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The Colbys (originally titled Dynasty II: The Colbys) is an Americanmarker prime time soap opera which aired on ABC from November 20, 1985 to March 26, 1987. The Aaron Spelling-produced series was a spin-off of the more successful Dynasty, which had been ranked #1 for the 1984-1985 U.S. television season. Intended to surpass its predecessor in opulence, the series' producers were handed an immensely high budget for the era, and cast a handful of well-known stars among its leads, including Charlton Heston, Barbara Stanwyck, Katharine Ross and Ricardo Montalban.

Premise

On Dynasty, presumed-dead heiress Fallon Carrington Colby reappears alive, suffering from amnesia and using the name Randall Adams. Drawn to Californiamarker after recognizing the name "Colby," she meets playboy Miles Colby, not realizing that he is the cousin of her ex-husband, Jeff. A mutual business venture brings the Colbys of California to the Denvermarker mansion of Fallon's father Blake Carrington.

Set in Los Angelesmarker, The Colbys focuses on the extended Colby family as Jeff relocates to California to start his life anew — and comes face to face with Fallon, now married to his cousin Miles. A fierce rivalry is sparked between Jeff and Miles, and the love triangle spans the series. Miles' father, billionaire Jason Colby, has a rocky marriage to the icy Sable, in part due to his longtime attraction to Sable's sister Francesca — Jeff's estranged mother, and the former wife of Jason's brother Philip, who is presumed deceased. Other characters include Jason's powerful sister Constance, Miles' twin sister Monica, and their third sibling Bliss.

Major characters

Promotional cast photo from The Colbys
Jason Colby (Charlton Heston (original cast), 1985-1987)
CEO of Colby Enterprises and brother of Constance, Philip, and Cecil. As the series opens, Philip and Cecil are both deceased — the former in Vietnammarker, the latter in Denver during the third season of Dynasty. Jason is married to Sable, and their children are twins Miles and Monica, and youngest daughter Bliss. Jason's affair with Francesca Langdon, his wife's sister and his brother Philip's former wife, ends his marriage; he later discovers that he is the father of Francesca's son Jeff.


Constance "Connie" Colby Patterson (Barbara Stanwyck (original cast), 1985-1986)
Jason Colby's strong-willed sister, who sets the stage for the series by inviting Jeff Colby to California, hoping to mend the rift between him and the rest of the family. Believing her brother Jason is dying and in need of an heir who can run the Colby empire, Constance gifts to Jeff her 50 percent of the company's voting stock. Stanwyck left the series after the first season, with the character presumed dead in a plane crash while traveling in Asia.


Sabella "Sable" Scott Colby (Stephanie Beacham (original cast), 1985-1987)
Britishmarker-born art gallery owner, wife of Jason, sister of Francesca and mother of Miles, Monica, and Bliss. The first cousin of Dynasty's Alexis Carrington Colby (Cecil's widow), Sable is protective of her family but vengeful when Jason casts her aside for Francesca. Sable and Alexis share a rivalry hinted at on The Colbys but further explored a number of years later in Dynasty.


Jeff Colby (John James (original cast), 1985-1987)
The son of Philip and Francesca Colby, raised in Denver by his uncle Cecil Colby on the Colby estate, Nine Oaks, which neighbored the Carrington estate. He is invited to Los Angeles by Constance and soon becomes embroiled in the dynastic intrigue of the Colbys, reuniting with his presumed-dead wife Fallon and estranged mother, and eventually discovering that his uncle Jason Colby is in fact his biological father.


Fallon Carrington Colby (Emma Samms (original cast), 1985-1987)
Daughter of Dynasty 's Blake Carrington, and Jeff's on-again, off-again wife; she also marries his cousin Miles. The role had been originated on Dynasty by Pamela Sue Martin, who had left the series in 1984 and the character presumed dead in a plane crash. Fallon (Samms) reappears briefly on Dynasty in 1985 with amnesia before transitioning to The Colbys, the subsequent love triangle between her, Jeff, and Miles driving much of the drama for the first season.


Miles Andrew Colby (Maxwell Caulfield (original cast), 1985-1987)
Jason and Sable's playboy son, noted mainly for his bad attitude, his disastrous relationships (first, with the amnesiac Fallon, and second, with the emotionally unstable Channing Carter) and his rivalry with cousin Jeff, who is later revealed to be his half-brother.


Monica Scott Colby (Tracy Scoggins (original cast), 1985-1987)
Jason and Sable's daughter, and general counsel for Colby Enterprises until she quits to run Titania Records for Dominique Deveraux. Monica is protective of her twin brother, Miles, but also holds a high regard for his rival (and their cousin) Jeff Colby. It is revealed that Monica's past affair with Cash Cassidy had produced a son, whom Monica had left with Cash to raise with his wife Adrienne, ending their relationship to preserve his political career.


Bliss Colby Rostov (Claire Yarlett (original cast), 1985-1987)
Jason and Sable's youngest child, a young and idealistic woman who has strong political beliefs which often put her at odds with her father, an oil and industry tycoon. Bliss has ill-fated romances with Sean McCallister and Spiros Koralis, the nephew and former stepson, respectively, of the Colby family's greatest enemy, Zach Powers. She eventually becomes involved with Koyla Rostov, a Russian dancer who defects to America with his sister Anna.


