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DVD Reviews

HTF DVD REVIEW: Dynasty: The Third Season, Volume Two

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#1 of 11 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted October 20 2008 - 03:18 PM

Dynasty: The Third Season, Volume Two
Directed by Alf Kjellin et al

Studio: Paramount
Year: 1982-1983
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Running Time: 568 minutes
Rating: NR
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 mono English, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish
MSRP: $ 36.99

Release Date: October 21, 2008
Review Date: October 20, 2008

The Series


By its third season the Dynasty express was rushing full speed ahead to the top of the Nielsen charts. The top spot was still two years away, but it was the fifth most popular series on television during this third season, and the plethora of Machiavellian plots against as many Carringtons and Colbys as could be squeezed into a season of episodes continued unabated. Much of the high drama of the show as seen now is actually funny rather than dramatic (the infamous cat fight in the lily pond between Alexis and Krystle happens during this season), but there are themes of familial love and unrequited passions that can still involve the viewer, and the show is also a glamorous guilty pleasure treat to watch just for the Nolan Miller fashions and the opulent lifestyle that is always on display.

In the second half of season three which this three-disc set encompasses, we have the return of Steven Carrington in the person of a replacement actor, Jack Coleman. Steven was the victim of an exploding oil rig, and months of plastic surgery operations have left him with a completely different face. Once healed, however, he’s back to Denver after learning of the birth of his son who is also in the process of being adopted by Steven’s father Blake (John Forsythe) and stepmother Krystle (Linda Evans). Elsewhere, Blake’s vengeful ex-wife Alexis (Joan Collins in a career renaissance role) is attempting to take over ex-husband Blake’s oil company Denver-Carrington using her own shares, those her late husband’s nephew Jeff (John James) who had been systematically poisoned during the season by interloper oldest Carrington son Adam (Gordon Thomson), and Jeff’s newly born son who had many shares in a trust fund. Further complications arise with Blake’s daughter Fallon who gets a Haitian divorce from Jeff for abuse (while he was under the effects of the toxic poisoning) and gets involved with her hotel’s tennis pro (Geoffrey Scott), once the husband of Krystle. Jeff falls into the arms of major domo’s daughter Kirby (Kathleen Beller), and they have a quickie Reno wedding though there’s trouble in paradise almost as soon as they return home. Yes, on a show like Dynasty, it seems every one will have slept with everyone else at some point during a multi-seasonal run. The many characters in this glossy prime time soap certainly fall into revolving beds continually on Dynasty.

As mentioned earlier, Joan Collins’ moribund career was revived gloriously with her over-the-top vixen in Dynasty. Knowledgeable of her profound effect on the show’s success (it literally didn’t catch fire until Collins joined the show in season two), Collins plays the role with a juicy exuberance (the word “tramp” gets bandied about with wild abandon) that makes these episodes well worth seeing again. John Forsythe is the same solid, dependable actor he’s always been (even if his Blake is a pompous control freak who’s hard to like), and Linda Evans plays Krystle with an easy grace and simplicity. Gordon Thomson’s black sheep son Adam is judiciously played as a snarling panther while Jack Coleman’s angry, defensive Steven fits into the melodramatic surroundings well but becomes a touch wearying with all his bellowing.

There is the lack of "Previously on . . . ." recaps at the beginning of each episode on the box set, something that seems routine with the serialized dramas we have today. With these Dynasty episodes in this box set, information from previous episodes necessary to the viewer’s understanding of the plot seems built into the dialog of the various characters as the plot continued making recaps rather redundant. It’s actually refreshing to jump right into the story in every episode without those tiresome recaps. Perhaps producers today don’t give viewers enough credit for connecting the dots without using those visual recaps of previous scenes at the start of every episode.

Here are the twelve episodes from the second half of season three contained on these three discs:

1 - Danny
2 - Madness
3 - Two Flights to Haiti
4 - The Mirror
5 - Battle Lines
6 - Reunions in Singapore
7 - Fathers and Sons
8 - The Downstairs Bride
9 - The Vote
10 - The Dinner
11 - The Threat
12 - The Cabin

Video Quality


The program’s 1.33:1 aspect ratio is faithfully reproduced in these DVD transfers. The images are very sharp and intensely colorful, far clearer than network broadcasts I remember (and the added sharpness and clarity show clearly the heavy theatrical makeup some of the actors are sporting). Yes, there are occasional dust specks and the lack of anamorphic enhancement means there is aliasing and moiré to be seen fairly routinely. Still, these are very watchable and enjoyable transfers. Each episode has been divided into 6 chapters.

Audio Quality


The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track is a solid encoding with dialog, sound effects, and rather lush music (get the bluesy saxophone accompaniment any time an actress gets into an alluring negligee with sex on her mind) mixed expertly and funneled into the center channel via Dolby Prologic. There are no digital artifacts to speak of in this vintage track.

