The triumphant return of One Life to Live & All My Children

dwmckim

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As many of you know, a lot of my energy over the last couple years has been involved with the fan campaign to rescue One Life to Live (bringing lots of my Henson fan experience gained from last decade's Save Farscape movement). For those who haven't heard, i'm pleased to announce that One Live to Live and its sister soap All My Children will be back this Monday April 29th online at iTunes and free at hulu.com. Canadians can enjoy the show on tv on FX Canada. International distribution deals for other countries are in the works and for Stateside viewers who still prefer to watch on television, it's expected that they'll be picked up by a cable station this fall season. (Hulu/iTunes has exclusive rights for the first few months). New episodes are 30 minutes Monday through Thursdays with "recap"/behind-the-scenes episodes on Fridays.

During my time as one of the movement's leaders, i've gained lots of great contacts and inside info and I can tell you that not so long from now, when we look back, ABC's decision to cancel both shows on April 14, 2011 will have ended up actually being the best thing that could have happened to them. When they were under ABC's "care", they were owned by a network/executives that didn't care for them, didn't "get" them, failed to promote them (yet all the while heavily micromanaging them). Current owners, production company Prospect Park consider them the jewel in their crown and their top priority. Not only are they very smart, powerful, and have lots of elements in their creative/business strategy that I not only fully agree with but have long been saying the shows need to do for years now, but also co-chair Jeff Kwatinetz himself is a huge OLTL fan so his investment in the shows' success is personal along with being professional/financial.

Various elements from the production values to the overall tone of the shows are more in keeping with primetime programs (one of the frequent phrases being employed in the marketing is "They're no longer 'Daytime', but now 'Anytime' Shows.) They've got some of the best writers in the industry writing them (the question of who would be tasked with writing them was one of my chief concerns so I was dancing in the streets when the team of Thom Racina and Susan Bedsow Horgan was announced as OLTL headwriters) along with show creator Agnes Nixon actively consulting on them both. Gone are the cheezier elements that have played as much of a part over the years in destroying the genre as any network actions - my favorite quote regarding the new shows comes from Kwatinetz' partner Rich Frank: "We wanted to be more grounded in the shows. I don't want somebody going off of a cliff and we all think they're dead and then four weeks later they come back because the car fell on a bunch of marshmallows and they weren't really killed."

I created this thread not only to share the great news but also to be available for others who tune in and have questions about the show - storyline, characters or even behind-the-scenes stuff. I can only really help in that regard with OLTL (i'm not that well-versed on AMC so you'll have to largely seek out questions about that show elsewhere i'm afraid.) The main thing I do know about AMC is that the new episodes will be taking place five years after ABC's last episode in September 2011. OLTL, by contrast picks up more in "real time" since its January 2012 exit (several characters had been appearing on General Hospital in the meantime keeping the interest/visibility of OLTL's stories up so the OLTL stories will incorporate some of the things that had since occurred on GH.)

There's been a huge media blitz lately but here's my two favorite articles concerning the relaunch:

- Variety's article on the return - http://variety.com/2013/tv/news/inside-the-online-revival-of-all-my-children-one-life-to-live-1200412961/#1/robert-scott-wilson-plays-petey-cortlandt/
- Erika Slezak (series' lead - always wonderfully forthright) interview - http://www.examiner.com/article/interview-one-life-to-live-actress-erika-slezak
- Michael Fairman's review of AMC/OLTL's first episodes screened at the premiere gala - http://michaelfairmansoaps.com/news/review-the-premiere-episodes-of-all-my-children-and-one-life-to-live/2013/04/25/

And some video promos:
- OLTL Recap video (or as I like to call it "Everything to know about OLTL in seven minutes") The last 30 seconds of images from the new episodes gave me chills when I first saw it:

- OLTL Sizzle Reel for new episodes:

- TV ad for AMC/OLTL return:

- New to using Hulu.com? OLTL stars talk you through it:
 

Drtooth

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As someone who's seen TV shows come back to varying results...

  • Almost exactly the same, but it has one or two bad episodes and everyone hates it
  • It loses the very thing that made it special to cater to a new audience
  • Teen Titans Go. Just...just Teen Titans Go.
I really hope this comeback is all you guys wanted and more. It's truly awful when they bring something back and no one appreciates it... and it's even worse when you can see why.

