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apollo
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dabei seit:
03.01.2010
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Was beim Denver-Clan falsch lief...

...ein interessanter Artikel. Leider in Englisch. Ich hoffe, die Fans von Dynasty verstehen trotzdem den Inhalt.




What went wrong with "Dynasty" ... ?

-------------------


Season 1:

A somber drama at first, the torments of Krystle, Steven, and Claudia are center stage. The acting is good, and so is the writing. Bill Conti's score and theme add poignant grandeur to the pilot. The pacing is a bit slower than may be required to become a smash hit, but the groundwork for the series is being nicely laid (or is it "lain"?) No, the glitz-n-glamour isn't anywhere near as flashy as it would later become, but in some ways it's deeper: someone once described Season 1 of DYNASTY as being "all cabernet and dark chocolates and mahogany" (or something like that) and while that might be a slight exaggeration, it's easy to understand the sentiment: the middleclass Blaisdel family may be getting more screen time than some viewers may appreciate, but the Carringtons would never feel more legitimately "rich"... the interiors of the mansion are brooding and believable, life on the estate has a certain rarified flavor to it, the cultural observations and literary references are convincing of a family bred if not necessarily well.

All the plots nicely coalesce to bring the season to a natural, tragic and fated climax as Blake goes on trial for killing his son's gay lover, resulting in, in the final frame, the arrival of his ex-wife, Alexis, to testify as a hostile witness for the prosecution.

Season 2:

The decision (at first wisely) is made to speed up the pacing and add some glamour to DYNASTY to turn the series, which barely survived the cancellation axe after Season 1, into a bona fide hit. (To be fair, it was against M*A*S*H that brief first year).

Joan Collins seems perfectly cast as Blake's gorgeous and morally challenged ex-wife, with Blake's and Alexis' bitching about why they divorced so intriguing because the viewer suspects they're both largely telling the truth about the other.

Collins captures exactly the Mysterious Slut elements the role requires, and, as an added bonus, it turns out that she and Linda Evans' Krystle seem to display a pitch-perfect adversarial chemistry on-screen. While you can't write that sort of chemistry, you can write to it, which the series initially does masterfully.

And having the nasty ex-wife living three feet from the mansion in her petit trianon was inspired, giving her essentially the run of the new wife's house, much to the latter's frustration.

There's a little bit of the late-'70s TV mini-series odor to Season 2 of DYNASTY. I think of it every time I see the wonderful cobweb-strewn night scene between Alexis and butler Joseph in her darkened art studio, or Alexis' foreboding "reading" from her Rome clairvoyant, or Alexis' references to brawling with an unnamed Oscar-winning actress, or Blake's European villa-hopping to save his oil business and harassment by the faceless "Logan Rhinewood" ... The past seems real, palpable, if not necessarily present: the secrets, the shadows, the series' National Enquirer tone...

The casting helps immeasurably somehow. Even the ones who may not be the most brilliant of actors seem nonetheless perfect for their roles.

Because of the increasingly frenetic feeling over Season 2, enhanced by Ben Lazarone's campily operatic score in the latter part of the year, one could easily overlook how this seemingly pell mell lack of structure in fact obscures brilliant structure... Whether this is the accomplishment of new writers/consultants Bob & Eillen Pollock, or line producer Ed Ledding (Ledding was the only Season 2 staffer not with the show in Season 3) is an open question, but Ed de Blasio's equally operatic dialogue is every bit as effective as it still gives legitimate character drive to the bitchy barbs.

Even the poorly edited art studio catfight (then a shock to see the two leading ladies of a television series duke it out) worked, more-or-less, because it seemed like a kitschy anomaly, and grew naturally out of the conflict (and it was the last time the show's soon-to-be-infamous physical slapdowns ever would). And the trendsetting wardrobe was still not so outrageous as to seem excessive or silly.

The season finale to Season 2 would, in retrospect, become something of the entire series' spiritual peak, the ride on horseback that Blake and Krystle would take up Scorpio Peak at Sky Crest with Blake left dangling on the precipice somehow metaphorical. It was a key cliffhanger in many more ways than one.

It looked like DYNASTY was going to become the best TV show ever made... and even Warren Beatty quite-improbably called up executive producer, Aaron Spelling, after the Season 2 finale aired and said, "You have the best show on television!"

It's been said (perhaps by me) that if melodrama aims dead-center for the cliche, then you may actually come up with something wonderful, because you find that the cliche (contrary to its reputation) is actually rarely tapped into or perfected. If true, DYNASTY achieved this balance beautifully in Season 2.

If one looks today at the old Nielsen ratings charts, one might not realize how big DYNASTY had already become. Because the ratings from early in the season (before most people had discovered the show) are averaged in to those from the latter part of the year, the final rating for the 1981/82 season only places DYNASTY at 19th place... Not bad, certainly (especially for an era when the three American networks dominated, with little competition from cable or home video, and none from the Internet) yet still not reflective of how huge the series had already become by the end of Season 2, when it had jumped up near the top of the weekly charts and had, for all intents and purposes, become the most talked about show on the air.

Without question, it's the year that put DYNASTY on the map, and the year the show was always trying, however incompetently, to get back to.

Season 3:

The producers apparently decided if their amping it up a little for season 2 had benefitted the series, then throwing all legitimate storytelling to the wind would be even better. So they further changed the tone of their burgeoning hit show.

