Dynasty was TV’s ultimate celebration of the American dream – an untrammelled Reaganite fantasy of money, sex and power from a time when hair was big and shoulder pads could have your eye out. And now it’s back, rebooted for the era of Trump, Murdoch and the Kardashians – all explicitly referenced at the top of the show to illustrate ‘an age of dynasties’ – by the creators of teen dramas Gossip Girl and The OC.
Clearly targeted at millennials, the focus this time is very much on the younger generation – particularly smart-but-spoiled heiress Fallon Carrington (Elizabeth Gillies), who delights in grinding ‘mansplainers’ and ‘old white guys’ beneath her kitten heels. A feminist Dynasty? What a time to be alive.
When Fallon’s father Blake (Grant Show) overlooks her for promotion in favour of his new wife Cristal (Nathalie Kelley), the two women’s rivalry quickly escalates from mud-slinging (‘Bite me, Cristal’ ‘Please, call me Mom’) to full-on catfights, hair-pulling and, in one memorable scene, Fallon pushing her stepmother into an open grave.
Blake’s gay son Steven (James Mackay) gets a bigger slice of the action this time out, too – especially in the bedroom – plus it’s a noticeably less white affair: Kelley is Peruvian, and there are leading roles for Sam Adegoke, whose Jeff Colby has been reinvented as a young tech entrepreneur, and Robert Christopher Riley as a chauffeur who does things in the back seat with Fallon that Lady Penelope would never have stood for from Parker.
The Carrington business empire has also had a 21st century makeover: Blake is now into fracking as well as oil, and we’ve already witnessed a tragic wind farm incident, prompting Fallon to complain: ‘I feel like one little decapitation shouldn’t blow the whole deal.’
It’s screamingly camp, of course – and that’s before we’ve even met Alexis. Famously, Dynasty was on course to be an expensive flop until Joan Collins sashayed into the second season as Blake’s vengeful ex. There’s no word yet on who’ll fill those particular stilettos, but let’s not forget Dame Joan is very good friends with a certain Ivana Trump. Just sayin’.
Jacqueline du Pré: A Gift beyond Words
In a spirited attempt to disprove its own title, this curiously old-fashioned documentary marshaled an army of talking heads to pay tribute the ‘superabundant talent’ of the cellist whose life was cut so tragically short by MS. ‘She had an incorruptible honesty,’ said one. ‘She gave and took without even knowing it,’ said another. ‘She was done before she was born,’ added a third, bafflingly. Maybe it would be better if we just let her extraordinary music do the talking.
The End of the F***ing World
Based on a US graphic novel, this highly stylised black comedy about two teenage misfits on the run brilliantly transplants smalltown America to Nowheresville, England, for what feels like a darker and more disturbed update of Heathers. Jessica Barden and Alex Lawther are fabulous as the young leads – one of who is planning to violently murder the other, if only he can stop himself falling in love with her first. The full series is on All 4 now.
Published in Waitrose Weekend, October 26, 2017
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