Soapsuds

Falcon Crest

311 posts in this topic

Poor, poor FALCON CREST. I always felt that show had so much untapped potential, but it needed a showrunner who had the genre (of soap opera) in his bones.

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He looks very good for his mid-80s.

I see what you mean, Kahn, although I think that the show had its moments. To me the biggest obstacle was Chase, I thought he was a bit too self-righteous and earnest to be the male lead. I mostly enjoyed seeing Angela's schemes, and then later when Melissa came along.

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Actually, Carl, I think Chase was one of the show's better elements (although, I can certainly understand why many did not care for him). Angela needed a strong adversary; and while I enjoyed her feud with Richard a lot, OTOH, you also needed someone who better represented the audience's core values. Richard was much too "gray" a character to be that.

Other points:

~ The Melissa/Lance/Cole triangle should have run a lot longer than it did, with her son's paternity used as a big secret that characters uncover, one by one, over the course of several seasons (which, of course, means that Lance, and not Cole, should have been the baby's bio dad). The fact that it didn't, IMO, proves just how inadequate the writers were at this stuff.

~ Vickie, as played by Jamie Rose, should have been positioned in a Mason-and-Julia (SANTA BARBARA)-esque relationship that would've been heavy on banter. If anything, it would've kept her on the show, thus sparing us the horrid recast w/ Dana Sparks.

~ Maggie should have been killed off before the actual start of the series, providing Chase and his kids with an impetus to move to the Tuscany Valley. Then, maybe in year two or three, they could've introduced a Maggie-like character who eventually becomes Chase's second wife and Cole and Vickie's adoring stepmom.

~ Julia never should have been turned into a murderer, and Emma just plain should never have been.

Edited by Khan

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I can see what you mean about Vicky - she never should have been put into a Diana Fairgate personality. Jamie Rose did not suit it and she seemed very ill at ease. A banter relationship might have worked better.

I think Susan Sullivan was one of the best parts of the show so I'm not sure what it would have been like without her.

I don't know if the show initially planned for Julia to be a killer, but there's something very weird about her from the start. I wonder if they might have been better off casting Abby Dalton as Emma.

I did like Emma though, although I can see why you didn't.

Edited by CarlD2

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I can see what you mean about Vicky - she never should have been put into a Diana Fairgate personality. Jamie Rose did not suit it and she seemed very ill at ease. A banter relationship might have worked better.

I loved that Rose was not the typical, ultra-glamorous soap heroine. FC's writers should've exploited that in two ways: 1) by making her smarter than the average ingenue (like, say, Diana on KNOTS); and 2) by pairing her with a guy who was handsome, noble and even a little funny. That way, not only would you have a friend and co-hort for Chase and Cole, but the fact that he finds Vickie irresistible actually makes her look more attractive than she does (if that makes sense). Plus, through him, you expand the show's canvas - with parents, siblings, even an ex-wife or -girlfriend who is the exact opposite of Vickie and who, along with Melissa, is there to keep stirring the pot - in ways that feel more organic than gun-running Nazis or international cartels. (Man, do I hate the Jeff Freilich years!)

I think Susan Sullivan was one of the best parts of the show so I'm not sure what it would have been like without her.

Well, for one thing, we would have been spared some of the show's more unfortunate storylines. I realize Susan Sullivan was bored, but I'd much rather see her leave the series than have to deal with Maggie as a drunk or an amnesiac off writing some book in the woods with that loon Jeff Wainwright.

I don't know if the show initially planned for Julia to be a killer, but there's something very weird about her from the start. I wonder if they might have been better off casting Abby Dalton as Emma.

Abby Dalton was fine as Julia, but I felt she needed to be there more as someone fighting to keep her son, Lance, in line. Having mother and daughter (Angela and Julia, respectively) fight constantly over how Lance should best conduct himself made for great drama. They should've kept up with that.

I did like Emma though, although I can see why you didn't.

