Was The Colbys a flop?

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

  1. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    It just upset me too much. So much, I typed "the" twice.

    Ok, I searched and found the pilot/movie online

    The credits look like NBC's DARK SHADOWS revival (which I loved, though I have not seen the original).
    As for the DARK SHADOWS title, it was a case of "so bad it's good." I mean, it's laughable--what else can shadows be but dark? Yet somehow I accepted it also as evocative.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018
  2. 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.
    Bob McCullough talks about the production of Dark Mansions here.

    http://www.podbean.com/media/share/dir-k6a84-22a571b
     
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  3. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    Ah, but that was the point, Michael Torrance! It was a very upsetting situation, it was hardcore soap[​IMG]
     
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  4. AndyLaird

    AndyLaird Soap Chat Active Member

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    Well it could happen to anyone... :)

    Fair point though. It's another reason why I prefer to see TC as, in effect, an extra episode per week of Dynasty, continuing the Fallon and Jeff story and adding new storylines with Jeff's relatives, not as a standalone show.
     
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  5. Zable

    Zable Soap Chat Fan

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    How would you bring Fallon back from the dead then?
     
  6. AndyLaird

    AndyLaird Soap Chat Active Member

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    I'd leave it as it was. Not a fan of "back from the dead" storylines but this one was as plausible as they ever are.
     
  7. Zable

    Zable Soap Chat Fan

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    I’ve forgotten, was there any character appearing on The Colbys who mentioned Fallon as being thought of as dead? It’s not been in my head that Fallon of The Colbys was a resurrected character for the purposes of the series.

    I’d thought Fallon of The Colbys played simply as a missing-for-sometime Carrington heiress who had amnesia, not one whose family had given her a burial with all the drama of an uncorked Jeff. ….When Fallon of TC regained her memory, she didn’t remember some things exactly as you’d expect Fallon of Dynasty to have. There was no physical reason for her ‘distorted’ memories, only that there might be gaps as she started to regain her memories.

    If TC the series didn't exist, but Fallon returned to continue her story with Jeff, I’d be happy with a plausible enough explanation to account for how she was alive, but I’d want her story details to match the story of Fallon of Dynasty before her disappearance, re people and events. Like, if she’s gonna talk about jewellery Jeff gave her, the details should match. Or, if they’re gonna reveal in flashback what she’d done with her wedding dress the night she vanished, let it match how we’d last seen it. Stuff like that. ....I’d want her family to be truly aghast that they’d buried someone else as her, and I’d want them to spend time piecing together who it was and how that came about. Especially if their returning Fallon was amnestic too. … And, who knows, returning Fallon could eventually turn out to be a Wes Parmalee sort, but not before making family trouble for Adam. I liked that The Colbys had that angle to Fallon's story. And thought it sucked it wasn't followed up on Dynasty.
     
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  8. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    :ig:
     
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  9. JROG

    JROG Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    The funny thing about that Stanwyck quote is that people who don't like the show (and, somehow, seem obsessed with their hatred of it), use it as some kind of be-all, end-all proof of the show's wrongdoings, when in fact, it's simply Stanwyck raging about a show from her point of view as an actress.

    Her main concerns are two: That it vulgar (had she never seen a primetime soap before?) and not aware of it, which is ridiculous. 3 years earlier, she'd tried to fυck a priest on The Thorn Birds. Now, she had standards?

    Number 2: That she kept playing the same scene over and over again. In which case, her issue is what they did with her own character (which seems her main concern). And... she has a point. Much as the show improved in its first season, Connie had less and less to do and they kept drawing out one plotpoint for 4 episodes. I can see why she'd be bored with what she had to do.

    But does that take into account anything else on the show? No, not really. How very actressy of her!

    Besides, she says she only signed on for 13 episodes and yet was there for the whole season, so.... I don't know how much I can trust her objective 'criticism' of the show.
     
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  10. colbyco

    colbyco Soap Chat Active Member

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    - Yeah sitcoms were on tv all the time. But sitcoms had its big times (MASH, Cosby, Two and a half men, Big Bang) and less succesful times.
    Till 1984 there was no new sitcom who had the power to beat the prime time soaps. But Cosby became a unusual fast monster hit. Even Dynasty´s first episode of S6 was the most watched in its history it didn´t reach number 1 while episodes of S5 and S4 (with less viewers)
    reached number 1.

    - I have to say this episode is one of my favs. Ok Jason´s "health problem" was not the best storyline but I loved how the family landed with the helicopter while the world press waits for them. In Germany we say "this is really a big performance" - something even Dynasty hadn´t done before. And when the whole family (dressed up) waits for Miles and he moves in with his new bride - this is really a cliffhanger.
     
