1980s hit drama ‘Dynasty’ gets modern reboot

Wednesday, 11 October 2017, 04:22:07 PM. Can you really have a “Dynasty” without Alexis Carrington?With help from creators Esther and Richard Shapiro, CW reboots the hit prime-time soap that ran for nine seasons starting in 1981 on ABC and became notorious for its Nolan Miller gowns and campy catfights.The CW version updates the characters to reflect the country’s diversity, with our heroine Krystle (Linda Evans in the original) now

Can you really have a “Dynasty” without Alexis Carrington?

With help from creators Esther and Richard Shapiro, CW reboots the hit prime-time soap that ran for nine seasons starting in 1981 on ABC and became notorious for its Nolan Miller gowns and campy catfights.

The CW version updates the characters to reflect the country’s diversity, with our heroine Krystle (Linda Evans in the original) now Cristal (Nathalie Kelley, “UnReal”), a powerhouse Latina executive, and Jeff Colby and his sister Monica reimagined as African-Americans.

It also pays surprising homage to the beats of the original pilot, right down to bratty Carrington daughter Fallon (Elizabeth Gillies, most recently of “Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll,” channeling original star Pamela Sue Martin) biting the head off of a wedding cake topper.

Fallon still has her daddy issues, but she’s a rising executive looking to take over Blake’s (Grant Show, “Melrose Place”) company. Standing in her way is daddy’s new girlfriend, Cristal.

Fallon’s plan to sabotage their relationship backfires. Blake proves he can manipulate members of his own circle better than anyone, and he’s an expert at staging a scene, as Cristal’s ex-lover, Matthew Blaisdel (Nick Wechsler, “Revenge”), discovers.

There’s a moment that would seem more fitting in a “Final Destination” film, but the circumstances propel one of the show’s first mysteries.

Cristal has other problems. There are things in her past that she would prefer to keep quiet about. Snide Carrington butler Anders (Alan Dale, “The O.C.”) seems poised to leverage her guilt.

As in the original, Fallon is devoted to her brother Steven (James Mackay, “The Leftovers”), who looks to be really and truly gay. (During the ’80s run, Steven switched his sexuality almost as often as he changed suits and was married to Sammy Jo and Claudia. His boyfriends tended to end up dead.)

This Steven still gets involved with Cristal’s poor relation, but in a twist, Sammy Jo is a he (Rafael de la Fuente, “Empire”). Some things never change: Blake and Steven still don’t get along, but that has more to do with the son’s liberal politics than his sexuality.

Here’s some familiar bite: Fallon walks in on Cristal and says, “You look so elegant. I hardly recognized you.”

There’s an Easter egg for fans of the original’s iconic theme song. Young Steven bangs it out on a piano in a home movie, until Fallon interrupts.

Fans of the original “Dynasty” know Fallon’s nastiness is just a warm-up. The original didn’t take off in the ratings — like a rocket — until the show introduced Joan Collins’ scheming Alexis in season two. This reboot is aware of that and alludes to the first Mrs. Carrington’s mysterious departure years earlier.

So who should play Alexis in this retooled version?

Fallon’s blond tresses might be the most obvious tipoff as to who producers are eyeing — an actress who has experience with the franchise, chemistry with Show (as demonstrated on “Melrose Place”) and the chops to deliver the bitchiest line.

“Dynasty” needs to make room for Heather Locklear, the original Sammy Jo, the perfect link to bridge the original to the remake.

If you’re going to do camp, you can’t stop at the edge of the lily pond. You have to throw yourself in.

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