Dynasty


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tabs

About

Premiering as a three hour movie on 12 January 1981, the prime time soap opera Dynasty aired on ABC until 1989. Dynasty quickly worked its way into the top 5 rated programs, finishing 5th for the 1982-83 season and 3rd for the 1983-84 season. It was the number one ranked program for the 1984-85 season, but rapidly began losing viewers. By its final season (1988-89), Dynasty finished tied for 57th place, and was unceremoniously dumped from ABC's roster leaving numerous dangling plotlines. These plotlines were tied up in a two-part, four-hour movie, Dynasty: The Reunion, which aired on ABC on 20 and 22 October 1991, some two years after the series' cancellation.

The soap opera focused primarily on the lives and loves of Blake Carrington (John Forsythe), a wealthy Denver oil tycoon, his wife Krystle (Linda Evans), ex-wife, Alexis (Joan Collins), daughter Fallon (Pamela Sue Martin, Emma Samms), sons Steven (Al Corley, Jack Coleman) and Adam (Gordon Thomson), as well as numerous extended family members and associates including Fallon's husband/ex-husband Jeff Colby (John James) and Krystle's niece and Steven's wife/ex-wife, Sammy Jo (Heather Locklear).

The program relied on both camp and excess for its appeal. Its characters and plotlines were sometimes absurd and broadly drawn, but it was the trappings of wealth, glamour, and fashion which drew viewers in some 70 countries to the program. With a weekly budget of $1.2 million ($10,000 of which went for clothing alone, including at least ten Nolan Miller creations per episode), Dynasty placed more emphasis on style than on plot.

The plotlines of this prime time soap opera often resembled those of its daytime counterparts--kidnapped babies, amnesia, pregnancy, infidelity, and treachery. In fact, Dynasty made extensive use of one soap opera staple--the return to life of characters presumed dead. Both Fallon and Steven Carrington were killed off only to return in later seasons played by different actors.

Just as often, however, Dynasty's plots leaned toward the campy and absurd. One of the most talked about and ridiculed plots was the 1985 season-ending cliffhanger which saw the Carringtons gathered for a wedding in the country of Moldavia. Terrorists stormed the ceremony in a hail of machine gun fire, but when the smoke cleared (at the start of the next season, of course), all of the primary characters were alive and basically unscathed.

While often criticized for its weak and at times absurd plots, Dynasty did provide juicy roles for women, notably Joan Collins' characterization of Alexis. Her character--scheming, conniving, and ruthless--was often referred to as a "superbitch," and was the quintessential "character you love to hate." Alexis was set in opposition to Krystle who was more of a "good girl"--sweet, loyal, and loving. One of the best known scenes in Dynasty history was the 1983 "cat fight" between Alexis and Krystle in which they literally fought it out in a lily pond. Alexis met her match in the character of wealthy singer and nightclub owner, Dominique Devereaux (Diahann Carroll)--the first prominently-featured African-American character on a prime time soap opera.

During its nearly nine year run, Dynasty spawned the short-lived spin-off Dynasty II: The Colbys (1985-87) and gave rise to numerous licensed luxury products, including perfume, clothing, and bedding. Never before had television product licensing been so targeted to upscale adults. W

When Dynasty left the air in 1989, it also marked the demise of the prime time soap opera which had been a staple of television programming throughout the 1980s. Produced in part by Aaron Spelling, whose programs (e.g., Charlie's Angels, The Love Boat, Beverly Hills, 90210, and Melrose Place) have emphasized beauty, wealth, and glamour, Dynasty had proved the perfect metaphor for 1980s greed and excess. In declaring Dynasty the best prime time soap of the decade, TV Guide asserted its "campy opulence gave it a superb, ironic quality--in other words, it was great trash."

