Saturday, 15 July 2017
737 The Colbys
First viewed : 28 January 1986
I purposefully left out mention of this in the Dynasty post but in reality the two series were inextricably linked. The Colbys was a spin-off from Dynasty plucking out the dullest character Jeff Colby ( John James ) and transplanting him and Fallon Carrington ( Emma Sams ) to California where his relatives operated. It was messily set up in the parent series around the same time as the Moldavian massacre. Fallon wanders into town as an amnesiac and gets picked up by playboy Miles Colby ( marginal Brat Packer Maxwell Caulfield ). They get married which comes as an unpleasant surprise for Jeff when Miles brings his new bride home. The series was originally titled Dynasty II : The Colbys in the UK and ran in tandem with Dynasty in 1986 with The Colbys on a Wednesday and Dynasty on a Friday. When Dallas returned in March though , it claimed the Wednesday night spot and The Colbys and Dynasty alternated on a Friday which was very aggravating, especially, I'm guessing , to those who'd previously shunned the spin-off.
The Colbys had some big names up its sleeve with Charlton Heston and his toupee as patriarch Jason Colby, veteran Barbara Stanwyck as his sister Constance, Stephanie Beacham as his wife Sable , Katherine Ross as her sister Francesca ( Jason's true love ) and Ricardo Montalban as vengeful business rival Zack Powers.
Alas, that didn't save it from being a lukewarm copy of its parent with nothing new to bring to the table apart from some really terrible acting. The worst offender was Caulfield , a posing pretty boy who thought he was James Dean and either flicked his quiff around or tried an Elvis lip curl. in lieu of acting. Stanwyck quit after the first series but she was bad as the rest and it was painful to watch her hamming whilst clinging on to the furniture for dear life.
The Colbys was an inevitable failure. Joan Collins recognised that from the start and refused to make any guest appearances. She later said that the show had damaged the Dynasty brand and was probably right about that too. With its cancellation confirmed before the end of season two , the writers ensured it would be remembered for at least one thing by having Fallon abducted by aliens in the final scene, leaving Dynasty with a silly plotline to untangle when she and Jeff returned to the main show. Sable and dullard daughter Monica ( Tracey Scoggins ) were subsequently written into Dynasty's final season two years later.