The writing starts to go awry: things don't make sense, non-sequiturs abound, the plotting becomes an afterthought, events are random, narrative cohesion is minimal... Also, the misguided new Static Acting Directive from the producers damages the performances, unnecessarily ruining the feel of many scenes; this new directive seems designed to make the already-poised actors seem even more poised (yet did the opposite) while any narrative logic in the scripts is tossed out the window, with too much dialogue given over to hyperbolic love/hate repartee (and the characters telling each other how fabulous they are) substituting for any kind of focus or flow to the stories... At once, all the characters became equidistant from one another, appear to know each other equally well as if they're all watching DYNASTY every Wednesday evening; they now mostly speak in interchangeable dialogue with individual perspective minimized.

For whatever reason, one scene which for me epitomizes the series' new disorientation is the foolish exchange in the new conservatory set between Blake and Krystle about why they can't go on a second honeymoon because Krystle needs more than 90 days to apologize to her ex, Mark Jennings, for her unfriendliness after Alexis and Fallon tricked him into leaving New York for Denver... Or Krystle's accusation that Blake had hired Jennings as a tennis pro for the dreary-beyond-words La Mirage Hotel in order to punish her in some way, even though, given the place Krystle and Blake are in their relationship at this point, such an accusation seems strangely "retro" at best --- at worst, the writers grasping at straws.

Gone is any warranted cynicism about wealth and the wealthy, replaced with a dreadful, fawningly '80s "rich-people-are-good/poor-people-are-horrible" mindset. And every corner of the show is now infected.

And while Season 2 had a smooth professional polish to the production, that quickly gives way to an amateurish look and feel during Season 3 (the absence of Ed Ledding perhaps?) despite a wardrobe that continues to impress.

There is also no longer any sense of location. Any attempts to recreate Colorado, even thru the use of stock footage, are essentially non-existent. The show could now occur anywhere.

Yes, the introduction of snarling, long-lost son Adam (well-cast with Gordon Thomson) and his vaguely incestuous relationship with mother Alexis was a good thing, and the defining storyline of the season. But even that is lessened by the fact that Alexis has been transformed overnight from the grasping and manipulative socialite she was the previous season to brilliant Empress of Industry, with no transition period shown at all. Now that she is the just-add-water Queen of the Planet, she no longer has to purr and scheme and deceive; she simply openly insults and bitches everybody out in every scene, removing the sense of intelligence and mystery she once displayed and, likewise, any sense of her enigmatic back story. She's just a spoiled cow now. Only a cow dressed in fur.

Other new characters are added, but the worst may be the re-casting of troubled occasionally-gay Steven. Al Corley, frustrated by the network's suppression of Steven's sexuality, left the show at the close of Season 2, and the role is re-cast mid-way thru Season 3 with the pinched, tight-jawed presence of Jack Coleman who delivers all his lines through his teeth. It renders Steven's tortured journey irrelevant, as does the writing for him, as his ventures into homoeroticism for the next several years will consist of the rare long, blank glance at the odd nerdy male (that's how you know who's gay) and marrying a succession of women with whom he will remain involved long after divorcing them. (And, for those too young to remember: no, this wasn't a step forward even in the '80s).

And Fallon, once a spoiled, sassbox wonder, is de-ovaried and takes on domestic and hotelier duties with resigned placidity. She also decides spontaneously that her dreaded stepmother is wonderful after all.

But the biggest loss is what happens to Krystle, the golden heroine once so soulfully played by Linda Evans. Krystle had at one time provided the moral voice for this show now so contemptuous of such perspective. With the downturn in the writing in season 3, the actors' simultaneously being restrained into excessive physical rigidity, and the loss of the producers' interest in anything not reflective of Reagan's smugly mercenary value system, Krystle quickly becomes a vapid and saccharine Stepford wife and exactly the goody-goody Alexis had always (and once unjustly) accused her of. And Evans' performance suffers pointedly: her clear-eyed countenance now increasingly replaced with a cross-eyed squealing of her lines... Just as Vivien Leigh was born to play Scarlett O'Hara, Linda Evans and Joan Collins seemed born to play Krystle and Alexis (as Season 2 gives most vivid evidence). They were perfect casting. Yet as the Good Queen is neglected and trivialized in Season 3 and beyond, the Bad Queen also suffers: Alexis no longer has a valid, statured, female partner with whom to spar.

The balance of the show is now badly off.

Season 4:

The 1983/84 year is sometimes cited as the peak season for the wealth-based nighttimes soaps of the '80s, but the goofy, stilted problems from the previous season continue... The very first episode of the year is really quite taut and focused, but it's all downhill from there: Joseph commits suicide after trying to kill Alexis, but the show never fully explains why he set fire to Steven's cabin with her inside it. We know it has something to do with Alexis holding secrets about Kirby's mother --- but what? She was crazy, we already know that... No matter. After Kirby makes a lame attempt at strangling Alexis, the butler's orphaned daughter agrees to marry her rapist, Adam... Then the show initiates a promising plotline about someone stalking Alexis and ransacking her penthouse suite, yet that plot is dropped and forgotten without explanation... Who was doing it??... Claudia weds Steven so Blake can't take away his child in court, then the couple promptly forgets it was a marriage of convenience... Fallon gets taken in by a slimy slice of Eurotrash, Peter DeVilbis, inexplicably cast with the corpse-like Helmut Berger whose lines appear to be dubbed or shoulda been. When she realizes she's been had by this nasally mumbling opportunist, she runs into traffic and gets one of those Carrington Family Headaches the show seems so fond of; in fact, the headaches get so bad, she suddenly realizes she's loved Jeff Colby all along and wants to remarry him for no convincing reason... Blake's public-relations girl, Tracy Kendall, decides the way to get back at Krystle for taking the promotion she's hoped for is to seduce Krystle's husband in the most lazily-staged, pathetically transparent attempts imaginable... Alexis gets a new boyfriend, the effetely macho Dex Dexter, who just waltzes into her office, lays a kiss on her, and they're together forever! Only their relationship will never make any sense... The cast actually goes to film in Denver for the only time in the series' history, but it remains inside the entire time, ignoring the opportunity to obtain any exterior location footage whatsoever... Diahann Carroll shows up at the end of the year to make a now-obligatory Mysterious Entrance, and she never gets anything else to do for the next three years except hand her brother, Blake, the occasional check to "save my company, dammit!" as she's apparently now his banker.

