the series immerses viewers in a world of unabashed splendour
Review by Alma Eva
Welcome to the 1980s, the decade of me, myself, and I. This is the era when narcissism became a virtue, materialism became a religion, and technology became an addiction. This is the time when baby boomers grew up and decided that they were the most important people in the world and that everyone else should just get out of their way.
The 1980s were all about self-indulgence, self-expression, and self-improvement. Whether it was through fashion, music, movies, or TV, the 80s celebrated the individual and his or her desires. From big hair to shoulder pads, from Madonna to Michael Jackson, from Wall Street to Hollywood, the 80s were a showcase of style and spectacle, and it was pretty much encapsulated by one television series from the USA - Dynasty.
At the core of Dynasty lies the epic battle for power and control, a timeless theme that has been explored in countless tales throughout history. The Carringtons, led by the formidable patriarch Blake Carrington (John Forsythe), personify wealth and influence. Their oil empire has made them one of the most powerful families in the world. Their wealth knows no bounds, and their luxurious lifestyle is the envy of many. But despite having everything money can buy, they can’t buy happiness. They are constantly at war with each other, their rivals, and their enemies. They have secrets, scandals, and skeletons in their closets. They have affairs, divorces, and murders on their hands.
But it's not all doom and gloom. Dynasty is also a comedy, a satire, and a parody of the high society. It's full of witty dialogue, outrageous outfits, and hilarious situations. You'll see the characters fall in love, fall out of love, and fall into trouble. You'll see them scheme, plot, and backstab. You'll see them fight, cry, and laugh. However, the enthralling dynamic between the Carringtons and the Colbys truly sets Dynasty apart. The Colbys, long-standing rivals of the Carringtons, introduce a new dimension to the power struggle. Dominated by Alexis Colby, brilliantly played by the unforgettable Joan Collins, they bring a level of deception and manipulation that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats.
The show not only paved the way for subsequent primetime soaps but also introduced iconic characters and unforgettable catchphrases into the lexicon. The sultry and devious Alexis became a television icon in her own right, while lines like "I don't need this. I'm Alexis Carrington Colby!" continue to be referenced and celebrated by fans around the world.
Collins masterfully portrays Alexis as a conniving femme fatale, willing to go to great lengths to secure her position within the dynasty. Her cat-and-mouse game with Blake, oozing with tension and animosity, is a constant reminder that power is everything in this world. The chemistry between Collins and Forsythe is palpable, fuelling the fiery exchanges between their characters and generating great on-screen tension. But Dynasty was a fashion show as much as a soap opera.
The costumes were designed by Nolan Miller, who created iconic looks for each character that reflected their personality and status. The show was famous for its extravagant gowns, furs, jewels, hats, and accessories that dazzled the viewers and set trends in the 80s. Who can forget Alexis's red dress with a huge bow at the back, Krystle's white wedding dress with a long train, or Dominique's gold sequined dress with feathers? And don’t forget those shoulder pads which became a symbol of power dressing for women in the 80s.
What sets Dynasty apart from other dramas of its era is its unapologetic embrace of excess. From lavish parties held at the Carrington mansion to those opulent wardrobes that exude luxury, the series immerses viewers in a world of unabashed splendour. It is a world where no expense is spared, and where power is often measured by the size of one's yacht or the number of couture gowns in a closet. The show had everything: murder, kidnapping, blackmail, adultery, incest, amnesia, explosions, car crashes, catfights, and plastic surgery. Despite this, Dynasty was not afraid to tackle controversial topics such as homosexuality, racism, abortion, drug addiction, AIDS, and terrorism.
Dynasty also boasted one of the most star-studded casts in TV history. Apart from Forsythe and Collins, Linda Evans played Krystle Carrington, his sweet and loyal second wife. The show also featured Pamela Sue Martin, Heather Locklear, Catherine Oxenberg, Diahann Carroll, Stephanie Beacham, Kate O'Mara, George Hamilton, Billy Dee Williams, Rock Hudson, as well as screen legends Charlton Heston and Barbara Stanwyck, and many more as their children, relatives, friends, and enemies. The cast had amazing chemistry and delivered memorable performances that made us love or hate their characters.
As with any series that spans multiple seasons, Dynasty had its fair share of highs and lows. There were moments of sublime storytelling and shocking plot twists that left viewers on the edge of their seats. However, there were also stretches of melodrama and convoluted storylines that tested the loyalty of even the most dedicated fans. But ultimately, the show also had a sense of humour and campiness that made it fun to watch. Dynasty never took itself too seriously and neither did we.
Published on October 5th, 2023. Written by Alma Eva for Television Heaven.