Dynasty and The Colbys: TV GUIDE ephemera

Snarky's Ghost

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Tartikoff's reasoning wasn't quite right, though, although his timing was; audience were becoming tired of
"the superficial, glittery, back-stabbing characters in these shows" which are increasingly muddled.

To think the DYNASTY producers could have had David Paulsen and/or William Bast & Paul Huson for Season 6, but let one get away to run KNOTS (which really didn't need Paulsen) while Bast's & Huson's talents were wasted by toiling on a show which didn't stand a chance and few would see.
 

Michael Torrance

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We blame a lot of people in this forum about the show's decline other than Esther Shapiro, but obviously whatever amazing spark she could conjure up when she created DYNASTY she had lost by the birth of THE COLBYS (and boy was that also evident in the DYNASTY reunion). Look at the characters of Krystle, Steven, Fallon, and Claudia and show me one COLBYS character that was as unique and had their own raison d 'etre like them. Even Sable depended a lot upon Stephanie Beacham's own magic and I think the execs were at least clever enough to utilize the potential she brought and made the role more than "our bitch" which Shapiro names her in the interview. Because DYNASTY was so wooden by that time (the time of Rita, lest we forget), THE COLBYS do have some more natural scenes in dialogue and acting, but the original recipe was just "let's make more money." Compare that to DALLAS spin-off KNOTS, which David Jacobs created so he could finally do his US "scenes from a marriage" TV show that the network had not let him do earlier. That spin-off was the vehicle for a creative vision. THE COLBYS were simply a vehicle for Spelling and Shapiro to buy more luxurious vehicles, and that interview sure shows it.
 
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tommie

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I dunno
I'm actually more distracted by that laxative ad featuring two women smiling.
 

Willie Oleson

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show me one COLBYS character that was as unique and had their own raison d 'etre like them.
It wouldn't be fair to compare it to Dynasty's season 1, because even Dynasty season 2 to 9 did not live up to the standard of the immaculate season 1.
But anyway:
-Jason, as the un-patriarch, very different from the control freak that was Blake Carrington
-Sable, the greedy scheming villainess who (unlike Alexis) always suffered the consequences of her actions. And she has earned her status of the supporting, devoted wife and mistress of the house - which added an extra (or different) layer to what otherwise would have been a by-numbers love triangle copycat*
-Francesca, the irresponsible, undecided, almost child-like heroine who thought she could homewreck her sister's marriage quietly and peacefully.
The affair (or actually, the renewal thereof) was mostly initiated by Jason, but of course it was easier for Sable to blame her sister since she wouldn't/couldn't accept the fact that Jason didn't love her anymore.
-Zachary Powers, who served as a Cecil-like antagonist, but his obsession with Sable seemed to surpass his vendetta with Jason (and Andrew Colby).
With the emphasis on *seemed*, which kept me guessing about his true intentions.
-Constance, as the friendly and supportive sister and aunt, but sometimes it appeared she was the one who ruled the roost, and she opposed her sister-in-law in every way possible.
Sometimes it was justified, and sometimes it was not.
-The Cassidys, a fascinating dilemma that could rival the Blaisdel misery as shown in Dynasty's season 1.
-Bliss, the dime a dozen sexy soap nitwit who, like her SoapLand counterparts, had absolutely nothing to do. But at least she was brave enough to acknowledge it (literally!), and her reasoning was kind of plausible and endearing.
-Miles, the jealous, selfish psychopath who often ended up as the underdog, trying to escape his mother's controlling behaviour and struggling with his father's weaknesses.

Besides the superior production, better writing and acting, the dynamics were completely different from DYNASTY I.
but the original recipe was just "let's make more money."
They also spent more money.
Either way, I just can't imagine a SoapLand without the The Colbys saga.

*ironically, one of the complaints by some Dynasty fans was that it wasn't similar enough.
 

Payton Cross

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I still do not understand that their were no scenes has been used in Dynasty, after Jeff have found Fallan back in The Colbys, and Blake saw his dauhter back in the Colby's. I still think this is a very missed opportunity for the many Dynasty fans because Fallon was a important character on Dynasty. Now I have never seen The Colbys only a couple scenes, but I am almost forced to buy the Colbys on DVD as well. :(
 

Payton Cross

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It might be forced, but you won't regret it - The Colby's was actually better than the seasons of Dynasty airing at that point.

