It’s happening again … television is reliving the past, and this time, it’s all about the family. And money. And power. And deception. And betrayal. And catfights. And sex. And, well, everything that makes a good soapy drama.
“Dynasty,” the show that followed in the footsteps of “Dallas” and its spinoff, “Knot’s Landing,” extending the dominance of primetime soaps through the 1980s, returns Wednesday to the CW with an updated look, a fresh-faced cast, and a few twists on the original.
Oh, it’s still a rivalry between the Carringtons and the Colbys and the battle over each family’s respective stake in the global energy business. Blake Carrington (Grant Show) is the patriarch of the show’s central family; his daughter, Fallon (Elizabeth Gillies), expects to be named COO of the family business. The surprise in store — and there’s always a surprise — is Blake’s new fiance, Cristal (Nathalie Kelley), a woman who’s not much older than Fallon herself.
Turns out, Blake has plans to name his new bride-to-be the COO of the company, and Fallon, eager for revenge, gets cozy with Jeff Colby (Sam Adegoke), her father’s chief business rival. And when Cristal’s nephew, Sammy Jo (Rafael de la Fuenta), arrives with a suitcase full of secrets about Cristal’s well-concealed past, things get a little, well, unsettled in the Carrington household. That Sammy Jo and Steven Carrington (James Mackay) hooked up in a one-night stand only adds to the complications.
A little backstory here: The original “Dynasty,” which premiered in 1981, starred John Forsythe as oil tycoon Blake Carrington; Linda Evans as Krystle, his former secretary and new, and younger, wife; Joan Collins as Alexis Carrington Colby, Blake’s ever-scheming ex-wife (who marries Blake’s chief rival, Cecil Colby, on his deathbed, inheriting his company); Pamela Sue Martin played Fallon, the promiscuous and spoiled little rich girl who also married into the Colby family, though they quickly divorced; and Sammy Jo, Krystle’s niece in the original version, was played by Heather Locklear. Steven, played by Al Corley, is gay in the original series, which causes problems between him and his father. His sexual orientation also turns out to be less than solid when he marries Sammy Jo.
In its day, “Dynasty” was so popular that former President Ford and his wife, Betty, and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, appeared on the show. The chances that this one could do the same are slim, but anything’s possible in TV!
“Dynasty,” which also stars Alan Dale as Blake’s butler and confidant, and Robert Christopher Riley as Culhane, the family chauffeur and one of Fallon’s secret paramours, premieres at 8 p.m. Wednesday on Ch. 15.2.
Heroism by helicopter: A specialized team of U.S. Army helicopter pilots is tasked with a mission in Somalia that goes awry: They are shot down, and one of their own is left behind. When they return home, the two pilots withhold the whole truth of the mission, but they’re committed to return to rescue their comrade who, it turns out, is held captive by terrorists. The CIA is brought in to investigate the failed mission, and the agent in charge has her own theories about what might have happened. “Valor” stars Christina Ochoa as Nora Madani, one of the unit’s first female pilots; Matt Barr as Leland Gallo, her commanding officer; W. Tré Davis as Jimmy Karr, the kidnapped soldier; and Melissa Roxburgh as Thea, the CIA investigator; it premieres at 8 p.m. Monday on Ch. 15.2.
The man behind the camera: Ever wonder what director Steven Spielberg’s life is like? Ever wonder how he got to where he is? “Spielberg,” an HBO documentary premiering Saturday, goes behind the scenes of the director of “Jaws,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial,” and Oscar winner for “Schindler’s List,” with interviews with family, friends, and the director himself. The documentary airs at 7 p.m. Saturday on HBO.
Much “Love”: Comedian Sarah Silverman may offend a few people — OK, let’s be real; she offends a lot of people — with her off-color comedy. But she loves America, and she aims to prove it with her new show, “I Love You, America,” debuting Thursday on Hulu. Her goal is to find people who don’t agree with her and connect with them openly and honestly, with humor and sincerity. New episodes of “I Love You, America” will stream on Thursdays, starting this week.
What else is new? Among the returning shows premiering this week are “Once Upon a Time,” on its new night Friday at 7 p.m. on Ch. 27; “The Exorcist,” with John Cho joining the cast, 8 p.m. Friday on Ch. 47; “Madam Secretary,” 9 p.m. Sunday on Ch. 3; “To Tell the Truth,” 7 p.m. Sunday on Ch. 27; “Supergirl,” at 7 p.m. Monday on Ch. 15.2; “The Flash” at 7 p.m., and “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” at 8 p.m., Tuesday on Ch. 15.2; “Riverdale,” at 7 p.m. Wednesday on Ch. 15.2; and “Supernatural” at 7 p.m., and “Arrow” at 8 p.m., Thursday on Ch. 15.2.