Review of the 1980 pilot / other reviews / Season 5 & 6

Alexis

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But at least we can laugh at Joan Collins eating Ali McGraw alive.
 

Richard Channing

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But at least we can laugh at Joan Collins eating Ali McGraw alive.
Ali McGraw deserves a Golden Raspberry award or the TV equivalent for this performance. Possibly one of the worst I've seen on any soap. Every line she utters is excruciatingly bad. What the hell is wrong with her?? She had been good in other things so I don't know what went wrong on Dynasty.

 

Alexis

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Ali McGraw deserves a Golden Raspberry award or the TV equivalent for this performance. Possibly one of the worst I've seen on any soap. Every line she utters is excruciatingly bad. What the hell is wrong with her?? She had been good in other things so I don't know what went wrong on Dynasty.

I think the same thing was wrong with Ali was the same thing that was wrong with Dynasty as a whole. Insecurity.
 

Snarky's Ghost

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It's this weird lobotomy syndrome that overtook the show. Linda goes from husky-voiced and minimalistic in her acting during the first two seasons to squeaky and even squeakier and cross-eyed. Ali Mac Graw was always a challenged actress, as her "Oscar nominated" performance in LOVE STORY (1970) will attest --- but that was for her period snow scenes when she didn't have to speak. Or at least not very much.


 

GillesDenver

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Ali McGraw deserves a Golden Raspberry award or the TV equivalent for this performance. Possibly one of the worst I've seen on any soap. Every line she utters is excruciatingly bad. What the hell is wrong with her?? She had been good in other things so I don't know what went wrong on Dynasty.
She was also really bad on "The Winds of War".
 

Snarky's Ghost

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All of this show's whacked-out stories would have worked so much better if, like Season 2, it had the self-confidence. The problem, as stated above, is insecurity.

That's part of what made DYNASTY the metaphoric show of the 1980s -- but in an unfortunate way. I recall thinking in the '80s (and I still assess it the same way) that the era was like a petty, insecure individual person who desperately wants to be important. And that's just exactly what DYNASTY was. (I only applied such a description to the '80s, but no other decade, so don't accuse me of some kind of kooky historical projection).

I recall watching the Moldavia massacre episode in May of 1985 (two days before Bobby Ewing "died") and even though the massacre was announced beforehand, the sheer competence of the massacre infuriated me to no end (I recall eating some old Halloween candy out of a tiny coffin, and I threw the coffin at the television set as the massacre occurred). It struck me at the time darkly perverse that the actors (whom the producers clearly resented) were being killed off, however temporarily yet graphically, with such vivid effect, even though most of DYNASTY's normal scenes were so nervous and puerile and unprofessional.

Today, the competence of the massacre scene elicits a different response from me. Like the first episode of Season 4 which was so polished and self-assured (after a year of that nervous flavor which would resume immediately) and the first episode of Season 9 (when Paulsen took over and there was suddenly air and movement in the show, instead of people chatting and preaching strangely at one another in lieu of actually fleshing out the plotlines), I find the Moldavian massacre and its sleek execution (as it were) rather sad and frustratingly poignant --- it's just another brief peek into a DYNASTY that wanted to be, and barely ever was.

 
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Jimmy Todd

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All of this show's whacked-out stories would have worked so much better if, like Season 2, it had the self-confidence. The problem, as stated above, is insecurity.

That's part of what made DYNASTY the metaphoric show of the 1980s -- but in an unfortunate way. I recall thinking in the '80s (and I still assess it the same way) that the era was like a petty, insecure individual person who desperately wants to be important. And that's just exactly what DYNASTY was. (I only applied such a description to the '80s, but no other decade, so don't accuse me of some kind of kooky historical projection).

I recall watching the Moldavia massacre episode in May of 1985 (two days before Bobby Ewing "died") and even though the massacre was announced beforehand, the sheer competence of the massacre infuriated me to no end (I recall eating some old Halloween candy out of a tiny coffin, and I threw the coffin at the television set as the massacre occurred). It struck me at the time darkly perverse that the actors (whom the producers clearly resented) were being killed off, however temporarily yet graphically, with such vivid effect, even though most of DYNASTY's normal scenes were so nervous and puerile and unprofessional.

