If you're wondering how long it takes for Fallon and Cristal to pull each other's hair, the answer is "less than 30 minutes of screen time."
There are other updates: It's not that big a deal that Steven Carrington is gay now, and the Colbys, who act as foils to the Carringtons, are now a black family headed by Jeff (Sam Adegoke), a tech guru. In the pilot, Fallon is messing around with the chauffeur, Steven is dillydallying with someone he meets who will obviously turn out to be related to someone he knows, Blake and Cristal are getting busy on Blake's desk, and — as mentioned — Cristal and Fallon are pulling each other's hair.
The CW makes a very particular kind of soap — for its young(er) audience. If a lot of the new Dynasty feels like the old Gossip Girl, that makes some sense, because Gossip Girl creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage created it, along with Sallie Patrick, who worked on ABC's Revenge. So this doesn't quite feel like the broad, luscious Dynasty of the past; it feels a little more like it's supposed to be cool. What it could use, to be frank, is a little more of the Revenge DNA. Much of the time, that was a show that was joyfully wackadoo in a way that Dynasty, despite that obligatory hair-pulling scene, isn't quite yet. It could be — Gillies, in particular, has the corny verve to pull off something a little broader. But Kelley still seems a bit overmatched by the idea of Cristal really throwing down with Fallon, and it always takes a while for anyone to care about the boardroom shenanigans that are already underway by the end of the pilot.
When it comes to escapism, you could do worse than a trashy grown-up soap that will eventually have to introduce Alexis (the original show didn't until the second season), who will make things even more trashy in a harmless, drape-the-world-in-diamonds kind of way. Like a lot of shows about the very rich, Dynasty is less a salute to their excesses and more an imagining of their misery and emptiness.
But what every nighttime soap needs is something that we learned from something that happened on Melrose Place. It must contain at least the potential for a character (like Marcia Cross' Kimberly on Melrose) to return from apparent death, make it through an entire episode seeming relatively normal, and then, in the bathroom, yank a wig off to reveal that she's bald and she has a huge scar and she probably isn't OK at all — OH NOOOOO! Seriously: That is the nighttime soap business. It's not supposed to be moving; it's supposed to be big. And while it is fun, to really land, Dynasty needs to be a little bigger. A little broader. A little more off the wall. We must believe you will yank some wigs off some scalps when people come back from the dead.
Come to think of it, it needs Alexis.
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