Dynasty (2017 TV series)
by Richard and Esther Shapiro
|Theme music composer|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||37 (list of episodes)|
|Production location(s)||Atlanta, Georgia|
|Running time||40–43 minutes|
|Original network||The CW|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Original release||October 11, 2017 –|
Dynasty is an American prime time television soap opera reboot based on the 1980s series of the same name. Developed by Josh Schwartz, Stephanie Savage, and Sallie Patrick, the first season stars Elizabeth Gillies as Fallon Carrington, Grant Show as her father Blake Carrington, Nathalie Kelley as Blake's new wife Cristal, and James Mackay as his son Steven, with Robert Christopher Riley as chauffeur Michael Culhane, Sam Adegoke as tech billionaire Jeff Colby, Rafael de la Fuente as Sam "Sammy Jo" Jones, Cristal's nephew and Steven's love interest, and Alan Dale as Joseph Anders, the Carrington majordomo. The series later introduced Alexis Carrington (Nicollette Sheridan), Blake's ex-wife and the estranged mother of Steven and Fallon, Anders' daughter Kirby (Maddison Brown), Cristal Jennings (Ana Brenda Contreras), and Alexis’ and Blake’s estranged son, Adam Carrington (Sam Underwood).
The pilot, which was announced in September 2016, was ordered to series in May 2017. Dynasty premiered on October 11, 2017, on The CW in the United States, and on Netflix internationally a day later. On November 8, 2017, The CW picked up Dynasty for a full season of 22 episodes. On April 2, 2018, The CW renewed the series for a second season, which premiered on October 12, 2018. Dynasty was renewed for a third season on January 31, 2019.
Dynasty begins with heiress Fallon Carrington unhappy to find her billionaire father Blake engaged to Cristal, a rival employee at the family company. When Fallon's machinations to separate the couple backfire and cost her a promotion, she allies with Blake's nemesis and former employee, Jeff Colby, and strikes out on her own. Meanwhile, the arrival of Cristal's opportunistic nephew Sam—who becomes romantically involved with Fallon's wayward brother Steven—threatens to expose her shady past. The Carringtons form a united front in the wake of the suspicious death of Cristal's former lover, but things at the mansion do not remain harmonious for long. Later, Blake's ex-wife Alexis, Steven and Fallon's mother, returns to the manor with an agenda.
The reboot updates several elements from the 1980s original, including moving the setting from Denver, Colorado to Atlanta, Georgia; making Steven's homosexuality a nonissue to Blake; and changing gold digger Sammy Jo from a woman to a gay man. Additionally, in the new series, both Blake's new wife and her nephew are Hispanic, and both chauffeur Michael Culhane and the Colby family are African-American.
Cast and characters
- Elizabeth Gillies as Fallon Carrington, an energy executive and heiress to an Atlanta energy fortune
- Nathalie Kelley as Celia Machado a.k.a. Cristal Flores Carrington (season 1), Fallon's new stepmother, a woman with a shady past
- James Mackay as Steven Carrington, Fallon's gay environmentalist half-brother who is the older and more levelheaded of the two (main, season 1; special guest star, season 2)
- Robert Christopher Riley as Michael Culhane, the Carrington chauffeur and Fallon's lover
- Sam Adegoke as Jeff Colby, a young business rival to Blake
- Rafael de la Fuente as Samuel Josiah "Sammy Jo" Jones, Cristal's wayward nephew and Steven's husband
- Alan Dale as Joseph Anders, the Carrington majordomo
- Grant Show as Blake Carrington, billionaire CEO of Carrington Atlantic, married to Cristal, and the father of Steven and Fallon by his first wife
- Nicollette Sheridan as Alexis Carrington (recurring, season 1; main, season 2), Blake's ex-wife and the estranged mother of Steven and Fallon
- Ana Brenda Contreras as Cristal Jennings (season 2), a woman who knew Celia and allowed her to use her name as an alias
- Maddison Brown as Kirby Anders (season 2), Joseph's daughter
- Sam Underwood as Adam Carrington / Dr. Mike Harrison (season 2), Blake and Alexis's kindapped eldest son.
