Dynasty and The Colbys: TV GUIDE ephemera

Willie Oleson

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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.
But...I totally agree with that.

What's the catch?


Had they created a story with the two sisters getting along imagine the betrayal once Jeff's paternity was discovered.
Betrayal wasn't the point of that storyline.
It all harks back to the very beginning, when the greedy Sable couldn't wait to see the back of her nephew. And then when she got hold of the ultimate ammunition (proof that he wasn't a Colby at all) it backfired, and in fact, made the situation even worse for her.
The drama that followed focussed on her and Jason, not Sable and Francesca.
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
It's a bit complicated to reply to that comment without re-telling the whole story.
Let's just say that all was well when Francesca was in London and Jeff in Denver. There were no hard feelings until Jeff barged into the Colby mansion and Constance persuaded Francesca to come back to California.
It was the, dare I say it, premise of the story.

THE COLBYS wasn't about the Sable-Francesca feud, it wasn't a Krystle-Alexis clone.
As I mentioned before, some Dynasty fans didn't like that (and at the same time complaining that it was a poor copycat).
 

Michael Torrance

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And yet the potential of THE COLBYS, though better realized despite being cancelled within 18 months, somehow doesn't match what DYNASTY promised.
That is an interesting take. The brass promised that THE COLBYS would be more DYNASTY, but not more DYNASTY of the early seasons, but more DYNASTY of season 5--the clothes, the crazy plotting--and if you consider the Moldavia Cliffhanger and the UFO cliffhanger, then in a sense they delivered their potential. It's just that they did not promise much to begin with.

But as for the premise of the show, it is interesting that the spin-off foundation was to be Fallon, yet THE COLBYS Fallon was a little victim sidelines character at best. As soon as Fallon moved back to DYNASTY, even played by Samms, she was a lot more alive in season 8 and much more animated in season 9.
 

Willie Oleson

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The brass promised that THE COLBYS would be more DYNASTY, but not more DYNASTY of the early seasons, but more DYNASTY of season 5
Because it was the era of Dynasty season 5? Or did you expect them to literally travel back in time?
If The Colbys had started in 1982 then it probably would have looked like Dynasty 1982.
Apparently, "the brass" considered Dynasty's first season kind of a failure rating-wise, so I don't think they were referring to that part of Dynasty.

It was very simple: more of the same as it was at that time. They hoped the viewers would like to watch 2 Dynasties instead of 1.
Like every network tried more of the same cop shows, murder mysteries, comedies etc. There's really nothing unusual or mysterious about it.
The Colbys could never have that First Beginning because it was intertwined with the parent show. Jeff and Fallon already existed.

I thought it was successful because it was a glamorous soap like Dynasty, but the story and the "feel" of the show was different enough to warrant its own series.
Not to mention the casting - Heston, Beacham, Stanwyck, Cauldfield. What's not to like?

Ah, Fallon. Yes, that was a problem, and a double whammy at that. A re-cast who had to continue from a character-transplant (Dynasty S3/4). Poor Emma Samms, it was a no-win situation. And yet I found that love triangle more interesting than the ones they had on the parent show (although I liked Amanda/Michael/Elena, but that was only one episode).

Miles, to Jeff and Fallon: "It looks like we're going to have a baby!" - he was such an entertaining character, like Lance Cumson in FC's earlier seasons.
 

Michael Torrance

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Because it was the era of Dynasty season 5? Or did you expect them to literally travel back in time?
Quality-wise, one does have to time travel to aim for the depth of the first season or the compelling story of the second. They chose the empty shell of the fifth, and as a result....

I thought it was successful
Of course, there is no accounting for taste. I am not saying you shouldn't like it. But overall viewers didn't--hence the cancellation. Frankly I am amazed it was even given a second season--it speaks to the kind of hold Spelling had on ABC at the time, and the weakness of the lineup where they had to hold on the DYNASTY brand even as it was fading away (though to be fair, by the end of the sixth season/COLBYS' first ratings had picked up for DYNASTY again).

DYNASTY itself treated the spin-off as Randall and her amnesia--best forgotten. What the hell happened to the pipeline? Oh yeah, nothing. The way Paulsen was able to utilize Sable and Monica on DYNASTY makes me wonder what THE COLBYS would have been like had someone like him been given the creative control to create a spin-off show set in the DYNASTY universe.

Ah, Fallon. Yes, that was a problem, and a double whammy at that. A re-cast who had to continue from a character-transplant (Dynasty S3/4). Poor Emma Samms, it was a no-win situation.
The recast was an obvious problem, but the way she was written compounded the problem. The same recast actress was given more character-appropriate material on DYNASTY.
 

Willie Oleson

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Quality-wise, one does have to time travel to aim for the depth of the first season or the compelling story of the second
Yes, but the last thing the 80s wanted to do was to go back in time to that "70's hangover".
I share your sentiment, but it's just not realistic.
But overall viewers didn't--hence the cancellation.
I believe it also had a lot to do with the tv scheduling, and the timing to introduce a new glamour soap. External factors, that don't necessarily reflect the quality of the show.
And there's always a bit of randomness at play, it may as well have succeeded, and extended for a third season or even more.
I tend to take that wisdom of hindsight with a pinch of salt, if you don't mind me saying so.
What the hell happened to the pipeline?
Nothing. Maybe we could have found out if they had done a Next Generation Dynasty. Missed opportunity!
The same recast actress was given more character-appropriate material on DYNASTY.
Liberated by the aliens!
 

