DVD Review: Dynasty (The First Season)

Back in the ’80s, the extremely rich didn’t care about their brand. They didn’t spend their time appearing on reality TV shows. They refused to put their family name on crap that ends up at dollar stores or sold as part of mail order schemes. They never spent hours getting into twitter wars with people named @HughGNuts. Their fortune was not funneled directly into electing their kind of people into sweet government positions. They cared about making their companies dominate world markets in major industries. The Carringtons were these kind of rich folks when they arrived on TV screens on January 12, 1981. The series was ABC’s attempt to finally catch up with Dallas, CBS’s primetime rich folks Soap Opera. During the ’80s, both shows feuded for the top spot in the ratings. Dynasty: The First Season takes us back to Denver to see how the millionaires fought, bargained and seduced to maintain their empires.

“Oil” is the pilot movie that was split into three episodes for syndication. The big hubbub is Blake Carrington (Charlie’s Angels‘ John Forsythe) impending wedding to Krystle (The Big Valley‘s Linda Evans). There’s a lot of whispers since Blake is the billionaire and she was his secretary. When you own the company, HR’s no dating those beneath you policy can be ignored. Blake’s family aren’t thrilled about the new mommy. Bad girl daughter Fallon Carrington (Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Myseries‘ Pamela Sue Martin) really doesn’t like knowing that the help will now be family. Son Steven (Al Corley) has issues with dad that are more lifestyle based. Blake’s not cool that his kid is gay. Complicating matters is the return of Blake’s key geologist Matthew Blaisdel (Bo Hopkins, the man who wasn’t Jerry Reed in all those Burt Reynolds films). Turns out he was Krystle’s old lover. She’s a bit torn since she feels so weird marrying into such over the top luxury. Maybe she’s be better off with a rock lover? The wedding turns out to be something out of a soap opera with drama at every step. Things get nasty when the next door tycoon drops by the give a piece of his mind and more to the groom. The big driving force is the friction between Blake and Steven. Things get extra nasty when Steven’s old lover gets a violent tour of the Carrington mansion from Blake. This leads to a trial that makes us ponder if Blake can pull an O.J.

At this point, you’re probably wondering, where’s that character Joan Collins played? There is no Alexis on the wedding guest list. She is missing. They talk about Blake’s ex-wife, but there’s no hint that she’s going to hit Denver like a tornado. The first season was so-so in the ratings with episodes just in the Top 30. Dallas was #1. What’s the point of a show about billionaires if they’re coming off as poor cousins? Aaron Spelling knew they needed more venom on the screen and that would come in season 2 with the arrival of Alexis. It’s rather odd watching the series without seeing her seductive destruction of the Carrington empire. Luckily there’s enough exciting conflicts to keep the episodes flow If you want to truly understand the show, you have to watch from the beginning and Dynasty: The First Season starts the rich living off right. Such a relief to spend all these hours with the rich without any of them trying to sell me their water brand. They just want me to see their mud being flinged.

The videos is 1.33:1. The transfers bring out the shiny life of around the Carrington mansion. The audio is Dolby Digital mono. The levels are fine for all the seething action. There’s also a Spanish dub. The subtitles are in English and Spanish.

Al Corley: Steven Carrington
(5:42) lets him talk about playing a gay character during a time when it was a reason for people to protest a show’s existence.

Pamela Sue Martin: Fallon Carrington Colby Profile (5:23) has her talk about going from Nancy Drew to bad girl. She discusses having to fake like she was constantly taking off her clothes. This was recorded back in 2005.

Family, Furs and Fun: Creating Dynasty (23:08) brings together and Richard Shapiro to discuss how their tawdry fantasy became iconic. Aaron Spelling was hooked by page 8 of their pilot script. They wanted to capture the greed of the ’80s.

CBS DVD presents Dynasty: The First Season. Starring: John Forsythe, Linda Evans, Pamela Sue Martin & Al Corley. Boxset Contents: 13 episodes on 4 DVDs. Released: February 7, 2016

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