Soap operas were considered "powerful TV entertainment" because those programs "hold a mirror to real life". Don Murray of 'Knots Landing' offered, "Personally, I think these night time soaps are better fare than cops and robbers shows or situation comedies. People can identify with the characters which gives them some insight into their own lives."
The big (because they attracted "the mass audience") 4 soaps on prime time in the 1980s had been described as "high art". Around the world, viewers learnt about the "capitalist system, Christianity and Western morality." Three months before 'Falcon Crest' went on air, Abby Dalton disclosed, "I've had the first script for only a few days, so none of us is sure where the stories and characters will be going. I do know that there are 2 branches of the central family, and there will be many conflicts."
By the 1984-85 season, 'Dynasty' was the most popular drama among women 18 to 49 years old. Next to 'Dynasty' was 'Dallas', then at No. 5 'Knots Landing' and 'Falcon Crest' at No. 11. Esther Shapiro of 'Dynasty' remarked, "We have such a different audience. CBS has the traditional soap-opera audience. ABC's is urban, younger. CBS is more Midwest."
David Jacobs: "I've heard it said that 'Dallas' was about Reagan's first term in office and 'Dynasty' the 2nd term. 'Dallas' has been about the acquisition of power and money and 'Dynasty' about the things that money can buy. 'Knots Landing' is what you get when you have to sit down every Friday to pay the bills."
Esther: "'Dynasty' is about women's fantasies and 'Dallas' is about men's fantasies."
David: "When 'Dallas' goes to Paris they'd be bumpkins. When 'Knots Landing' goes to Paris they'd be tourists. But when 'Dynasty' goes to Paris they'd have apartments there."
Esther: "'Dallas' has strong men and the women are passive. In 'Dynasty' we have strong, more active women. But we hope the men will be stronger still."
In conclusion, David made the observation, "'Dallas' is about money while 'Dynasty' is about things money can buy." Donna Mills believed, "People don't tune in 'Knots Landing' to see our gowns and jewelry. We're not as spectacular as the others. By and large our acting is overlooked because of the machinations of the plot." Don added, "Actually, 'Knots Landing' is a different style of show. Ours is more realistic. 'Dallas' is bigger than life. A lot of the content of our shows could be taken from the pages of any daily newspaper, divorce, social disorders. 'Dallas' is escapism and fun. It attempts to get people to forget their own problems. I think we provide viewers with some realistic solutions to their problems. We show them ways to break through daily tensions and escape from what is holding them down. It's almost impossible for a television show or movie to be totally realistic. The elements of drama and comedy must be applied."
Nolan Miller had said, "Clothes are very important for a show like ('Dynasty'), which is a study of money and power. My clothes have reflected that." Whereas the characters on episodic television "never learned anything from the previous week's experience", continuing dramas attempted audience "involvement with characters who change. You can't go back to shows where the characters never changed or learned anything."
Esther made the point, "Blake Carrington is a 19th-century man. If only his family would do what he wants, everything would be all right. So, 'I, Claudius' is the framework. That told the story of Roman kings and people in power. We don't have kings, but we do have oil tycoons and they are people whose lives affect the rest of us. These are people who do outrageous things. You have families fighting for power and love. You can get terrific drama from that. Conflict in a family is much more dramatic than conflict between strangers."
In a large cast, Don pointed out, "The good part of it is that actors become familiar with their roles and expert at interacting with other actors. The acting in our show is as good as any film I've done. There is no time, however, for artistic effects with lighting or photography and the writing falters for lack of time. But there are happy exceptions and that's what we all work for."
J. Eddie Peck guest starred in 7 episodes of 'Dynasty' in the 1988-89 season. He could also be seen on 'Dallas'. His story: "I'd been written off 'Dynasty' but (after) I got back (from Las Cruces, New Mexico to film 'The Bite') they called me in. They still hadn't written the role (Roger Grimes), but he was to be Joan Collins' ex-lover who was murdered 25 years ago (around 1963). I played him as he was 25 years ago. I would come to Emma Samms in her dreams as her lover. Then I had a chance to audition for 'Dallas'. I only had a week-to-week contract with 'Dynasty' and they wouldn't tell me what was going to happen. After I got hired by 'Dallas' I was called back to 'Dynasty'. The people at 'Dallas' didn't want to let me go and I did 8 shows. It was on my resume that I was on 'Dynasty' but they apparently missed it. The two shows don't want to share actors."
"...Soaps are the only form that show you what happens after the curtain comes down," David expressed. "It's really the logical form for network television." Of 'Knots Landing', David stressed, "Our characters....they were always given a sense of 'what if' - what if you and I were in that situation? The other soaps were always more voyeuristic."