A Tale Of Two DYNASTYs

With Nicollette Sheridan’s sly entrance as Alexis in episode 16 of the CW’s Dynasty redux, all the major players of the original series are now in place. Therefore, I thought it would be the perfect time to do a little comparison to see just what changes have been made to the line-up and storyline of the original 80s version to make them more relevant to the world of the 2010s.

What makes these two versions great for comparison is that the new Dynasty isn’t a continuation or reboot of the original. It’s a straight-up remake that, so far, has pretty much followed the trajectory and hit the same major plot beats of the original (although not without adding some original tweaks of its own—as any good remake should!), so…let’s dig in!

 

THEN (Blake, Krystle, Fallon)

Blake Carrington (John Forsythe) oversees his oil empire, Denver Carrington, from his 48-room Colorado mansion. He marries his second, and much younger, wife Krystle Jennings (Linda Evans). His former secretary, Krystle finds it hard to fit in the opulent world of the Carringtons. Also living at the mansion is Blake’s daughter, Fallon (Pamela Sue Martin). Headstrong and spirited, Fallon has no interest in following in her dad’s footsteps (although she eventually ends up running his La Mirage resort for a while).

NOW (Blake, Cristal, Fallon)

Blake Carrington (Grant Show),  oversees his global energy empire, Carrington Atlantic from its headquarters in Atlanta. His younger, second wife is Cristal Flores (Nathalie Kelley), a Venezuelan who works for Carrington Atlantic. But instead of leaving her job after they marry, she gets promoted—to COO. This does not sit will with Blake’s ambitious daughter, Fallon (Elizabeth Gillies), who had her eyes on that position. She eventually decides to leave Carrington Atlantic to start her own energy company, Morell Corp.

THEN (Steven, Sammy Jo, Alexis, Culhane)

Perpetually confused about his sexuality, Blake’s son Steven (Al Corley) mourns the death of his boyfriend by hooking up with Krystle’s niece, Sammy Jo (Heather Locklear)—who had basically moved herself into the Carrington mansion. They eventually wed and have a son, but divorce soon after. Alexis (Joan Collins), Fallon and Steven’s mother, has been out of their lives ever since she and Blake divorced. Suddenly, she swoops back into Denver when she is named as witness for the prosecution—in the trying of Blake for the murder of Ted (Steven’s aforementioned boyfriend). Michael Culhane (Wayne Northrup) is the Carrington’s chauffer, who also includes bedding Fallon among his driverly duties.

NOW (Steven, Sam, Alexis, Culhane)

Steven (James Mackay) is among other things, a confident gay man, an activist, a former drug addict, and is also in love with Sammy Jo (Rafael de la Fuente), who this time around is Cristal’s nephew, also from Venezuela. Sam also sets up house at the Carrington manse, much to the chagrin of practically everyone there except Cristal. Alexis (Nicollette Sheridan), the former Mrs. Blake Carrington, swoops back into Atlanta to attend the funeral of Blake’s father, after being driven out by Blake years earlier so he could keep custody of Fallon and Steven after their divorce. Michael Culhane (Robert Christopher Riley) is the Carrington’s chauffer who breaks off his years-long affair with Fallon when he’s tired of just being her plaything.

THEN (Jeff, Monica, Cecil)

ColbyCo is Denver Carrington’s business rival.  Cecil Colby (Lloyd Bochner) runs the show while son Jeff Colby (John James) is a junior executive who falls in love with Fallon (and would eventually marry and have a son with her). Monica Colby (Tracy Scoggins) is Jeff’s cousin from California (who was not an original Dynasty character, since she was created for its spin-off, The Colbys, some 5 years after Dynasty originally premiered). Jeff and Monica are eventually revealed to be half-siblings when it is discovered that her father (Cecil’s brother, Jason) also fathered Jeff as a result of an affair with his mother.

NOW (Jeff, Monica, Cecil)

Jeff Colby (Sam Adegoke) is a self-made billionaire who runs ColbyCo and a variety of other holdings in Atlanta and elsewhere. He becomes partners with Fallon in her Morell Corp company and starts to pursue her romantically. His sister Monica (Wakeema Hollis) is Fallon’s BFF from high school and she eventually takes up with Culhane while Jeff and Fallon get more involved professionally and personally. But all is not rosy, as its revealed to be Jeff`s scheme to marry Fallon so he can take down Blake and Carrington Atlantic from the inside. Jeff believes Blake framed his father Cecil (Hakeem Kae-Kazim) for a crime he didn’t commit, which resulted in their father being taken away from Jeff and Monica and incarcerated for the past 11 years.

So there’s your general player-by-player comparison. Pretty interesting to see what’s the same and what’s changed—and how it’s been changed (including some big and welcome strides for diversity). But perhaps the most welcome thing about the new Dynasty is the most-honoured of all traditions that it has upheld. The catfights.

From the lily pond lashing of the old to the Christmas tree crashing of the new, Dynasty then and now always delivers the goods.

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Entertainment High Points of 2017

I don’t consume nearly enough content of any one form of entertainment to properly do a 2017 “Top 10” for it. However, I do consume enough content across all forms of entertainment to compile a list of those that were some of the definite high points of 2017…and here they are.

