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Sunday, January 13, 2013

One Life To Live 2.0 Wish List

When the original Dallas went off the air, I remember reading in one of my mom’s fashion magazines an article on the extinction of the nighttime soap.  I don’t remember the name of the magazine or the exact wording but the author had offered up a formula for a night time soap.  Take one dashing grey haired man, one brainless pretty boy, three B actresses with great legs and mix until frothy.

I think the reboots for One Life to Live and All My Children need to have a similar character formula in mind when casting.  It shouldn’t be a mater of simply grabbing up which ever cast members they can get from the previous shows.  The characters and actors need to fill a specific purpose for the show.

One of my wishes for these shows, is that the opportunity to reinvent them is taken while still staying faithful to the shows' histories.   The move to online is a great time to bring in some fresh perspective.  What this means to me, as far as casting goes, is that they need some big name vets for the rest of the cast to be built around.  I also think it may mean taking a new perspective on some old characters.

I didn’t have the pleasure of watching All My Children when it was on television (I’m sure I missed out) but I did enjoy One Life To Live for many years.  I have compiled a list below of some of the characters who I would like to see on the online version of One Life to Live. (If you watched All My Children, I would love your thoughts and please feel free to post your wish list in the comments section.)

The Matriarch and Patriarch - Vicki and Clint

These characters are the heart of the show - especially Vicki.  They guide the rest of the cast and offer sage advise all while having their own stories and making their own mistakes.  Vicki’s journey has been essential to the show’s stories for many years not only because her character has been on the show since the beginning but because she is so likable to fans of all generations.  She is very relatable.  While most of us don’t have to deal with things such as DID, we do have crazy bickering families and messed up love lives!

When we last saw Vicki and Clint, he had purposed to her.  I would love to the new One Life To Live begin with their wedding.

The Seductress - Blair

I’ll admit I’ve been less than thrilled with Kassie DePavia’s recent couple shipping on Twitter.  One of the reason’s is that as much as I enjoyed Todd and Blair as couple, I would love to be given the chance to love Blair as her own person.  I truly think that Blair is capable of being a viable character on her own if given the chance.  In an interview, the actress once jokingly called her alter-ego an “aging slut.”  I say let’s have some fun with that.

The last time we saw Blair she was still pining for Todd while getting ready to marry her best friend’s shady brother.  I want Blair to decide that any man that has her chasing around the globe because he ran off to do secret (rogue) CIA stuff is too high-mantance for her.  Let her have flirtations and have fun.  She doesn’t necessarily need to be this generations Samantha Jones but enough with the serious life or death romances that she loses herself in.

The Trouble Makers - Cutter and Alex

Every soap needs a few characters to scheme and keep things interesting.  I have always enjoyed money-hungry Alex.  She is femme fatale meets Real Housewife.  She is not only playful and seductive but a little bit dangerous.  She also has a lot of history with One Life to Live.

Cutter doesn't have as much history but the character and actor are great.  Not only is he wily and mischievous but he’s very sexy.  He can fill the bad boy role and giving the show some sex appeal.

I was intrigued by the reveal that Cutter was Alex’s son.  We were given just enough information that a new writer would have a ton of possibilities as far as what direction they wanted to take.  I would love a little bit more backstory as well as some mother/son con-artist team ups.

The Heroine and Hero - Marty Saybrooke and Patrick Thornhart

Every soap needs a heroine to root for and for a long time Marty was that lady.  Beautifully flawed and tragic - one couldn’t help to be on her side.  She was dangerously close to being the wilting flower but ended up as one of the strongest female characters that the show has ever had.

Last time we saw her she had gone through some major character destruction. She had been morphed into a crazy killer and all over not getting the guy that she wanted.  Ugh!  It was very sad for Marty fans.  I would love for her to be redeemed and return to the strong female character that she once was.

Of course if Marty comes back, her white knight Patrick should be with her.  Every soap needs a good guy and Patrick fits that role well.  His character was classic romantic hero.  The heart of gold poet with a sexy accent and nice hair.  Together he and Marty can go on adventures and save each other while trying to save the world.

These are of course but a few of my choices for One Life to Live 2.0.  The show has had so many great characters through the years that there are of course too many to name.  I think these characters would be a good base though for the show.  Family and friends can be filled in around them.

I’m becoming more optimistic about the shows’ reboots now that some experienced writers have been attached to them.  Pieces are starting to fall into place.  Now we just need a good cast and great characters for the stories.

Please feel free to share you character wish list as well as thoughts on mine in the comments.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Will Prospect Park Save Our Suds?

Prospect Park the production company that was going to save One Life to Live and All My Children after their early demise at the hands of an ill-run ABC daytime is back in the soap genre’s orbit once again.  Or maybe it is trying to pull the soap genre into its orbit.  Honestly it a little hard to tell if this sudden reappearance is a good thing or a bad thing.  The reason for my confusion on this topic is that there simply isn’t enough information out there yet for me to make a decision about how I feel.  You can’t get the whole picture when pieces of the puzzle are missing.  

During Prospect Park's first attempt at launching the shows, I was very excited about the possibility of soaps pioneering television’s move to the internet.  There is actually a lot of information about how viewing habits are moving away from TV sets and towards online.  What better way to move into the future of entertainment than with a beloved genre with loyal fans?  Not to mention it would give these shows an opportunity to breath outside of the confines of ABC Daytime and its president at the time Brian Frons.  This excitement along with my heart was crushed when the Prospect Park venture failed.  And it failed quite epically.

While Prospect Park does produce quality shows for cable, it didn’t seem to know a lot about the soap genre.  The big question now is have they learn anything over this past year?  Let’s do a little comparison of the situation now and then.

