Saving Season 9

Angela Channing

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I've never been a great fan of season 9, not because it wasn't very good but because to me it wasn't Falcon Crest.

With Angela gone for most of the season, Michael Sharpe became the main character and I never really felt invested in the character because he was a complete outsider.

I understand they had to make budget cuts because of falling audience figures and much of the principle (and more expensive) cast either left or were given less screen time. However, the producers could have made one simple change that would have saved season 9 for me, they should have made Michael Sharpe be Father Chris Rossini (now called Christopher Gioberti) instead. They could even have recast the role with Gregory Harrison.

With just a few minor script changes it could have worked. They could jump forward a few years in time so Chris could have left the priesthood and gone into business by then. He could have had a son and Lauren could have been his half sister, either Anna Rossini or another sister we hadn't previously heard of.

Being Angela's grandson (instead of a distant relation of Maggie's) would have made his interest in owning Falcon Crest far more realistic and given an even stronger basis for his rivalry with Richard.

Just thinking of various scenes in that final season, they would have had so much more power and meaning if the character had been Christopher and most importantly, by being a Gioberti, it would have been easier for viewers to accept him as the new main lead of the show.

What do you think of my idea?

 
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Michael Torrance

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I must say I liked season 9, much as I completely understand why loyal fans did not care for it because of the change in scope and the focus on Michael Sharpe (the exact same thing happened to DYNASTY, which in some weird ways is closer to FC structurally, when suddenly it was no longer about the Alexis-Blake-Krystle triangle and there were cops priests and ex-hookers and Nazi treaure all over the former high society joint).

I actually like your suggestion. The problem of course wasn't just Michael Sharpe but the whole gang with him which became the new focus. So if there were a measure of six degrees of separation from Angela, it would have made it more palatable.
 

GillesDenver

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The problem of course wasn't just Michael Sharpe
Absolutely. Michael Sharpe was great. And I liked Charlie St. James too. But Ian and Sydney St James were awful, even though they had a "Twins Peaks" vibe (but more season 2 than season 1).
And while I quite liked Sharpe's post-teenage son, I was pissed off that he was given the control of "Falcon Crest". In comparison Michelle Stevens getting control of Ewing Oil appeared as a great storyline.

With just a few minor script changes it could have worked. They could have jumped forward a few years in time in time so Chris could have left the priesthood and gone into business by then. He could have had a son and Lauren could have been his half sister, either Anna Rossini or another sister we hadn't previously heard of.
Actually, I think that Christopher gradually becoming evil should have occured in the show. But if he had left priesthood in season 5, how could he had a post-teenage son by season 9 ?
 
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Angela Channing

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But if he had left priesthood in season 5, how could he had a post-teenage son by season 9 ?
I already addressed that in my original post.
With just a few minor script changes it could have worked. They could jump forward a few years in time so Chris could have left the priesthood and gone into business by then.
 
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Angela Channing

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I must say I liked season 9, much as I completely understand why loyal fans did not care for it because of the change in scope and the focus on Michael Sharpe (the exact same thing happened to DYNASTY, which in some weird ways is closer to FC structurally, when suddenly it was no longer about the Alexis-Blake-Krystle triangle and there were cops priests and ex-hookers and Nazi treaure all over the former high society joint).

I actually like your suggestion. The problem of course wasn't just Michael Sharpe but the whole gang with him which became the new focus. So if there were a measure of six degrees of separation from Angela, it would have made it more palatable.
Season 9 wasn't bad, in fact it was actually quite good. The problem I had was that it wasn't Falcon Crest but a well structured, well written and well acted new series. If it's broadcast as being Falcon Crest I would have preferred it to have more of a connection with the previous 8 seasons of Falcon Crest and that could have been achieved with the cast they assembled.

All of the "gang" around Michael Sharpe could have been integrated into Christopher Gioberti focused show with relative ease. I would draw the line with Charley St James and his crowd, he and his storyline was just plain awful.
 

Michael Torrance

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Season 9 wasn't bad, in fact it was actually quite good. The problem I had was that it wasn't Falcon Crest but a well structured, well written and well acted new series. If it's broadcast as being Falcon Crest I would have preferred it to have more of a connection with the previous 8 seasons of Falcon Crest and that could have been achieved with the cast they assembled.
Yeah, that is true. Even the reworked theme was different (though I loved it) in order to reflect the different vibe of the season.
 

Angela Channing

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Jump forward 15 years ? It does not seem a good idea.o_O
Why not? Falcon Crest played with the timeline between seasons before although only by months and not weeks.

You also assume that each season is one year in time but that's not necessarily the case, each season could have covered 2, 3 or more years in real time. Or they could just make him a stepson from a failed marriage. This is soap opera, where there's a will, there's a way!
 

Angela Channing

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Yeah, that is true. Even the reworked theme was different (though I loved it) in order to reflect the different vibe of the season.
The season 9 theme tune was brilliant and is one of my favourite re-workings of an original theme tune ever.
 

GillesDenver

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Why not? Falcon Crest played with the timeline between seasons before although only by months and not weeks.

