Serial Melodrama Analysis

Decent Essays

There was a time when serial melodramas dominated the ratings board and these shows that highlighted excess proved to be successful during the decade of excess, the 1980’s. During this time shows like Dallas, Knot’s Landing, and especially Dynasty would dominate the Nielsen Ratings, drawing in millions of viewers each week to discover the comings and goings on with each shows respective families. As stated above Dynasty was one of the most popular prime time TV shows on cable, according to the Nielsen ratings during the 1984-1985 season it come in as the number one viewed show in American. So it was only natural that this incredibly popular show would continue to thrive and even spawn a spinoff series, known as The Colbys. We will be delving …show more content…

The problems started right off the bat, as a review of the pilot episode from The New York Times bashed the show. The article states that the show is “a shopgirl’s vision of wealth, big money as it exists in the daydreams of those who have gotten no closer to it than gossip columns and junk novels.” The review follows the common trope of melodrama being an example of low art, as the writer mentions junk novels (which must be pulp/serial novels), one of the origins of serial melodrama. The writer of the article goes on to slam the writers, stating that it is “written with a sure grasp of cliche by William Bast and Paul Huson.” He even viciously attacks the cast for their performances and dialog, with mentions of actors Charlton Heston and Barbara Stanwyck “drift[ing] through their undemanding roles on facial expressions and gestures mastered long ago. The other performances are worthy of the dialogue.” The review finishes up by stating that “The only amenity missing… is wit - dangerous stuff in such places”. Obvious author Walter Goodman isn’t a big fan of either show and seems to be follow the role of many contemporary critics that mostly slam a serial melodrama, than again this wasn’t the only review that slammed the show, which isn’t a very good sign for viewers of the …show more content…

Originally the show itself was known as Dynasty II: The Colbys, with the dynasty part of the title appearing larger than the any other font on the ads. The show was having trouble living up to the expectation fans of Dynasty hard for the show, so it was ultimately disappointed longtime fans and couldn’t seem to draw in new ones. Even the ads themselves were not that exciting, with the one at the bottom of the page being a prime example. The ad itself is only 3 blown up pictures of three characters of the show as the text mentions that “Jason [Colby] is torn between his love of two sisters”. A instant problem with this promotion is that Jason Colby is played by a 62 year old Charlton Heston, a man not particularly good looking and is torn between two younger, much more attractive women. John Forsythe played Heston’s counterpart on Dynasty and he was a much more likable and handsome man than Heston, and he was even older than Heston. The ad doesn’t necessarily drum up any excitement for the show itself, and the worst part is that this is a promotion for the series premiere! To be honest it’s hard not to see why the show failed upon when nit was released, it was panned by critics and not particularly well advertised by the network

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