Nature tells us that everything has an organic pattern and perhaps even pre-determined lifespan. I've given some thought over the years to the wealth-based primetime soap genre which, at least then, seemed to define the '80s decade in some way. It was a hard genre to do, because nighttime producers weren't used to the continuing narrative structure it required, and so, despite their global appeal, there were really only four successful ones: DYNASTY, DALLAS, KNOTS LANDING and FALCON CREST. And even those went creatively belly-up during the last half of the 1980s, except for KNOTS LANDING, easily the most intelligent of the lot, and even it ran two years too long, but at least waited until it got into the '90s before slipping into the mess the other shows had a half-dozen years earlier. Here's my weird point (and bear with me)... When the nighttime soaps had their Spring 1985 cliffhangers, there was a strong vibe awash over all of them; they struck a strange and sad note which almost felt as if the programs all could've ended right there (and some folks have argued that maybe they've should've -- although I'd hated to have missed DALLAS' Season 10 per DVD count, or DYNASTY's Season 9, or the remainder of KNOTS' years in the '80s). But because these shows were still way too popular in 1985 to be cancelled (or to cancel themselves, as British shows sometimes wisely did), it wound up feeling like the half-way mark for the wealth-based soaps, and indeed that's roughly what happened... Unfortunately, as we all know, they began losing their ways almost immediately beginning with the 1985/86 TV season. Now, we can argue that they sometimes got into a bit of trouble before that: I've always asserted that DYNASTY became too rigid and scattered beginning in the fall of '82 at the outset of Season 3; that DALLAS recasting Miss Ellie was the first real crack in its veneer during the '84/'85 season; and that due to studio and network politics, FALCON CREST fired their most-talent show runner at the end of its highest-rated year, Season 3 in 1984, and then were told to drop S4's main storyline (with the nazis) 10 episodes before the end of the season, leaving them rushing to cobble together a bunch of extraneous plots in order to finish out the season in early-'85. Well, okay, all of that falls under the category of "nothing's ever perfect," and all those points have been discussed before. But then there's instinct about how long these shows should have run (probably about as long as they actually did, if less creaky than they became)... Does anybody know anything about The Golden Fraction (the Fibonacci numbers, etc...)? It's the oft-repeated point in Nature where each cycle comes to a kind of head -- if you multiple either 0.62 or 1.62, approximately, to the previous number. Okay, so if you accept the idea (which certainly fit the mood at the time) that the Spring 1985 cliffhangers were the mid-point, albeit a dooming mid-point, of these series (DALLAS' death of Bobby; DYNASTY's Moldavia massacre; KNOTS' return of Val's babies and the only episode to ever hit #1 for the week; and FALCON CREST -- which I've heard was the original time planned for the earthquake cliffhanger, and it certainly felt like the right time for it, but was delayed a year for some reason) then DALLAS would have run until 1992 (one year longer than it did, and I've always felt that it was missing a year at the end, even though the series had deteriorated badly well before '92), KNOTS would have ended in Spring '91 at the end of S12(instead of '93), FALCON CREST would have ended in 1989 at the end of Season 8 (some people liked S9, but most felt it had become a completely different series) and DYNASTY would have gotten a S10 (which it really cried out for). All of that seems right, at least pour moi. So, if you apply the Golden Fraction to all that, you wind up with somewhere in 1986 being the key, fateful point in these shows' identities (and in fact I started a thread on the old soapchat to that effect: that 1986 saw the '80s nighttime soaps turning a more significant corner than usual -- although it's sometimes hard to say just why): Alexis taking over the mansion for the first time in 22 years, the introduction of the it-wants-to-be-so-lavish Carlton Hotel, even what worked about S1 of THE COLBYS; the possible Ghost of Jock returning to haunt the family on DALLAS; FC's Season 6 being the last season with any real potential, the year feeling like a possible gothic renaissance for the program had it not stumbled again so quickly; and KNOTS which, quality still firmly in place, did some of its most interesting, intimate work in '86 and '87. I want to call it The Dusk Hour of these shows (if only the nocturnal chapters had not been so subsequently disastrous) where the phantoms are out all dancing in the twilight. A slight exaggeration, of course, but then the blurry Lorimar look of 1986 onward, and the absurdly grainy and washed-out look of DYNASTY from '86 to '88, almost fits that description, albeit in a regrettable way: suddenly, these shows looked they were about holograms, apparitions existing on a different frequency. As if they'd all died at about the same point, left earthly life, yet were still quite active somewhere in a zone we could barely see and not fully access but we were still aware of. (It's certainly when the mainstream audience started to tune out). Over-analyzed? Not analyzed enough? But for some reason I want to see them all walking through gardens just after sunset surrounded by fireflies.