Sable is a great heroine.
Thanks @tommie, Maybe I'm going to buy the Colbys as it only takes two seasons, and so is the Dynasty story a bit more complete. ;)
 

AndyLaird

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-Bliss, the dime a dozen sexy soap nitwit who, like her SoapLand counterparts, had absolutely nothing to do. But at least she was brave enough to acknowledge it (literally!), and her reasoning was kind of plausible and endearing.
I love Bliss, but the funniest (maybe or maybe not intentionally) line for me in The Colbys was when she and Sean have eloped and hear the news about Miles, and Bliss immediately insists on going back to LA, saying "They need me".

At which, every audience member watching at home is thinking, "Darling, they won't even have noticed you've gone."
 

Willie Oleson

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"Darling, they won't even have noticed you've gone."
And wasn't that part of her problem - she wanted to be needed. But she wasn't Mamma's boy, and she wasn't the successful sister.
Her need for recognition (in both the story and the tv show) was hilarious and genuine.
Even in her biggest storyline (the Russian ballet) she was the most insignificant character - kinda harsh, don't you think?:lol:
 

Michael Torrance

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It wouldn't be fair to compare it to Dynasty's season 1, because even Dynasty season 2 to 9 did not live up to the standard of the immaculate season 1.
But anyway:
-Jason, as the un-patriarch, very different from the control freak that was Blake Carrington
-Sable, the greedy scheming villainess who (unlike Alexis) always suffered the consequences of her actions. And she has earned her status of the supporting, devoted wife and mistress of the house - which added an extra (or different) layer to what otherwise would have been a by-numbers love triangle copycat*
-Francesca, the irresponsible, undecided, almost child-like heroine who thought she could homewreck her sister's marriage quietly and peacefully.
The affair (or actually, the renewal thereof) was mostly initiated by Jason, but of course it was easier for Sable to blame her sister since she wouldn't/couldn't accept the fact that Jason didn't love her anymore.
-Zachary Powers, who served as a Cecil-like antagonist, but his obsession with Sable seemed to surpass his vendetta with Jason (and Andrew Colby).
With the emphasis on *seemed*, which kept me guessing about his true intentions.
-Constance, as the friendly and supportive sister and aunt, but sometimes it appeared she was the one who ruled the roost, and she opposed her sister-in-law in every way possible.
Sometimes it was justified, and sometimes it was not.
-The Cassidys, a fascinating dilemma that could rival the Blaisdel misery as shown in Dynasty's season 1.
-Bliss, the dime a dozen sexy soap nitwit who, like her SoapLand counterparts, had absolutely nothing to do. But at least she was brave enough to acknowledge it (literally!), and her reasoning was kind of plausible and endearing.
-Miles, the jealous, selfish psychopath who often ended up as the underdog, trying to escape his mother's controlling behaviour and struggling with his father's weaknesses.
Of course one can describe what the COLBYS characters were like--that does not make them unique. Fallon was unique in that there had never been a female character who wanted to succeed in business rather than marry well--and voiced the sexism and racism of US capitalism right in the pilot episode. Steven was, well, self-evidently unique as the first gay character, and even Claudia's mental illness and how it was handled were also brand-new to prime time drama. That was a show which, despite the obvious network demand for an antagonist to DALLAS, Esther Shapiro created as a vision of a uniquely imagined world and characters. As the creator of the rebooted DYNASTY says about that first season in an interview, it had real honest emotion. I am not saying the other seasons of DYNASTY were like that, I am saying the original characters were that true.

As for comparing season 1 of DYNASTY to season 1 of THE COLBYS, that is because the debut season is when you have the most time to prepare and set the ingredients and recipe right. You put together a strong mix, it lasts for quite many years after you keep diluting it, like Spelling and co. did with DYNASTY. Esther put together a no-ingredients broth to begin with in THE COLBYS, and so it could only keep getting worse. Not to mention, can you really claim there were no original characters after season 1 of DYNASTY? A certain ex-wife comes to mind.
 

Michael Torrance

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It might be forced, but you won't regret it - The Colby's was actually better than the seasons of Dynasty airing at that point.

