Will reunions out-score World Series?

October 18, 1991|By Los Angeles Daily News

LOS ANGELES -- It was Joan Collins who put the nasty in "Dynasty" and, thanks to CBS' billion-dollar investment, she and it are back on ABC.

The billion-dollar investment -- $1.06 billion, to be precise -- was the amount CBS pledged in 1988 to Major League Baseball for four seasons of ballgames.

It was the prospect of competing against the World Series that led ABC to single-handedly revive the slumping wardrobe industry, bringing back Ms. Collins, John Forsythe, Linda Evans and others to tie up those ends left loose when the once-popular costume drama expired abruptly in 1989.

"Dynasty: The Reunion," opens at 9 p.m. Sunday (Channel 13) with the concluding part set for 9 p.m. Tuesday, opposite games two and three of the Series.

It would be nice to have some advice for you regarding this viewing choice, but you're on your own.

Ratings indicate viewers seem to be finding reasons to avoid baseball without trouble, and ABC won't let preview tapes of the "Dynasty" film out of its sight, which could mean many things concerning its quality -- few of them good.

But viewers who made the lavish series -- even by the standards of '80s junk bonds -- a ratings leader aren't likely to mind.

When last they could tune in, Alexis (Ms. Collins) had taken over the Colorado mansion, Blake (Mr. Forsythe) was in prison and Krystle (Ms. Evans) was in a Swiss sanitarium. And that was mild camp compared to the bisexual thrills, UFO abduction and other dubious plot turns that preceded it.

*

While ABC puts up Ms. Collins, 58, NBC is going Sunday (9 p.m., Channel 2) with Barbara Eden, 57, and a pointless reunion show of its own, "I Still Dream of Jeannie." We don't, but thanks anyway.

What you come away with from this two-hour exercise is the observation Ms. Eden has held up better than might be expected -- it probably helps she is playing someone supposedly 4,033 years old -- but her material, regrettably, has not.

About the only remotely clever thing in "I Still Dream" -- which has the congenial genie searching for "a temporary master" to hold the place of her beloved but notably absent husband, astronaut Anthony Nelson -- is that she winds up with Larry Hagman's recent co-star, Ken Kercheval. That's right. It's "Jeannie" does "Dallas."

The story is silly, even by the ludicrous standards of the original 1965-70 series. The acting is worse. And, let's face it, as in all these reunion movies -- "Dynasty's" included -- once you've seen how the original cast looks, you've seen nearly everything you need or want.

In what might have been a tense confrontation Sunday, NBC's "Jeannie" blinks early and often. Look for ABC's "Dynasty" to play serious hardball and CBS' loss-leading World Series to rate either a sacrifice fly or a suicide squeeze. By Monday, we'll know the score.

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