-Sharon Mazzarella

CAST

Blake Carrington.................................. John Forsythe  

Krystle Jennings Carrington..................... Linda Evans  

Alexis Carrington Colby ...........................Joan Collins  

Fallon Carrington Colby (1981-1984)............. Pamela Sue Martin

Fallon Carrington Colby (1985, 1987-1989)...................... Emma Samms  

Steven Carrington (1981-1982)...................... Al Corley  

Steven Carrington (1982-1988).............. Jack Coleman  

Adam Carrington/Michael Torrance (1982-1989).............. Gordon Thomson  

Cecil Colby (1981-1982)....................... Lloyd Bochner

Jeff Colby (1981-1985, 1987-1989)............ John James

Claudia Blaisdel (1981-1986)............ Pamela Bellwood

Matthew Blaisdel (1981)........................... Bo Hopkins

Lindsay Blaisdel (1981)....................... Katy Kurtzman

Walter Lankershim (1981)................... Dale Robertson

Jeannette ........................................Virginia Hawkins

Joseph Anders (1981-1983)..................... Lee Bergere

Kirby (1982-1984)............................... Kathleen Beller

Andrew Laird (1981-1984)............ Peter Mark Richman

Sammy Jo Dean ..............................Heather Locklear

Michael Culhane (1981, 1986-1987).... Wayne Northrop

Dr. Nick Toscanni (1981-1982).......... James Farentino

Mark Jennings (1982-1984)................... Geoffrey Scott

Congressman Neal McEane (1982-1984, 1987)........... Paul Burke

Chris Deegan (1983)........................... Grant Goodeve

Tracy Kendall (1983-1984).................... Deborah Adair

Farnsworth "Dex" Dexter (1983-1989)..... Michael Nader

Peter de Vilbis (1983-1984).................. Helmut Berger

Amanda Carrington (1984-1986).... Catherine Oxenberg

Amanda Carrington (1986-1987)............... Karen Cellini

Dominique Deveraux (1984-1987)......... Diahann Carroll

Gerard (1984-1989)........................... William Beckley

Gordon Wales (1984-1988)................. James Sutorius

Luke Fuller (1984-1985)................... William Campbell

Nicole Simpson (1984-1985)............... Susan Scannell

Charles (1984-1985).......................... George DiCenzo

Daniel Reece (1984-1985)...................... Rock Hudson

Lady Ashley Mitchell (1985)..................... Ali MacGraw

Danny Carrington (1985-1988)......... Jameson Sampley

Joel Abrigore (1985-1986)................. George Hamilton

Garrett Boydston (1985-1986)................... Ken Howard

PRODUCERS

Richard and Esther Shapiro, Aaron Spelling, E. Duke Vincent, Philip Parslow, Elaine Rich, Ed Ledding

PROGRAMMING HISTORY

ABC

January 1981-April 1981   Monday 9:00-10:00

July 1981-September 1983   Wednesday 10:00-11:00

September 1983-May 1984   Wednesday 9:00-10:00

August 1984-May 1986   Wednesday 9:00-10:00

September 1986-May 1987   Wednesday 9:00-10:00

September 1987-March 1988   Wednesday 10:00-11:00

November 1988-May 1989    Wednesday 10:00-11:00

FURTHER READING

"The Best Prime-time Soaps." TV Guide (Radnor, Pennsylvania), 17 April 1993.

Dynasty: The Authorized Biography of the Carringtons. Introduction by Esther Shapiro. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1984.

Feuer, Jane. "Reading Dynasty: Television and Reception Theory." South Atlantic Quarterly (Durham, North Carolina), Spring 1989.

Geraghty, Christine. Women and Soap Opera: A Study of Prime Time Soaps. Cambridge, U.K.: Polity, 1991.

Gripsrud, Jostein. "The Dynasty-Event in Norway: The Role of Print Media." Edda: Nordisk Tidsskrift for Litteraturforskning/Scandinavian Journal of Literary Research (Dragvoll, Norway), 1989.

_______________. The Dynasty Years: Hollywood Television and Critical Media Studies. London and New York: Routledge, 1995.

_______________. "Toward a Flexible Methodology in Studying Media Meaning: Dynasty in Norway." Critical studies in Mass Communication (Annandale, Virginia), 1990.

Schroder, Kim Christian. "The Playful Audience: The Continuity of the Popular Cultural Tradition in America." The Dolphin: Publications of the English Department, University of Aarhus (Aarhus, Denmark), 1989.

White, Mimi. "Women, Memory and Serial Melodrama." Screen, (Oxford, U.K.), Winter 1994.

