Two weeks ago, Paramount Home Video released a Complete Series set containing all 220 episodes of the original Dynasty, just in time for the CW reboot of the same name. Dynasty was one of the top primetime soaps of the 1980’s and with Dallas, is considered one of the all-time greats of that decade. While the individual seasons had been released before in the United States, this is the first time the entire show had been collected in one place.
Before getting into the review, here’s how the set is described:
A timeless icon of television drama, Golden-Globe-winning Dynasty forever changed the entertainment landscape with its larger-than-life portrayal of the luxurious lives and passionate loves of the wealthy and powerful Carrington family. Its no-holds-barred look inside the treacherous, sexy world of the super-rich captivated fans for 9 years.
Live the fantasy again with this engrossing 57 disc, 220 episode collection. Featuring Golden Globe-winning performances by its stars Dame Joan Collins, Linda Evans, and John Forsythe, and produced by the legendary Aaron Spelling, Dynasty is an outrageously entertaining pop culture phenomenon like no other.
Here’s our review.
The Episodes: Obviously I’ve only been able to scratch the surface of this set as there are 220 episodes to get through. What I love about having all of this in one place, though, is the ability to find any milestones that may be within, whether it’s seeing the introduction of Joan Collins’ Alexis, seeing what happens when Steven Carrington’s face changes, or seeing how they introduced the Colbys before moving on to their own show. From what I’ve seen, the early Season 2 episodes are my fast favorites, as we see how everyone including Blake, Krystle, Steven, and Fallon react to the return of the Carrington matriarch to that world.
I’ve said before in previous posts that I was more of a Dallas fan, so it’s fun to get to see a series I haven’t had a lot of experience with. I will say what I love, though: It’s campy and it allows itself to have fun while everyone looks fantastic. (Villains wearing eyepatches notwithstanding). This is a show where someone can be recasted with a totally different accent and look than they had before. And it’s also a show where – I love this – the women rule. Yes, Blake Carrington is the spell that is cast over several of them, but Alexis, especially, dominates above all. I also love that to TV audiences in the U.S. in the 1980’s, the Carringtons were the closest we could get to our own kind of royalty, and all of them were so regal.
I also love that, having 220 episodes at my fingertips, I can see all of the variations of the opening credits over the years. This is a show that would occasionally even include guest stars in the opening sequence. Opening titles are always a fascination of mine and a favorite part of a show, so, again, I love it.
One negative for the studio about this set, though, is having watched classic Dynasty recently actually made me less into the CW version which had a pilot that I loved. Yes, it’s outrageous and glamorous but not to the levels the 1980’s series had. I hope they find a way to cultivate that, eventually.
Finally: The talk about this being “The Complete Series” is kind of a fabrication. The 1991 Dynasty: The Reunion is not included on this set, so – spoiler warning! – the binge watch of 220 episodes will end on sort of a cliffhanger. Also, although I know Shout! Factory had the license to release it on their own which may have prohibited its inclusion, a complete series of the Dynasty saga is only really considered “complete” if it includes both seasons of spinoff The Colbys.
Image, Sound & Packaging: If you bought the original DVD releases of Dynasty that is exactly what you’re getting here. Some episodes don’t look perfect, but then again, they still look better than they probably did when people were watching the show in 1985.
Paramount doesn’t even pretend that this isn’t just the old discs packaged together – You still have Season 3A, Disc 1, and that sort of thing. I guess it would be costly to at the very least make the discs look different, but there you go. The complete series is split into three large cases. They seem okay, though they could surely also break easily.
The Extras: The extras are the same as the original DVD releases also, so the earlier seasons have a few things and then it all disappears into nothing. Also a little disappointing.
Is It Worth It? Despite my disappointments with the lack of The Colbys or the reunion miniseries, I’d still give this an absolute “yes.” I’m a big pusher in the purchase of any classic TV, because the more of it is preserved and kept, the better; but beyond that, there are some fun performances and moments here. Oh yes, and catfights. When you consider that Amazon is currently listing 220 episodes of Dynasty for only $20 more than the Colbys set of something like 44, it’s a steal that comes out to something like 45 cents per episode. I can’t wait to have time to sit down and binge this from start to end.