Is Season 9 the best year?

Snarky's Ghost

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Is there an argument to be made for this?

I just finished a four day marathon viewing of Season 9, and I'm always struck by how fresh it is. But could it be the best season of DYNASTY?

The pilot was holy; subsequently, Season 1 is intelligent and well-structured, but some people find the pacing to be too leisurely. As even Linda Evans phrased it, people "wanted more 'zip'."

Season 2 is sort of the program's defining year because it corrals most of the elements that will make the show work (albeit rarely as well). It vividly presents the series' potential.

Season 3 thru Season 8 suffers from a sense of nervous smallness, the plots don't flow, the dialogue becomes more florid but rarely tells us what we need to know or what we want to hear (eg, conversations about that lava flow headed towards the mansion are usually subverted into "why-don't-you-share-your-pain-with-me?/"My-God-but you're-fantastic!"/"I-hate-you-and-yet-I've-loved-you-all-my-life" repartee), the acting stiffens. That potential so evident in Season 2 just seems frustrated at nearly every turn, counteracted and self-consciously sacrificed on the altar of something else which never seems clear but is unrelenting.

But not only does Season 9 re-open the show with a sense of "air" once again, DYNASTY achieves a flavor of layered richness that only a later season could (but had been fervently denied it previously) once these actors and their characters had been interacting with one another for several years. Yes, Krystle leaves early on, and Alexis spends one-third of her time wandering the Champs-Élysées (usually off-camera) but Krystle's memory looms over the year and Alexis' absences cause her to seem more powerful and mysterious, while the addition of Sable Colby is invaluable, and there's a 22 episode murder mystery that holds together marvelously and re-connects the end of the series with the its origins quite nicely. It all feels a little Biblical.

In a way, the Carlton Hotel lobby is a metaphor -- for three years it seemed drab and lifeless (just as the La Mirage lobby did for four years prior to that). And yet in Season 9, the Carlton's communal areas become glamorous and energetic and teaming with life.

Dare I say it: could Season 9 have actually, possibly, been DYNASTY's best year??

 
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Jimmy Todd

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I see your point about season 9. It was a great season and a breath of fresh air after the previous 6 seasons.
The only thing holding me back from saying it was its best is the chemistry between Krystle and Alexis in season 2, as well as the fact that seasons 2 and 9 almost feel like they are separate television programs.
 

Snarky's Ghost

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seasons 2 and 9 almost feel like they are separate television programs.
See, I'm not sure about that -- they seem to me like two seasons of the same show which were half-a-dozen years apart. If only the years between them didn't feel so … disconnected a la a lobotomy … then S2 and S9 probably wouldn't feel so foreign to one another.
 
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Michael Torrance

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I see your point about season 9. It was a great season and a breath of fresh air after the previous 6 seasons.
The only thing holding me back from saying it was its best is the chemistry between Krystle and Alexis in season 2, as well as the fact that seasons 2 and 9 almost feel like they are separate television programs.

I have said in a different thread that "A Love Remembered" was the end of classic DYNASTY. After that there is the weird Hallmark melodrama of season 7B, the Governors' race and the surrogate storyline which are also not typical DYNASTY in season 8, and while the "new moguls" arc is interesting, it is not handled well.
There are many viewers who think as you do, that season 9 is a different show. Krystle's replacement with Sable, while good in terms of bringing new life to the show, did not work with devoted "Blake and Krystle" fans. Then there were too many plots from other shows and clichés: Nazi treasure from Falcon Crest, falling in love with a Priest from "The Thorn Birds," the NYC cop in Denver of all places, the ex call girl and so on. Altogether, they contributed to that feeling that it was not the DYNASTY viewers had stuck with all these years.

I think in some ways season 9 is most reminiscent of season 5, and not for nothing both had DALLAS head-writers rather than the established DYNASTY team. Think of how many new characters Marchetta brought: Daniel Reece, Lady Ashley, Nicole Simpson, Luke Fuller, Dean Caldwell, Tom Carrington, and of course Amanda, Prince Michael, and as guests King Galen, and Duchess Elena. I think it is typical of a writer who wants to transform the show to their vision, and sometimes viewers accept it (DYNASTY reached #1 in the ratings in season 5) and sometimes not (season 9's detractors around blogs, youtube, etc. are numerous). Also, both seasons 5 and seasons 9 have solid well-constructed arcs, which was also a DALLAS element and which DYNASTY lacked in its middle years, season 5 being the exception for the reason I mentioned.
 

