DYNASTY was a Prime-time soap opera that ran from 1981-1989 on the ABC Television Network. Styled after the series Dallas, it focused on the lives of the Carrington family, a wealthy and powerful oil family who, in the words of the series creator, "lived and sinned in a 48 room mansion" in Denver, Colorado.
The series was created by Richard and Esther Shapiro, who had once worked on the NBC daytime soap opera, The Doctors. Eileen and Robert Mason Pollock, who were also veterans of The Doctors, were writers for the series.
Unlike Dallas, which was played pretty straight, Dynasty was known for its highly campy style and a tendency to make fun of itself.
The head of the family was Blake Carrington (John Forsythe), a self-made millionaire, who ran the Denver-Carrington Oil Company as well as various other holdings (including a fictitious football team). He was married to Krystle Grant (Linda Evans) his former secretary and the unquestioned love of his life.
He had been originally married to devious Alexis Morrell (Joan Collins), the show's main villain, and the mother of his four grown children, Steven (Al Corley, Jack Coleman), a gay man who went back and forth from women to men and back again and wasn't cut out to run the business; Fallon (Pamela Sue Martin; Emma Samms), at first the only daughter and was more business oriented and suited to run the business; Adam (Gordon Thomson), the most evil of the siblings, taking after his mother; and Amanda (Catherine Oxenberg; Karen Cellini), the other daughter. Krystle gave birth to her own child with Blake, a daughter named Krystina.
Also involved in their lives was the Colby family, comprised of Cecil Colby (Lloyd Bochner), the owner of the ColbyCo corporation, who was once Blake's best friend, and later on worst enemy (he later married Alexis and made her a widow in short order when he died of a heart attack while in the art of making love!); Jeff, Cecil's nephew, who was married to Fallon, was later married to Kirby Anders; and their domestic servants, most notably, Joseph (Lee Bergere), the family's major domo and Kirby's father. Also seen frequently was Gerard, the Carrington family's butler; Jeannette Robbins, one of the housekeepers and Krystle's good friend; and Mrs. Hilda Gunnerson, the family's long-time cook.
But the show's primary villain was, without question, Alexis, the first wife of Blake, who clearly saw Krystle as an impediment to her plans to reconnect with Blake and her family. She and Krystle hated one another on sight, Alexis always calling her an "ex-stenographer" and their ferocious catfights were classic warfare; were almost always an annual event and were eagerly anticipated. Joan Collins (Alexis) often felt disappointed that most people remember Dynasty for the catfights.
Their first one demolished an art studio which Alexis owned, then a fight in a lily pond on the Carrington estate, a fight in a beauty parlor, using mud packs as weapons, a fight in a dress shop, among many others.
Not only did Krystle despise her, but pretty much so did everyone else in and outside of Denver. Alexis's first appearance in the Second season, which saw her help succeed in getting Blake convicted for murder, in the death of Steven's boyfriend, Ted Dinard, helped push Dynasty into high ratings (The previous season's ratings were quite lackluster).
Also making appearances was actress/singer Diahann Carroll who played Blake's half-sister, Dominique Devereaux (nee Millie Cox). Dominique also had no liking for Alexis, and those two bared their claws in some memorable bitch-slapping and fighting.
At first, she was thought to be a villain, until Blake gave her what she had always wanted, recognition in his family. Once that happened, Dominique became a good character, and she became one of Blake and Krystle's most staunchest allies. She and Blake bonded as siblings.
Other well known names made appearances on Dynasty, most notably James Farentino as Dr. Nicholas Toscanni, who hated Blake and wanted him dead; Ali McGraw (Love Story) as Lady Ashley Mitchell, who had fallen for Jeff, during one of his breakups from Fallon; Rock Hudson (in what would be his final role) as an old friend of Krystle's Daniel Reece; Grant Goodeve (Eight is Enough) as Chris Deegan, one of Steven's male paramours as well as his attorney in his fight to get custody of his son from Blake; Gerald and Betty Ford and Mr. and Mrs. Henry Kissinger as themselves as they made appearances at Denver's famed Carousel Ball.
