Come with me to another dimension; a dimension not of sight and sound, but of shoulder pads and sweeping hairdos. You are now entering…the Dynasty zone.
The Premise: Oilman Blake Carrington marries his secretary Krystle, who soon finds out that pretty much every rich person in Denver, and especially in the Carrington mansion, is batshit crazy.
Why Found-Again? I am now most of the way into the fourth season, so far down the rabbit hole of rewatching Dynasty that I can’t even remember what inspired me to re-view it. I was seven years old when the show first came on, and all I really remembered about it was that I loved Claudia and Kirby and hated Adam Carrington and Dex Dexter, and that Alexis was always making trouble.
I really have no idea what it says about me that every single one of those things is still true—or that as recently as a week ago I was screaming “Kill him!” at my TV, and for once not at any of the characters in Highlander or Robin of Sherwood, but at Jeff friggin’ Colby. Every single character on this show is his or her own worst enemy most of the time, but it’s absurdly easy to get sucked in and hard to stop caring, even when the show does all the completely inane things we remember from the era of ’80s soap excess: the catfights, the amnesia, the hysterical paralysis.
And then there’s Steven Carrington, who was among the first openly gay characters on television. He is referred to by some of the other characters in terms that will make your jaw drop in the early seasons, but the show never stops portraying him as a real and valuable human being, and it’s interesting to watch the way he develops as part of the show.
There are also things I didn’t remember at all from childhood, some of which are completely nuts—like this from James Farentino’s season 2 turn as psychiatrist Dr. Nick Toscanni, which has to be seen to be believed. It’s his first appearance on the show; Claudia has lost her daughter and attempted suicide, and this is Dr. Nick’s/Dynasty‘s idea of heroic measures (relevant part starts at 3:40 and goes till 6:55; and yes, he drives a DeLorean that looks like an extremely advanced tin can):
I was originally going to try transcribing that. I…don’t think I can.
The Verdict: Hard to tell. It’s very silly, and one gets the impression that Denver is maybe half a mile wide on each side, but I’m definitely hooked.
Next time: Arms and the woman.