Was The Colbys a flop?

Discussion in 'The Colbys' started by AndyLaird, Aug 10, 2017.

  1. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Addict

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    RM quotes no tabloid. He explains how she told him it was crap. You yourself say that you don't doubt it, but you doubt that she called it stupid and a turkey. So if BS called the writing crap and you believe she did that, then what do you mean "Many people seem unbothered about whether Ms Stanwyck actually said what she said, just happy to endlessly repeat her alleged comments about The Colbys like gospel truth." Is calling the writing crap high compliment? The writing was the biggest problem with the show, followed by the acting of some. In many threads it has been discussed that directing was better on THE COLBYS than DYNASTY at the time.

    He talks about his scenes being crap and repetitive and without imagination at the same time BS was on the show--on the first season.
     
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  2. Zable

    Zable Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    And then you brought up Ricardo Montalbán.

    Hence why I responded the way I did.
     
  3. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    Well, whatever it was she said - she was wrong. The Colbys wasn't the biggest pile of garbage, it was a very decent soap opera that didn't find an audience, like so many other great-but-cancelled tv shows.
    HBO cancelled the fantastic, beautiful Carnivàle, TNT cancelled the exciting NuDallas, Cagney & Lacey was almost cancelled (several times, I think) - does that make them flops or garbage?

    Not to mention all those horrible tv series that don't get cancelled. Does that make them great tv shows?
     
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  4. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    Although she trashed DYNASTY too, reported at the time to have said: "if Rock wasn't already sick, the scripts would have killed him,"
    and her pointing out that what everyone wanted to see from the show was "Alexis manipulating and everyone else fighting back -- why don't they get back to that?"

    And nuDALLAS was crapola, except for the second half of season 2. Which is why its audience disappeared so quickly.
     
  5. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    Maybe she should have familiarized herself with the soap opera genre before signing a contract.
     
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  6. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    Especially DYNASTY, since Audra was on it.
     
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  7. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    Or should she have accepted the role of Angela Channing?
     
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  8. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    I'm glad she didn't though.
     
  9. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Addict

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    Ok, I guess I missed that you were referring to him. Does it matter? (I am honestly asking--don't know if there is further back story there)

    You are right on both counts--excellent shows get cancelled and horrible shows move on. But I don't think THE COLBYS was not given a chance to find an audience--it had two years (and TNT DALLAS had three). It's not like poor LONE STAR on FOX that was cancelled after a single episode. That was really not giving it a chance.
    I don't think good ratings equals good show, but I think good ratings equals someone who knows the audience they are trying to reach.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2018
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  10. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    Right. They offered "more Dynasty" but the audience probably wasn't interested in more Dynasty, and I'm not even sure if that had anything to do with the quality of Dynasty at that time.
    Various reasons have already been mentioned in these threads, but if people really want to watch a show they will watch it. They had already tried another family and another business with Emerald Point NAS and that lasted only one season, so I'm not convinced that "yet another oil show" was the problem here. Besides, we all know that DALLAS was the only show that actually did oil.

    Maybe The Colbys was too niche - great for soaplovers like me, but not groundbreaking enough to reach the big audience. They had been watching these prime time soaps for 5 (or 6 or 7) years already, and let's not forget that soap series require more dedication than cop shows and sitcoms. Maybe the audience wasn't in the mood to start another one at that time.
    The result is that these short-lived soaps have become sort of underground-y cult classics amongst the fans of the genre.

    I have watched trash, I know what it looks like. THE COLBYS was not trash, but it also didn't have the strong premise DYNASTY had 5 years earlier.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018
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  11. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Addict

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    In an interview available on youtube, Esther Shapiro says that this is the way ABC did things--give them more of the same rather than something different--of course she makes it sound as if she resisted, but we all know she didn't.
    KNOTS appeared technically in the 70s, when the genre had not really yet established itself and not too much after DALLAS. A DYNASTY spin off came too late.
     
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  12. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    And not only did The Colbys not have Dynasty's strong premise, it started with some serious handicaps too because there was already so much going on.
    The recast who suffered from amnesia, the incomplete Colby clan on Dynasty (it was only Cecil, his off-screen brother and his sister-in-law, and Jeff of course) which complicated the arguments about who would have/should have/could have inherited which part of the Colby fortune.
    It's amazing that they managed to smooth things out and continue with the The Colbys universe.
     
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  13. Carrie Fairchild

    Carrie Fairchild Soap Chat Fan

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    I think my fondness of The Colbys is biased by my love of Stephanie Beacham and her powerhouse performance as Sable. But really, when you look at the opening premise, it's a bogged down mess compared to the other 80's soaps.

    Dallas: Romeo & Juliet on a ranch
    Dynasty: working class woman marries a millionaire
    Falcon Crest: east coast family inherit a vineyard and face off against tyrannical aunt
    Knots Landing: couple start a new life in a seaside cup de sac
    The Colbys: presumed dead recast shows up with amnesia married to your cousin while patriarch thinks he's dying because of a misdiagnosis and falls back in love with his sister in law who nobody really cares about.

    The Colbys eventually sorted itself out with storylines like the trial and giving Sable more prominence but that weak opening didn't help. As has been pointed out before, it was a bit late in the day to be launching a spinoff too. None of the 80's soaps launched after 1981 lasted long, so by 1985 they were pushing their luck. ABC really should've taken a chance with Dark Mansions that season. It wasn't perfect but at least with it's Gothic tones, it would've stood out a bit from the other soaps on air at the time.
     