- Nick Wechsler as Matthew Blaisdel (season 1), Celia's former lover, a field engineer who dies in a suspicious explosion
- Brianna Brown as Claudia Blaisdel, Matthew's wife, a former engineer
- Wakeema Hollis as Monica Colby, Jeff's sister
- Dave Maldonado as Willy Santiago (season 1), Matthew's friend and coworker at Carrington Atlantic
- Michael Beach as Police Chief Aaron Stansfield (season 1), a longtime friend of Blake's
- Elena Tovar as Iris Machado (season 1), Celia's sister and Sam's mother
- KJ Smith as Kori Rucks (season 1), Michael's ex-girlfriend
- Michael Patrick Lane as Ted Dinard (season 1), Steven's ex-boyfriend
- Arnetia Walker as Louella Culhane, Michael's mother
- Darryl Booker as James Culhane (season 1), Michael's father
- Luis Fernández as Alejandro Raya (season 1), Sam's father who is operating under the alias of Diego Calastana
- Bill Smitrovich as Thomas Carrington (season 1), Blake's father
- Hakeem Kae-Kazim as Cesil Colby (season 1), Jeff and Monica's father
- Kelly Rutherford as Melissa Daniels, wife of Senator Paul Daniels, and Steven's former lover
- J. R. Cacia as Rick Morales (season 1), a journalist and old friend of Celia's
- Elizabeth Youman as Evie Culhane, Michael's teenage sister
- Adam Huber as Liam Ridley, a writer who marries Fallon and whose real name is Jack Lowden
- Natalie Karp as Mrs. Gunnerson, the Carringtons' cook
- Brent Antonello as Hank Sullivan, Alexis' lover who is posing as her and Blake's kidnapped firstborn, Adam
- Katherine LaNasa as Ada Stone (season 2), an antiquities dealer who blackmails Michael and Jeff
- Michael Michele as Dominique Deveraux (Season 2), Blake's half-sister and Jeff and Monica's mother
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired||Nielsen ratings|
|First aired||Last aired||Rank||Average viewers|
(in millions inc. DVR)
|1||22||October 11, 2017||May 11, 2018||145||1.00|
|2||22||October 12, 2018||May 24, 2019||TBA||TBA|
In September 2016, it was announced that a reboot of the 1980s prime time soap opera Dynasty was in development at The CW, co-written by Josh Schwartz, Stephanie Savage, and Sallie Patrick. Savage said, "All of us have worked on shows that owe a huge debt to Dynasty, so it's kind of in our writing DNA to do this show." The trio discussed what they found unique and attractive about the original series, and how best to preserve those elements in an update. They also met with Richard and Esther Shapiro, the creators of Dynasty, who were ultimately attached as producers. Schwartz said, "We are definitely living in an age of dynasties. Whether it's the Trumps or the Clintons or the Kardashians or the Murdochs, our news is filled with the worlds of family dynasties and that was exciting for us." Savage added, "When we first sat down with the Shapiros to talk about rebooting the show, they talked a lot about family. No matter the villainous things that they did, they never stopped loving each other. I think we took that core concept and then just talked about how to place the idea in the historical context of our day." Patrick noted that the 1980s series was progressive for its time, dealing with issues like race, women in the workplace, and gay acceptance. She said, "We're trying to figure out how do we respect what that show was doing then and pushing it even farther in our version." De la Fuente said, "We're trying to make it stand on its own and be its own thing. But we have to pay homage to the original and the classic stuff that people remember from Dynasty, like the fashion, the catfights and the opulence of it all, is of course in our show. It wouldn't be Dynasty otherwise." Patrick said, "We really enjoy looking back through the old series and finding dramatic character-driven moments that they featured, but then making them our own and modernizing them. But at the same time, you can't do a reboot without making it your own, and I think over the course of the season, especially towards the end of the year, we started letting go a little bit more, and while there are a lot of Easter eggs for original viewers...and there are plot points that we've kind of rebranded...but we try not to tie ourselves too much to the old show, because sometimes that anchor can tie the show down."
