Tuesday, October 4, 2016


by Liz Smith & Denis Ferrara
Remake "Citizen Kane" If You Like, but Leave "Dynasty" (and Alexis!) to the Ages!"
“NONE OF us are sure what your motives are Alexis.”
Motives?  That’s an ugly implication.”
So it goes between Joan Collins as Alexis Carrington and Linda Evans as Krystle Carrington, (the ex and current wives of oil baron Blake Carrington) in the first scene the actresses shared in the second season of a struggling nighttime soap opera, titled “Dynasty.” Of course, it wouldn’t struggle long.  From the moment Miss Collins, a great beauty who’d never had the right career breaks swept into a courtroom scene, the series belonged to her, and she took it and herself to the pinnacle of TV success.For the next three or four seasons Ms. Collins and company ruled the roost. (On Wednesday nights, it was “dinner and Dynasty” for millions of TV viewers.
Then inevitably, the witty writing stalled, the amusing storylines palled and all the characters were reduced to barking, endlessly, “Get out!” I’ll be back!” and “I hate you!” (The show lasted nine seasons and even the most devoted fans were not sorry to see it end.) 
Through it all Miss Evans looked gorgeous and behaved as if Blake (John Forsythe) had had her lobotomized at some point. (She truly came to life only when the script required her to physically abuse Joan. Miss Collins, delicate beneath the brass and eyeliner, hated all the fight scenes and usually employed a double for the extreme beat-downs.)
 Collins, who effortlessly wore more makeup, wigs and fur than any woman before or since, was literally electrified with pleasure that after 49 years, she’d finally become the star she should have been back in the 1950’s.  Her pleasure in her late-life fame was evident in her every gesture on and off screen.  She made hay while the sun shined.  Actually, she made gold while the sun shined!
“Dallas” and “Knots Landing” and "Falcon Crest” all had their assets and pleasures, but nothing in the history of nighttime soaps compared to the outrageous, juicy carrying on of the denizens of Denver — including the inclusion of a gay character, Steven Carrington, one of Alexis’ ever-increasing brood of children. (She started off with two, but others kept popping out of the woodwork, willy nilly.)  Steven was rather a bore, but producer Aaron Spelling deserved credit for keeping the character alive in the 1980’s when AIDS was a new and terrifying disease.

Now, because nothing can ever be left alone, the CW Network is planning to revive/reboot “Dynasty.”  The names will be the same, although the perspectives will be different (younger, natch.)  Krystle, the second Mrs. Carrington will now be called Cristal, and is Hispanic. (In the original, much was made, negatively, of Linda Evans’ character having once been a secretary. I suppose now the Carrington offspring, who so objected to Krystal’s expert dictation, will now talk a lot about “building a wall” between Cristal and the new Blake?)
Sigh!  Didn’t anybody learn anything from the dreary reboot of “Dallas?”   No word yet on casting.  But the one person who need never fear that her legacy is in danger of being usurped is Miss Collins.

She, the original writers, costume designer Nolan Miller, and whoever was responsible for fastening the tresses of hundreds of financially hard-up humans on Joan's head every week, created an indelible, classic character.

Maybe the CW producers should simply have her reprise the role?  Joan still looks terrific, and maintains an energy level and vitality that seems superhuman. 
Just putting it out there.

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