Steven went back and forth between being gay and being straight, having been married twice (to the troublemaking Sammy Jo Dean and another marriage to the nutty Claudia Blaisdell), and eventually realizing he was gay and beginning a relationship with Bart Fallmont, the son of a senator.
Blake also had a daughter by Krystle, Krystina. Steven and Sammy Jo, who were parents of a son named Danny, later became in-laws when she married Bart's brother, Clay. Jeff and Fallon were the parents of L.B. (Little Blake) Colby and Lauren Colby.
More of the Colby family was the focus of Dynasty's spin off, The Colbys. The short lived show had some very impressive star power starring veteran actors Charlton Heston and Barbara Stanwyck (as Jason and Constance Colby) along with Katherine Ross and Ricardo Montalban. Some of the cast members of the spin-off came to Denver to wreak their own share of havoc on the mother show, namely Miles Colby (Maxwell Caulfield); Monica Colby (Tracy Scoggins); and their mother (and Jason's ex-wife), Sable (Stephanie Beacham), who became a platonic friend and confidante to Blake Carrington, to the ire of her cousin, Alexis. Alexis and Sable, who were cousins, also fought, in the grand manner of her fights with Krystle and Dominique.
A reunion movie helped tie up the loose ends of the long-running series. Blake and Krystle reunite (after she was in the hospital and he was in prison; Krystina was, during her parents absence, being raised by her older half-sister, Fallon), Steven and Blake reconciling (Steven realized he was clearly gay and was in a loving relationship with Bart Fallmont and working as an environmental lobbyist); Adam later rekindled his romance with Kirby; Jeff and Fallon reunite (after she left him for his cousin, Miles); and all the Carrington men, including Steven and Bart, who put a stop to a criminal syndicate's attempted takeover of Denver-Carrington. The show ended with a large family dinner, which even Alexis was invited to; and the end scene shows Blake and Krystle dancing together and finally happy at last.
- JOHN FORSYTHE -- Blake Carrington
- LINDA EVANS -- Krystle Grant Carrington
- PAMELA SUE MARTIN -- Fallon Carrington Colby #1
- EMMA SAMMS -- Fallon Carrington Colby #2
- AL CORLEY -- Steven Carrington #1
- JACK COLEMAN -- Steven Carrington #2
- JOHN JAMES -- Jeff Colby
- LLOYD BOCHNER -- Cecil Colby
- BO HOPKINS -- Matthew Blaisdel
- PAMELA BELLWOOD -- Claudia Blaisdel Carrington
- KATY KURTZMAN -- Lindsay Blaisdel
- HEATHER LOCKLEAR -- Samantha Jo "Sammy Jo" Dean Carrington Fallmont
- JOAN COLLINS -- Alexis Morrell Carrington Colby Dexter
- DIAHANN CARROLL -- Dominique Devereaux
- STEPHANIE BEACHAM -- Sable Scott Colby
- LEE BERGERE -- Joseph Anders
- KATHLEEN BELLER -- Kirby Anders Colby
- GORDON THOMSON -- Adam Carrington
- CATHERINE OXENBERG -- Amanda Carrington #1
- KAREN CELLINI -- Amanda Carrington #2
- MAXWELL CAULFIELD -- Miles Colby
- TRACY SCOGGINS -- Monica Colby
- ALI MCGRAW -- Lady Ashley Mitchell
- ROCK HUDSON -- Daniel Reece
- JAMES FARENTINO -- Dr. Nicholas Toscanni
- KEVIN CONWAY -- Bart Fallmont #1
- CAMERON WATSON -- Bart Fallmont #2
- RICHARD ANDERSON -- Senator Buck Fallmont
- TED MCGINLEY -- Clay Fallmont
- PATRICIA CROWLEY -- Emily Fallmont
- CHRISTOPHER CAZENOVE -- Ben Carrington
- KATE O'MARA -- Cassandra "Caress" Morrell
- PAUL BURKE -- Congressman Neil McVane
- WAYNE NORTHRUP -- Michael Culhane
- VIRGINIA HAWKINS -- Jeanette Robbins
- BETTY HARFORD -- Hilda Gunnerson
- WILLIAM BECKLEY -- Gerard