The Dynasty Years
Hollywood Television and Critical Media Studies
Routledge – 1995 – 336 pages
The Dynasty Years documents and analyses in detail 'the Dynasty phenomenon', the hotly debated success of the Hollywood-made 'Rolls Royce of a primetime soap' which heralded a profound transformation of European television.
From the operatic camp of Krystle and Alexis' fight in the lilypond or the Moldavian wedding massacre to the unprecedented gay sub-plot, Dynasty represented, in the words of co-producer Esther Shapiro, "the ultimate dollhouse fantasy for middle-aged women". Using evidence from audience survey results, newspaper and magazine clippings and letters to broadcasters and drawing on semiotics, psychoanalysis, feminism and critical social theories, Jostein Gripsrud examines every aspect of Dynasty's production, reception and context.
The result is a groundbreaking critical study. Jostein Gripsrud offers a theoretical but empirically grounded critique of many central positions in media studies, including notions of 'audience resistance' and the 'sovereign' audience and its freedom in meaning-making, arguing against what he perceives as the uncritical celebrations of the soap-opera genre in much contemporary media criticism.