Guys, the CW’s new Dynasty might be... good?
Last night the CW premiered the latest attempt to revive a TV classic. Given the lackluster response to TNT’s rebooted Dallas, it seemed too much to hope for anything particularly noteworthy. And yet, here we are, pleasantly surprised! A fan of the original and a pair of fresh eyes to the franchise, we sat down to discuss.
Kelly Faircloth: I love the original Dynasty and I thought I was going to totally hate the revamp because I am a curmudgeon. But then about two minutes into the pilot I realized they’d moved the show to ATLANTA and suddenly I was 100% absolutely on board. What was your impression of the pilot?
Megan Reynolds: I have never seen the original Dynasty, which is not surprising given the large gaps in my cultural knowledge, but I was ready and willing to watch the new version because of the team behind it: Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, the two masterminds behind Gossip Girl, a show that I will always hold dear.
The pilot was everything. It was ridiculous! Flashy! And it also felt extremely political. I’m not sure if that’s because the world is burning and everything is political or because of the subject matter, but that was the first thing I noted. What about you?
Kelly: I was caught off guard by how much it delighted me. Like I said, I think moving it to Atlanta really works. Whereas Fallon Carrington in the original show is sort of a spoiled princess without much direction except a stereotypical desire for her distant oil baron daddy’s love and attention, they’ve made her into an ambitious daughter to a manipulative tycoon who’s always second-guessing her readiness to take over the big family business. Which you could probably go down to the mall in Buckhead right now and find somebody in a similar position, frankly. And it does give the show a political dimension because the Carringtons are exactly the type of person who put Trump in office and guess what! I’m so excited to watch them fight and be dysfunctional I can’t even stand it!!!!!
My only Atlanta-specific complaints are that this family would have 170 Yeti coolers lying around and would never shut the fuck up about UGA football. More of that, please!
Megan: The minute they panned over that giant, ridiculous MONSTER of a house—like something out of a Real Housewife’s most intense fever dream—I knew that I would love this show. I live for a tacky interior. I also live for any television program that, in this day and age, interrogates the inner workings of Trump supporters, fictional or otherwise.
Kelly: That soulless hideous house that’s going to literally fall apart in ten years is so perfect.
Megan: That house was everything. That surprise wedding that was like some Instagram meets Pinterest lifestyle blogger nightmare was beautiful. And Crystal/Cristal/Kristle—why is she the devil?? Was she always the devil? If so, I want more of that.
Kelly: Okay, here’s the thing! In the original, Krystal is this basically nice woman—as much as anybody in Dynasty is basically nice—who marries into this family of nightmarish rich people. Here I think they’re making Fallon into the protagonist, kinda. The Bitch Queen of the original was Fallon’s mother, Alexis, played by the divine Joan Collins. And half the show was face offs between Krystal and Alexis. Which is one thing that I’m sad about—Krystal—now Cristal—was older in the original, so you had these two divas in their prime going at each other. Middle-aged women were the stars of the original.
Megan: Ahhhhhh, I see. That makes much more sense and coincides with the gifs I’ve seen—a terrible thing to even say.
At this point, though, it looks like Cristal and Fallon are both the same age AND are going to whisper-gossip-manipulate each other to death.
Kelly: Which, again, I plan to enjoy immensely. But still, RIP the 40-year-old Linda Evans facing off with 48-year-old Collins. Though their Alexis could still steal the show—Collins didn’t appear until season two. FYI re: catfights:
What do we think of the fashions, a highlight of the original?
Megan: So! I know the fashions of the original are iconic. The fashions of this one are not yet there. I appreciated the audacity of Fallon wearing that black and white cutout dress to her father’s surprise wedding and I truly enjoyed Crystal’s first wedding dress followed by her more playful wedding jumpsuit. But my issue with the fashion is that they’re not going hard enough. Lean the fuck into it! Give me better hair! Jewels! Drama! No one should ever wear flats! I want everyone to look like they’re on a Real Housewives reunion. Gowns! Garments! Etc.
Oh, and about that catfight... that happened.
Kelly: Yes! This is my biggest piece of feedback. Camp! It! Up! More chicken fried big daddy bullshit, more bananas sparkle clothing.
The catfight felt a tad perfunctory, to be honest. It was just a little “yes, we know you want the catfight, here it is.” However, I LOVED Fallon BITING THE HEAD OFF THE CAKE TOPPER.
Megan: OH MY GOD. When Fallon bit the head off the fucking marzipan-ass cake topper I screamed.
Kelly: Another moment where I was like, yes, yes, this show will do nicely for my fall TV plans.
Megan: The catfight in the pilot did feel perfunctory—it wasn’t as enthusiastic as it could’ve been and they didn’t break anything. A catfight should break things! At the end you should be covered in the dirt from a potted plant that you knocked over with your flailing leg.
Kelly: Honestly though I am very confident that if they give the actress playing Fallon some room to work, she can give us the right register of drama in the catfight department, if that cake topper was any indication. Again, lean in even harder. Fear not the camp.
Megan: Yeah, I agree! I do worry about Cristal, who I think is “fun” but maybe not that strong an actress. To completely switch gears, however, I’d love to address Fallon’s brother. Was he gay in the original? Is that a fun twist? Is any of this hewing close to the original plot?
Kelly: Okay, in the first season, Steven was gay and struggling with it—in fact one of the earliest gay main characters on TV!—but then they kinda drop it? Really, it’s very confusing in execution and the stuff of PhD dissertations in media studies. Blake accidentally kills his lover and then at the trial, which concludes season one, that’s when Alexis appears. Then Steven marries Sammy Jo, originally played by Heather Locklear and here made into a dude.
New Dynasty’s Steven is, let us note for the record, very cute.
Megan: New Dynasty’s Steven is adorable! And wow, that is a lot. However! I’m liking his whole vibe and also dying of curiosity to see what the actual deal is with Sammy Jo. Like, I have a very low tolerance for new TV, but at the end of the first episode I was chompin at the bit.
Kelly: If New Sammy Jo is anything like Old Sammy Jo you are in for a WILD ride.
Megan: What are you hoping will happen, though? Like what—if anything—do you think the old show did poorly that you’d like to see fixed in this trash?
Kelly: Honestly, I just want candy. I want to be showered in candy like I’m at a small-town Thanksgiving parade. I want teeth-rotting levels of sugar. Dynasty—deliver me from our garbage news cycle for an hour once a week and you can do whatever the hell you want.