1 9 8 1 – 1 9 8 9 (USA)
169 x 60 minute episodes
Originally titled Oil, the extravagance of this blockbuster was matched only by its sister super-soap Dallas. The weekly wardrobe budget alone topped US$10,000.
Dynasty was also possibly also the only series ever to include royalty in its line-up – Princess of Yugoslavia, Catherine Oxenberg as Amanda.
The show that started in the US on 12 January 1981 focused on the duelling Carrington and Colby families and was designed to be about luxury, romance, money, entrapment, clothes, children, power and more money. It was the fantasy series the women of the world had been waiting for.
Dynasty re-introduced John Forsythe to prime time TV as Blake Carrington, the head of the family and the ruthless owner of the Denver Carrington Oil Company.
Blake is the son of Tom and Ellen Carrington. He was first married to Alexis (Joan Collins) and had four children with her – Adam (Gordon Tommson), Fallon (Pamela Sue Martin initially, and then Emma Samms), Amanda (Catherine Oxenburg) and Steven (Al Corley). When it came to bitches, there was none bigger than Alexis.
With his second wife, Krystle (Linda Evans), he had a daughter named Krystina (Jessica Player).
This show was certainly NOT about reality, and no camped-up catastrophe was left unused in Dynasty. Every kind of accident, kidnap and breakdown occurred. There was even a wedding eve heart attack and an attempted murder by poisonous paint.
Blake failed to spot an impostor in his bed for weeks (Krystle was abducted by her white trash niece Sammy Jo’s friend – also played by Linda Evans of course). A barmy congressman dressed up as Alexis to commit a murder, and the disguise fooled her son so that she was almost convinced of the crime herself.
Alexis later disguised herself as a nun. That, too, fooled an entire army of Moldavian revolutionaries. Yes, honestly! At one stage, Blake lost his sight after fighting with Dr Toscani. Fortunately, it returned after Krystle cried enough.
The Carrington’s opulent mansion (173 Essex Drive, Denver, Colorado, if you’re ever passing by) was a large part of the fascination.
With opening aerial views of the Filoli Mansion in San Mateo, thirty miles south of San Francisco off Highway 280 – the mansion used in the film Heaven Can Wait (1978) – and clinging shots of some of its 48 rooms, halls, the gym, solarium, ballroom and library (there were actually five or six sets, cleverly rearranged in the studio), the place seemed fit for an emperor. Liberace would have loved it . . .
Watching the clothes was always fun too. Dallas women had shoulder pads and plunging necklines. Dynasty women had those and wings, flounces, trains and bustles – the sort of dresses Danny La Rue (or any other drag artist) would die for.
At the height of its popularity, Dynasty finally overdid it. The twisted plotlines led in the direction of Moldavia, a mythical kingdom. Amanda was courted by wimpy playboy Prince Michael of Moldavia and devious King Galen (an old flame of Alexis). As the Carrington’s trotted off to the wedding, the revolution began.
The wedding turned into an ear-splitting bloodbath with every character collapsing, apparently riddled with bullet-holes. Only Jeff was moving – because he had to be there for The Colbys, in which he starred.
By the next season, most of the others couldn’t stay dead either!
As one by one the Carringtons awoke, crawled away and escaped the gunmen to arrive back in Denver shaken but not stirred, audiences worldwide hissed “Swizz” and began to switch off.
The frantic plots continued: Alexis made Blake bankrupt and took over the mansion. Claudia survived the massacre but died in the fire at Fallon’s hotel, La Mirage. More relatives turned up with English accents – Blake’s embittered brother Ben and Alexis’s scheming sister Caress.
Blake and Krystle’s baby Christina underwent a heart swap. Adam married Dana and Claudia’s presumed-dead nutter husband Matthew Blaisdale turned up with a machine gun and his pals. The ratings fell even further.
In the 1988 series, Alexis married the handsome man who saved her from drowning and turned out to be a swine. Adam and Dana had a child by a surrogate mother.
Fallon and Jeff divorced again, and as Blake and Alexis ran rival political campaigns for the governorship of Colorado the younger characters fought in business.
After the stock market crash in 1987, Newsweek declared ‘The Eighties are over. Down with greed’. Sagas of the super-rich were sunk.
Diahann Carroll passed away in October 2019, aged 84.
Additional exterior shots for the Carrington Mansion were shot at the Arden Villa – a 20,000 square-foot mansion located at 1145 Arden Road in Pasadena, California.
This mansion was used for the garden and pool shots, including the famous fight in the pool between Joan Collins and Linda Evans – who were actually on their knees because the lily pond was only two-feet deep!.
The mansion also served as the exterior of the Foundation For Law And Government (F.L.A.G) seen on the NBC adventure series Knight Rider.
Alexis Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan
Krystle Grant Carrington
Sammy Jo Reece
Fallon Carrington Colby
Pamela Sue Martin (1)
Emma Samms (2)
Lady Ashley Mitchell
Peter Mark Richman
Kim Morgan Greene
Sam Chew Jr
Brittany Alyse Smith