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  14. tommie

    tommie Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    I dunno
    Ha, true. I wonder if the original idea of Fallon running a hotel would've done better? At least that's not as cluttered idea like what they ended up with.
     
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  15. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    You've got a good point.

    The genre was really hard to do then, as primetime producers weren't used to the creative rigors involved with a series with continuing storylines. In fact NBC never managed to generate even one which worked or was successful. And the four shows that were hits crashed with a rarified spectacularity (except for KNOTS, and that was because it had an executive producer with unusual clarity -- and I don't mean Michael Filerman).

    Did ABC dismiss DARK MANSIONS or did Aaron Spelling decide not to pursue it? Robert McCullough, the man who'd made FALCON CREST a hit before he was fired, said he lost favor with Spelling because test audiences snickered at DARK MANSIONS (McCullough felt the spooky musical score was too campy).

    Just look at HOTEL and stick Fallon in the middle of it. What kind of spinoff is that? Give me THE COLBYS any time, but also give me more Sable and Constance, and no doomsday timeslot as they were handed.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018
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  16. Zable

    Zable Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    I'm at a loss figuring out what you mean. Are you wanting to know if there's more back story? About what/whom? Ricardo? What kind of back story?

    Stuff like this?.... The The Colbys scene where Zack chats with Adrienne in his hotel is RM sorta spoofing the SNL spoof of himself, Fernando Lamas and Cesar Romero in their I Am Ricardo Montalban! episode. The set-up – a bar where they're at & a problem to be solved – and the ending celebratory moments of both acts are similar, just that on The Colbys the interaction is between one couple, not three & the topic is entirely different. RM also channels a bit of his Mr Rourke of Fantasy Island persona here.

    Speaking of Cesar Romero (Falcon Crest’s Peter Stavros), the actor guest-starred in the Charlie Chan at Treasure Island movie of 1939; which was directed by Norman Foster. ….The movie also guest-starred Foster’s wife, Sally Blane; who became RM’s sister-in-law a few years later when RM married her youngest sister, Georgie. ….But before RM met Georgie, Foster had directed RM in the Mexican movie that elevated RM to rising star in his homeland, Santa. …Let’s just say that Santa ends with flowers being placed on a grave, though it’s some other things that might have some TC viewers going “ah-ha!” – such as, a note received when drinking/dining out in a fancy place, culminating in a private bad-news meeting with 2 others.

    ,,,,,Also, TC's Georgina Sinclair of the New York Ballet Company is the 'embodiment' of the 2 women felt to be closest to RM: his wife Georgie (full name Georgiana), a child actress who had modelled in NY before marriage & the dancer-actress Cyd Charisse, who first trained in ballet and began her dance career with Russian ballet corps. Nana Visitor, who played Georgina Sinclair, is the niece of Nico Charisse, Cyd's ex-husband.

    I Am Ricardo Montalban! transcript http://snltranscripts.jt.org/76/76usoy.phtml
     
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  17. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Addict

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    Because you were emphasizing to whom she said it, and in that case it was Ricardo Montalban.
     
  18. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Addict

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    As I've said before, DYNASTY shot itself on the foot with its handling of the Colby clan. They killed Cecil and made it all be Alexis' vendetta against Blake, and that gave the show momentum, but when the merger storyline finished mid-season 4, the momentum was gone and plot-wise the show floundered until Ben Carrington reappeared (and went back to floundering after Singapore).

    I never forgave them the misdiagnosis, to be honest. You are creating the spin off of the #1 TV show, with a huge budget, with big names, and of a particular show which was always generating a hurricane of publicity (DYNASTY) and THAT is the storyline you have to set things in motion? Also, ironically, they spin-offed the show around Fallon but it was bad enough they did not get PSM (nothing they could do since she refused) but the Fallon they wrote for was not the same Fallon on DYNASTY. Samms was given better material on DYNASTY's two seasons where she appeared. On THE COLBYS she was more like Kirby, down to the two brothers fighting for her.

    @Willie Oleson and @Snarky's Ghost need to tell us peasants who know nothing of it more about DARK MANSIONS btw.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018
  19. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    I, technically, am a peasant as well. I just have read stuff, then and later, about DARK MANSIONS, a semi-supernatural soap which was to star Joan Fontaine (Olivia's bitch sister). Spelling told her to drop some mutton so she'd photograph better.

    I don't remember much about the pilot and I don't think I saw much of it, so I can't assess it myself. But the too-literal title put me off, although I was never irritated by the title DARK SHADOWS for some reason.
     
  20. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    Well, they had to find a reason to move both Jeff and Fallon (but seperately!) into the Colby mansion. The first episode is probably my least favourite as it felt so hokey, but then Sable decided that Jeff didn't belong there and from that point it became excellent soap.

    But we shouldn't only think about the reason or lack or reason to do this spin-off. When I watch a soap I'm watching the episodes, and The Colbys looked beautiful, they had an interesting/talented cast (most of them anyway) and the writing was good. It often had a 1950s/1960s melodramatic feel to it. I have never seen the Harold Robbins mini-series "The Survivors" but I could imagine it would be something like The Colbys.
     

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