Nothing goes anywhere. The writers no longer seem to have a story they feel compelled to tell.

At least Alexis briefly takes on a sultry, smoky-voiced sense of her own statured coolness for Season 4, causing her to seem like the only person in the Rocky Mountains who might have even a clue as to what she's actually doing --- although her spontaneous Dietrich solo routine in a cowboy bar to seal some nonsensical oil deal doesn't go far in proving it.

Oh, how good this show seemed to be a just couple of years earlier! For it is unrecognizable now. Only the diamonds and cashmere are of acceptable quality.

Reportedly, the actors have started to complain behind the scenes about all these problems, but the producers tell them "just look at the ratings" to shut them up.

Pamela Sue Martin sized up the problem very by succinctly by saying that DYNASTY started out as "a witty satire of the rich and famous, but quickly deteriorated into a lame celebration of same." So she left.

Despite the problems, DYNASTY continues to get near-universal praise in the American press, paralleling the Emperor's New Clothes (in this case, literally) "teflon" immunity enjoyed by the Reagan presidency. The show is not just coming to reflect (and be reflected by) the values of the 1980's, it's also reflecting the Denial.

Season 5:

The season starts out with a difficult-to-define sense of innate confidence: you know it's going to take the Number One spot on the Nielsen charts come spring. Dramatically, it's as inert as ever.

Fallon has supposedly died in a road --- no, air --- accident. And we don't care at all. New Daughter Amanda comes out of the woodwork pronto, correctly cast with purring Catherine Oxenberg, and she can think of nothing to do to create conflict but to sleep with Mummie's hubby as soon as she steps off the jet.

Alexis is charged with murdering Krystle's ex, Mark, at the end of the previous season. And while Alexis' legal issues seem intended to ironically parallel Blake's murder trial three years earlier, it instead serves as a metaphor for how far the show has fallen. It's all handled so foolishly.

Billy Dee Williams briefly joins the show as Diahann Carroll's husband, and they display the best volatile chemistry that any two characters have in ages. So what does the show do? They divorce them, Billy Dee's Brady Lloyd is quickly gone, and replaced by two stiffs: Ali MacGraw and the obviously terminal Rock Hudson.

The show re-writes Krystle's back story (once afraid of horses, she becomes a skilled equestrian from childhood) and we learn Rock Hudson is Sammy Jo's biological daddy.

The show ventures into plots about literal royalty, as Alexis tries to sell off her daughter to the titled leaders of a tiny European principality called Moldavia, coercing her to marry Prince Michael, correctly cast with Michael Praed. Not a bad idea for a show like DYNASTY, but it's as listless and hollow as ever... TV GUIDE wrote an article in the mid-80s which, among other things, detailed the events surrounding the filming of the infamous Moldavian Massacre episode which closed Season 5, pointing out how tense and bored the actors all seemed.

It shows. With the characters all cut from cardboard now, written without nuance, and the Static Acting Directive fully in place, the natural qualities the actors were originally hired for have been siphoned out of them. Every scene is preposterously stiff and unconvincing. And if you're not permitted to believe the actors, you're not going to believe the plotlines, no matter how wild or pedestrian (or, in DYNASTY's case, miraculously both) those plotlines may be.

This series was once described by James from London as being "overwritten" referring, I believe, to the operatic verbosity of the scripting. That's quite true, of course. Yet DYNASTY simultaneously manages to be under-written as well, with endless exchanges between characters in which the dialogue stops suddenly and nonsensically, reminiscent of old low-budget B and C-movies. It's symptomatic of how the show's writers are putting so much effort into repartee which conveys the characters' feelings for one another (e.g., "I love you because you're marvelous/I hate you because you're a slut") without much thought to plot or more subtle character motivations... All dressed up and nowhere to go.

I remember being somewhat infuriated when The Moldavian Massacre first aired in May 1985. Not by the "violence" per se, but by how utterly competent the physical execution of the scene was, as if it was produced by an entirely different team than the one who normally oversaw the series' daily production... It instantly reminded me of how degrading the scripts, the Static Acting Directive, the show's psychology had seemed towards the actors --- not the characters, but the actors themselves --- for a couple of years. As if the brass secretly resented the cast they'd so carefully selected for exactly the qualities for which they'd been selected, resented the fact that they technically needed those actors --- with their faces endlessly splashed over the cover of every magazine ever printed around the globe --- in order to churn out the product which had already made that brass a fortune... It's as if they were "killing" the actors, evidenced by the sudden and inexplicable attention and enthusiasm with which the scene was done.

It was like the ultimate re-cast fantasy.

DYNASTY surpasses DALLAS as the Number One show on television by a well-coiffed hair. But the fact that Bobby Ewing's death pulled an even higher viewership than the massacre in Moldavia (reportedly DYNASTY's highest rating in its history) within the same week said a lot about how much audiences really value substantive character-development, something the Carrington Saga had eschewed three years prior: the viewers really felt Bobby's death (despite it being revoked in a year's time) while the overdressed clan in Moldavia were now flimsier than the facial tissue not needed to wipe away non-existent tears over their prospective demises. (Atrocious metaphor, but I can write as badly as they do).

In the press, DALLAS and KNOTS LANDING creator David Jacobs hints that if DYNASTY doesn't start concentrating more on story, then its downfall could be near.