Sable is a great heroine.
I agree completely about Sable.
But as for THE COLBYS being better than Dynasty's seasons 6 and 7 (particularly 6A and 7B)--was there ANY TV show on at that time that was worse than DYNASTY at that point? I mean, this is not high praise. :D
 

Snarky's Ghost

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We blame a lot of people in this forum about the show's decline other than Esther Shapiro, but obviously whatever amazing spark she could conjure up when she created DYNASTY she had lost by the birth of THE COLBYS (and boy was that also evident in the DYNASTY reunion). Look at the characters of Krystle, Steven, Fallon, and Claudia and show me one COLBYS character that was as unique and had their own raison d 'etre like them. Even Sable depended a lot upon Stephanie Beacham's own magic and I think the execs were at least clever enough to utilize the potential she brought and made the role more than "our bitch" which Shapiro names her in the interview. Because DYNASTY was so wooden by that time (the time of Rita, lest we forget), THE COLBYS do have some more natural scenes in dialogue and acting, but the original recipe was just "let's make more money." Compare that to DALLAS spin-off KNOTS, which David Jacobs created so he could finally do his US "scenes from a marriage" TV show that the network had not let him do earlier. That spin-off was the vehicle for a creative vision. THE COLBYS were simply a vehicle for Spelling and Shapiro to buy more luxurious vehicles, and that interview sure shows it.
It wouldn't be fair to compare it to Dynasty's season 1, because even Dynasty season 2 to 9 did not live up to the standard of the immaculate season 1.
But anyway:
-Jason, as the un-patriarch, very different from the control freak that was Blake Carrington
-Sable, the greedy scheming villainess who (unlike Alexis) always suffered the consequences of her actions. And she has earned her status of the supporting, devoted wife and mistress of the house - which added an extra (or different) layer to what otherwise would have been a by-numbers love triangle copycat*
-Francesca, the irresponsible, undecided, almost child-like heroine who thought she could homewreck her sister's marriage quietly and peacefully.
The affair (or actually, the renewal thereof) was mostly initiated by Jason, but of course it was easier for Sable to blame her sister since she wouldn't/couldn't accept the fact that Jason didn't love her anymore.
-Zachary Powers, who served as a Cecil-like antagonist, but his obsession with Sable seemed to surpass his vendetta with Jason (and Andrew Colby).
With the emphasis on *seemed*, which kept me guessing about his true intentions.
-Constance, as the friendly and supportive sister and aunt, but sometimes it appeared she was the one who ruled the roost, and she opposed her sister-in-law in every way possible.
Sometimes it was justified, and sometimes it was not.
-The Cassidys, a fascinating dilemma that could rival the Blaisdel misery as shown in Dynasty's season 1.
-Bliss, the dime a dozen sexy soap nitwit who, like her SoapLand counterparts, had absolutely nothing to do. But at least she was brave enough to acknowledge it (literally!), and her reasoning was kind of plausible and endearing.
-Miles, the jealous, selfish psychopath who often ended up as the underdog, trying to escape his mother's controlling behaviour and struggling with his father's weaknesses.

Besides the superior production, better writing and acting, the dynamics were completely different from DYNASTY I.

They also spent more money.
Either way, I just can't imagine a SoapLand without the The Colbys saga.

*ironically, one of the complaints by some Dynasty fans was that it wasn't similar enough.
I kinda think you're both right, if that's possible since it appears on the surface that you're saying opposite things.

THE COLBYS had the advantage of starting out with a bigger budget when the '80s nighttime soap genre was at its peak, and was given birth to with a certain bombastic confidence much like its theme song. And it had better writers than its parent series did during the same two year period.

And yet the potential of THE COLBYS, though better realized despite being cancelled within 18 months, somehow doesn't match what DYNASTY promised. Which is what makes the parent series so much more frustrating.

With THE COLBYS, the viewer can commend it as a valiant effort, flawed perhaps and one which didn't result in much longevity. While DYNASTY, the much more insecure and nervous program, always seemed to offer a dark and confounding reflection of what it could be, should be and ought to be, but somehow wouldn't be -- at least not after the producers had figured out what needed to be ruined.

DYNASTY, with its archetypal casting and other elements, wanted to be bigger, and that potential was sensed by the audience such that they often thought the show lived up to it when, alas, it mostly didn't. THE COLBYS, however, felt bigger, managing to somehow do more with its more limited possibilities.