The new series finds heiress Fallon Carrington facing off against her soon-to-be stepmother Cristal, a Hispanic woman. Patrick said, "It was important to me as a working woman to have two women fighting over the future of the dynasty." Schwartz said of the rival characters:
Even when you watch the original, Fallon is a character who feels as if she can exist in 2017. She just pops off the screen, and she can take on Krystle, who, in the original, was pure and the moral center of the show. With this new Cristal, we liked the idea of not letting her be quite as pure and raising some questions about her past and having her stir the pot—making her more formidable. That really let us lean into this rivalry between Fallon and Cristal.
Patrick said, "We knew in our version—2017—we wanted Steven's conflict with Blake to be not about him being gay, but about him being liberal." Savage noted, "With Steven Carrington out and proud, it makes sense for Sammy Jo to be a man." Patrick said in August 2017 that Blake's first wife Alexis would be introduced during the first season, but that the role had yet to be cast. She noted, "We knew Alexis was coming before we even started shooting the pilot, which allowed us to pave the way for her ... throughout the season, we hear Blake, Steven, and Fallon's memories about the woman who abandoned their family. So by the time she actually enters the series, we've established expectations about her character—which Alexis will happily break." The role was cast with Nicollette Sheridan in November 2017, and she first appeared in episode 16 in March 2018.
The setting was also moved from Denver to Atlanta, in part because of Atlanta's diversity. Schwartz called the city "a realistic location of this family to be based out of", noting that the Shapiros had arbitrarily picked Denver for the original series and were not creatively attached to it. Patrick said of the change, "Denver was obviously chosen for a few solid reasons at the time, being one of the oil capitals ... For us, Denver didn't have the vibrancy and conflict that we needed." She said that Atlanta is "a super diverse population and a great mixture—where there's conflict between old money and new money." Kelley said, "This modern version represents a more current picture of what's happening in America. The diversity of the cast really represents that." In the update, chauffeur Michael Culhane and the Colby family are African-American. Also, Cristal's Venezuelan origins will allow the show to explore the current geopolitics of that country.
We loved the original Dynasty—the camp and the big, surprising soapy twists. We also felt very strongly that we needed to earn those. It would have been hard to come out of the gate with an episode like this. You have to be with the characters long enough to start caring about them. We're cranking up the crazy moving forward.
The episode titles are lines of dialogue from the original series. In addition to reworked characters and plotlines, the reboot contains multiple visual homages to the 1980s series, including props and wardrobe.
The pilot was filmed in Atlanta. On May 10, 2017, the Dynasty reboot received a series order at The CW. A preview trailer was released on May 18, 2017. Dynasty premiered on The CW in the United States on Wednesday, October 11, 2017, and on November 8, 2017, The CW picked up the series for a full season of 22 episodes. Sheridan's casting was a key factor in the decision to give Dynasty a back nine order of episodes after the initial 13. On April 2, 2018, The CW renewed the series for a second season, which premiered on October 12, 2018. Dynasty was renewed for a third season on January 31, 2019.
Nathalie Kelley was cast as Cristal in January 2017, followed by Elizabeth Gillies as Fallon, Sam Adegoke as playboy Jeff Colby, and Robert Christopher Riley as Blake's chauffeur Michael Culhane in February. Next cast were Grant Show as Fallon's father Blake Carrington, and Rafael de la Fuente as Sam Jones, a gay male version of the original series' Sammy Jo Carrington, in March. The remaining main cast members are James Mackay as Fallon's gay brother Steven, and Alan Dale as Carrington majordomo Anders. Additional recurring performers include Nick Wechsler as Cristal's ex-lover Matthew Blaisdel, Brianna Brown as Matthew's wife Claudia, and Wakeema Hollis as Jeff's sister Monica Colby. In November 2017, Nicollette Sheridan was cast in the role of Blake's ex-wife Alexis Carrington, and was later promoted to series regular status for season two. Other guest stars include Elena Tovar as Iris Machado, Cristal's sister and Sam's mother; Bill Smitrovich as Thomas Carrington, Blake's estranged father; and Hakeem Kae-Kazim as Cesil Colby, Jeff and Monica's father.