Like with Maggie, I just felt like her stories were, on the whole, extraneous and distracting. Just as I felt Richard outstayed his welcome by becoming the most repetitive villain ever on primetime.

Edited by Khan

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Even more repetitive than JR?

That's interesting about Susan Sullivan. Did she have any involvement in some of her stories?

So did you agree with the changes the show made in it's last year?

What did you think of Jamie Rose on St. Elsewhere (did you watch that)? It was hard for me to take her seriously because of her hair and big glasses - with the white jacket she looked more like a stripper playing doctor. She did have a fantastic exit scene.

Edited by CarlD2

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Even more repetitive than JR?

THANK YOU, Carl!

Personally, I found JR to be the most overrated, repetitive character on nighttime soaps. Well, next to Alexis Carrington. JR did nothing but make one dirty deal after another for Ewing Oil, usually with Ewing Oil being placed in some type jeopardy as a result, and cheating on Sue Ellen. This went on ad nauseum for 13 seasons or however the hell long the series lasted. David Selby could act circles around the sneering, one note Larry Hagman. It is funny that Khan disses Richard and then refers to him as "much to gray a character". Right. He was a gray character because Selby was a superior actor who played a multifaceted role. Hagman and Foxworth are incapable of playing anything but the shallow contemptible pricks they are in real life.

I loathed Bob Foxworth and his self-righteous, sanctimonious Chase with all my heart. Foxworth hated the series so badly. He should have left far earlier and spared us all his mannered, dull, tight-arsed performances. If anyone should have died at the beginning, it was Chase Gioberti. Chase should have been killed in the first episode, allowing the luminous Maggie to arrive in Tuscany and butt heads with Angela over the vineyards. Maggie made a much better adversary for Angela, because Maggie was not as annoyingly goody-two shoes as Chase.

Also, I too loved Emma and Julia. I adored their idiosyncratic natures. They were so different than the female characters found on Dallas and Dynasty. I couldn't get enough of Abby Dalton's and Margaret Ladd's bizarre performances.

Personally, I found Falcon Crest to be more entertaining than Dallas and less campy than Dynasty. Falcon Crest was fast-paced, melodramatic, and witty. It was one of my favorite nighttime soaps, second only to Knots Landing. As for showrunners, I enjoyed Falcon Crest the most under Jeff Freilich and Joel Surnow. FC really didn't jump the shark until the miserable 8th season when the new idiot producers killed off Melissa and started telling "ripped from the headlines stories' like Maggie's son falling down the well ala Baby Jessica.

Dallas jumped the shark in 1985. Had Dallas ended with Bobby's death, it would have been a nearly unflawed series. Unfortunately, we had to endure the horrific dream season, Pam's death, Sue Ellen's departure, and umpteen more seasons of mind-numbing recycled stories which were ill conceived, sloppily written, and mostly miscast.

Edited by saynotoursoap

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Even more repetitive than JR?

Okay, maybe not that repetitive, lol. But how many times did he have to tangle with Angela for control of the vineyards, using almost exactly the same tactics every time, before he got the message? Besides, as rich and powerful as Richard was, it wasn't as if he couldn't develop his own vineyard and label. At least, with J.R., it was a question of birthright: Ewing Oil was Jock's legacy, and he (J.R.) felt he was the rightful, sole heir to it. What was Richard's motivation? Before they did the ridiculous retcon that made him Angela's long-lost son, he was just her ex-husband's bastard son out to make her and Chase's life hell - and that could have been over-and-done with after one year.

So did you agree with the changes the show made in it's last year?

No, just because it took the show too far away from what little ties it still had to its genesis. To me, even Richard and Lance had become afterthoughts to Michael Sharpe; and if the show had continued, I feel, the remaining characters from years past would've been phased out altogether.