Except for Season 9, when Paulsen brought his ironic, full circle seasonal narrative dynamic to the show, DYNASTY only really worked when you could still feel those '70s after-vibes in Seasons 1 and, to a lesser degree, Season 2. When the show was still relaxed enough to still give us a human story... So I've sometimes wondered how DYNASTY might have turned out if it had gotten started two to five years before it did, and perhaps had those late-'70s miniseries flavors about it, like RICH MAN, POOR MAN or THE MONEY CHANGERS or THE USERS, imperfect productions in their own right, perhaps, but from an era that seemed to actually remember the post-war '50s/'60s era that the '80s were obsessed with yet seemed to want to obscure and replace.

Maybe then DYNASTY would have had more time to find its identity before betraying it so quickly in a cloud of '80s posturing.




 

Willie Oleson

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Esther Shapiro created as a vision of a uniquely imagined world and characters
And yet the potential of THE COLBYS, though better realized despite being cancelled within 18 months, somehow doesn't match what DYNASTY promised
Yes, of course. THE COLBYS was DYNASTY Extra Time, and they weren't exactly coy about it.
DYNASTY II - THE COLBYS: More (extra) glamour, more (extra) power, more (extra) intrigue...
It's difficult to turn this into a discussion when these facts were already established by creators themselves.

It's not like "oh my god, maybe Michael Torrance is right, maybe it wasn't so unique after all".
They wanted to make more money....who would have thought something as immoral as that would happen in America, let alone Hollywood?
Hate to say this but you failed to shock me.

You're right, from an artistic point of view, THE COLBYS didn't have a raison d'être.
Is that required? Does everything have to be unique in order to enjoy it? Then we may as well erase thousands and thousands of movies, novels, tv series, songs etc from our history.

There must have been a reason why I watched DYNASTY and THE COLBYS and DALLAS and FALCON CREST and HOWARDS' WAY and CHATEAUVALLON and DAS ERBE DER GULDENBURGS etc etc etc
Maybe I just like to watch stories about rich and dysfunctional families, and all those peculiar characters. There were similarities, but it's like eating a piece of candy.
You enjoy the candy and then someone offers you another one - why would I say no? (unless that person wants to rape me).

Not to mention, can you really claim there were no original characters after season 1 of DYNASTY? A certain ex-wife comes to mind.
Oh....now you're using season 2 as a pro-argument.

wondered how DYNASTY might have turned out if it had gotten started two to five years before it did, and perhaps had those late-'70s miniseries flavors about it, like RICH MAN, POOR MAN
The very idea makes me drool all over my keyboard.
The 80s had a lot to offer, but it's unwarranted self-importance killed it.
I'm sure every decade declares itself as cool and progressive and daring. The seventies was exactly that, while the eighties, because of its own limitations, self-destruction (and then its denial thereof) made it sort of a creative wasteland.

And yet, and yet...we got the unoriginal THE COLBYS, at the worst time possible. And they managed to create a world of lavishness and drama that had to be seen. Not saying it was perfect, but does everything have to be perfect - does everything have to be the best?
The premise wasn't unique, but the development of the story was very different from Dynasty, Falcon Crest and Dallas.
If anything, it mostly resembles FLAMINGO ROAD, in regard to the characters relationships.
 

Snarky's Ghost

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Yes, of course. THE COLBYS was DYNASTY Extra Time, and they weren't exactly coy about it.
DYNASTY II - THE COLBYS: More (extra) glamour, more (extra) power, more (extra) intrigue...
It's difficult to turn this into a discussion when these facts were already established by creators themselves.

It's not like "oh my god, maybe Michael Torrance is right, maybe it wasn't so unique after all".
They wanted to make more money....who would have thought something as immoral as that would happen in America, let alone Hollywood?
Hate to say this but you failed to shock me.

You're right, from an artistic point of view, THE COLBYS didn't have a raison d'être.
Is that required? Does everything have to be unique in order to enjoy it? Then we may as well erase thousands and thousands of movies, novels, tv series, songs etc from our history.