AndyLaird

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But as for the premise of the show, it is interesting that the spin-off foundation was to be Fallon, yet THE COLBYS Fallon was a little victim sidelines character at best. As soon as Fallon moved back to DYNASTY, even played by Samms, she was a lot more alive in season 8 and much more animated in season 9.
I don't have a problem with Fallon's changes - by the time of The Colbys she had had a trauma and suffered amnesia. That does genuinely change your personality. And if you had only just remembered who you even are, your confidence is going to have had a setback. It would have been more incredible not to acknowledge the severity of what she'd been through. The only way to make sense of the UFO episode is to see it as the culmination of some pretty serious mental health issues.

(Admittedly I doubt it stands up to any serious medical scrutiny, but it does explain the character change.)

By the later Dynasty seasons, safely back in Denver with her father figure close by, she had recovered and her old personality was coming back but with a level of maturity she didn't have in early Dynasty.

Whether by luck or judgment, it's almost that very rare thing in TV - a character whose personality evolves over the course of the show in reaction to what happens to her. I will admit that the writing does tend to make it look a bit random and accidental, but I like to put on rose-tinted glasses when it comes to Dynasty and the Colbys.

(The changing accent is another matter. It's arguable that a daughter of Blake and Alexis would in fact be likely to sound more like Emma Samms than Pamela Sue Martin. But PSM was so good in the role her speech pattern is indelibly associated with it and Emma Samms does grate a bit for that reason.)
 

Michael Torrance

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I don't have a problem with Fallon's changes - by the time of The Colbys she had had a trauma and suffered amnesia. That does genuinely change your personality.
And, we found out, your waistline.
 

Willie Oleson

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By the later Dynasty seasons, safely back in Denver with her father figure close by, she had recovered and her old personality was coming back but with a level of maturity she didn't have in early Dynasty
I agree, she was so much more relaxed (well, as much as the story allowed her to beo_O)
But I really would have loved to see her last storyline (Blake/Alexis/Roger) being played by Pamela Sue Martin, it would have given that character more closure, as it were.

Of course that means they would have had to fire Emma Samms, and she's such a lovely person.


Incidentally, I wonder why they didn't ask Al Corley for season 9, after all he was in the reunion movie so it's not like he never wanted to do Dynasty ever again.
 

Snarky's Ghost

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But I really would have loved to see her last storyline (Blake/Alexis/Roger) being played by Pamela Sue Martin, it would have given that character more closure, as it were.

Of course that means they would have had to fire Emma Samms, and she's such a lovely person.
^ ^ See? Yes, exactly.
 

colbyco

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(....) Incidentally, I wonder why they didn't ask Al Corley for season 9, after all he was in the reunion movie so it's not like he never wanted to do Dynasty ever again.
- Very good question .... some possibilities come to my mind:
* David Paulsen thought his character wasn´t necessary anymore
* David was happy to save this money for his new characters
* David thought loosing Steven was another way to show Blake´s family is falling apart
* David didn´t know what to do with him / maybe had problems to write for this bisexual character

Back to THE COLBYS:
- I wish it would have been more different. Even the opening credit was nearly the same!
They should have made The Fallmonts / a politician saga as a spin-off. But I don´t blame the creators for their idea of "more glamour, more intrigue". The season they created this show everybody seemed to love glamour and even more glamour. Dynasty was climbing to number 1 and also Dallas got more and more into this style. Even KL was affected. Nobody knew that the next season will take a very different direction: prime time drama begann to loose its audience, comedy was back on top.

If they had started the show earlier it would have been a big plus, too. And the show needed a better timeslot. Next to Dynasty would have been great.
 

Michael Torrance

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I agree, she was so much more relaxed (well, as much as the story allowed her to beo_O)
But I really would have loved to see her last storyline (Blake/Alexis/Roger) being played by Pamela Sue Martin, it would have given that character more closure, as it were.

Of course that means they would have had to fire Emma Samms, and she's such a lovely person.


Incidentally, I wonder why they didn't ask Al Corley for season 9, after all he was in the reunion movie so it's not like he never wanted to do Dynasty ever again.
If they knew that would have been the last season, I think everyone, Paulsen included, would have planned it differently and so a Corley return would have been possible. As for both Al Corley and Pamela Sue Martin returning--that would have been heaven, to have the strongest seasons (1,2,9) have this dream team of siblings. Also to finally have the original three siblings interact.

But Paulsen did not write the final season of DYNASTY--his plan was for the show to continue, and creatively it certainly had legs for more seasons. As others and @colbyco noted as possibilities, there were some characters Paulsen did not know what to do with--namely the male characters, Jeff, Adam, and possibly Steven. While that is a weakness, I understand what he was doing: he wanted to refocus the show on its core, the history between Blake and Alexis, and he cleverly found a way for Sable and Dex to fit in that and also for Fallon to become a cornerstone of the Roger Grimes plot. I think once Monica came on board, Jeff became less redundant. Hopefully in season 10 Adam and Steven would get storylines as well. But ABC had other plans--they switched the time slot right from the start, almost afraid that a bump in the ratings would make cancellation harder to pass.
 
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