Highlights
Diahann Carroll on joining the cast of Dynasty
02:41
Aaron Spelling on fighting the network to get storylines on Dynasty
01:54
John Forsythe on the popularity of Dynasty
02:22
Costume designer Nolan Miller on what designing for Dynasty did for his career
06:27
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the development and pilot of Dynasty  
02:58
Douglas S. Cramer on developing Dynasty and casting Joan Collins as "Alexis Carrington Colby"
10:15
Who talked about this show

Howard Anderson, Jr.

View Interview
Howard Anderson Jr. on creating the opening titles for Dynasty
00:26

Alan Ball

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Alan Ball on loving Dynasty and Knots Landing
00:19

Bruce Bilson

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Bruce Bilson directing Dynasty
05:13

Diahann Carroll

View Interview
Diahann Carroll on joining the cast of Dynasty
02:41
Diahann Carroll on the essence of the creation of her Dynasty character Dominique Deveraux
00:28

Bill Conti

View Interview
Bill Conti on writing the theme/main title to an Esther and Richard Shapiro script called Oil, later known as Dynasty
07:51

Douglas S. Cramer

View Interview
Douglas S. Cramer on the controversial storylines of Dynasty
04:11
Douglas S. Cramer on developing Dynasty and casting Joan Collins as "Alexis Carrington Colby"
10:15

Jeannie Epper

View Interview
Jeannie Epper on being stunt double for Linda Evans in the famous catfight scene on Dynasty
01:34

John Forsythe

View Interview
John Forsythe on being cast as "Blake Carrington" on Dynasty
01:27
John Forsythe on the premise of Dynasty
02:50
John Forsythe on working with Joan Collins as "Alexis Morell Carrington Colby Dexter" on Dynasty
01:40
John Forsythe on working with Linda Evans as "Krystle Carrington" on Dynasty 
00:56
John Forsythe on the cast of Dynasty
06:02
John Forsythe on the producers of Dynasty and the plots of the show
02:14
John Forsythe on the sets of Dynasty
01:11
John Forsythe on the popularity of Dynasty
02:22
John Forsythe on shooting Dynasty
01:14
John Forsythe on the decline in quality of Dynasty and on the spin-off The Colbys
04:04
John Forsythe on the 1991 Dynasty reunion
00:37

Gerald Fried

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Gerald Fried on composing for Dynasty
02:14

David Jacobs

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David Jacobs on Dynasty as a perfect representation of Reagan's 2nd term
02:09

Russell Johnson

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Russell Johnson on appearing on Dynasty
01:03

Rita Lakin

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Rita Lakin on turning down Dallas, and on her very short stint on Dynasty
02:26

Nancy Malone

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Nancy Malone on becoming a series director on Dynasty and working with Esther Shapiro and Linda Evans
Nancy Malone on directing the 100th anniversary of Dynasty with the help of DP Michel Hugo; on working with Joan Collins

Nolan Miller

View Interview
Costume designer Nolan Miller on Dynasty
Costume designer Nolan Miller on working on Dynasty (continued)
Costume designer Nolan Miller on what designing for Dynasty did for his career
06:27

Ralph Senensky

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Ralph Senensky on his role in the creation of Dynasty
14:56

Richard Shapiro

View Interview
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the idea for Dynasty
03:33
Richard and Esther Shapiro on how Dynasty reflected the 1980s
01:38
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the legacy of Dynasty
01:05
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the pilot for Dynasty
00:55
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the title of Dynasty
01:10
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Aaron Spelling's involvement with Dynasty
02:37
Richard and Esther Shapiro on differences between Dallas and Dynasty
01:00
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the development and pilot of Dynasty
02:58
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the creation of Joan Collins' character ("Alexis Carrington") on Dynasty
04:00
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the costumes of Dynasty
01:45
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the cast of Dynasty
03:49
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Linda Evans' character "Krystle Carrington" on Dynasty
00:56
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Dynasty star John James
01:02
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Dynasty star Pamela Sue Martin and her character "Fallon Carrington Colby" and Emma Samms, the second actress to portray the character
02:45
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Dynasty star Jack Coleman ("Steven Carrington")
02:43
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Dynasty star Gordon Thomson ("Adam Carrington")
00:38
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Dynasty star Heather Locklear ("Sammy Jo Dean Carrington")
01:56
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Dynasty star Diahann Carroll ("Dominique Deveraux")
02:59
Richard and Esther Shapiro on production on Dynasty
02:36
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the producers of Dynasty
01:25
Richard and Esther Shapiro on audience reaction to Dynasty and the show's popularity overseas
03:05
Richard and Esther Shapiro on merchandizing on Dynasty
03:55
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the catfights between "Alexis" and "Krystle" on Dynasty
01:18
Richard and Esther Shapiro on memorable storylines on Dynasty
01:09
Richard and Esther Shapiro on memorable storylines on Dynasty - on "Steven Carrington's" homosexuality
02:10
Richard and Esther Shapiro on "Steven Carrington's" homosexuality on Dynasty
01:15
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Rock Hudson's kiss with Linda Evans on Dynasty
02:33
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the Moldavian Wedding Massacre on Dynasty
01:32
Richard and Esther Shapiro on notes from the network on Dynasty
00:50
Richard and Esther Shapiro on their favorite storylines and episodes of Dynasty
01:25
Richard and Esther Shapiro on why Dynasty ended
01:13
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the Dynasty reunion
00:39
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the success of Dynasty and how it affected them
00:55
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the Dynasty collection at Marshall Field's
00:44