You also assume that each season is one year in time but that's not necessarily the case, each season could have covered 2, 3 or more years in real time. Or they could just make him a stepson from a failed marriage. This is soap opera, where there's a will, there's a way!
5 years is ok but 15 years is really too much.

Now, he could have had an illegitimate son, like Ralph in "the Thorn Birds".
 

tommie

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I've said that the smart thing that Paulsen did with Dynasty season 9 was to tie the storyline closely into the Dynasty lore (if you will) to try and combat the fact that key cast members were leaving or having their episode count cut. I agree that putting Christopher back into the show instead of putting an unknown Michael Sharpe might've worked better for the fans since there wasn't really anything the producers could do about having to cut cast members - they had to be cut due to budget, so it wasn't exactly a creative decision for them. What they ultimately failed at was tying the storylines closer to the Falcon Crest core, which is probably why so many fans reject the season despite technically being better in terms of scripts and overall plotting.
 

Jock Og

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Unfortunately the people at the helm of the ninth and final season probably didn't even know who Fr. Christopher Rossini was. Jerry Thorpe, Joel Surnow and Sheri Anderson were handed carte blanche. They served up a show less about wine to focus more on crime/grime mixed with stocks and shares. There were elements of '9' I enjoyed but overall the final year was more like a spinoff.

Gregory Harrison as the once upon time priest now Chris Gioberti could well have worked so much better, in addition to Julia returning. She never had an onscreen scene with Richard, after he wasn't Jacqueline's son but Angela's instead. IMHO the ex Rossini now Gioberti named grandson would have stayed true to the legacy feel of the show, at least he should have had.




Fr. Chris visits the convent to meet his mother Julia (nun), for the first time. He was whisked away after birth because his father Dominic Rossini was a married man. Chris was brought up in an orphanage and now is the time for a return to the wine country. Angela is also at the convent for support to her daughter and grandson, (a scene from season 5, 1985 - '86):

Julia: "Hello son!"

They hug and then go for a walk through the grounds.

Fr. Chris: "Well my life was fine. At least I think it was up until a couple of weeks ago. I really didn't have much to compare it to and now all of a sudden things are very confusing. When I was ordained I thought I had all the answers. Now that seems like a lifetime ago."

Julia: "Well we all get confused but now you have a family to help you through those difficult times."

Fr. Chris: "Mother! When I was a child I dreamed of being able to call someone that. Mother have you ever doubted your faith?"

Julia: "Yes many times. Now my faith is my sanctuary."

The bell rings.

Julia: "Would you like to join us in prayer?"

Fr. Chris: "I would like that very much."
 

Chloe-Fusco

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When season 9 was produced more attention should have been on the past like Dynasty with their storyline. Plenty could have been used to tie what was really a new show into the past. Angela Channing would your idea for Gregory Harrison's part include some of Michael Sharpe's quirks?
 

Angela Channing

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I recently re-watched the final episode to research an animation I'm working on and I couldn't help thinking how every scene would not only have worked with Michael Sharpe being Chris but they would have been so much better. Maybe later this year I'll re-watch the entire season thinking Michael is really Chris and see if it changes my view of the season in any way.
Angela Channing would your idea for Gregory Harrison's part include some of Michael Sharpe's quirks?
I'm thinking almost everything could have staedy as it was except for who Michael Sharpe is. If the writers only made a better attempt to tie season 9 into the history of Falcon Crest more it would have been so much easier to accept the changes. As @Jock Og said, it was more like a Falcon Crest spin off than a continuation of the series.
 

Jock Og

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Sharpe's business backstory with Richard and being related to Maggie were indeed his only connections to the show. From recollection it was never revealed if this was on the adopted part of Maggie's family or her blood parental side. Not that it was terribly important either way. TPTB definitely should have had made his connection more to Angela and what more ideal way than being her third grandson (Lance, Michael and Christopher). At least you could have rooted for him more than being virtually an outsider, who arrives to buy the family run Falcon Crest wine operation and in the process alienate stalwart fans. I feel Michael had not much passion for vino nor family tradition, which Angela held very close to her heart. After all his expertise was in the field of high level finance.


Michael Sharpe is being chauffeured to a business meeting, at the Falcon Crest mansion. His son Danny is also in the back of the limo and he is about to get a lesson in business, after a rather strange conversation with his dad. There is a lot that is strange about this year, (a scene from season 9, 1989 - '90):

Michael: "What did you come here for, to throw darts at me?"

Danny: "No dad! To throw darts with you."
 
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Arlene Halloran

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If none of the surviving originals could've showed up in season nine due to the cuts then Father Chris would have been a historical alternative to Sharpe and have brought rivalry with the family aspect twist. Would Genele have still rode into town though? I didn't mind Andrea Thompson's part in the show, as she harked back to the old days of Terry.
 

tommie

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I dunno
I think one of the biggest issues when discussing how to "fix" these shows later seasons is the fact that many people go with the unrealistic options that weren't available to the producers at the time ie keep all the main characters and bring back everyone from the glory years. Obviously, this just wasn't an option for the showrunners of season 9 or many of these soaps once they hit their twilight years; it's much more interesting to hear what people would've done with the cards the showrunners in this case were actually dealt with.
 
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