Tony

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Season 2 is definitely the best because of Alexis Intro and she is a lot of fun to watch; Al Corley and Pamela Sue Martin and the Intro of Heather Locklear. It veers towards camp without being cartoony, especially the early episodes. Saturday nights on the BBC was Dynasty night and each cliffhanger was thrilling especially The Party. I can still remember the freeze frames and wanting to fast forward to next week.

Season 9 was good between Sable and Alexis and the early episodes were fun but once Krystle left there was a huge void missing which none of the new characters could fill. The other highlight was a rejuvenated Fallon but she still wasn’t PSM.
 

Tony

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I also like Season 5 for the sheer confidence of the producers and the fact that a black couple was in a white soap, which is what I expected made Dynasty a hit in the metropolitan areas.
 
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Willie Oleson

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Season 9 (again, just like Falcon Crest) was a re-vamp. If seasons 1 and 2 were fresh then season 9 was re-freshed.


I think I prefer the original, untainted mountain air.
 

Michael Torrance

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Season 9 (again, just like Falcon Crest) was a re-vamp. If seasons 1 and 2 were fresh then season 9 was re-freshed.

I think I prefer the original, untainted mountain air.

Yes, I prefer the original DYNASTY and FALCON CREST too. But I did not mind watching the 9th seasons of each of them. Though to be fair, DYNASTY's season 9 had a lot of the past in its pedigree, such as the whole Roger Grimes story and the common original sin of all three families. FALCON CREST was just veering way off course.

Oddly enough I don't remember much about season 5.

Why is that, Randall? :D
 
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Alexis

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I think at this moment in time I would say I prefer season 9. If only because of the Sable and Alexis feud. I think Sable got under Alexis's skin in a way even Krystle couldn't. And it was because it was a feud that went beyond familial squabbles and actually crossed over into business. It was war, even in a way that wasn't Colby Co vs Denver Carrington. It was a lot of fun to see Alexis meet her match.
 

Snarky's Ghost

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Season 2 is definitely the best because of Alexis Intro and she is a lot of fun to watch; Al Corley and Pamela Sue Martin and the Intro of Heather Locklear. It veers towards camp without being cartoony, especially the early episodes.
And that makes complete sense, at least to me, because, after all, Season 2 set the template for what DYNASTY could be (a template largely ignored by subsequent years). It was indeed the defining year, and the year all later seasons would be competing with and failing.

I do wonder, however, how lousy seasons (like S7) could qualify as classic DYNASTY, while good ones can qualify as not classic DYNASTY. But we may all define "classic" differently.

It is true there has always been an anti-Season 9 legion out there (whose viewpoint has probably been enhanced by Esther Shapiro's inclination to defend the abysmal work of her camping buddies, the Pollocks, at the expense of Paulsen, dismissing Paulsen's superior craftsmanship) but the low-wattage fans tend to have little appreciation for strong plotting -- and frankly seem to even resent it. And even most of them had stopped watching DYNASTY long before Paulsen showed up in 1988 to try and save the harpooned whale, or at least permit it to die with dignity.

Which is probably why the 1991 "Reunion" had to happen: this whale must die with no dignity at all. And that doesn't show love for the whale.
 

Ray&Donna

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So harsh....the DVD cover were you've turned Virginia Metheny in to a dog
 

tommie

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I dunno
Yes, I prefer the original DYNASTY and FALCON CREST too. But I did not mind watching the 9th seasons of each of them. Though to be fair, DYNASTY's season 9 had a lot of the past in its pedigree, such as the whole Roger Grimes story and the common original sin of all three families. FALCON CREST was just veering way off course.

True, while both Falcon Crest's and Dynasty's season nine share in common that they were probably the most well-constructed both had been in years storywise, it feels as if Dynasty actually ended up drawing from its history while Falcon Crest did an entire reboot. In Falcon Crest's case they might as well have slapped a "New Beginnings" to it and called it a spin-off while Dynasty still feels like Dynasty because the story arc relies so heavily on things that happened in the past. One can be viewed as a stand-alone spin-off and one can not.

As for Dynasty season nine being the best season... nah. It still has its clear duds (notably Cuzzin' Veergenia), but at least Paulsen was wise enough to see when something wasn't working and just kill it before he was forced to.
 

