Saturday, May 28, 2011

DYNASTY's Season 9: More Ginger Ale, Than Gin-and-Tonics

A couple of articles now from the summer of 1988 after "Dallas" producer David Paulsen came on board to try to salvage "Dynasty" in its upcoming 9th season, which proved to be the fading soap last.

Paulsen talks about the changes he was implementing including casting 3 new supporting characters (2 of which ended up quickly written out), toning down the show's trademark glitz and giving screen time to people "from all walks of life."

Paulsen did have his work cut out for him - ABC moved the show to the ultra-competitive timeslot Thursday nights at 9:00pm that year and the summer hiatus was 7 instead of 4 months (because of the writer's strike).

As much as I loved seeing "The Colbys" star Stephanie Beacham on "Dynasty" and the idea of tapping into the show's back-story was exciting, I really didn't care much for most of the stories that year (Adam's sudden shift to being evil, mishandled exits of Leslie and Dana, a tedious Virginia ("Grace Kelly-like relative" in early outlines) and her contrived connection to Dex, a de-fanged Sammy Jo and her snoozefest romance with the priest, the hokey revelation that Miles and Monica are not Colbys and Jason's out-of-character turning his back on them , etc., etc.)

Yes, the writing in the years leading up to season 9 was bad and needed significant improvement, but the tone and the look of the show in season 9 was wrong for "Dynasty" and it could not have translated into higher ratings - on the contrary, the show lost a third of its audience in the course of the season. 

Messing with the show's core formula that turned it into a massive hit in seasons 2-5 (female-centric soap opera built around the troika of Blake-Krystle-Alexis) and losing/reducing several principal (and popular) cast members exacerbated the decline (along with the bad timeslot and lack of promotion, of course).


  1. I didn't like the last season much at all. David Paulsen made it too much like Dallas which I never liked. Dallas was all about men with the women characters secondary and Paulsen brought that onto Dynasty with Blake, Zorelli, Jeff, Dex and Adam now the leads while Krystle was quickly shipped off to Switzerland, Alexis was hardly in the show anymore (What a disgrace to treat the women who to most people WAS Dynasty), Sammy Jo was a wimp now, Fallon was crying and scared about dead bodies (What is this Dynasty or X Files?). The only interesting female this season was the reintroduction of Sable Colby. Her tounge fights with Alexis (When she was around) were a saving grace this season. People on certain internet forums seem to rave about Season 9 and heaven forbid if you question it but for me I didn't like 9 and it wasn't Dynasty anymore for me.

  2. Yes, I agree. If Stephanie Beacham hadn't been added to the cast that year, it would have been very difficult to sit through it.

    The actors also didn't seem to respond positively to it. We know John Forsythe didn't like the scripts, Gordon Thomson disliked his character's instant return to over-the-top evil ways (as well as Leann Hunley's rushed exit), Joan Collins obviously didn't like her role being reduced and I've seen John James and Heather Locklear mocking their storylines that year in later interviews. Linda Evans wanted out, so she didn't care either way.

  3. I may be in the minority, but I really liked Season 9, but in original broadcast and now seeing it again on YouTube. The glitzy '80s were over and at least "Dynasty" tried to change with the times. I know there were flaws, but the dialogue was snappy, they mined the show's history, and the Roger Grimes mystery ultimately involved every character. Maybe it wasn't the "Dynasty" of its heyday, but there was still a lot going for it. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. :)

  4. I agree w/ Mike. I really liked a lot of the plot lines in S 9. But after viewing the above comments I am curious as to what story lines are people's favorites and Least liked. Me I liked the Roger Grimes Collection plot line and I think they could have done without Jeff and Nikki playing Romancing the stone and getting drunk and getting married. Nikki, what a ridiculous story line.

  5. Season 9 was the best year in ages. It was still Dynasty, just another chapter.

  6. I can agree with a lot of what was said about what was supposedly wrong with s9, though I will disagree about Fallon: she was a lot tougher and high-spirited than previous seasons. Sure, she had her crying moments, but more often she was either laughing, sarcastic, or being catty.

    Plus there was Monica, who was a fox with luscious red lips. She was also flirty and fun, and I will forever love how she punched Adam.

    And yes, Sable was a joy to watch, a welcome edition to the show.

    And yes, the glitzy 80s era was ending, it stands to reason the show would become less focused on the glamor, although you have to admit there were some very pretty dresses worn in that season (I shall always remember the scene where Sable announces to Alexis that she now owns Alexis' tankers - and right before she makes the announcement, she drops her shawl so as to reveal her cleavage).

  7. I don't think the 'big reveal' about Miles and Monica not being Jason's children and him turning his back on them was all that hokey - or out of character. I mean, look what he did to Sable: he had an emotional affair with her own sister and even made out with her, AND he had an affair with his brother's sister, all the while saying that he's doing nothing wrong. Plus he expected Sable to just get out of his life when he wanted her to without any regard to how she might feel about leaving her children, plus he was ready to kill his own brother when he found Philip and Frankie in bed together.

    So yeah. In many ways, Jason was a big fat monster, and turning his back on the twins after finding out they weren't his kids doesn't seem all that 'hokey'.