A New Dynasty Is Ready To Rule The CW's hit reboot of Dynasty builds upon the original series' brilliant tonal mix of Shakespeare and soap opera, with a generous sprinkle of glamour.
Posted on Jan 9, 2018 06:00am

Last fall, television magnates Esther and Richard Shapiro—partners in both business and matrimony—welcomed three nervous producers into their home.

Styled in haute couture and brimming with enough one-liners to fill a legal pad, the affair was a classic showdown between old and new. When the young producers revealed their plans to reboot a soap opera the couple had created decades earlier, a catfight erupted.

At least, that's what would have happened if the scene had been written for Dynasty, which premiered anew this fall on The CW.

Once again pitting the billionaire Carrington and Colby clans against each other, the new Dynasty stars Grant Show (CSI and Melrose Place), Nathalie Kelley (The Vampire Diaries), Elizabeth Gillies (Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll), James Mackay (The Leftovers), Alan Dale (The O.C.), Sam Adegoke (Murder in the First), Robert Christopher Riley (Hit the Floor), and Rafael de la Fuente (Empire).

(L-R) Elizabeth Gillies as Fallon, Rafael De La Fuente as Sammy Jo, Nathalie Kelley as Cristal and Grant Show as Blake.

In truth, there was no reason for creators Stephanie Savage (Gossip Girl), Josh Schwartz (The O.C.), and Sallie Patrick (Revenge) to fear a dramatic run-in with the Shapiros.

They pitched the idea of reincarnating Heather Locklear's character, Sammy Jo, as a gay man (played by de la Fuente); Esther and Richard loved it. They suggested moving the show from Denver to Atlanta; the couple was all in.

The trio didn't want to resuscitate the old Dynasty; they wanted to give birth to its next generation. The Shapiros couldn't have been more supportive.

Savage, Schwartz, and Patrick continued to consult the Shapiros throughout the production process. "We are so blessed to have the riches of the original show to draw from, but also the freedom to interpret those moments how we want to," Savage says of working together to create the new show.

Patrick calls the email the Shapiros wrote praising the pilot the highlight of her career.

In the reimagined Dynasty, glamour and catfights come sans shoulder pads.

Though the soap inherited its progenitor's flair for old-school camp, Dynasty 2.0 has adopted modern sensibilities. The city of Atlanta serves as a crucible for sociopolitical friction, with the Carringtons and Colbys at its scalding center. Even more interesting is the show's nuanced exploration of class divisions within the families themselves.

Show's Blake Carrington—described by Schwartz as "a country club, pro-fracking, friends with the Koch brothers, probably voted for Trump" white guy—marries the Latina Cristal (Kelley).

But rather than resign Cristal's character to the role of one-dimensional wife, the show turns its attention to her relationship with Blake's daughter, Fallon (Gillies), with whom she battles for control of the family company.

READ: More About Dynasty's On Trend Fashion

Steven Carrington (Mackay) is seen having steamy elevator sex and grappling with his sexuality, but while he is politically divided from his family, their chasm is not limited to, or caused by, his sexual orientation.

Then, of course, there are the complicated relationships between the upstairs and the downstairs, the servers and the served.

Dynasty introduces plenty of drama to the reigning Southern families.

"We just witnessed one family dynasty defeat another in politics," Schwartz says. "There [are] dynasties everywhere you look, owning our headlines and owning our imaginations." He's not wrong.

Rare is the front page that omits the name Kardashian, and distant is the day when America's foremost families will fade from conversation. May the name Carrington be among them.

By Marley Coyne | Originally published in Watch! Magazine, November-December 2017.

Photo Credits: Mark Hill/The CW (3); Carin Baer/The CW (Group); Marc Hom /The CW (Trio).

Watch Dynasty on Wednesdays at 9/8c on The CW.