Created by Richard & Esther Shapiro
John Forsythe - Blake Carrington
Linda Evans - Krystle Carrington
Joan Collins - Alexis Morrell Carrington Colby
John James - Jeff Colby
Pamela Bellwood - Claudia Blaisdel Carrington
Gordon Thomson - Adam Carrington
Pamela Sue Martin / Emma Samms - Fallon Carrington Colby
Al Corley / Jack Coleman - Steven Carrington
Michael Nader - Dex Dexter
Lee Bergere - Joseph Anders
Catherine Oxenberg / Karen Cellini - Amanda Carrington
Kathleen Beller - Kirby Anders
Heather Locklear - Sammy Jo Carrington
Diahann Carroll - Dominique Deveraux
Lloyd Bochner - Cecil Colby
Douglas S. Cramer
Richard & Esther Shapiro
Aaron Spelling Productions
January 12, 1981 (1981-01-12) – May 11, 1989 (1989-05-11)
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. 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.
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. By the fall of 1982, it was a top ten show and by 1985, it was the #1 series on American television. Dynasty was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best TV Drama Series every year from 1981 to 1986, winning in 1984. 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, and was ultimately canceled in May 1989 after a nine-season run. A two-part mini-series, Dynasty: The Reunion, aired in October 1991.
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, took on Richard and Esther Shapiro's vision of a rich and powerful family who "lived and sinned" in a 48-room Denver mansion. Esther Shapiro claimed that an inspiration for the show was I, Claudius, a fictionalized depiction of the Julio-Claudian dynasty of Roman emperors. 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, 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.
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. 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. 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.
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. 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. Blake is arrested and charged with murder, 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!"
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. 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. 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." 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. 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.
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. In 2011, Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly named it one of the seven "Unforgettable Cliff-Hangers" of prime time dramatic television. 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. 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 viewerswanted to see who survived the season five cliffhanger.
Continuing seasons and decline
Though still a top-10 show, Dynasty dropped from #1 to #7 in the ratings for its sixth season, 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 reationship 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 leaving 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.
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.
The ninth and final 1988–1989 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.
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. However, while The Reunion resolved some storylines, it ignored others.
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. Krystle and Alexis famously brawl in Alexis' cottage and later in a lily pond, hurl mud at each other at a beauty salon, and slide down a ravine together into a puddle of mud before their final showdown in a fashion studio in the 1991 miniseries Dynasty: The Reunion. In 2008 Entertainment Weekly termed Alexis and Krystle's catfights "the gold standard of scratching and clawing." Later in the series Alexis battles Blake's half-sister Dominique Deveraux (Diahann Carroll) and her own cousin Sable Colby (Stephanie Beacham); Heather Locklear's Sammy Jo has catfights with both Amanda (Catherine Oxenberg) in a swimming pool and Fallon (Emma Samms) in a horse trough and the mud around it, as well as a slapping match with Claudia (Pamela Bellwood). Evans even battles with herself at the climax of a 1985–1986 storyline in which Krystle is imprisoned and replaced by a lookalike, also played by Evans.
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, whichhad been the highest rated series for the 1984–1985 U.S. television seasn. 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 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.
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).
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.
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.
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 1988–89. 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.
Based on 'Dynasty' by Richard and
Developed by Sallie Patrick, Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage.
Elizabeth Gillies - Fallon Carrington
Nathalie Kelley - Krystle Carrington
James Mackay - Steven Carrington
Robert Christopher Riley - Michael Culhane
Sam Adegoke - Jeff Colby
Rafael de la Fuente - Sammy Jo Jones
Alan Dale - Joseph Anders
Grant Show - Blake Carrington
Nicollette Sheridan - Alexis Carrington
Wakeema Hollis - Monica Colby
Dynasty is an American prime time television soap opera
reboot based on the 1980s series of the same name. Developed by Josh Schwartz,
Stephanie Savage, and Sallie Patrick, the new series stars Elizabeth Gillies as
Fallon Carrington, Grant Show as her father Blake Carrington, Nathalie Kelley as
Blake's new wife Cristal, and James Mackay as his son Steven, with Robert
Christopher Riley as chauffeur Michael Culhane, Sam Adegoke as tech billionaire
Jeff Colby, Rafael de la Fuente as Sam Jones, Cristal's nephew and Steven's
fiancé, and Alan Dale as Joseph Anders, the Carrington majordomo.
The pilot, which was announced in September 2016, was ordered to series in May 2017. Dynasty premiered on October 11, 2017, on The CW in the United States, and on Netflix internationally a day later. On November 8, 2017, The CW picked up the series for a full season of 22 episodes. On April 2, 2018, The CW renewed the series for a second season.
Dynasty begins with heiress Fallon Carrington unhappy to find her billionaire father Blake engaged to Cristal, a rival employee at the family company. When Fallon's machinations to separate the couple backfire and cost her a promotion, she allies with Blake's nemesis and former employee, Jeff Colby, and strikes out on her own. Meanwhile, the arrival of Cristal's opportunistic nephew Sam—who becomes romantically involved with Fallon's wayward brother Steven—threatens to expose her shady past. The Carringtons form a united front in the wake of the suspicious death of Cristal's former lover, but things at the mansion do not remain harmonious for long.
The reboot updates several elements from the 1980s original, including moving the setting from Denver, Colorado to Atlanta, Georgia; making Steven's homosexuality a nonissue to Blake; and changing gold digger Sammy Jo from a woman to a gay man. Additionally, in the new series, both Blake's fiancée later wife and her nephew are Hispanic, and both chauffeur Michael Culhane and the Colby family are African-American.
The setting was also moved from Denver to Atlanta, in part because of Atlanta's diversity. Schwartz called the city "a realistic location of this family to be based out of", noting that the Shapiros had arbitrarily picked Denver for the original series and were not creatively attached to it.