Season 6:

It was nearly a perfect storm: '50s movie king Rock Hudson's diagnosis with AIDS- -- the new scourge of the planet, was announced in the summer of 1985, and the photo frame of Rock kissing Linda Evans a few months earlier on DYNASTY --- the hottest show on the planet, appeared on the cover of national and international news magazines. And it's a frenzy.

The producers are also hot to get a new spin-off, THE COLBYS, on the air for ABC, a network in the cellar and so desperate for competitive programming that they schedule their biggest show's spinoff for the worst spot in television at that time: Thursday night, where a bevy of NBC comedies regularly wipes everything else off the charts.

It would be claimed by the actors that THE COLBYS was the beginning of the end for DYNASTY, with the producers' attentions distracted away from the parent series. Perhaps. But the problems I witnessed as DYNASTY's Season 6 commenced in the Fall of 1985 were just more of the same: despite the fact that the Moldavian Massacre had become the most talked about episode of any TV series during the calendar year of 1985, the producers' ability to ignore it -- to not pay off on this, what they knew will be their biggest cliffhanger of the entire series -- remained unaffected... How they could develop such a selectively tin ear to public anticipation, response, their own show (or even Nielsen ratings) is a mystery, but when the entire cast of DYNASTY got up off the floor unwounded within the first five minutes of the first installment of Season 6, it wasn't a very good sign about where things were headed. (Admittedly, two minor characters died in the next room, but that didn't suffice or eradicate the fact that the fans had been cheated).

And when the episodic director requested a little more money to help make the massacre aftermath a bit more cinematic (with helicopter shots, etc.), Aaron Spelling dictated that no extra expense was necessary because the show "is already a hit." So the biggest moment in the biggest series from television's biggest producer ever didn't warrant any additional attention, care or budget whatsoever... What kind of a business model is that??, one wonders...

Over the next four months or so, DYNASTY's ratings dropped from #1 to, at times, out of the Top 20. The introduction to the spin-off was clunky and barely coherent, but the worst part was the DYNASTY stories themselves, epitomized by the Two Krystles plotline which had the show's heroine locked in an attic while her evil twin, Rita (also played by Linda Evans) was impersonating her at the mansion. Amazingly, this theme was originally scheduled to run for six or seven months, twenty-five episodes, until the end of the season. It didn't work. Nor did the rest of the show around her.

Yet audience revolt, disappearing numbers, and an increasing barrage of bad press didn't faze the creators. (Show-biz pundit Rona Barrett observed that "DYNASTY used to be a good, trashy show" and "that with the old, good episodes currently in syndication this fall, the contrast is all too clear.")

Finally, the network, horrified by the ratings plummet of which the writer/producers seemed oblivious (as they blithely vacationed overseas), took the rare step of demanding the production be shut down mid-season and re-tooled... Out was Krystle in the attic (after "only" 10 episodes) following a fun-but-stupid Krystle-on-Krystle catfight; also out was Alexis' acquisition of the Moldavian throne (perhaps the only loss here was that her coronation scene, already shot, was scrapped).

But, typical of the bosses' penchant for blame-casting, finger-pointing, and "spin", in the press the responsibility for the need for this highly-hyped makeover was placed roundly on the well-padded shoulders of the series' two biggest draws: Linda Evans and Joan Collins... Blame for the instantly infamous Two Krystle's plot was placed on Evans, with assertions that she not only loved the story but that she'd arrived at it herself and recommended it to producers (in fact, she hated it). The entire season's meltdown was blamed on Joan Collins' disappearance in the first episode of the year throwing off all the season's plots insurmountably (Collins was briefly AWOL during a salary dispute) despite the suggestion that DYNASTY's scripting supposedly being this tight was laughable. And when Evans had to miss an emergency meeting with the key actors due to an already contracted hair color commercial shoot in France, one of the Pollocks (responsible for the crash) sniffed about Evans in the media, "Some people think of DYNASTY as a part-time job."

Yeah, some did.

John Forsythe made a more honest analogy at the time: "The bosses weren't minding the store."

With the cast pared down and the more ridiculous plots out the door and the focus back on the family, the original team showed that they could, in fact, spin a yarn when a gun was held to their heads. The remainder of Season 6 was considerably better than what preceded it and the ratings even went up a bit, but somehow, as was observed in the press, there was just a resigned finality to it all. It didn't seem like a renaissance for DYNASTY so much as a half-hearted death rattle.

Alexis throwing out Blake "and your blonde tramp" when she took over the mansion in the Season 6 cliffhanger was a nice idea, and would seem as if it should be the series' natural peak as the vengeful ex-wife finally achieved her decades-old goal of revenge.

Yet this show, so ripe with potential, had lost its way too long ago.

Season 7:

As the ratings slide continues alarmingly, more "come-back, we've-fixed-it!" public relations campaigns were mounted. The producers again promise they are getting away from the more outrageous elements of Season 6, and re-focusing on the family. Yet most of the effort still seems to be directed at the publicity rather than fixing the show itself...

The fact is, "realism" and the lack of it isn't necessarily defined by how unlikely or bizarre the plots may appear to be on paper. The issue is execution. And the Powers That Be on DYNASTY still seem almost totally disengaged from their own program. As long as the clothes and hair are right, and the Static Acting Directive isn't violated, the makers remain unconcerned with anything else, or so the show airing every Wednesday night in the States would suggest.

Sure, the plots were more earthbound in Season 7. But drabness isn't much better than idiocy and, in this case, the former was just another manifestation of the latter.