Special Features


Apart from previews of 90210 and Melrose Place, there are no bonus features in this set.

In Conclusion

3/5 (not an average)

Yes, over-the-top melodrama from one of the prime soaps of the 1980s is what you‘ll find in this latest release of Dynasty. Rapes, fights, attempted murders, conspiracies: there’s hardly a dirty stone left unturned in this fun revisit of a much loved favorite.

Matt Hough
Charlotte, NC

#2 of 11 OFFLINE   David Rain

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Posted October 20 2008 - 09:59 PM

For my money, the best Alexis/Krystle fight was the first one during the first season. A simple "You Bitch!" kicks off a helacious catfight which destroys Alexis' tastefully decorated garage/storage shed/apartment.
Turning the Beat Around at Our Cool New Pad

Retro Remixes


#3 of 11 OFFLINE   Ethan Riley

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Posted October 21 2008 - 06:27 AM

Matt: great review, but the original airings did indeed provide a recap at the beginning of each episode. These have been left out of all the dvds so far; pity--I kinda liked them.


#4 of 11 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted October 21 2008 - 08:46 AM

They did? OK, I'll revise that part of the review. I watched the show back then but have no memory of them.

#5 of 11 OFFLINE   onecent



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Posted October 22 2008 - 11:10 AM

Great review Matt! I remember the main three characters but forgot all about Fallon and Kirby. You sure brought back some memories of the show.

#6 of 11 OFFLINE   Aryn Leroux

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Posted October 22 2008 - 03:04 PM

Thanks for the review.. I went to pick this up at Best Buy but they did not have it. You can't get a legit answer out of the folks there. Do you carry it?, are you going to have it back in stock? Did you Carry it?.. they have no idea. I should know better for classic stuff to just order online. Amazon is cheaper anyhow. Here is to hoping Season 4 complete or Season 4 - Volume 1 will be announced in the not to distant future.

#7 of 11 OFFLINE   David Rain

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Posted October 22 2008 - 04:29 PM

FYI: After being turned down by the likes of Elizabeth Taylor & Sophia Loren, producers appraoched B-movie (and I'm being kind) actress Joan Collins to play what was to be the temporary, plot-device role of Blake's infamous, banished former wife. Collins accepted the role mainly to help pay medical bills resulting from her daughter's real-life accident. Alexis wasn't expected to stay around and the show at the time was not a huge hit and could easily have been cancelled.
Turning the Beat Around at Our Cool New Pad

Retro Remixes


#8 of 11 OFFLINE   Richard Michael Clark

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Posted October 23 2008 - 03:48 AM

...and the rest as we know is delicious tv history! Posted Image

My hope for future Dynasty releases is that Paramount brings out the season volumes no more than 3 months apart (I know it was only 4 months this time but still). They'll be guaranteed my $ if they do that! I'm guessing there's no way they'll be going back to complete seasons now?
If they could possibly release 4 volumes (2 seasons) a year that would be awesome too. One volume (half season) every 3 months would be brilliant actually and a perfect way to spread the cost for the consumer / avid fan!
I was very angry about the split season at first but when I realised that it means double the fabulous cast stills on the covers I kind of changed my mind! Just please keep them coming Paramount!

Thanks for this review Matt. Posted Image

#9 of 11 OFFLINE   Ethan Riley

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Posted October 23 2008 - 05:18 AM

I don't actually mind split seasons except for one thing: they end up costing too much! They end up costing like $60 for one season. What a gyp-off. I'm waiting for both halves of the season to be combined on sale on amazon or something. If the half-sets cost about $20 each, I wouldn't complain.


#10 of 11 OFFLINE   Anthony D

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Posted October 26 2008 - 09:11 AM

IIRC, they also had "Next time on Dynasty..." previews at the end of each episode. I really wish CBS/Paramount would include those, too. They really make the "experience"...does anyone know if Dallas had similar recap/previews? And if so, are they on the season DVDs?

I HATE these half-season releases - it's a COMPLETE rip-off by CBS/Paramount, especially considering there are NO extras on these discs (not even the recap/previews!).

How can they release full seasons of Mission:Impossible (which I don't think ever reached the heights Dynasty did) and The Invaders, yet not such classics as Dynasty, The Untouchables or The Fugitive? I wouldn't mind if these half-season releases were $19.99 each volume, but they're FULL PRICE! Is Dynasty really worth $52/season?

And to add insult to injury, they just released a "Complete Seasons 1-3" box set the same day they released Season 3, Volume 2.

Anyone have a contact address or e-mail for CBS/Paramount? I'd like to voice my displeasure.

#11 of 11 OFFLINE   Ethan Riley

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Posted October 27 2008 - 07:20 AM

Anthony--Dallas always had a spoiler at the beginning of each episode: a little preview of that night's coming events. Those spoilers are indeed available on the dvd series (thank you, WB!)


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