There must have been a reason why I watched DYNASTY and THE COLBYS and DALLAS and FALCON CREST and HOWARDS' WAY and CHATEAUVALLON and DAS ERBE DER GULDENBURGS etc etc etc
Maybe I just like to watch stories about rich and dysfunctional families, and all those peculiar characters. There were similarities, but it's like eating a piece of candy.
You enjoy the candy and then someone offers you another one - why would I say no? (unless that person wants to rape me).
No, not everything has to have a raison d'être (which I think is french for "the other raisin") or a macguffin. But it helps.

These shows work a little better when they do. Obviously, DYNASTY often didn't have one either except for the Blake-Alexis backstory and the Krystle-Alexis rivalry which was usually wasted or mishandled. FC had one during its first three or four years, the backstory between Angela and Jacqueline and how it affected the present, and once that was gone, the show didn't work anymore. DALLAS had the Barnes-Ewing feud as represented by the marriage of Bobby and Pam, and once that was gone, the show didn't work any more.

But KNOTS really didn't have one at all, and yet it worked just fine and longer than the other raisins did!

And good casting seems to create a raison d'être on its own!

I've always wanted the death of Jason's and Cecil's and Connie's mother to be a major macguffin for THE COLBYS, inspired by that throw-away line from Blake to Cecil near the end of S2 of DYNASTY.


Willie Oleson said:
The very idea makes me drool all over my keyboard.
The 80s had a lot to offer, but it's unwarranted self-importance killed it.
I'm sure every decade declares itself as cool and progressive and daring. The seventies was exactly that, while the eighties, because of its own limitations, self-destruction (and then its denial thereof) made it sort of a creative wasteland.
Pretty much. Perhaps that's why the '80s nighttime soaps may have been my favorite genre, certainly at the time, because they seemed almost left out of that '80s "thing" you just described until they tried to extend themselves into the second half of the decade, and then they started trying to both impress us and yet also fake it somehow. So it crashed with a thud.
Willie Oleson said:
And yet, and yet...we got the unoriginal THE COLBYS, at the worst time possible. And they managed to create a world of lavishness and drama that had to be seen. Not saying it was perfect, but does everything have to be perfect - does everything have to be the best?
The premise wasn't unique, but the development of the story was very different from Dynasty, Falcon Crest and Dallas.
If anything, it mostly resembles FLAMINGO ROAD, in regard to the characters relationships.
Which is why I wish they'd brought in a David Paulsen or Bast & Huson or FC's Robert McCullough midway thru DYNASTY, but they were wasted on a show that didn't need him (Paulsen and KNOTS), a show few would see and would only run 18 months (Bast & Huson and THE COLBYS) or developing other projects for Spelling and then disappear (McCullough).

Of course they'd already fired Ed Ledding after Season 2. That couldn't have been a good sign for DYNASTY.
 
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Willie Oleson

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until they tried to extend themselves into the second half of the decade
I think Falcon Crest was being the most obvious in its attempt to "catch up with" the eighties. And if there's one show that could do without....
Time goes by, things change, we win some we lose some.
Like I said, the 80s brought us lots of great stuff, but it could also be down-your-throat statement-ish, while (imo) it often appeared lacklustre compared to the seventies - and often hyper for the sake of hyper.


I suppose personal taste and preference have something to do with it, too.
 

Michael Torrance

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Snarky's Ghost

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Like I said, the 80s brought us lots of great stuff, but it could also be down-your-throat statement-ish, while (imo) it often appeared lacklustre compared to the seventies - and often hyper for the sake of hyper.
Yes, I've said ever since the '80s that the decade was insecure, had an ego like a person would, and it wanted to be important. (Much like DYNASTY itself, so indeed it was the metaphoric show of the '80s).

With so much appropriating classic '60s rock songs for vapid '80s projects.

And so much of '80s stuff, and certainly '80s TV, was conflicted by a leftist political correctness and a desire to kowtow to rightwing, trickle down Reagan/Thatcher era demands simultaneously. Plus there was that need to be meaningful. As a result, most of the stuff from that period is so neurotically uptight but pretending to by candid, pompous yet lame, relevant yet not, that it's hard to sit thru.

Just compare the '80s endless attempts to portray the Vietnam war (a topic the '80s thought they'd discovered) in movies, versus APOCALYPSE NOW (1979) and COMING HOME (1978). The '70s stuff is real, much like THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946) was far more about WW2 than the '50s revisionism of FROM HERE TO ETERNITY.