Alexis' control of the mansion could have been quite dramatic indeed. It wasn't. Blake taking it back over a few months later could have been quite a turn of events. It wasn't. Krystle's migraines after she and Blake are run off the road could have been interesting. They weren't. As usual, all the plot twists were telegraphed and unconvincing. "Dumbness" ruled the day. Plus, late Season 6 and Season 7 were determined to deliberately -- and inadequately -- revisit old story devices (a la a re-cast Amanda's affair with chauffeur, Michael) as if, superstitiously, this would somehow put the show back where it was five years earlier when everything was new, when everything was exciting, and when everything seemed possible.

Back in Season 2, DYNASTY established its uniqueness by being something akin to a carnival. By now, however, everything has been reduced to a kind of deranged puppet show.

Blake getting amnesia after an oil rig explosion and shacking up with Alexis in Singapore was a good idea, but the show no longer seems capable of pulling anything off anymore. Krystle arrives from the far side of the globe and shows up just to whimper and ring her hands beside her limousine's flat tire. Dreary plots like Krystina's heart transplant and the suicidal mother of the the heart donor drag on forever without reason. The depressive Fallmont family is about as equally engrossing.

It's routine by this point in the series that the plots either last too long (usually the bad ones) or the plots don't last longer than the time it takes merely suggesting them (usually the good ones). The furiously wrong-headed scripts have long-showed little reverence for family history or any propensity for short-term memory, sometimes unintentionally contradicting stated plot elements even within a single episode.

Then, at some point mid-way thru the season, the writers somehow decide that the continued Nielsen crash is due to the characters being "too mean", and so Alexis and the other villainous denizens of Denver become -- spontaneously and without explanation -- insipidly humanized, even apologetic (to prove they're all really decent people deep down) until those writers eventually forget about this turn of events as well.

There simply seems to be no creative clarity to be accessed here almost at all. The bosses no longer have any grasp about what "works", regardless of whether the ostensible plots are silly or serious.

Brief Amanda replacement, Karen Cellini, observes in an exit interview that "the producers have no idea what they want" for the show, and revealed her awareness that the audience "really only wants to see Linda and Joan." While DALLAS'/KNOTS' creative father, David Jacobs, laments that Joan and Linda "no longer seem like the stars of the show anymore." (Years later, Kate O'Mara would quote one of the producers as privately confessing that they made the plots up as they went along.)

Sometimes something with great potential, when that potential is squandered or abused, can often become far worse, far more incorrigible, than something which had very little potential to begin with... I recall one reviewer in 1987 comparing --- for some reason or another --- certain TV shows to cuddly animals, stating that DYNASTY was like the neighbor's mongrel dog which keeps dragging decapitated cat heads into the family living room (or words to that effect). Yep, that worked for me. The perverse incompetence bordered on the gruesome.

But as long as nobody gestures too freely, what's the difference? About this time, TV GUIDE ran a piece about "They're Stars but can they Act?" in which celebrated producer, Steven Bochco, said of Linda Evans, "She can't act her way out of a paper bag!" and little disagreement was heard... No one would laugh at Evans' Golden Globe win, tying with the great Barbara Bel Geddes, in 1982, but that seemed a long, long time ago.

To add insult to injury, for some reason the original broadcast prints shown from late Season 6 thru early Season 8 had a blurry, splotchy, absurdly washed-out visual quality which wreaked havoc with the one element of the show still worth watching it for: the "look" of DYNASTY, which was completely compromised as a result. This problem (which has since been fixed for these episodes) undoutedly had the effect of pushing the ratings down even further and faster than was already occurring.

And speaking of earthbound plots, over on the collapsing COLBYS spin-off, Fallon #2, incorrectly re-cast with the curvy Brit, Emma Samms, is kidnapped by a flying saucer and whisked away to Mars --- or, where all platinum foil-draped aliens and their decapitated cats reside, Denver.

Season 8:

By fall 1987, there is now the distinct sense that DYNASTY is no longer a hot item. At all. Such a fast fall for a show cited then and now as the series most reflective of its era, which became the most influential show in the medium's history for affecting street fashion, and was #1 in the ratings only two years earlier. In fact, DYNASTY has undergone one of the fastest two-year slides on record for a former Number One show.

Co-creator Esther Shapiro states in the press that, "That was then, this is now," contrasting DYNASTY with a new TV project she's involved in. It seems obvious that the show is on the back burner. Strangely, in some ways it helps: the Static Acting Directive, though still in place and enough to run off actress Leann Hunley by year's end, is allowed to lessen, and the swelling, incongruous music scores which the composers were asked to paint wall-to-wall over every episode in a way that mirrored the old 1930's/'40s golden age movies, are also markedly pulled back.

As a result, the series relaxes. Unfortunately, despite those continuing public relations campaigns that still insist the show has been "fixed" (or perhaps they meant spayed or neutered?) nothing can be done about the writing. It's as dumb as ever. But somehow it hurts less. Matthew Blaisdel is temporarily cured of death and returns with a battalion of guerilla soldiers to reclaim Krystle. Fallon returns from Mars/Los Angeles, and the show has the atypical self-awareness to make gentle fun of her intergalactic holiday. Blake and Alexis run for governor (without a mention of his manslaughter conviction) without any actual politics entering into the conversation. Alexis' new husband, Sean, is out to kill her. The standard musical beds dynamic continues as the time killer of choice.

When Blake utters the season-ending line, "My God, Krystle, I thought we had more time...!" he could be offering up a review of DYNASTY as a whole. As it is, there's little doubt he's right: this sucker is dead as a doornail.

Season 9:

Upon hearing that “a DALLAS head honcho" was being brought in to take over DYNASTY in 1988, I wondered two things: Why bother at this point?, and, given the company's fondness for blame-casting, Are they bringing in somebody new just to take the fall for the obviously imminent cancellation?