Lady Francesca "Frankie" Scott Colby Hamilton Langdon (Katharine Ross (original cast), 1985-1987)
Philip Colby's widow, who returns to Los Angeles after years in "exile" as the wife of diplomat Lord Roger Langdon (David Hedison). She is Jeff's mother, but had abandoned him as an infant, bending to pressure from brother-in-law Cecil. Francesca reappears at the invitation of Constance, who is anxious to make amends. Frankie, as she is known, is also Sable's estranged sister, and Jason's lover.


Zachary "Zach" Powers (Ricardo Montalban ("guest star", 1985-1987)
European shipping tycoon who falls in love with Sable. Born into poverty, Powers blames the Colbys for his father's suicide.


Philip Colby (Michael Parks, 1986-1987)
Former husband of Francesca and the black sheep of the Colby family, presumed dead in Vietnam. Initially a mercenary using the name Hoyt Parker, Philip makes his presence known at Jason and Francesca's wedding and proceeds to disrupt the lives of the entire Colby family.


Other characters

Henry "Hutch" Corrigan (Joseph Campanella (original cast), 1984-1985)
A man of the West and love interest of Constance.
Garrett Boydston (Ken Howard (original cast), 1984-1986)
Lawyer and friend of the Colby family, and also an old flame of Dominique Deveraux. Enjoys smoking cigars. Father of Jackie who never intended to marry Dominique.
Dominique Deveraux (Diahann Carroll, 1985-1986)
A wealthy chanteuse who travels frequently to Los Angeles on business deals.
Channing Carter Colby (Kim Morgan Greene, 1986-1987)
Young woman whom Miles Colby marries on the rebound after losing Fallon to Jeff.
Nikolai "Kolya" Rostov (Adrian Paul, 1986-1987)
Russian ballet dancer who falls in love with Bliss Colby.
Senator Cash Cassidy (James Houghton, 1986-1987)
Senator and former love of Monica Colby, with whom he had a son, Scott (Coleby Lombardo). Had to give up his relationship with Monica to further his own political career.
Adrienne Cassidy (Shanna Reed, 1986-1987)
Unhappy wife of Cash Cassidy, resentful and suspicious of his relationship with Monica.


Storylines

The first season's storylines include the construction of an oil pipeline, Zach Powers' vendetta against the Colbys, the romance between Jason and his sister-in-law Francesca, the subsequent collapse of Jason's marriage to Sable, and eventually the revelation that Jason, not his brother Philip, is in fact Jeff's father. There were initially a number of cross-overs featuring members of the Dynasty cast, most notably Blake Carrington, his sons Adam and Steven, and half-sister Dominique Deveraux. At the end of the season, Fallon learns that Miles could be the father of her unborn child, Monica has a plane crash, and Sable has Jason arrested for assault and battery, claiming that he had inflicted the injuries she actually sustained by falling down a flight of stairs.

In the second season, Jason manages to divorce Sable and plans to marry Francesca, but the presumed-dead Philip reappears alive. Previously romantically linked to both Zach's nephew and former step-son, Bliss falls in love with a Russian dancer watched by the KGBmarker, the son Monica had given up eight years before reenters her life, and Constance is presumed dead after a plane crash in India. At the end of the season, Miles' wife Channing phones to say she will abort their unborn baby, Sable kidnaps Monica's son, Francesca seemingly dies after a car crash involving herself and Philip, and Fallon, stranded in the desert, is seemingly abducted by aliens in the finale. The show's most infamous cliffhanger proved to be its last when the series was subsequently cancelled.

Criticism

Although much hyped in 1985 and the winner of a 1986 People's Choice Award for New TV Dramatic Program, The Colbys was ultimately a ratings failure, finishing in 43rd place for season 1 and 62nd place for season 2. In their Directory To Primetime TV Shows, television historians Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh called the series "too close a copy" of Dynasty. The Colbys was cancelled after two seasons.

Aftermath

Following the cancellation of The Colbys, the characters of Jeff and Fallon were immediately reintroduced into Dynasty during that series' September 23, 1987 eighth season premiere, "The Siege - Part 1." Sable (now divorced from Jason who was re-involved with Frankie who survived the car crash) and Monica Colby (who no longer had contact with her son Scott or his father Cash Cassidy) also later reappeared on Dynasty for the series' 1988-1989 final season.

One of the final episodes of Dynasty reveals that Monica and twin Miles(divorced from Channing Carter) might have been products of rape, and not actually Jason's children. Miles(who refers to Jeff as his half-brother,leading to the assumption that he was Jason's son after all ) later appears in Dynasty: The Reunion, reunited with Fallon, and participates in Jeff's rescue from the Consortium. The Jeff-Fallon-Miles love triangle is finally resolved, as Fallon leaves Miles for Jeff.

References

  1. 1984-1985 Ratings - ClassicTVhits.com
  2. Jason (Charlton Heston) and Constance (Barbara Stanwyck) are first seen in the Dynasty sixth season episode "The Californians" (October 9, 1985) and the rest of the Colby family are introduced a special two-part Dynasty episode called "The Titans" (November 13, 1985).
  3. Morris, Bruce B. Prime Time Network Serials: Episode Guides, Casts and Credits for 37 Continuing Television Dramas 1964-1993, MacFarland & Company, 1997.
  4. Brooks, Tim & Marsh, Earle. The Directory To Prime Time TV Shows - 8th Edition, Ballantine Books, 2003.


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