Dynasty, the CW’s reboot of the beloved ABC sudser from the ’80s, came to an end Friday night after five seasons. In an interview with Deadline, Dynasty showrunner Josh Reims talks about what he really wanted to do in the last episode fo Season 5, and how odd it was that ratings for the sudser were never really discussed.
Did you have enough time to plan for a series finale?
JOSH REIMS: We actually planned a series finale and a season finale, just in case. We did twice the work, basically.
Did you know you wanted to end with the wedding?
That came up near the end. For some reason we kept ending seasons with weddings and we thought it would be fun to do it again. We figured Culhane (Robert C. Riley) and Nina (Felisha Terrell) were the best couple to do it, and we liked the idea of playing around and having viewers think it was Sam (Rafael de la Fuente) and Steven (James Mackay), at first.
Wait, how many seasons did you end with the wedding?
I think there were like three and one in the middle. So we had a lot of weddings.
There were initially calls by fans to shop the show elsewhere. Was that ever a real possibility?
Uh, no. As far as I know, this was the final goodbye to Dynasty, which is why we gave everybody happy endings they deserved.
Richard Alan Shapiro and Esther Shapiro, who created the original Dynasty, were attached from the beginning. How involved were they over the course of the show?
I took over running the show in season three and sat down, I think twice, with Esther Shapiro. I had lunch with her a couple of times and we talked about the show and she gave me her thoughts. She was very complimentary and very much like, you know? Do what you think is best. I’m just gonna tell you what I think and you go with that. And then once COVID hit, that was the end of our lunches. We didn’t really communicate much after that. We looked at it like, let’s do our own thing. And then, through the seasons we looked for spots where we could honor the previous series. Like this season, we did a whole Cristal doppelgänger story, which was literally ripped off from the original. So we looked for places to honor the original, but still did our own thing.
Looking back over the last five seasons, what storyline are you most proud of?
The doppelgänger story! I had resisted doing it for a while, and then for some reason this season I was like, yeah, let’s do it. It turned out to be really fun. I liked doing the episodes where we tried different things, like where Liz [Elizabeth Gillies] could sing, because she loved to do that. There weren’t a lot of limits on what we could do. I could say, ‘I wanna do a noir episode’ and they would say, ‘sure, go ahead.’ I took advantage of that.
In the finale, Steven returned. There was a lot of discussion in the room whether Steven should kill Adam (Sam Underwood) or let him go. I wanted him to kill him, but it felt not quite right with the tone of the show. Deep down, I think a lot of the writers thought like he deserved to be killed and we wanted to see Steven get his revenge. (Among other dastardly deeds, Adam drugged Steven and had him committed to an asylum). I wouldn’t do it differently, but that was definitely something that we considered.
Ratings-wise, this show didn’t do so well for the CW. But Netflix really made a difference for the series. What was that like for you?
It’s funny because it’s the first show I’ve ever been on or where there was literally no discussion about the ratings ever, which was great. In season two, we shot in Paris and some of the actors came back and said it was crazy because people showed up to the set and recognized them on the streets. It was then that we realized that internationally, there’s a crazy fan base. So when the Netflix listings came out and showed which countries we were number one in, we realized, ‘oh, this is much bigger than just the CW,’ which was good.
Looking back, were there a lot of marketing dollars spent on spreading the word about Dynasty? Or do you think it mattered?
I don’t think it mattered. I think people were just waiting for it to drop on Netflix. Online, people were asking when’s the show starting on Netflix. So it felt like by season three, at least there was already a built-in audience.
Reboots are so hard. Would you ever do this again?
I would totally do it again. This was easier to do because of the fact we didn’t feel beholden to the original. If we had to be more strict to what originally happened, it may not have been as fun and as easy. It worked out for the best.
So does that mean you’re going to reboot The Colbys now?
Exactly. Or Falcon Crest.
Elizabeth Gillies won’t come back for hypothetical future episodes
“I’ve already processed this. It’s like, you’re asking me something like, if somebody broke up with you—if your relationship came to a natural ending with whoever you’re with—if they called you back after you haven’t seen each other and said, ‘Actually, should we date? Should we date for just a little, tiny bit longer, and then should we break up again?’ No, there’s no point.” “But also, we’re still a reboot of a show,” she added. “It’s like, enough is enough.”