In 2011, Prospect Park had Frank Valenti and Ron Carlavanti as the creative team for One Life to Live along with a handful of cast members attached.  Not as many were attached to All My Children.  Allegedly negotiations with Susan Lucci weren’t working out which may or may not have caused delays.  However not much more was known by not only fans but the cast and crew of this soap.  Prospect Park was simply not communicating to anyone.

When the ax fell down on these online reboots, there was a lot of finger pointing as to the cause.  Negotiations with unions had gone sour.  Prospect Park blamed the unions for not being flexible and unions swore that it was Prospect Park who didn’t want to work things out.  Allegations that Prospect Park had just stopped talking with cast, crew, and unions were plentiful.  There was a lot of he said, she said.  It seemed as though the feat of bringing One Life to Live and All My Children online was more than Prospect Park were equipped to handle.  They just gave up.  Or so we all thought.

I was very surprised when buzz of Prospect Park popped up again.  News broke that Prospect Park had reached an agreement with SAG-AFTRA and the DGA.  They were given an extension until the end of February to get things off the ground.  Executive Producers were announced for both shows.  Vincent Irrizary a.k.a. Dr. David Hayward signed a deal to join All My Children and released the following statement:

"Happy to share that I just signed on with Prospect Park for the All My Children reboot! Excited to bring dastardly Dr. David back to life, as he did for so many others, and to see my dear friends in Pine Valley once again. A great, big thank you to all the fans for your tenacity in keeping the hope alive. You're awesome!!! Let's all keep our fingers crossed together that it becomes a reality.”  (link)

Although only one other actor has been announced, there appears to be a lot of interested former cast member from both shows.  This seems promising yet this time around, I am not quite as optimistic as before.

While I would love to have these shows resurrected, I am still seeing some of the same issues that arose the last go around.  Most notably is the lack of any sort of communication from Prospect Park.  While I can respect that some things probably need to stay under wraps until all is set in stone,  a simple statement from Prospect Park would be appreciated.  

Another thing that really stands out is that as of yet there are no writers attached to the projects and Prospect Park is still trying to workout a deal with WGA. (link)  They can’t have these shows without any writers.

When I asked production company 4th Street Media for their thoughts on the lack of writers it was pointed out that this may not be the biggest obstacle Prospect Park has.  "Not having actors is the biggest challlenge, so many are scattered to the wind. Can't have writers until you know who you're writing for.”

Good point.  The actors are the most important ingredient for these shows.  Without them, it simple won’t work.  This is definitely where things become tricky regarding Prospect Park.

Prospect Park plans to reduce the run time of these shows from a hour to 30 minutes. (link) I imagine this will mean they can run with a smaller cast but what will that cast look like?  Some of these actors have been keeping busy with other projects.  Will we get fractured core families and only half of our favorite super couple?  Will they recast to fill in these gaps?  The right cast and group of characters need to be attached to these projects in order to bring viewers.

Then of course there is the issue of the One Life to Life alum that are currently on General Hospital.  At the beginning of 2012 General Hospital appeared to be on the chopping block but now it is a healthy show that is enjoying increased ratings and positive buzz.  I can’t imagine an actor would want to leave that right now for something that may or may not work out.  But these characters have One Life to Live origins and it is reported that Prospect Park has the option to pull them from General Hospital.  Considering that Prospect Park is the one that is having difficulties getting things working, it seems like a cruel twist of fate.

While the crossovers have had some controversy, they have also had positive feedback and these characters are woven into the canvas now.  It may be messy for General Hospital to remove them.  For example, if Starr leaves not only will the months of building up Starr and Michael’s relationship be down the drain but the only other female that will be left for Michael to date will be his adoptive sister.  As Jamey Giddens with Daytime Confidential stated in his article Report: ABC Give Prospect Park Additional Time to Reboot All My Children and One Life to Live; Will It Be at General Hospital’s Expense?:

"Howarth specifically has become integral to GH's success. The actor and his character test through the roof with focus groups! Here's hoping Vicki Dummer continues to prove she's much smarter than Brian Fronsby not letting this madness happen." (link)

Also what will happen to these characters if the actors who bring them to life chose not to sign with Prospect Park?  Theoretically Prospect Park can recast them.

That’s the thing though...a lot of this is all still theoretical.  Nobody, except possible Prospect Park, knows for sure what the exact plans are for these shows yet.  Any details I can find regarding what kind of licensing agreement they even have with ABC is murky at best.  I think what has me the most uneasy is all the unknowns.

While it may seem like I am being a bit of a "Debbie Downer” here, I do have a hope that this time around Prospect Park can truly save the day and become my hero once again.  The fact that there still seems to be interest from Prospect Park in producing these soaps in itself is actually a good thing.  It means they see soaps as being profitable.  As much as I would love to believe Prospect Park is just doing this out of love for the genre, the fact is they're are in the business to make money.  One of the many causes for the demise of the daytime soap is that it is no longer seen as genre that can bring in money (I disagree).  If Prospect Park is successful then this can change that perception.

With the latest news of the possible resurrection of One Life to Live and General Hospital, I have decided to stay cautiously optimistic for the time being.  If these shows are revived I will be a very happy camper to say the least.  However before I can truly celebrate, I think I need to know what these shows will look like.  For the most part, this means I need to know which actors will be attached to these shows.  In the meantime, I will be patiently waiting for more news.

For more compete information and updates regarding Prospect Park’s plans to reboot One Life to Live and All My Children, I suggest the following publications/resources:  Soap Opera Digest, Daytime Confidential, Soaps Uncensored, and TVSource Magazine.