 

In addition to Forsythe's Blake, Dynasty characters Adam Carrington (Gordon

Thomson), Steven Carrington (Jack Coleman) and Dominique Deveraux (Diahann

Carroll) also made guest appearances on the show between 1985 and 1986.

 

 

 

 

 

Fallon (Emma Samms) is abducted by aliens in the series finale on March 26, 1987

The first season's storylines include the construction of an oil pipeline, Zach

Powers' vendetta against the Colbys, the romance between Jason and his

sister-in-law Francesca, the subsequent collapse of Jason's marriage to Sable,

and eventually the revelation that Jason, not his brother Philip, is in fact

Jeff's father. There were initially a number of cross-overs featuring members of

the Dynasty cast, most notably Blake Carrington, his sons Adam and Steven, and

half-sister Dominique Deveraux. At the end of the season, Fallon learns that

Miles could be the father of her unborn child, Monica's plane crashes, and Sable

has Jason arrested for assault and battery, claiming that he had inflicted the

injuries she actually sustained by falling down a flight of stairs.

 

In the second season, Jason manages to divorce Sable and plans to marry

Francesca, but the presumed-dead Philip reappears alive. Previously romantically

linked to both Zach's nephew and former stepson, Bliss falls in love with a

Russian dancer watched by the KGB, the son Monica had given up eight years

before reenters her life, and Constance and Hutch are killed after a plane crash

in India. At the end of the season, Miles' wife Channing phones to say she will

abort their unborn baby, Sable kidnaps Monica's son, Francesca seemingly dies

after a car crash involving herself and Philip, and Fallon, stranded in the

desert, is seemingly abducted by aliens in the finale. The show's most infamous

cliffhanger proved to be its last when the series was subsequently cancelled.

 

 

Aftermath[edit]

 

Following the cancellation of The Colbys, the characters of Jeff and Fallon were

immediately reintroduced into Dynasty during that series' eighth season

premiere, "The Siege Part 1". Sable (now divorced from Jason, who was still

involved with Frankie, who survived the car crash) and Monica Colby (who no

longer had contact with ex-lover Cash or their son Scott) also later reappeared

on Dynasty for the series' ninth (and final) season in 198889. The only brief

mentions of Miles and Bliss was that they too had both moved from the Colby

mansion.

 

During the final season of Dynasty, it is revealed that Monica and her twin

Miles may not have been Jason's children, as Sable had been raped around the

time they were conceived. Miles (who refers to Jeff as his half-brother, leading

to the assumption that Jason was his and Monica's father after all) later

appears in the 1991 miniseries Dynasty: The Reunion, reunited with Fallon, and

participates in Jeff's rescue from the Consortium. The Jeff-Fallon-Miles love

triangle is finally resolved, as Fallon leaves Miles for Jeff once again.

 

 

 

 

 

Characters

 

 

Primary

  

 

Blake Carrington

   Krystle Carrington

   Alexis Colby

   Steven Carrington

   Adam Carrington

   Jeff Colby

   Dex Dexter

   Fallon Carrington Colby

   Sammy Jo Carrington

   Claudia Blaisdel Carrington

   Dominique Deveraux

   Amanda Carrington

   Dana Waring Carrington

   Kirby Anders

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secondary

 

 

Mark Jennings

Ben Carrington

Leslie Carrington

   Michael Culhane

   Clay Fallmont

   Prince Michael of Moldavia

   Cecil Colby

   Sable Colby

   Sean Rowan

   Caress Morell

   Nick Toscanni

   Matthew Blaisdel

   Lindsay Blaisdel

   Walter Lankershim

   Garrett Boydston

   Peter De Vilbis

   Brady Lloyd