Today, the competence of the massacre scene elicits a different response from me. Like the first episode of Season 4 which was so polished and self-assured (after a year of that nervous flavor which would resume immediately) and the first episode of Season 9 (when Paulsen took over and there was suddenly air and movement in the show, instead of people chatting and preaching strangely at one another in lieu of actually fleshing out the plotlines), I find the Moldavian massacre and its sleek execution (as it were) rather sad and frustratingly poignant --- it's just another brief peek into a DYNASTY that wanted to be, and barely ever was.




Just out of curiousity, could you provide some examples of the 80's that give you the impression you habe of it. I'm intrigued.
 

Jimmy Todd

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That's another thread, probably a deleted one from when the site was killed three years ago.
Ok. It sounds interesting.
I grew up in the 80's so I look back fondly on it for many reasons that have to do with being a teenager and younger, but I admit I have a tendency to fetishize the decade, as it were. I also know that we are now feeling the effects of many 80's policies. For example, Ronald Reagan deregulated the media, so we now have approximately 6 corporations controlling all information, a major problem, imho.

Regarding Dynasty, I definitely see what you mean by season 9 conveying more confidence. The cast and overall tone of the show feels so much more relaxed.
 

Snarky's Ghost

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I also know that we are now feeling the effects of many 80's policies. For example, Ronald Reagan deregulated the media
Yes. And smashing the unions. And eliminating anti-trust laws. And eradicating progressive tax policy... Y'know, the things which had made the '50s, flawed as they were, an era during which the middleclass was actually benefitting and getting a fair if modest piece of the pie.

There was also this wall-to-wall smug attitude amongst even the working class that "we have arrived" even though Reagan's trickle down policies helped only the wealthy. And "liberal" Hollywood didn't feel they could say anything negative about him (or Thatcher) in a very Emperor's New Clothes kind of way. (At least with DYNASTY, those new clothes were the only things they actually were doing).

While blame for anything bad or wrong was dumped on Carter and "the boring '70s" endlessly.

Mostly, it was just this Faustian, wildly self-conscious, drink-the-kool-aid atmosphere that infested every corner of the culture (at least in the States -- I can't say about elsewhere) such that it seemed as if nobody could do anything naturally … including extras walking across the back of a scene in a movie.

I almost appreciated the 1980s fixation on the conflict -- and the unfinished business -- of the '60s. Except that the '80s then coopted everything from the '60s, rewriting an exploiting it, and thus changing the context.

So, yes, DYNASTY was the show which most reflected the zeitgeist of the '80s. And Nolan Miller's clothes, though wildly popular, had little to do with it.

No wonder they soon forgot what to do with a sincere, moral character like Krystle. Turning her into a shrieking mess, then labeling her The Most Dangerous Carrington of All who's "boring" and is "only pretty when she smiles" as the writers projected their own corruption onto her. Thank goodness Paulsen later had the maid acknowledge that Krystle "for years she hasn't been herself" due to a brain gizmo.

 

ArchieLucasCarringtonEwing1989

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Yes. And smashing the unions. And eliminating anti-trust laws. And eradicating progressive tax policy... Y'know, the things which had made the '50s, flawed as they were, an era during which the middleclass was actually benefitting and getting a fair if modest piece of the pie.

There was also this wall-to-wall smug attitude amongst even the working class that "we have arrived" even though Reagan's trickle down policies helped only the wealthy. And "liberal" Hollywood didn't feel they could say anything negative about him (or Thatcher) in a very Emperor's New Clothes kind of way. (At least with DYNASTY, those new clothes were the only things they actually were doing).

While blame for anything bad or wrong was dumped on Carter and "the boring '70s" endlessly.

Mostly, it was just this Faustian, wildly self-conscious, drink-the-kool-aid atmosphere that infested every corner of the culture (at least in the States -- I can't say about elsewhere) such that it seemed as if nobody could do anything naturally … including extras walking across the back of a scene in a movie.

I almost appreciated the 1980s fixation on the conflict -- and the unfinished business -- of the '60s. Except that the '80s then coopted everything from the '60s, rewriting an exploiting it, and thus changing the context.

So, yes, DYNASTY was the show which most reflected the zeitgeist of the '80s. And Nolan Miller's clothes, though wildly popular, had little to do with it.