While I won't be watching, I hope they get in some passive aggressive stabs at "The Revolution."
 

charlietheowl

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I hope the soaps do well, and I will be curious to see if any network picks them up. If they succeed, I imagine ABC will definitely have some egg on their face.
 

Drtooth

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ABC has egg on its face for The Revolution. It was such a humongous failure, it didn't even get a complete season. I don't even think boycotts were to blame. It was just...terrible. And ABC didn't do it's research. These makeover shows never were successful, and failed after a year in syndication. Nate Berkin's show was about to go to the chopping block, if not already was. They gambled away a show that didn't make them enough money for a show that made them no money, and I'm sure that the big big stars that hosted the show had big enough contracts to wipe out any inkling of making the show a cheaper alternative.

Though I will say this about The Chew. As incredibly unwatchable as it is when they don't have a Muppet on, they actually made the show successful. I guess it's for people who grew to hate Food Network going from cooking shows to flat out food porn. Still, there are multiple superior cooking shows on PBS. Most of them are, anyway.
 

dwmckim

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After the first week, i'm bouncing off the walls. Turns out I've had TWO wishes granted - not only to get the program back but also for it to become the show I've always wanted it to be even when it was on the air!

The reboot is even better than I was expecting (and my expectations were high). Very much a "primetime" version of OLTL. Easy for new viewers to jump in and old viewers have the benefit of knowing all the backstory. The production values, the writing, the look, the tone, the directing, the performances - everything's top-notch! The Banner newspaper is back to being a central focus of the show. The more comedic characters still bring the laughs while seeming like fleshed-out fully realized characters as opposed to cartoons. The 30 minute format makes for a much tighter, easily digestible show with no filler. Gone are all the hokey cheesier elements that have given US soaps a bad name. Melissa Archer (Natalie) is looking better than ever with almost kind of a "classic Hollywood" look going on. I've always been more a fan of individual characters as opposed to couples but the two couples that always were an exception for me due to a combination of writing/story/actor chemistry are fully present and accounted for: Bo/Nora and Todd/Blair - Kassie Depaiva and Roger Howarth are incredible actors individually but acting opposite each other is sheer magic and i'm loving seeing them do their dance again (figuratively and literally via the opening theme.) And of course the ultimate powerhouse (non romantic) supercouple: grand dames Erike Slezak and Robin Strasser as Viki Buchanan and Dorian Lord fully going at it with each other again.

Two successful Save-a-Show campaigns under my belt...now perhaps I should see what I can do to get Laugh-in resurrected... :wink:
 

dwmckim

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...and now they're BACK ON TELEVISION!!!

The shows have been picked up by OWN and will begin tomorrow (July 15 - right on One Life to Live's 45th birthday, no less!) so for those who aren't able to watch online or just prefer watching shows on television, they're now back where they should be - on tv screens! (They'll still be available online as well)

Since tomorrow's the big kick-off debut, they'll be running mini marathons of the first three episodes of each show: AMC from noon-1:30 and OLTL from 2-3:30. On Tuesday, they start at their normal schedule: AMC at 1pm & OLTL at 3pm Mondays through Thursdays. (On Fridays they do marathon repeats of the week's episodes.)

The really cool thing about this schedule - they scheduled the shows to where they're directly OPPOSITE the reality shows ABC replaced them with so you can stick it to ABC at the same time you tune in to watch the shows!

This will be a ten week test run with a full pick up for the fall schedule expected if the shows do well.


My comments above about being very pleased with the new episodes still stand! I haven't been this excited about OLTL since its mid 90's "must-see-tv" heyday. I laugh, I occasionally tear up, Dorian wreaking havoc in fabulous hats and wigs, Blair and Todd's insane chemistry, Buchanan poker nights, Nora's chuckle, Melissa Archer continuing to rock her scenes as Natalie while looking incredible all the while, Tuc Watkins' hilarious scene-stealing, Corbin Bleu fitting seamlessly in as one of the best new characters in quite some time...the wait's been totally worth it and being freed from ABC has been one of the best things to happen to the show.

I've also fallen in love with Iza Lach's theme song and it now has a great music video:


And to finish things off, two of my favorite scenes:
Todd's father/daughter day:
http://www.hulu.com/watch/497534
Matthew turns the tables on his surprise family dinner by inviting more family:
http://www.hulu.com/watch/499078#i1,p20,d1
 
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