I was fond of what the '80s was conscious of, what it was sensitive to. More or less. But it just didn't have any character.
 

Willie Oleson

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I am more than confused...
I recall, from one of your earlier posts, that Dynasty's season 2 wasn't so great as most of us think it is (that's how I read it at that time) and now, using a post-season 1 event (character) as an argument "against" THE COLBYS seemed a little too convenient for my taste. After all, if it wasn't that great, then how does it trump THE COLBYS?


As for comparing season 1 of DYNASTY to season 1 of THE COLBYS, that is because the debut season is when you have the most time to prepare and set the ingredients and recipe right. You put together a strong mix, it lasts for quite many years after you keep diluting it, like Spelling and co. did with DYNASTY
Good point. Personally I felt that a part of Dynasty morphed into The Colbys, rather than starting the saga afresh.
The DYNASTY world already existed, it's not like THE COLBYS could have invented that.
In the first episode of TC, there was already a story going on, but still, they used the same angle as all the other soaps (the ones with the original premise, as it were):
To bring/return a character into a particular SoapLand environment (Dr. Rossi, Chase Gioberti, Krystle Grant, Lane Ballou, Gary & Valene etc).

And so Jeff Colby chased his presumed-dead-almost-second-time-bride all the way to California.
But, being married to Miles and thinking she was Randall, she wasn't going anywhere, least of all to Denver.
It almost felt accidental, it could have been a one-off scene from the parent show but, like a bee going from flower to flower, it grew into its own saga. And I find that utterly fascinating.
 
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Michael Torrance

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I recall, from one of your earlier posts, that Dynasty's season 2 wasn't so great as most of us think it is (that's how I read it at that time) and now, using a post-season 1 event (character) as an argument "against" THE COLBYS seemed a little too convenient for my taste. After all, if it wasn't that great, then how does it trump THE COLBYS?
Well, maybe that is how you read it, or you read it as more negative than I intended. I think season 2 was a bang-up soap opera, in fact the best single season of any prime time soap opera I have ever seen. However, season 1 was a great drama. Season 2,intentionally or not I can't quite decide, was when DYNASTY switched genres from one to the other. This happened to DALLAS as well, just not at such a frenetic pace. And they used the real characters, emotions, and relationships of the drama season to put in action a much more plot-driven show. As for DYNASTY's season 2 ,and 3 and even part of 4 trumping THE COLBYS, once Alexis entered the picture, there was still an overall arc--or at least in season 4 a semblance of it--of this ex-wife coming back and getting her revenge on the husband who exiled her. I never saw anything like that in THE COLBYS.


Good point. Personally I felt that a part of Dynasty morphed into The Colbys, rather than starting the saga afresh.
The DYNASTY world already existed, it's not like THE COLBYS could have invented that.
In the first episode of TC, there was already a story going on, but still, they used the same angle as all the other soaps (the ones with the original premise, as it were):
To bring/return a character into a particular SoapLand environment (Dr. Rossi, Chase Gioberti, Krystle Grant, Lane Ballou, Gary & Valene etc).

And so Jeff Colby chased his presumed-dead-almost-second-time-bride all the way to California.
But, being married to Miles and thinking she was Randall, she wasn't going anywhere, least of all to Denver.
It almost felt accidental, it could have been a one-off scene from the parent show but, like a bee going from flower to flower, it grew into its own saga. And I find that utterly fascinating.
I think that was one part of the premise that had some thought into it. But even that ended up half baked (think of the ridiculous reason they gave for the amnesia). THE COLBYS' biggest disappointment for me was the Sable and Frankie story (and the terrible casting of Ross played a huge part). Had they created a story with the two sisters getting along imagine the betrayal once Jeff's paternity was discovered. I think if someone (even Esther Shapiro of an earlier era) had looked at all the pieces of the board, they would have realized that they could have had two mirror stories of betrayal, one of two brothers (Miles and Jeff--also handled poorly because one competed against the other in constipated acting) and one of two sisters. Instead the two brothers and the two sisters were already so much at each other's throats from the get-go, nobody cared if something created more of a rift between them. But that's what happens when all you care about is money and not about quality (or you think quality is the sets and the gowns and the name recognition rather than the actual writing and acting): you actually end up with a product that is a money pit and gets cancelled. One of the little ironies of capitalism.
 
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