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Actually, Carl, I think Chase was one of the show's better elements (although, I can certainly understand why many did not care for him). Angela needed a strong adversary; and while I enjoyed her feud with Richard a lot, OTOH, you also needed someone who better represented the audience's core values. Richard was much too "gray" a character to be that.

Other points:

~ The Melissa/Lance/Cole triangle should have run a lot longer than it did, with her son's paternity used as a big secret that characters uncover, one by one, over the course of several seasons (which, of course, means that Lance, and not Cole, should have been the baby's bio dad). The fact that it didn't, IMO, proves just how inadequate the writers were at this stuff.

~ Vickie, as played by Jamie Rose, should have been positioned in a Mason-and-Julia (SANTA BARBARA)-esque relationship that would've been heavy on banter. If anything, it would've kept her on the show, thus sparing us the horrid recast w/ Dana Sparks.

~ Maggie should have been killed off before the actual start of the series, providing Chase and his kids with an impetus to move to the Tuscany Valley. Then, maybe in year two or three, they could've introduced a Maggie-like character who eventually becomes Chase's second wife and Cole and Vickie's adoring stepmom.

~ Julia never should have been turned into a murderer, and Emma just plain should never have been.

Khan, I understand what you are going for, but what you fail to realize in your scenarios of what should have been is that Falcon Crest did not work as a naturalistic soap. Knots Landing was CBS' soap with realism, and Dallas demonstrated some semblance of it, at least in the early seasons. CBS did not need another Dallas and Knots Landing with grapes. Falcon Crest fell somewhere between those soaps and the camp fantasy of Dynasty. Falcon Crest worked best with fast-paced crime stories and irreverent wit. That was its unique niche. When it tried to be something else, it failed miserably, and those of us who truly love it, love it because it was not an "organic" soap with long story arcs about adoring stepmoms, white knight protagonists, and multi-season paternity plots. We had all that on other soaps. It is obvious that FC was not your cup of herbal tea, and that is fine. I appreciate your comments about JR's birthright and agree -yes, it was more logical than Richard's obsession with Falcon Crest, but truthfully, Dallas could have easily told that story in five seasons and called it quits. Every single season of Dallas was the same predictable formula: JR does dirty deals for Ewing Oil, the Ewings are in jeopardy of losing the company because of JR's deals, JR cheats Sue Ellen, Sue Ellen gets drunk, has an accident and divorces JR. JR manages to save Ewing Oil and wins back Sue Ellen with the promise of being a better husband. JR cheats again and does more dirty deals...blah, blah, blah. Miss Ellie wrings her hands and says, "Oh, Jock, Oh, Bobby, Oh, JR..." Ray, Lucy, Donna, Afton, and a yearly cast of other extraneous characters stand around as props for JR and practically no story of their own. Pam and Bobby argue about JR and almost break up. Pam and Bobby argue and do break up. Pam and Bobby argue and try to get back together. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

In the Pepsi Challenge, I will take FC any old day of the week. Diversity makes the world go round.

Edited by saynotoursoap

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Of all the various big names and guest stars on the show who do you think was utilized the best, and the worst?

I also wanted to ask if the early episodes are as bad to you as they are made out to be. I've watched the first 4 or 5 and I enjoyed them, although they were a little dull at times and I was kind of insulted by the token migrant worker who was there to convince Chase to stay around (whatever happened to him anyway?).

I wish they had kept Angela's ex, Julia and Emma's father, alive instead of killing him off.

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Thanks for finding this. I guess Chase and Maggie must have been hard to cast. I like Samantha Eggar and she seems OK there but I'm not sorry they recast her.

Jane Wyman doesn't look as bad with the wig as I had expected but I still don't like it.

I wonder why the pilot jumped so far ahead into the story? The show also seems a little more gothic.

I cringed when Vicky called Angela "Angie."

I hate those opening credits. I know they weren't going to have a big number for the pilot, but it seems like the start of a religious program.

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So I gave in and bought Season 2 of Falcon Crest...can't wait to receive it!

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