Esther Shapiro

View Interview
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the idea for Dynasty
03:33
Esther Shapiro on her fashion inspiration for Dynasty
00:45
Esther Shapiro on Aaron Spelling wanting to work with her and Richard Shapiro and starting to develop Dynasty
01:09
Esther Shapiro on balancing her executive duties while still working on Dynasty
00:33
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the pilot for Dynasty
00:55
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the title of Dynasty
01:10
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Aaron Spelling's involvement with Dynasty
02:37
Richard and Esther Shapiro on differences between Dallas and Dynasty
01:00
Richard and Esther Shapiro on how Dynasty  reflected the 1980s
01:38
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the development and pilot of Dynasty  
02:58
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the creation of Joan Collins' character ("Alexis Carrington") on Dynasty
04:00
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the costumes of Dynasty  
01:45
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the cast of Dynasty  
03:49
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Linda Evans' character "Krystle Carrington" on Dynasty
00:56
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Dynasty star John James
01:02
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Dynasty star Pamela Sue Martin and her character "Fallon Carrington Colby" and Emma Samms, the second actress to portray the character
02:45
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Dynasty star Jack Coleman ("Steven Carrington")
02:43
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Dynasty star Gordon Thomson ("Adam Carrington")
00:38
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Dynasty star Heather Locklear ("Sammy Jo Dean Carrington")
01:56
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Dynasty star Diahann Carroll ("Dominique Deveraux")
02:59
Richard and Esther Shapiro on production on Dynasty
02:36
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the producers of Dynasty
01:25
Richard and Esther Shapiro on audience reaction to Dynasty and the show's popularity overseas
03:05
Richard and Esther Shapiro on merchandizing on Dynasty
03:55
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the catfights between "Alexis" and "Krystle" on Dynasty
01:18
Richard and Esther Shapiro on memorable storylines on Dynasty
01:09
Richard and Esther Shapiro on memorable storylines on Dynasty - on "Steven Carrington's" homosexuality
02:10
Richard and Esther Shapiro on "Steven Carrington's" homosexuality on Dynasty
01:15
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Rock Hudson's kiss with Linda Evans on Dynasty
02:33
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the Moldavian Wedding Massacre on Dynasty
01:32
Richard and Esther Shapiro on notes from the network on Dynasty
00:50
Richard and Esther Shapiro on their favorite storylines and episodes of Dynasty
01:25
Richard and Esther Shapiro on why Dynasty ended
01:13
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the Dynasty reunion
00:39
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the success of Dynasty and how it affected them
00:55
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the legacy of Dynasty
01:05
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the Dynasty collection at Marshall Field's
00:44

Doris Singleton

View Interview
Doris Singleton on her role on Dynasty
02:35

Mark Snow

View Interview
Mark Snow on composing for Dynasty and being fired because Douglas S. Cramer didn't like his work
01:28

Aaron Spelling

View Interview
Aaron Spelling on fighting the network to get storylines on Dynasty
01:54
Aaron Spelling on Dynasty
08:36
Aaron Spelling on Dynasty going off the air
00:49

Fred Steiner

View Interview
Fred Steiner on scoring episodes of Dynasty
01:03

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