‘Dynasty’ & ‘White Famous’ Review: Move Along, Nothing Glittery Or Special Here
There’s a rebooted Dynasty debuting tonight on the CW and the Jamie Foxx-produced White Famous coming to Showtime on October 15. But both series are much more fizzle than fabulous.
Despite having the skilled Elizabeth Gilles in it as Blake Carrington’s daughter Fallon, this Dynasty is not much of an heir apparent to the sharp-nailed original Reagan-era Dynasty, which ran from 1981-89. It isn’t just the lack of Joan Collins as the devious Alexis, first wife of the John Forsythe-portrayed big shot Blake, that is lacking here. As I say in my video review above, this Dynasty’s flaw is that it’s buffed to the point of being lacquered and lacks almost any sense of real fun.
And let’s be honest, we already have a great 21st century version of Dynasty on the small screen. It’s called Empire. The Lee Daniels- and Danny Strong-created Fox series with Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson has been on for going on four seasons and is the better choice to get your soapsuds on tonight.
The stumbling block with the Jay Pharaoh-starring White Famous isn’t its potentially fabulous premise of a rising black comedian navigating the potentially soul-crushing costs of crossover mainstream success. Rather it is the execution, which lacks muscle and definition and goes all Big 4 sitcom for really no good reason for a show on premium cable, or that is on in 2017.
Between intentionally awkward white-guy fist bumps and way more awkward lines referencing Bill Cosby, and with guest spots by Foxx and others, White Famous actually pulls away from a lot of the great timing and talent Pharaoh displayed on nearly half a dozen years on Saturday Night Live – a state of infamy unto itself.
However, there is something debuting on the 15th that is well worth watching, and that is the Season 2 premiere of Berlin Station on Epix. The first season of the sophisticated and often messy spy series starring Richard Armitage, Rhys Ifans, Richard Jenkins, Leland Orser and Michelle Forbes was one of the best new shows of 2016 in my opinion, and one that if you haven’t been watching, you should start Sunday.
With the additional of Ashley Judd and Keke Palmer to the cast, the Bradford Winters-showrun series has lost none of its appeal. Running the risk of being outpaced by real-life events in these geopolitically unstable times and a German election that already has occurred, this season of Berlin Station keeps up its strong long-distance effort. It also reiterates that everything is really not alt-right (to use a poised joke from the show) in Europe or in the American intelligence community right now.
The show also reminds us just how talented and versatile Judd is. Almost from her first appearance in the revised opening credits, the actor — who also was on Showtime’s Twin Peaks revival this year — is a dominating and welcome force to Berlin Station as the new CIA station chief who goes on and off book.
So check out my video review above of why you shouldn’t waste your time on the baubles of the Dynasty reboot and White Famous, and why Berlin Station Season 2 is something that really shines.