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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 1:00 am

New faces, same old drama in 'Dynasty' reboot

Jay Bobbin | Zap2it

It doesn't have Linda Evans and Joan Collins this time, but “Dynasty” still has its trademark catfights.

That's evident right from the first hour of The CW's new reboot of the famously glitzy, Aaron Spelling-produced 1980s serial that begins today. Spelling-series alum Grant Show (“Melrose Place”) assumes John Forsythe's earlier role as wealthy Blake Carrington, whose likely business successor appears to be his strong-minded daughter Fallon (Elizabeth Gillies, “Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll”) until he takes a fiancee: Cristal (Nathalie Kelley, “The Vampire Diaries”), a rival for the Atlanta family's power that Fallon expected to be hers.

Partnered again with his “Gossip Girl” and “The O.C.” colleague Stephanie Savage in executive-producing “Dynasty,” Josh Schwartz reasons, “We are definitely living in an age of dynasties, right? You cannot look at the news across a spectrum of parts of society (without them) ... whether we are talking about Trumps or Clintons or Kardashians or Murdochs, what have you. Our news is filled with the stories of family dynasties, and that is something that was really exciting to us about why to do the show today.”

Show, who thinks Spelling “would love” the “Dynasty” revival, was sold immediately on it. “Blake Carrington is such an iconic character,” he reflects, “and one of the most complicated villains – I'm not sure if he was a villain or not in soap-opera history – and that's what I'm continuing to strive for, but in a modern era. In 2017, Blake can't be homophobic in the same way that a 1983 Blake was, but he can have problems with his son (Steven, now played by James Mackay) not being the son that he wants him to be. Those are the things that I'm working towards.”

Fallon is the first Carrington the new “Dynasty” re-introduces, and her skillful dressing-down of two admirers in the opening scene sets her pace immediately.

“I did watch quite a bit of the original 'Dynasty,'” Gillies says, “but I didn't want to imitate either of the other actresses (Pamela Sue Martin, then Emma Samms). I wanted to bring my own thing to her. I think that she has a little bit more, I would say, Alexis in her than the original Fallon. She has a biting wit in which she has a lot of sarcastic, excellent lines. I love her strength, and I think that's what really drew me to the role.”

Kelley likes how the new “Dynasty” changes the character structure, which also encompasses an African-American Jeff Colby (Sam Adegoke) and a male take on Heather Locklear's former Sammy Jo (portrayed by Rafael de la Fuente). Other figures present again include Carrington manservant Joseph (Alan Dale) and Cristal's married ex-lover Matthew (Nick Wechsler, formerly of “Revenge,” which fellow “Dynasty” executive producer Sallie Patrick also worked on).

“This modern version represents a more current picture of what's happening in America,” Kelley believes. “The diversity of the cast really reflects that. 'Krystle' is now 'Cristal,' originally from Venezuela. I think it is another really bold and intelligent choice, considering what is happening there right now. And even to the narrative, it's really exciting and important to be talking about the geopolitics of Venezuela on a CW show. I think that's really amazing.”