Dynasty: The Complete First Season

In the early '80s, when television was in need of another good trashy dose of elitist pap (to compete with Dallas), the writing/producing/married team of Esther and Richard Shapiro, along with Aaron Spelling, created not just what America wanted but what America needed (as shown in the recent TV movie Dynasty: The Making of a Guilty Pleasure). Dynasty is the perfect escapism for the simplest yokel: rich white folks create their own problems by lying, cheating, stealing and destroying everything with greed, power, money and sex. It's a life none of us see but desperately want to experience and Dynasty delivered it and then some. Centred on the Colorado oil industry, the show features the constant struggle for power between the Carrington and Colby empires. Of course, it's not the business side that eventually made this a number one show; it was the scandalous pleasures that create the juicy turmoil. Season one begins with the wedding of oil tycoon Blake Carrington (John Forsythe) to his former secretary Krystle (Linda Evans). Yet before the ceremony, the cavalry comes rolling into town to complicate things: Blake's two children — Steven, his uninspired gay son, and Fallon, his slutty, conniving daughter — and Krystle's ex-boyfriend, Matthew. In true soap opera style, nothing is sacred and a drunken Blake puts it best right before he appallingly rapes his own wife: "My son is in love with a man, my daughter is in love with sex, and my wife, she runs around behind my back!" As salacious as it all sounds though, nothing can quite compete with the entrance of the devious and just plain evil Alexis Morrell Carrington Colby (played brilliantly by Joan Collins), Blake's ex-wife and mother of his children, in the second season, which incidentally took it from a top 20 to a top five show. Plus: overview, selected commentary. (Fox)