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.