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Old Dynasty vs. New Dynasty: How Mom’s Fave Soapy Drama Is Getting Updated

Chances are high that if you mention the name Dynasty to your mother, aunt or grandmother, she’ll respond with either a surprised face and an approving nod or maybe a wistful “Oh, yes.” For this generation of women, Dynasty is an iconic 1980s soapy drama that captivated viewers across the country. Running for nine seasons and spotlighting the talents of actors Linda Evans, Joan Collins, Heather Locklear and so many more, Dynasty followed the drama brewing in the lives of the uber-rich Carrington family. Think Gossip Girl‘s very sassy precursor.

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Funnily enough, it turns out that the creators of Gossip Girl saw an opportunity to keep the soapy, super-dramatic spirit of both the 1980s version of Dynasty and their Gossip Girl baby alive by rebooting Dynasty for the millennial set. One look at the trailer indicates that all of the extravagant wealth and over-the-top drama will be there, but it’s also apparent that some big changes are being made as well.

Here’s how the 2017 version of Dynasty is switching it up from the version that first aired in 1981.

1. The cast is more visibly racially diverse in the Dynasty reboot
The 1981 version of Dynasty was fairly white in its core cast, but it looks like the reboot will pay more attention to inclusivity. By moving from its original setting in Denver to Atlanta, the show has taken the opportunity to acknowledge that this city is not predominantly white, nor are the 1 percent strictly a white community. The Colbys, famous foes of the Carringtons, are now a powerful black family in Atlanta; from the trailer, it looks like Fallon Carrington and Jeff Colby will be coming together in order to seize power. Let the games begin.

2. The addition of a gay male character will further build robust diversity
Heather Locklear’s character in the original Dynasty, Sammy Jo Dean Carrington, has been adapted into Sammy Jo, Crystal’s nephew who begins a romantic fling with Steven Carrington. There’s bound to be the same sexiness with Sammy Jo, but there will certainly be new territory to be explored through these LGBTQ characters.

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3. Familiar Dynasty faces from the original show could pop up

According to executive producer Josh Schwartz, just because the new Dynasty is rebooting a ton of stuff, that doesn’t mean there won’t be callbacks to the original show. Nor is it entirely out of the question for familiar Dynasty faces to appear. In fact, Schwartz teased over the summer that there’s a chance Collins, who played Blake Carrington’s ex-wife Alexis on the original Dynasty, could make an appearance in the future.

4. The character of Krystle has changed since the 1981 version aired
In the original Dynasty, Krystle (played by the forever cool Evans) was the character through which we entered the incredibly rich and extravagant world of the Carringtons and Colbys, but she was fairly conventional and, well, white. In the reboot, Crystal is going to be a heightened version of the old Krystle with layers of ambition piled onto her existence as a Latina woman moving through very white and privileged spaces. Expect Crystal to shake things up in a number of ways.

5. The women of the 2017 Dynasty are more complex and will hold the show’s focus

Dynasty Women GIF
Image: Giphy

The trailer and further commentary from Schwartz both indicate that the women of 2017’s Dynasty are much more interested in achieving and maintaining power in ways that only the men of the 1981 version could have achieved. To Variety, Schwartz noted that “both of these women [Crystal and Fallon] are ambitious career women… they want to run this business.” He also pointed out that “having Crystal have a more senior role in the company, not just being the secretary, makes her more credible of vying for control of this company with Fallon. They’re competitive, they’re both smart, they’re ambitious.”

6. Expect our modern way of life to heavily influence the 2017 reboot

Dynasty Wealth GIF
Image: Giphy

Back in 1981, cell phones hadn’t yet become widely available, there was no social media, and the pressure to be woke about the divide between the wealthy 1 percent and the rest of the world wasn’t as, well, pressing. Moving the show from Denver to Atlanta and making a majority of the characters millennials will make the reboot feel accessible and relatable in a way wouldn’t happen for modern viewers watching the 1981 version.

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7. Don’t expect the catfights from the 1981 Dynasty to carry over to 2017 

Dynasty Catfight GIF
Image: Giphy

Sure, the initial trailer for the reboot is teasing at least one face-off between Fallon and Crystal, but don’t expect there to be sniping and petty catfights aplenty. While the old Dynasty thrived on ramping up the drama with this kind of tactic, the new Dynasty is more than likely going to see the women and men of this world use their wits to best their enemies. Plus, if the show is going to focus on its ambitious women, then throwing them into reductive catfight scenes might be a bit counterproductive, right?

The Dynasty reboot starts airing Wednesday on the CW.

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