Alexis

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As for Dynasty season nine being the best season... nah. It still has its clear duds (notably Cuzzin' Veergenia), but at least Paulsen was wise enough to see when something wasn't working and just kill it before he was forced to.
I get what you mean, but at the same time I find season 9 a more pleasurable watch. I love season 2 but sometimes when I watch Nick Toscani can be off putting. In an exhausting way. As an antagonist he antagonises me sometimes more than he does the Carrington clan. Whereas I just want to see more and more Sable. Nick could be very loud and shouty and ranty and he could be smarmy. It's a lot. And that's not to say I dislike James Farentino as an actor. He's fine, just that role was annoying.
 

Snarky's Ghost

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I get what you mean, but at the same time I find season 9 a more pleasurable watch. I love season 2 but sometimes when I watch Nick Toscani can be off putting. In an exhausting way. As an antagonist he antagonises me sometimes more than he does the Carrington clan. Whereas I just want to see more and more Sable. Nick could be very loud and shouty and ranty and he could be smarmy. It's a lot. And that's not to say I dislike James Farentino as an actor. He's fine, just that role was annoying.
I think JfL referred to Toscanni's "compelling" combination of "compassion and evil." And he does manage to work his way into nearly every character's storyline.

Having finished Season 9 the other day, I'm now starting on a Season 3 marathon because that's when I started complaining and just never stopped. For me, S3 is a painful year, because you can still see the show it once was and the potential being newly squandered. Although with time and cumulative psychiatric damage, all the flaws of S3 now seem a bit muted. They're there, but I've years to adjust to them --- and I also know it gets so much worse. The cartoon stiffness of Season 3 that originally jumped off the screen now just seems like "yeah, that's DYNASTY."

I find it funny that Paulsen chooses to be faithful to the series' sexualized tone and "but I'm your daughter!" type of relationship-defining dialogue when he took over Season 9. He really doesn't have to do that to make it work, and I'm sure he knew that, but he goes ahead and does it anyway almost out of a bemused sense of consistency. It's kind of sweet of him.... but then that's why you'd want Paulsen to take over your show (and Esther tried to get him for Season 6) because he would reenergize the show you already had instead of doing what most new show-runners tend to, which is turn it into an entirely different show (and one which probably already existed inside their head). Which is why S9 of FALCON CREST felt like a totally different series, while S9 of DYNASTY felt like DYNASTY.
 
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Luke Fuller

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Season 9 has always been a little controversial topic, not only for Esther Shapiro :) I am aware of positive aspects of this season, including excellant performance of Stephanie Beacham and Emma Samms. Neverthless, I cannot ignore negative aspects as well:

Totally wasted characters of Adam (!) and Jeff.
Partially wasted character of Sammy Jo.
Bad casting of Virginia.
No exit for Joana.
Sharp changes of plotlines in early season (Clair, Morgan Hess).
Ignorance of gay elements in the story (season 9 is the only totally straight season).
No Hilda Gunnerson (although she is mentioned by Fallon in episode 2).
Alexis strangely ignored the absence of the most favorite child of her (Steven).
The cliffhanger without a satisfactory explanation.

Surprisingly, exit of Krystle and semi-appereances of Alexis are acceptable for me.

It took me 15-17 years to like season 9. Now I respect it and enjoy it. I would say that it is more Dynasty than season 1 (which was really experimental), but still it is not "typical" or "core" Dynasty. And sorry, there is no chance to admit that it is the best season.
 

Snarky's Ghost

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Season 9 has always been a little controversial topic, not only for Esther Shapiro :) I am aware of positive aspects of this season, including excellant performance of Stephanie Beacham and Emma Samms. Neverthless, I cannot ignore negative aspects as well:

Totally wasted characters of Adam (!) and Jeff.
Partially wasted character of Sammy Jo.
Bad casting of Virginia.
No exit for Joana.
Sharp changes of plotlines in early season (Clair, Morgan Hess).
Ignorance of gay elements in the story (season 9 is the only totally straight season).
No Hilda Gunnerson (although she is mentioned by Fallon in episode 2).
Alexis strangely ignored the absence of the most favorite child of her (Steven).
The cliffhanger without a satisfactory explanation.

Surprisingly, exit of Krystle and semi-appereances of Alexis are acceptable for me.

It took me 15-17 years to like season 9. Now I respect it and enjoy it. I would say that it is more Dynasty than season 1 (which was really experimental), but still it is not "typical" or "core" Dynasty. And sorry, there is no chance to admit that it is the best season.
I was very upset that Claire, Morgan Hess and Hilda Gunnerson's stories were so disrespected.
 
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