Wonder Woman 

She came, she saw, and she conquered. Three movies in, and DC Entertainment’s attempt to grab a piece of the cinematic universe pie that Marvel has been gorging on for close to a decade now was still less than well-received by both fans and critics. The dour, gritty and grim DC “extended universe” trifecta of Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad did well enough at the box office, but weren’t getting movie-goers hyped up to see any more doom-and-gloom adventures from their favourite DC icons. Enter Diana of Themyscria—princess of the Amazons, in a tale filled of hope, triumph, and yes, wonder (not to mention one that was far removed from the era of previous DCEU films, by about nearly 100 years). Gal Godot brought charisma, honesty, strength and humour to her portrayal of the Amazing Amazon and the world responded. With a global take higher than even the most optimistic predictions ($821 million), Wonder Woman bested all other DCEU films at the box office, including the surprisingly under-performing, Justice League (which exceeded meager expectations and deserved better than to have made less than Suicide Squad).

Will & Grace 

When rebooting a series, the key to capturing the magic of the original is simple: Don’t change a thing. Will & Grace reappeared after an 11-year absence and it was like they’ve just been here all along. Welcome back, gang.

Dynasty 

File this remake under “guilty pleasures”. The 80s smash that brought to the masses shoulder pads, catfights and royal wedding massacres well before Game of Thrones, was given a fresh start with this deliciously enjoyable CW makeover. Still focusing on the uber-rich Carrington clan, the action has moved from Denver to Atlanta, the cast is more diverse, and mogul Blake Carrington is now years away from becoming a silver fox (but is still a fox nonetheless, as he’s played by Melrose Place alum, Grant Show). Unfortunately, it’s ratings have it languishing near the bottom of CW’s current roster. Here’s hoping Nicolette Sheridan will help pull in some more viewers when she arrives on the scene as the new Alexis (aka the role that shot Joan Collins into the celebrity stratosphere).

Astonishing X-Men 

Years ago, Marvel was miffed that they didn’t own the film rights for the X-Men and Fantastic Four (which they sold when they were in the throes of bankruptcy) and decided if they can’t play with their toys on the big screen, then they aren’t going to play with them at all. They effectively slid the X-Men and Fantastic Four to the back burners of the Marvel Universe while they tried upping the profiles of their lesser-known, but wholly-owned entities (namely, The Inhumans and Guardians of the Galaxy). So, it was a bit of a surprise when they recently re-launched their mutant comic book line-up with 8 new titles. The line-up is a mixed bag in both quality and content, but the clear standout is Astonishing X-Men.  This 12-issue limited series is a welcome return to form that features a classic, throwback cast consisting of Rogue, Psylocke, Gambit, Archangel and Bishop (along with wild cards Fantomex, Mystique and Old Man Logan) who join forces with their deceased mentor Charles Xavier to wage battle in the otherworldly realm of the Shadow King, with nothing less than the fate of the whole world as we know it at stake (or in other words, just another Tuesday in the MU).

“Bad Liar” – Selena Gomez 

I’ve been pretty indifferent when it comes to the musical output of Selena Gomez. It’s there, I don’t mind it, but I’m certainly not going out of my way to listen to any of it. That all changed with “Bad Liar”. Mature and hypnotic, this brought a new side of Gomez to the forefront – I had actually heard it a few times before finding out it was her, and was pleasantly surprised when I did. The only drawback? The accompanying 70s suburbia slice-of-life video, which places Selena in multiple roles that range from sublime (her ultra Farrah-esque gym teacher is a joy to watch) to downright skeevy (babyfaced Selena in full crotch-grabbing male drag, porn-stache and all, is just unconvincing and unsettling). Thankfully, the music has enough merit to stand on its own.

Now before I wrap this up, I’d like to give a shout-out to a couple of podcasts. While both of these actually premiered prior to 2017, they nonetheless brought such joy to me throughout this year that they couldn’t go unmentioned.

Who? Weekly 

Bobby Finger and Lindsey Weber keeps the chuckles coming with this twice-a-week podcast where they dish about the pseudo-famous (and Rita Ora) by giving you “everything you need to know about the celebrities you don’t”.

Bitch Sesh 

Casey Wilson and Danielle Schneider’s humourous podcast where they, along with a bevy of brilliant guests, examine all things Real Housewives (with a hilarious helping of all things Casey and Danielle as well).

And now for my highest high point of 2017…

“Cut To The Feeling” – Carly Rae Jepsen 

It’s an injustice that Jepsen’s post-“Call Me Maybe” output hasn’t been embraced even half as much as her career-making #1 smash (although I place a big part of that blame on the video for what should have been the big hit lead single off her sophomore album. Having Tom Hanks lip-sync nearly the entirety of “I Really Like You” while riding in a cab and doing other mundane things is definitely not something that encourages multiple views on YouTube). However, this track, originally left off said sophomore album only to find a home in Leap!, the little-seen animated ballerina flick featuring the voice of C-Rae Jeps herself, is something that demands attention. Energetic, exuberant and contagious, it was the perfect counterpoint to all the things that made you go “ugh” in 2017.

 

Happy New Year everyone!