Dynasty the film, even after Dallas?
Why Dallas failed we'll probably never really know, but we can hazard a few guesses from what we've heard, egos, budgets, and the idea that there really wasn't quite the story there that they thought there was. So if that was the case for Dallas, how can Dynasty make it into a film version?
It seems that if Dallas struggled then Dynasty sure as hell will, especially since Dallas was often the much more level headed, down to Earth version of the two soaps in comparison, Dynasty was cheese, shoulder pads, and every raised up a notch, or five.
Looking back it's difficult to unravel the truth about why Dallas failed, but there are a few reasons that could suggest where the problems lay. First was Larry Hagman's reported difficulties with the production and desire for more money to appear in it, something that the production seemed very keen on. Then there was the ever changing line-up of the Ewing family, and the big names involved, and finally the fact that it never was nailed down the real direction of the film, comedy or serious? In the end it sounded like they were going to try a Starsky & Hutch on the story. Bad move.
However I think Dynasty has a chance, especially since it is so close to Dallas territory anyway and it's more business focused rather than looking like the archetypal image of a Texan oil baron. With Dynasty the core of the family success could be more about business and fit into a modern world more, and they could build the super-rich family on some well known super-rich families in the world today, projecting some of the financial and public pressures on the that they too are facing.
In my mind it could work, but then I saw a way Dallas could work, a family built on the rich business of oil in the present day? Just look at the pressures on them, running out of oil, environmental accidents and concerns, rising costs, eco-energy (no the real eco-energy, not nuclear) and then through in all the usual family pressures and internal power struggles.
Don't you think either could work as a more dramatic film? I do.
"The time is right...Nostalgia has always been big, but we want to take it a step further. We want to go back to the beginning with these characters and use the film to trace their roots. We're taking Blake Carrington back to his young manhood and when he met Alexis, and setting the movie in the Mad Men era of the 1960s. It will give us the opportunity to start fresh, without the constraints that television placed on our characters in the series."
Oh. Okay, the totally opposite direction to the one I thought. Mad Men for the cinema. I'm not convinced. Richard Shapiro is though. He believes that the characters were constrained on television and would have much more scope and budget on screen. Frankly I don't understand how those characters were restrained on the show, they did some diabolical things to each other.
Is going back to their roots the way to make the film? Are hundreds of thousands of fans out there dying to bring back the nostalgia of the show? I don't know. I think The A-Team (Filmstalker review) worked because it took a couple of concepts, iconic characters and moments from the show that so many people remember as part of growing up and used them in a modern action film, and although they went back to the roots it was all in a current and modern way. We didn't have to remember the series and the characters so much as it was a new story, a story for us now.
Look at some of the other films that have been made of television series of the past, Starsky & Hutch, The A-Team, Charlies Angels. Which of those three worked and why? Concept taken into the modern day and made a lot more relevant to current audiences.
The problem I see with Dynasty is that they are going to show us the origins of a show and family that we've all forgotten. Sure we remember some of the faces and some of the attitudes, but do we remember enough to really be interested in an origin tale of the family?
Forget the eighties and before, bring it into the modern day, totally rework it for a mega-rich family with similar dynamics in the modern world, that's the only way I can see it gaining mass appeal.
Richard Shapiro believes other wise, he seems convinced it will work and it's what we want to see:
"We're taking the Dynasty family to places they've never been before," said Richard. "It's fun, because the fans of the show will know from the series where each of the characters end up, eventually, but what they won't know is how they get there. There will be some very unlikely twists and situations, and people will not be expecting a lot of what we're planning. We're going to do a lot of coloring outside the lines."