Who knew rich people could have personality?
By Sonam Kaloti, Arts Editor
Soap operas are wild. I’ve never been into them, likely because I’ve had to endure extremely dramatic Indian ones throughout most of my life. Fast close-ups of shocked faces paired with orchestral horror music still flash in my nightmares. I will admit though, if anyone can create a compelling story with the exact same plot as every other show on the network, it’s the writers of Indian cinema. The general favourite among such soaps is the classic “girl who marries into a family with evil in-laws” trope, and while I wish the interest in that narrative had died a good fifteen years ago, here we are in the Netflix era with the same evil in-laws—but they’re Caucasian this time.
In comes Dynasty, a reboot of the 1981 soap of the same name. It features a wealthy Atlanta family (a dynasty, if you will) who have become accustomed to wealth because of their inherited oil company. They live in a manor and are as dysfunctional as the media would like us to believe rich households are.
The father and the head of the company is Blake Carrington (Grant Show). Along with him, the house consists of his son Steven (James Mackay), his daughter Fallon (Elizabeth Gillies), his ex-wife Alexis (Nicollette Sheridan), season 1 wife Cristal Flores (Nathalie Kelley), season 2 wife Cristal Jennings (Ana Brenda Contreras)—and my personal favourite—Joseph Anders (Alan Dale), the family butler. There’s honestly a lot of characters to keep up with, but somehow Dynasty pulls it off. The show leaves enough time for each individual storyline and gives characters opportunities to develop throughout the seasons.
Such a character is Fallon, who is phenomenal. She’s a badass—powerful, quick, witty, and empowered. She knows what she wants and how to get it; she often goes down the low road in order to fulfill her needs. However, while she may seem like a confident and all-around perfect God at the beginning of season 1, her character unravels beautifully. She luckily retains her confidence, and it isn’t fake like in most shows. I’d love to see more unapologetically confident female characters like her. Yet a “flaw” she has to work on throughout the show is the fact that she can’t let her guard down and be vulnerable. She’s a role-model if I’ve ever seen one; she is always striving to be better and protect those she cares about, while trying to take on the entire world and making more than a few thousand mistakes along the way.
It’s strange watching a show where everyone is capable and has a lot of influence. Any character on the show who is not already a tremendously rich and influential person becomes one very fast. Usually they have some powerful family in another state that the viewers don’t learn about right off the bat. I’m not sure if this is what the 1 percent is like in real life, but I guess I wouldn’t doubt it. The show gives off the impression that rich people live in a social bubble in which they never meet anyone who is just a normie.
Despite these tight social bubbles and seemingly pompous rich people, Dynasty’s characters are extremely open. Steven Carrington is gay and in a public relationship with Sam Jones (Rafael de la Fuente). There are a variety of shared custody relationships under the Carrington roof. No one bats an eye at these relationships, but considering that the family has to deal with murders, money, and everything in between, the family probably doesn’t have the time or mental space to do so.
The show never feels too exhausting with the drama because comedic relief is thrown in constantly. Additionally, the comedy is never forced, because it’s been developed to be part of the characters’ personalities. Take Anders for example, he is a butler-turned-father to one of Blake’s kids. He is tasked with everything from planting flowers, arranging parties, being a parental figure to the youngsters—all the way to dumping bodies in the middle of a lake.
Every character is more charming than any Disney prince, and it’s utterly captivating to watch. The writing is spectacular and convinces you that the characters are powerful not only due to their material wealth but because of their capability for clever and bold dialogue.
Sure the drama feels surreal and oftentimes cliché, but the great character development caught me off guard. The family is this big pot of completely different personalities that you’d expect to hate, yet somehow you grow to love them and understand how they fit perfectly together. I’ve never been excited about the trope of a love triangle before, so that can speak for itself.
Season three will be premiering on October 11.