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Dynasty - The Complete First Season



DVD Release Date: April 19, 2005 (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment)
MSRP: $49.98
Number of Discs: 4 (double-sided)
Number of Episodes: 15 (counting the 3 hour pilot as 3 episodes)
Running Time: 719 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: approx. 34 minutes (not counting commentary)
Languages: English; Spanish; French Subtitles: English and Spanish; Closed Captioned
Special Features:
• 3 Audio Commentary Pieces ­ “Oil, Parts 1, 2 and 3” by co-creator Esther Shapiro; “The Separation” by co-creator Esther Shapiro and actor Al Corley; and “The Testimony” by co-creator Esther Shapiro and actor Al Corley.
• Featurette: “Family, Furs, and Fun”
• Character Profile: Fallon Carrington Colby
• Character Profile: Steven Carrington


Ah, the saga of the wealthy Carrington family in Denver comes finally to DVD. Dynasty is a delicious primetime soap that has it all! Starting with the “oil” pilot where Blake and Krystle get married to Blake’s children who include Steven and Fallon. Steven is openly gay and Fallon is well, a spoiled brat. The show’s first season aired on ABC for midseason in 1981 and had 15 hours worth of gossip that makes you just glued to your television, like how Desperate Housewives does today!

Passion, glamour, catfights, and the biggest shoulder pads in Denver--Dynasty, was the primetime soap fueled by an all-star cast and "sexsational" storylines. The all-star cast from season one includes John Forsythe, Linda Evans, Pamela Sue Martin, Pamela Bellwood, Al Corley, John James, Wayne Northrop, Katy Kurtzman, Bo Hopkins, Lee Bergere, Lloyd Bochner, and Dale Robertson. Recurring actors include Peter Mark Richman and Stepfanie Kramer in a pre-Hunter role.

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Season one had such a good start to the series, that about all of these episodes were memorable. Of course, the three-part pilot episode “Oil” is memorable, “The Honeymoon,” the two-part episode “Krystle’s Lie/The Necklace,” “The Separation” and the season finale “The Testimony.” Like I said, you just have to watch every episode, because this is indeed a serialized show.


The packaging has its pros and cons. The set comes with an outer box and an inner box. That baffles me because why have two boxes? There are two slim cases that hold two discs each. The slim cases are in the inner box. I guess the outer box is good so that the cases don’t fall out, but 20th Century FOX has not done this before, at least not to my knowledge. The artwork is the same for both boxes basically. The front of both is very clever. There is a photo of Alexis covering her face (who does not appear until season two, but is briefly seen in the courtroom in the season one finale), the series star Blake, and his wife Krystle. The show’s logo and the complete first season label are underneath those images. The packaging is a nice gray/crystal look, it really fits the show. The back of both boxes have synopsis of the show, the set, with special features listings, and technical information. The inner box though has three screenshots from various episodes.

As far as the slim cases go, the first slim case holds discs one and two and has a photo of Blake and Krystle, with the show’s logo and complete first season mention. The back of the slim case has details for each disc, containing episode titles, synopsis, original air date and a few screenshots, and special features, if any. The second slim case holds discs three and four and has a photo of Alexis, with her face covered up. Can’t wait to see that face uncovered next season! The same format goes for the back of the slim case as the first slim case. When we open each slim case, there is a disc on each side. Of course, since these are double-sided discs, there are no photos or any graphics on the discs itself.

Disc one side A holds the first two parts of “Oil;” Side B holds part three and “The Honeymoon.” Disc two side A holds episodes “The Dinner Party” and “Fallon’s Wedding,” Side B holds “The Chauffeur Tells a Secret” and “The Bordello.” Disc three side A holds the two-part episode “Krystle’s Lie/The Necklace;” Side B holds “The Beating” and “The Birthday Party.” Disc four side A holds “The Separation” and “Blake Goes to Jail;” Side B holds “The Testimony” and various special features.

Menu Design and Navigation:

Now let’s cover what is inside the DVDs when we put them inside the DVD player! The menu screen is VERY good. It starts with a shot of Denver’s beautiful Rocky Mountains, with the show logo moving in. Then various clips from the show are being shown while the Dynasty theme song plays. The options for the main menu screen are: Episode(s) and Special Features. Special Features option is only available for discs one and four. When we select episodes, we get to a list of episodes on the disc, and then when we select that, we get to an episode menu screen where the options are: Play Episode, Language Selection, Scene Selection, and Special Features (if any). The cool part is different music from the show plays on EACH sub-menu. Usually if we have a theme playing on a set, it is only on the main menu, but this has different music from the show on each sub-menu.

Video and Audio Quality:

The video and audio are just excellent! I’ve never thought it would be this good. The audio is mono, but it is a very good mono for 1981. There are chapter stops, which you can use on your remote, but if you don’t like that, there are scene selections also. The episodes are unedited and showed in their original form from its ABC days. The episodes run about 46-48 minutes, give or take a few seconds. The three-part pilot is in its original form, as one episode, though for some reason 20th Century FOX decided to put the third part on side B of disc one. Yes, they have two episodes on each side (except for disc 4 side B), but they could have made an exception, since the three-part pilot would be cool to watch all at once, rather than getting up and switching the side. Oh well, at least it is in its original form with opening credits only for part one and the closing credits after part three. They did include the 30 second “To Be Continued” tag (maybe that was only for syndication?) after part two; I think they did that because they had part three on side B. Parts 1 and 2 run over one hour and 32 minutes, while part three runs about 46.5 minutes.

Special Features:

Now let’s head on over to the juicy special features—Carrington style! There is audio commentary for the three-part pilot episode by co-creator Esther Shapiro on disc one sides A and B. She mentions she is never tired of the opening theme and loves the scenery, which is different from the regular episodes from “The Honeymoon” and on. We then don’t have any special features until disc four side A, where we have another audio commentary piece by co-creator Esther Shapiro, but is joined this time by actor Al Corley. Al played Steven Carrington. They comment on the episode titled, “The Separation.” The duo returns for another commentary piece for disc four side B, for the episode “The Testimony.”

There are three interesting featurettes also on this set. The first is titled “Family, Furs, and Fun.” It runs just over 23 minutes in duration. It starts with the theme song and has loads of clips with interviews with the creators Richard & Esther Shapiro; Pamela Sue Martin (Fallon Carrington Colby) and Al Corley (Steven Carrington). The next two special features are character profile interviews. The first one is “Character Profile: Fallon Carrington Colby.” It runs over 5 minutes and 20 seconds and has clips and interviews with Pamela Sue Martin. The second one is “Character Profile: Steven Carrington.” It runs over 5 minutes and 40 seconds and has clips and interviews with Al Corley. There was said to be some sort of outtakes on this set, but none are listed on the box and the cases, and I also couldn’t find them on any of the discs. It looks like it was scrapped at the last minute. Hopefully we have that for the next season.

Final Comments:

With the recent craze over Desperate Housewives, it looks like the primetime soap is ready to make a comeback. Before that happens, make sure you buy this primetime soap on DVD. I can not wait until the second season DVD. Hopefully it’ll be out soon as we will get to see Joan Collins and Heather Locklear joining the already high profile cast! (Quick note: No, that was not Joan during the first season finale when Alexis walked into the courtroom that was actress Maggie Wickman.)

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 4/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

-- Reviewed by pavanbadal on 04/01/05

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