No wonder they soon forgot what to do with a sincere, moral character like Krystle. Turning her into a shrieking mess, then labeling her The Most Dangerous Carrington of All who's "boring" and is "only pretty when she smiles" as the writers projected their own corruption onto her. Thank goodness Paulsen later had the maid acknowledge that Krystle "for years she hasn't been herself" due to a brain gizmo.

The points I highlighted kinda shows the 60s & the 80s were in many similar,

Both decades loathed the preceding one; the “square 50s” and the “boring 70s” yet over glorified eras that came before; the 60s did this with the 20s, 30s & 40s (you know the latter decade had the “good American war”) and the 80s over glorified the 50s & 60s.

I’m seeing this trend repeat already, the nostalgia market is now trying woo us millennials with the 90s & 00s, reminding us of our childhood and teenage years.
 

Ked

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I’m seeing this trend repeat already, the nostalgia market is now trying woo us millennials with the 90s & 00s, reminding us of our childhood and teenage years.
I recently saw a video doing a tribute to the top 10 episodes Monica wore on "Friends", and the narrator said towards the beginning, "The 90s are back!"
 

ArchieLucasCarringtonEwing1989

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I recently saw a video doing a tribute to the top 10 episodes Monica wore on "Friends", and the narrator said towards the beginning, "The 90s are back!"
There is a new song that came out recently and it’s called “2002” by Anne Marie, it’s a nostalgic song which refers to six songs released between 1997 to 2004.

Even NuDynasty appears to be obsessed with the late 90s/early 00s, the show certainly tries hard to pull of that vibe.
 

Snarky's Ghost

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The points I highlighted kinda shows the 60s & the 80s were in many similar,
But the undercurrents were totally different. The '80s did seem, however, to be "jealous" of the melodrama of the '60s. So, like a petty individual, the '80s would've loved the comparison, as it was always trying to invite it.
Both decades loathed the preceding one; the “square 50s” and the “boring 70s” yet over glorified eras that came before; the 60s did this with the 20s, 30s & 40s (you know the latter decade had the “good American war”) and the 80s over glorified the 50s & 60s.

I’m seeing this trend repeat already, the nostalgia market is now trying woo us millennials with the 90s & 00s, reminding us of our childhood and teenage years.
There is usually a pseudo-nostalgia craze for the two-decades-back era. That's normal.
 

Jimmy Todd

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But the undercurrents were totally different. The '80s did seem, however, to be "jealous" of the melodrama of the '60s. So, like a petty individual, the '80s would've loved the comparison, as it was always trying to invite it.

There is usually a pseudo-nostalgia craze for the two-decades-back era. That's normal.
I've heard many baby boomers criticize their own generation for giving up the values of the 60's for the materialism of the 80's. Perhaps that accounts for the 80's fascination and "jealousy" of the 60s? A little subconscious guilt or self-loathing?
 

Snarky's Ghost

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I've heard many baby boomers criticize their own generation for giving up the values of the 60's for the materialism of the 80's.
And they certainly did. Some of us complained about it at the time.
Perhaps that accounts for the 80's fascination and "jealousy" of the 60s? A little subconscious guilt or self-loathing?
Probably. But, mostly, the '80s just desperately wanted to be important. So it's weird.
 

Snarky's Ghost

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As I continue to breeze through Season 6, I'm almost enjoying Linda's campy performance as Rita --- it's stupid, yes, and it goes on forever, but at least Linda's got something to act. Before, I rejected the entire storyline completely. And I still would if that worked, but it doesn't. Damningly, it's better than she got in S7 or S8 --- or S3 or S4 for that matter.

It's funny. After all these years, DYNASTY no longer seems so awful (as I said above). The musical score no longer so overwhelming, the static acting directive no longer so noticeable (they really did pull back on both by Season 8), the swirling, incoherent plots and dialogue no longer so frustrating.... They are, of course, still pretty lousy. But with time, three decades of time, the once-ghastly flaws of the series which were so brutally disappointing for some of us increasingly today just feel more like period quirks of a bygone era in television.

Sad. But I guess every rotting, suicided corpse has to be kissed before it's dumped into a grave. It's just good, basic karma.

Too dark? I just can't tell anymore.

 
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