Saturday, February 26, 2011

DYNASTY: Season 3 Volume 2 (Spelling 1984) Paramount/CBS Home Video

Before delving into the various machinations of plot in Dynasty Season Three - Volume Two: I would like to stress the pointlessness of studio greed that chops television seasons into two volumes, simply to take advantage of the consumer and charge more money for their product. Television shows come to us in full seasons during their original aired broadcasts. Hence, there is little to encourage this continuation of giving us only half a year's worth of that experience - particularly when we are dealing with soap operas that build their story lines to a crescendo throughout a single season. Enough said.
It can safely be said that in the last half of Season Three, Dynasty makes a modest comeback to the intense melodrama exhibited throughout Season Two; unique enough not to be considered a 'Dallas' wannabe. Fashion designer, Nolan Miller's glam-bam is on full display with Joan Collins and Linda Evans wearing some of the most extravagant and expensive ensembles ever assembled for a television series. But the fashion pales to the scintillating performances and story lines that take center stage in this compendium of episodes.
Having become sufficiently disorientated with the mercurochrome oxide paint in his office, Jeff (John James) agrees to sign over all of his Colby Co. shares to Alexis (Joan Collins) by Adam (Gordon Thomson), who is now focusing on implicating Jeff in the Logan Rhinewood scandal. Meanwhile, Alexis learns a scandalous truth about Kirby's (Kathleen Beller) mother and threatens Joseph (Lee Bergere) with the details. Sammy Jo (Heather Locklear) returns to Denver and attempts to sell Blake Jr. to Krystal (Linda Evans) and Blake (John Forsythe) so that she can move on with both her shallow life and equally shallow career as a New York fashion model. Blake refuses to buy the child from her but agrees to a possible adoption.
Alexis pursues her devious takeover campaign of Denver Carrington by forcing the banks to call in Blake's loans prematurely. She further attempts to blackmail Blake's Washington politico, Congressman Neal McVane (Paul Burke) by threatening to reveal his extramarital affairs to his wife and the press. Next, Alexis forces Blake's Board of Directors to side with her for a merger, lest they be destroyed by her need for revenge. Having broken ties with Alexis earlier, Adam turns to Blake, quietly attempting to frame Alexis for Jeff's mercurochrome oxide poisoning.
On the other side of the world an unconscious body of the sole survivor from the oil rig explosion is pulled to safety. The mysterious stranger is sent to recuperate inside a hospital in Singapore. Knowingly assuming the identity of his dead rig co-worker after having had major reconstructive surgery, Steven (played for the first time by Jack Coleman) is confronted by Blake in Singapore and told that Sammy Jo has given him a son.
Reluctantly, Steven returns to Denver and is welcomed by the entire family who briefly rejoice. Meanwhile, Fallon (Pamela Sue Martin) pursues a romance with La Mirage's tennis pro Mark Jennings (Geoffrey Scott) until Alexis thwarts their seduction by sneaking into Mark's room just as he has stepped into the shower - pretending to have slept with him by crawling into his bed moments before Fallon arrives. Back at the Carrington mansion, Kirby becomes jealous of Jeff's friendly relations with Fallon.
In the scorching season finale, Alexis lures Krystal to Steven's remote cabin to confront her with news that her marriage to Mark Jennings has never been annulled - offering Krystal a cool million if she will leave Blake for good. Insulted, Krystal attempts to leave the cabin, only to discover that someone has locked both she and Alexis in. The mysterious stranger now douses the cabin in kerosene, setting it ablaze. In the ensuing firestorm a beam comes loose from the ceiling, knocking Alexis unconscious and leaving Krystal alone and surrounded by deadly flames. Whatever will she do?
Paramount Home Video's Season Three Vol. II continues to suffer from edge enhancement and shimmering of fine details. Overall, color fidelity is solid, as are contrast levels. However, background detail suffers from digital distractions - not on all episodes - but on enough to render the image quality inconsistent at best. The audio is mono as originally recorded and adequate for this presentation.
FILM RATING (out of 5 - 5 being the best)

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