In June 2018, Kelley told E! News that she would not be returning for season two. The CW announced in August 2018 that Ana Brenda Contreras had been cast as "the real Cristal Flores" for the second season. Maddison Brown was also cast as Anders' daughter, Kirby. A May 2018 press release teased that the show would introduce Blake's half-sister Dominique Deveraux, Jeff and Monica's mother, in season two. In November 2018, The CW confirmed that Mackay would no longer be a series regular after the first four episodes of season two, but would return later in the season. The CW announced on February 25, 2019, that Sheridan would be leaving Dynasty to focus on "some personal family responsibilities." Sheridan said in her own statement that she was leaving to spend more time with her terminally ill mother in Los Angeles. On March 22, 2019, it was announced that Michael Michele had been cast as Blake's half-sister Dominique.
The pilot includes a flashback of a young Steven playing the original Dynasty theme by Bill Conti on piano. An updated, 15-second version debuted as an opening credits sequence in the 1980s-themed third episode, "Guilt is for Insecure People", but is only used in some episodes. Composer Paul Leonard-Morgan worked with Troy Nõka to get "an '80s-rock vibe" for the song, to match Leonard-Morgan's soundtrack for the series. The new theme was recorded with an orchestra at Capitol Records in Hollywood, featuring Los Angeles Philharmonic lead trumpet player Tom Hooten. The visuals of the opening credits were changed for season two, and expanded to 22 seconds.
Dynasty premiered on The CW in the United States on Wednesday, October 11, 2017, with the season 2 premiere of Riverdale as its lead-in. Netflix acquired the exclusive international broadcast rights to Dynasty, making it available as an original series on the platform less than a day after their original U.S. broadcast. The series moved to Fridays starting with the fourteenth episode. Season two began airing on October 12, 2018.
Leslie Moonves, the then-head of CBS Corporation, said in 2017, "We own 100 percent of [Dynasty], and we've already licensed it to Netflix in 188 countries ... So this means Dynasty is profitable before it even hits the air." The CW's president Mark Pedowitz said in January 2018, "I'm disappointed in the ratings, I wanted it to do more, but I'm happy with the production values that Josh, Steph and Sallie are doing. There are changes coming, I'm thrilled to have Nicollette [Sheridan] ... I'm looking forward to Nicollette and Liz [Gillies] really going at it as a mother-daughter situation, and I think that will add some juice to the show."
|Season||Timeslot (ET)||Episodes||First aired||Last aired||TV season||Rank||Avg. viewers
|1||Wednesday 9:00 pm (1-13)
Friday 8:00 pm (14-22)
|22||October 11, 2017||1.26||May 11, 2018||0.56||2017–18||145||1.00||0.3|
|2||Friday 8:00 pm||22||October 12, 2018||0.64||May 24, 2019||TBD||2018–19||TBD||TBD||TBD|
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 53% approval rating with an average rating of 6.59/10 based on 40 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "Dynasty's revival retains enough of its predecessor's over-the-top allure to offer a glamorous guilty pleasure in its first season, even if it never quite recaptures the magic of the original." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 52 out of 100 based on 17 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Chris Harnick of E! Online called the pilot "soapy and fun", adding that the series is "a worthy heir to the original show and Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage's previous offering Gossip Girl and The O.C.". Adweek called the pilot inferior to Gossip Girl and the original Dynasty, but suggested that its pairing with Riverdale "could provide audiences a guilty-pleasure double-feature".
Tierney Bricker of E! Online dubbed Kelley "this season's breakout star", with Gillies "hot on her Louboutin heels".
Awards and nominations
|2018||Dorian Awards||Campy TV Show of the Year||Dynasty||Nominated|||
|People's Choice Awards||Revival Show of 2018||Dynasty||Won|||
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release Date|
|Dynasty: Season One||22||September 25, 2018|
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