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ABC is scheduled to present Dynasty: The Reunion on Sunday, Oct. 20, and Tues. Oct. 22, from 9-11 P.M. each night.

Joan Collins didnt complain when she was bruised filming a catfight rematch between her super-bich character, Alexis, and Linda Evans sweet Krystle on Dynasty: The Reunion. But on the final day of shooting, she did become a bit testy. Pointing to the ridiculous purple outfit she was given to wear for a scene, she groused: I do not like this suit- its too cheap. It doesnt fit properly!

Then she delivered a perfect Alexis put-down: Theyre trying to economize, she sniffed.

With its $9-million price tag, 42 new Nolan Miller costumes and the rental of a $39-million beux-arts mansion for the Carringtons to call home, it seemed a bit far-fetched for anyone to call this production chintzy. however, by definition, this scaled-down version of the opulent prime-time soap known for its campy excess and larger-than-life characters is an economy package. Fans of the show will get only four hours of glitz and glamour the year, compared with an average of 26 episodes per year telecast during its eight-year run. The three top stars, too, are taking home less pay than they made before.

Its no surprise that they producers are hedging their bets in bringing Dynasty back to television. After all, given the circumstances of the shows demise in May 1989 - amid declining ratings and reports that the prime time soap was dead - no one is really sure whether viewers care a fig anymore about what happened to Krystle, Blake, Alexis and the rest of the Carrington clan.

Because the producers werent given sufficient notice that the final episode of the 88-89 season would in fact, be the shows last, it abounded with the usual end-of-the-season cliffhangers. When last we say Alexis, shed just taken a tumble from a hotel balcony. Billionaire Blake Carrington [John Forsythe] lay shot and bleeding on the stairs of his mansion, and his wife, Krystle, lingered in a coma in Switzerland. While its true that aggrieved fans wrote in by the thousands after that episode aired, complaining about the loose ends, the question remains: will those same fans attend the reunion this week

Co-creators Esther and Richard Shapiro promise this movie will more than make up for the series sloppy exit two years ago. All the loose ends will be neatly tied up - and, if the ratings justify it, a new Dynastic succession just might emerge. The Carrington saga could return as a two-hour sequel once or twice a year.

For the series to survive as a recurring movie, however, the Shapiros realized that It would have to change with the times. Once considered the perfect reflection of the greedy Me decade of the 80s, Dynasty has been revamped to reflect the Kinder, gentler. recession-plagued 90s.

For starters, oil baron Blake Carrington and his family are laid low with financial, political, legal, and health problems. Blakes experiences parallel those of the tycoons who lost companies and tremendous amounts of money, says Shapiro. Unlike the 80s, where the trappings were more important, bringing his family back together means more to him than getting his company back. Thats not to say that he cant try for both. In the process, two love triangles (echoes of Donald and Marla in one) take shape, and a familiar character becomes a Manchurian Candidate of sorts.

More action is packed into these four hours - wilder car chases, great James Bond-style fights with agents of a foreign company thats buying up America - and more humor. Another major difference: the characters are older and, in some cases, wiser. We catch up with them three years later, explains Shapiro.

Alexis is more mellow, admits Collins. She actually forms her first real friendship with a woman. Her taste in men, however, is as bad as ever. Shell fall for the ruthless head of an international consortium (Jerome Krabbe, the villain in the 1987 Bond Film, The Living Daylights). In another 90s twist, Steven Carrington (Al Corley), now an environmental lobbyist, finally accepts his homosexuality. Sammy Jo, Is the same old bad old Sammy Jo, explains Heather Locklear.

The more things change, the more they star the same, apparently. Shapiro guarantees that the appeal of the old Dynasty - its campy characters - will not be lost. She is determined not to make the same mistake that her former rival, Dallas, did in its wrap-up show. More than half the show focused on guest star Joel Grey. says Shapiro.

One big factor working against the success of this Dynasty double-header is the World Series, which will be telecast opposite it. Im praying for rain, says executive producer Aaron Spelling. ABC executives are betting that the shows many female fans will opt for soap suds over sluggers, no matter what the weather report says.

Collins, like another opinionated woman we know, cant resist getting in the last word about Dynastys appeal: The world is in a shocking state. So a bit of frothy escapism with women dressed in preposterous clothes and getting into slightly bizarre situations, fits perfectly.

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TV Guide October 19-25, 1991

 

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