Review: Money Can’t Buy The New ‘Dynasty’ Excitement

The Carrington family is still in the energy business, though now fracking and green power are in the mix. The patriarch, Blake (Grant Show, his casting a callback to the ‘90s soap “Melrose Place”), is getting remarried to his employee Cristal (Nathalie Kelley). (Linda Evans’ new-bride character in the original, Blake’s former secretary, was Krystle; now it’s spelled like the champagne.)


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Ths doesn’t sit well with Blake’s daughter, Fallon (Elizabeth Gillies), who had expected to inherit the company. (She’s particularly busy, serving as the narrator and in her spare time, sleeping with the chauffeur.) The ensuing machinations also pull in Blake’s estranged, gay, environmentalist son, Steven (James Mackay), and the family’s adversaries, the Colbys.

For nostalgic fans of the original, this might seem like an unnecessary homage. For the CW’s target fan base, born largely after the original went off the air, it’s a retread of themes from more exciting soaps. For everyone, it’s so far forgettable.

This “Dynasty” is created by Josh Schwartz, Stephanie Savage and Sallie Patrick, a pedigree that raised higher hopes. In “The O.C.” Mr. Schwartz infused the teen-soap genre with pop-culture-conscious humor; in “Gossip Girl,” he and Ms. Savage created a luscious, silver-tongued exploration of private-school debauchery and intrigue.

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“Dynasty,” on the other hand, is obvious in plot and dialogue. It’s the kind of show where you know you’ve met the black sheep of the family because he says, “I’m the black sheep,” and Fallon’s secret lover welcomes her back to sultry Atlanta by saying, “It wasn’t as hot without you here.”

The casting is at least promising. Ms. Gillies (“Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll”) seizes the screen as the lusty, ambitious Fallon, and Alan Dale is imperious as the snooty Carrington butler (another holdover figure from the original). And the show’s depiction of luxury is even more over-the-top, maybe reflecting a world in which the 0.001 percent are richer and more powerful than in the 1980s.

But it all feels superfluous. Then again, the original “Dynasty” didn’t really have its zing until the second season, when villainess Alexis (Joan Collins) put the “nasty” into its title. The same character is referenced in the new pilot, but I’m not sure this “Dynasty” can wait a full year for its Alexis to arrive. Someone charter her a jet.

A version of this review appears in print on October 11, 2017, on Page C6 of the New York edition with the headline: It’s That ’80s Show. Order Reprints| Today's Paper|Subscribe

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