News was that, wisely, the new producer was returning Stephanie Beacham, the brightest light of THE COLBYS, to the parent series as well.

At this point, it was genuinely difficult for me to even imagine DYNASTY being fixed, so long had it been off-track and so late in its run it was... I had fantasized numerous, alternative plots which made sense, rewrote in my head many of the stories they had in fact done. But to no avail. I was unable to will the show into good creative health from a distance. So I had long given up. I literally watched it now like a highway accident, mesmerized by how grisly it could get and remain. Like a carcass rotting in the sun (that decapitated cat analogy again).

It's difficult to delineate my emotional reaction when the first episode of Season 9 aired in November 1988, in its new, dreadful timeslot on Thursday night which killed THE COLBYS and was now intended to kill DYNASTY:

Almost for the first time in six years, there was air in the show. Suddenly there was a focused storyline and a sense of dramatic tension. Instantly the show no longer seemed to be actively fighting against nature. "Little" things, like people conversing logically or at least plausibly, were occurring. And even Krystle's increasingly shrill, squeaky demeanor (and Evans' performance) over the last half-decade was all forgiven just by having the maid, Jeanette, simply acknowledge it, a years-old brain gizmo soon to be offered up as the specific explanation.

I can't explain how poignant I found it all, this ghostly opening episode of Season 9. The next day or so, USA TODAY pointed out that it was the "most exciting installment of the show in years."

Dark secrets, buried treasure, mysterious deaths from the past, all tied wonderfully to the series' original back story.

No, the ratings wouldn't be salvaged; it was too late for that. And with Linda Evans leaving just a few weeks into the season, and Joan doing only about 60% of the episodes, the end seemed inevitable. But what a relief it was, for those few of us still watching the thing, that David Paulsen was able to give DYNASTY such as dignified and inspired final season... despite an effective-but-cliffhanging final episode which was shot before the cancellation had been made official.

But it left one to forever wonder -- almost hauntingly -- what could have been had the end of Season 2 and the beginning of Season 9 been linked together by half-a-dozen years of material equal to them.

The mind reels. But still I'm grateful for the cherished, ornate bookends that Seasons 1 & 2 and 9 provided for the otherwise empty novel in between.

Oh, and I was right... Whether this had been the original intention of bringing in Paulsen or not, Shapiro would, over the next few years, cite "the new producer" and the show "getting into melodrama" in Season 9 (although it was clearly the least melodramatic year since Season 1) as the cause for the program's cancellation. She also would claim, in her eternally disingenuous way, that the network was trying to "get the original team back" to take over the show.

Yeah, right. Just before they cancelled it.

1991 'Reunion' :

In Spring of 1991, press reports were leaked that the impending DYNASTY reunion was being stalled because Linda Evans wanted too much money. More dirty spin. Her representative then released a counter-statement calling that, "a bald-faced lie".

The real problem was that neither Linda Evans nor John Forsythe wanted to do The Reunion because they knew the script (by the original team Shapiro insists that the network was so desperate to get back) was lousy, despite two years to write it... Eventually, Spelling pressured John and Linda to acquiesce and do the show anyway, the duo apparently not willing to go up against their pal and fight too long and hard for another, better script.

It aired in October 1991.

Of course, it was bad, The Reunion. In terms of continuity, as flawed as it was, it certainly was no worse than most years of the weekly series. And at least the Static Acting Directive and the disoriented music score weren't reinstated now that Paulsen was gone.

But what was the impetus to do this Reunion when there was evidently no real interest from the writers in it? Money, one supposes. And likely from some kind of misguided sense of pride which nevertheless didn't seem to propel them into doing a better show back in the '80s.

The first night made the Top 10 in the ratings, despite being against the World Series. But the second part, two nights later bombed big: the audience realized the Reunion wasn't any good, and tuned out.

The brass, it would seem, were unrepentant.


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DALLAS - 2012
19.05.11 17:50
Bepo
Board Member

dabei seit:
17.08.2009
Beiträge: 234

Weißt du wo diesewr Artikel erschienen ist bzw. wer ihn verfasst hat?


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'Quote me as saying I was mis-quoted.' (G.M.)
20.05.11 08:31
Rollin
Board Member

dabei seit:
17.01.2010
Beiträge: 263

Hi, im Sinne der "Guttenberg"-Affäre wäre die Quelle durchaus interessant.
Allerdings auch wieder nicht, denn ich habe gerade zugunsten dieses Artikels auf meinen Frühsport verzichtet und ärgere mich jetzt, da der Artikel offensichtlich von einem enttäuschten Fan geschrieben wurde und hauptsächlich subjektive Eindrücke wiedergibt, anstatt Hintergründe sorgfältig auszuleuchten; das so oft zitierte Sprichwort "Never struggle with success" reicht da irgendwie nicht aus, um die angeblich schwachen Drehbücher der Seasons 3-7 zu erklären.
Um einen weiteren subjektiven Eindruck widerzugeben; ich persönlich finde die Seasons 3 bis 7 eigentlich gar nicht so schlecht, wie auch schon des öfteren hier im Forum eingebracht. Die Problematik bei Season 1 und 2 ist die, dass die Geschichten allzu sehr aus dem Schatz der "Dallas"-Stories recycelt waren (-und das lässt sich weitestgehend "objektiv" belegen). Schade, dass der Autor dieses Artikels gerade diese Seasons hervorhebt und beginnt, die DYNASTY-Geschichten ab dem Punkt der Serie zu verreissen, als diese gerade beginnen, ein (nicht mehr durch andere Serien inspiriertes) Eigenleben zu entwickeln. Natürlich ist, aber das wissen wir auch alle, die Serie nicht wirklich als Drama zu verstehen, sondern eher wie die "Goldenes Blatt"-Version der 80er Jahre. (Die Welt erscheint vereinfacht und ästhetisch ansprechend...)
Auch wieso Season 9 über den grünen Klee gelobt wird, ist mir unverständlich, wartet doch diese Season mit dem wohl schlimmsten Schnitzer aus dem "Story Editing"-Bereich auf (-die Geschichte um Roger Grimes). Ist nicht eher der Verdacht zu untersuchen, ob der ehemalige "Dallas"- und "Knots Landing"- Autor/ Produzent David Paulsen von der Konkurrenz (LORIMAR) bei DYNASTY eingeschleust wurde, um der Serie den finalen Todesstoss zu versetzen?