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  11. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    I don't know which ones you refer to who use that quote as their proof of the show's quality. In the current thread, I brought up her quote and Montalban's as two actors/actresses who did not like the show as a different perspective from John James, who was quoted as liking it. And he was the focus on the new show, so of course he did.

    I never read her quote to mean vulgar in some prudish sense, only vulgar as in crude in terms of quality (especially of character and plots). And I would say that being on THE THORN BIRDS was very much proof that even at an old age she had standards--after all her performance there put her on the radar for this role.

    It was a sitcom with a new formula: a black family that acts exactly like an upper middle class white family. The quick appeal and twist on the genre should have been warnings for other networks to not put something unproven against it.
     
  12. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    No Michael, you brought it up to make a point:D because she was "more knowledgeable than JJ", which makes her opinion more credible.
    I mentioned Charlton Heston and his praise for the show, but somehow it got swept under the carpet:bump:
     
  13. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Thank God for the quote/reply function :cool:

    Honestly, the mention of John James (and later Heston, to whom I did refer) was a non-sequitur. How can John James contradict my own assessment that the show was a colossal bad investment on the part of network and producers? That was how I saw it. But because some of you thought name-dropping had any weight on this, I also brought up two names.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2018
  14. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    Would it have been better (as in: not a colossal bad investment) if it hadn't been such an expensive show?
    One of the reasons I like TC is because it looks so lavish compared to Dynasty (at that time). I rather watch 2 great seasons that 5 low-quality seasons.
     
  15. Richard Channing

    Richard Channing Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    I wonder what Heston and Stanwyck got paid. They are surely the two biggest Hollyood stars who were main characters in the Dynasty universe.
     
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  16. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    That's the thing--everything on the show was SO big, it had to be a hit. Big names, big budgets, and so much hype (see the TV Guide article covering it for example). I couldn't believe ABC made the same mistake twice, only even bigger this time. DYNASTY was pushed as the answer to DALLAS in season 1, and while I think the show was actually better than early DALLAS when it premiered, it was programmed to be the next top 5 hit which DALLAS did not reach until two years later. That recipe almost killed DYNASTY early on because of the investment, and in the end budget (together with Iger's determination to kill the show and the Spelling ties) finally killed DYNASTY in season 9.

    Maxwell Caulfield makes some great remarks about the style of THE COLBYS (for instance the James Dean angle to Miles), and I agree that the show looked rich and also had a clear sense of style which the parent show lacked at the time. But as for taste @Willie Oleson when it comes to shows, I have to say I go with story over lavish visuals. In that area I found THE COLBYS lackluster, and because DYNASTY was trying my patience at the time I had none to spare on it. I haven't seen the show in ages and I only saw the complete show once on SOAPNET (where I lived in Europe they only showed season one). The second season looked to be improving, mainly because Sable was really taking off as a character, Miles was untangled from Fallon and Monica had a decent story, but there were still so many things that needed fixing. When Philip showed up from the dead and Frankie was shown to be as jerky as her son I actually paid more attention, but come on--we can't hide the big flying UFO in the room. ;)
     
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  17. colbyco

    colbyco Soap Chat Active Member

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    - I read Heston got $ 80.000 / episode.
     
  18. tommie

    tommie Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    I dunno
    I'd say being a personal friend of Aaron Spelling's and Tori's godmother "put her on the radar" for the role and was probably the reason she ended up accepting the role despite rejecting the Angela Channing role on Falcon Crest years earlier.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    Her role on the Thorn Birds was far more interesting, I don't think anyone is going to disagree with that, and it makes me wonder why they didn't create a similar character for Constance Colby.
    Where were the hysterical outbursts that Stanwyck did so well?
    I thought her role was similar to Dominique Deveraux i.e. supporting the patriarch, but without the power to be a real mover & shaker.
    She created the first conflict when she gave Jeff her shares of CE and she lured Francesca back to California, but that wasn't a conflict until Sable disagreed with the situation.
    But what if Constance had a hidden agenda?

    Gosh, what if Phillip wasn't her brother but her son thus making Jeff her grandson (before it was revealed that Jason was the father). Of course Jason wouldn't be aware of the situation, I mean...what if Andrew Colby was the father. Good heavens! (and heavenly soap-y indeed).
    And would that be reason enough to send Jeff with Cecil to Colorado?
     
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  20. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Because I think in both cases they cared more about luring the actress than about having a character that was going to bring a new dynamic. What both shows needed in the mid-80s was a showrunner with a vision, and the power to overrule the Shapiros' and Pollocks' misfires.
     
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