What a difference a year makes, huh “One Life to Live” fans? Looking back through the Soap Opera Network archives, I happened upon the last column that I had written. It was November 30, 2011, nearly two weeks after Prospect Park made the now infamous decision to scrap their plans to revive “OLTL” online, just five days after the soap wrapped production on its ABC run. And now here we are just over a year later, with that plan seemingly resurrected and “One Life,” along with sister soap “All My Children,” a month away from resuming production for new episodes on the internet.
The news understandably has left me with a mixed bag of emotions that I’m sure have been shared by many of my fellow “One Life to Live” fans. My first thoughts were both of joy and skepticism. The possibility that my favorite soap opera, a show I had grown up watching since I was in elementary school and has been so much a part of my life these many years, was returning left a huge smile on my face. Of course, reality then quickly settled in upon realizing that we had been down this road before….just one year ago when Prospect Park gave the show its second cancellation notice in just seven months, and all of those emotions came flooding back, leaving me more than a little skeptical that they could even remotely succeed in making a go of it the second time around.
It wasn’t that I didn’t want them to succeed in relaunching “One Life” or that, if they did, that the show would be so awful that it would ultimately get cancelled yet again. In fact, I wanted (and still want) Prospect Park to break new ground with “OLTL” and “AMC” and for these shows to make history and enjoy long runs online. However, as you might expect, recent events have left me more than a little cynical that Llanview might ever actually exist again outside of my memories and old Youtube video clips. Therefore, I refused to get my hopes up for weeks while following the developments here on SON. The early cast signings and head writer announcements didn’t particular peek my interest at first since, after all, we have already been down that road once before. So it took a bit more convincing before I would even consider jumping on the Prospect Park bandwagon again. “Fool me once shame on you, fool we twice shame on me” after all.
But as the details continued to emerge and one one-by-one more pieces to the puzzle began falling into place, such as casting calls being released, deals being signed with the Screen Actors and Writers Guilds, financing for the project being secured, and the forging of an agreement with Hulu to air both soaps on their website, that I finally allowed myself to comprehend the fact that, barring some crazy unforeseen last minute change of plans, it was actually going to happen this time. “One Life to Live,” as well as “All My Children,” were really going to be living one. There is still “Life’ out there (pun intended).
Yes I realize that “OLTL” has been living on in a sense with the characters of Todd and Starr Manning and John McBain having all taken up residence in Port Charles. And, while I am glad to see that Llanview hasn’t been forgotten this past year, it has not even remotely persuaded me to watch “General Hospital” these past twelve months. I have never cared very much for that show and I think that all three characters have gotten rather tired and played out in all the years that each of them was on “One Life to Live.” Now if it had been Viki, Dorian, Clint, etc. that had moved to Port Charles, then yes I probably would have tuned in to see what was going on. Yes, even such diehard “OLTL” fans as myself, have our complaints with the show too. Another issue I have is that the new episodes will only be 30 minutes in length and air only four days a week. I would have preferred they be the same as they were on ABC in terms of length and frequency, however, I do understand the financial reasons behind Prospect Park’s decision. Plus, both of these soaps started out as 30 minutes shows back in the day anyway.
So now what? That is what I have been asking myself the past couple of days while trying to think of what to write about for this column. Where do we go from here? For me personally, I am actually really looking forward to seeing “OLTL” return with so many familiar faces both in front of and behind the camera, including perhaps some of show’s long time crew members from its television run such as veteran stage manager Alan Needleman who, back on late December, revealed that he had been in talks with Prospect Park to “see what they have to say.” With every twist and turn in this real life soap opera story, I must admit that I am excited as to what will happen next, however I am keeping a small seed of doubt in the back in my mind just in case things don’t even up working out again for whatever reason, fostering a wait and see attitude that won’t fully be relieved until the first new episode debuts on Hulu later this spring.
On a more personal note, regardless of what ever the future may hold for “One Life to Live” and Prospect Park, at least one thing is certain, it has brought me back full circle in my duties here at SON, much to my Editor-in-Chief Errol Lewis‘ delight (or dismay haha). One year ago, as “OLTL” was coming to an end, and much as I had enjoyed covering the show over the years for the website, I was very much looking forward to a nice long vacation from reporting the latest Llanview happenings ( so much so that I did not even bother writing columns in December 2011 or January 2012 as promised at the time). As the hours and days began to tick away and the seasons changed, it appeared as if my vacation might become permanent. But, like any good soap opera storyline, I “came back from the dead” and donned my reporter hat once more.
However, that hat has more than a little bit of dust on it and I would ask you to please humor me as I try to reintegrate myself back into reporter mode, and resort from being unnecessarily harsh while critiquing my writing skills, at least until I have a few more columns under my belt anyway. Speaking of which, my plans for this column going forward are to likely just post it monthly as opposed to twice monthly as I had done before, and not to date the columns (as in the 15th and 30th editions as I previously done) to give myself a little more freedom in writing them and not trying rush myself into just throwing something together on the spur of the moment to have something to post. At least that is my goal anyway.
Well this concludes this special edition of the column and I thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings and share your thoughts with me. I always enjoy hearing from other “OLTL” fans.
Take care, and until next time remember, we only have “One Life to Live”…