24.05.11 07:53
Bepo
Board Member

dabei seit:
17.08.2009
Beiträge: 234

Da stimme ich Größtenteils mit Rollin überein! Eben deshalb wäre es interessant, ob es sich um einen enttäuschten Fan, einen Möchtegern-Kritiker oder was auch immer handelt!


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24.05.11 13:10
Esther
Board Member
esther.jpg
dabei seit:
09.02.2005
Beiträge: 25

Es handelt sich um eine Zusammenfassung des Users Marky/Snarky/Snarkygoddess im amerikanischen Soapchat-Board im Forum "Dynasty Official Forum" unter dem Thread "What went wrong with "Dynasty" ... ?"
http://www.soapchat.net/showthread.php?203217-What-went-wrong-with-quot-Dynasty-quot-...

Der User ist seit vielen Jahren dort ein sehr streitbares Mitglied im Board, mittlerweile Moderator mit sehr eigener Meinung. Es handelt sich hierbei also nicht um den veröffentlichten Artikel eines Profikritikers, sondern um einen User-Beitrag aus einem anderen Forum.

24.05.11 18:50
Rollin
Board Member

dabei seit:
17.01.2010
Beiträge: 263

Danke für den Hinweis! Das ist interessant zu wissen.

Es ist immer wieder erstaunlich, wie enfach in der Retrospektive die Erklärung für einen Erfolg oder Misserfolg eines Projektes abzugeben ist. Man darf bei DYNASTY eines auch nicht außer Acht lassen, nämlich, dass DYNASTY in eine völlig andere Medienwelt geschossen wurde als die heutige. Als die Serie in Produktion ging, stand keinesfalls fest, wie viele Länder sie kaufen würden oder wie viele Beteiligungen sie einmal ausschütten würde, Sponsoring war zwar schon vorhanden, aber nicht in dem Maße, dass man -wie heute- beispielsweise komplette Kostüm-Budgets wegen eines Sponsors einsparen konnte.

Wie ich hier im Forum schon einmal ansprach, finde ich es beachtenswert, wie pfiffig Aaron Spelling und sein Team Opulenz bei DYNASTY vortäuschten(, das nur nebenbei). Ein Problem mit Glamour scheint es bei "Spelling-Productions" allgemein gegeben zu haben. Bei der Spelling-Produktion "Drei Engel für Charlie" habe man auch mehr auf das Aussehen der Hauptdarstellerin geachtet als auf gute Drehbücher. Wenn sich dort dann doch ein gutes Drehbuch eingeschlichen habe, sei man durchaus zufrieden gewesen, aber es war kein Muss. (Quelle: CHARLIE´S ANGELS CASEBOOK).

Das mag bei den Engeln so gewesen sein, da die Episoden in sich abgeschlossen waren und auch jeder "Freelance"-Autor Bücher liefern konnte. Bei DYNASTY war dies jedoch anders. Als Freelancer hatte man da kaum eine Chance, da Charaktere und Story so angelegt waren, dass die Episoden in einem Zusammenhang standen...so kam es, dass es doch meistens dieselben Autoren waren, die die Skripts für DYNASTY schrieben.

Allem Unken zum Trotz waren -meiner Meinung nach-die DYNASTY-Skripts fromell gut geschrieben und perfekt durchdramatisiert- wenn sich eine Story Line eingeschlichen hatte, die dem einen oder anderen Zuschauer missfallen hat, muss man dennoch zugestehen, dass sie vom Autorenstandpunkt her handwerklich gut umgesetzt war.

Ich weiß die Platzierungen nicht im Detail, aber ich glaube mich zu erinnern, dass die Staffeln 3-7 von DYNASTY die höchsten Einschaltquoten hatten- daraus würde ich jetzt schließen, dass mit den Drehbüchern weitestgehend doch alles gestimmt hat, denn ganz offensichtlich wurde ein Nerv der Zuschauer getroffen- und dies weltweit!

Wer genau diese Staffeln (3-7)verreisst, kann kein echter Fan der Serie sein, da weder die Staffeln 1/ 2 und schon gar nicht die Staffeln 8/ 9 das "typische" DYNASTY-Flair ausstrahlen, für das man die Serie liebte.
(Ich muss auch gestehen, dass mich aus heutiger Sicht die Serie bei weitem nicht so in den Bann zieht wie in den 80er Jahren, ["Knots Landing" überzeugt mich da vielmehr,] aber ich habe DYNASTY früher geguckt und war begeistert und es ist und bleibt ein Teil meiner Jugend!)

