Dynasty: The Third Season, Volume Two
Directed by Alf Kjellin et al
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Running Time: 568 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 mono English, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish
MSRP: $ 36.99
Release Date: October 21, 2008
Review Date: October 20, 2008
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
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.
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.
Apart from previews of 90210 and Melrose Place, there are no bonus features in this set.
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.