Abschließend kann man zum Thema "Was bei DYNASTY schief lief" eigentlich nur den banalen Satz anführen, dass es "zu lange" lief. Dies ist aber ein Problem von nahezu allen US-Serien (-die Kuh wird so lange gemolken, bis sie tot umfällt). Es gab zwei geeignete Punkte, die Serie zu beenden:
Entweder mit dem "Moldavia-Massaker"
(- welch herrliche Gerechtigkeit; all der Rechtum, die Intrigen etc. und wofür)...
0der nach Blakes und Alexis Intermezzo "Zwanzig Jahre früher"
(-der Grundkonflikt zwischen Blake und Alexis war gelöst, die beiden hatten sich versöhnt; alle danach folgenden Streitigkeiten zwischen ihnen hatten nicht mehr den gewohnten Biss)

25.05.11 07:36
apollo
Board Member

dabei seit:
03.01.2010
Beiträge: 303


Zitat von Rollin:
(Ich muss auch gestehen, dass mich aus heutiger Sicht die Serie bei weitem nicht so in den Bann zieht wie in den 80er Jahren, ["Knots Landing" überzeugt mich da vielmehr,] aber ich habe DYNASTY früher geguckt und war begeistert und es ist und bleibt ein Teil meiner Jugend!)


Ich habe Dynasty bei der ersten Sendung im ZDF auch wöchentlich angesehen und geliebt - na ja, sagen wir gemocht. Das reicht des Lobes.

Das Problem heute ist aber, dass wir uns intensiver um diese schönen alten Serien kümmern und wir immer tiefer in die Hintergründe eindringen, um mehr zu erfahren und die Serien inhaltlich und produktionstechnisch.

Ein Teil meiner Jugend ist Dynasty natürlich auch bei mir, deshalb kann und werde ich aber mein Erwachsenenleben nicht versauen und diese - im Vergleich zu den anderen Produktionen der 1980er Jahre - erneut ansehen und mir tiefere Gedanken darüber machen. Schlüsselepisoden sehe ich mir natürlich auch weiterhin an. Zum Beispiel habe ich vor Kurzem entdeckt, dass ein Set eines Gerichtssaales von Dynasty (natürlich ist es in Dynasty immer ein Set) auch in Falcon Crest verwendet wurde und dies somit ein für verschiedene Produktionen vermietetes Set gewesen sein muss.

Dynasty ist nun mal - befasst man sich intensiver damit - nicht die Beste der 80er Jahre Soap Operas

Auch wenn Fans von Dynasty dies bestreiten.


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DALLAS - 2012
25.05.11 07:57
apollo
Board Member

dabei seit:
03.01.2010
Beiträge: 303


Zitat von Esther:

Der User ist seit vielen Jahren dort ein sehr streitbares Mitglied im Board, mittlerweile Moderator mit sehr eigener Meinung. Es handelt sich hierbei also nicht um den veröffentlichten Artikel eines Profikritikers, sondern um einen User-Beitrag aus einem anderen Forum.

Was aber nicht das Interessante an dem Beitrag mindert.

Ob es sich um ein "sehr streitbares" Mitglied handelt ist, sei dahingestellt, da es sich lediglich um die von Dir hier niedergeschriebene Meinung handelt.
Bei Soapchat sind viele User seiner Meinung - unter anderem auch ich.


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DALLAS - 2012
25.05.11 08:03
Rollin
Board Member

dabei seit:
17.01.2010
Beiträge: 263

Nur sahen das damals wohl Millionen Zuschauer anders. Natürlich weiss ich, dass Einschaltquoten nicht wirklich eine Messlatte für Qualität sind, aber die angepriesenen Staffeln 1 und 9 (-lassen wir mal Season 2 beiseite, weil sie auf dem Weg zur "Qualität" von Season 3 eine "Wegbereiter-Funktion" einnimmt-) sind eigentlich "andere" Serien, die ihre Schwerpunkte dort haben, wo die Konkurrenzserien Erfolge mit feierten.

Vielleicht liegt bei DYNASTY aber einfach nur ein Casting-Problem vor, die Darsteller der "Drama-Seasons" 1 und 9 können der wenig glamourösen Handlung nicht genügend Leben einhauchen (-ich sage nur, Pamela Bellwood als Psycho-Tante mag zwar funktionieren, aber sie ist eigentlich zu hübsch, um der Rolle wirklich Tiefe zu geben- vergleiche man sie doch nur mal mit Margaret Ladd aus "Falcon Crest"). Also ist es doch nur schlau, den weitestgehend gut aussehenden und in gewisser Weise professionellen Darstellern Hilfestellung durch Ausstattung und Kostüm zu leisten.

Für das Casting von DYNASTY zeichnete Barbara Baldavin verantwortlich, ehemals selbst (wenig erfolgreiche) Schauspielerin- veielelicht hat sie zu viele persönliche Bekannte von sich bei DYNASTY untergebracht oder sie hatte nicht genügend Chutzpe, Spelling und seinem Team talentiertere, aber vielleicht nicht ganz so telegene Leute zu empfehlen.

25.05.11 08:31
Bepo
Board Member

dabei seit:
17.08.2009
Beiträge: 234


Zitat von apollo:

Dynasty ist nun mal - befasst man sich intensiver damit - nicht die Beste der 80er Jahre Soap Operas

Auch wenn Fans von Dynasty dies bestreiten.


Natürlich bestreiten es die Fans! Genauso wie Fans anderer Serien bestreiten es würden, würde man diese Serien als nicht die besten bezeichnen. Das ist wohl Geschmackssachte und die liegt in den Augen des Betrachters.

Dass Dynasty möglicherweise nicht die besten Schauspieler und nicht immer die besten Drehbücher hatte sei mal dahingestellt. Aber im Vergleich zu den anderen Prime Time Soaps hatte es einen USP!

Ich finde die Kritik dieses Users auch durchaus ok. Jeder soll seine Meinung haben. Ich persönlich fand Season 1 und 9 auch die Storyline betreffend sehr gute Staffeln. Jedoch spiegeln sie für mich nicht den Charme von Dynasty wider.


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'Quote me as saying I was mis-quoted.' (G.M.)
25.05.11 19:26
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