All My Children and One Life to Live: A Triumphant Return!

 

Welcome back, One Life to Live

By Marlena De Lacroix a.k.a. Connie Passalacqua Hayman

I’d like to congratulate Prospect Park and all the writers, crew, actors and producers involved for sensational online premieres of All My Children and One Life to Live.  Both came across as first class, with the sets, costumes and especially the actors looking just wonderful.  Here are soap episodes built not only to last, but to be an enduring success!

It was so thrilling to see Viki, Clint, Dorian, Brooke, Adam and Opal again. It’s incredible how many memories and emotions the actors who play these roles bring with them.  And although I had a bit of trouble distinguishing some of the teenagers on AMC from one another, it was great to see the young people of soaps again. OLTL, with its hot new club Shelter, in particular makes the most of the sex appeal of its younger generation by featuring them in dancing sequences.  It’s great to see such favorites as Cutter,  Blair, Destiny and Matthew again.   Melissa Archer’s Natalie is seen several times in her underwear. But this is cable, where sex sells.   There’s also a soupcon of profanity. But they want to make soaps au courant and I guess this is another obvious way to do it.

But what’s really encouraging about the new episodes of OLTL and AMC is that both of these premieres present soap opera in its classic form.  From the moment Petey drives into Llanview in his hot sports car to the conclusion of OLTL when Victor is shockingly seen alive in a hoody, we get soap straight up with all the conventions we love so much.  It was great to see Adam proposing to Brooke and Clint holding Viki’s hand — which had his ring on it.  It was even fun to watch “cougar” Blair try and pick up a young guy.-

I greatly appreciated the reunion between Blair and Todd.  All they had to do was look at one another.  But what I liked best were my two favorite older couples, Dorian and David and Bo and Nora.  Decades of romantic love stories involving these two come back to me by just looking at them.  And they’re all still together! What will happen?  We’ll just have to “tune” into our computers to find out!

Cliffhangers, young lovers, old friends and new storylines — you can’t ask for anything more. Cheers again to Prospect Park — and I’ll be watching!

So now it’s your turn, Cher Thinking Fans. What do you think of the new All My Children and One Life to Live?

And welcome, too, All My Children

 

Comments

  1. tess says:

    I completely agree Marlena. ONE LIFE and ALL MY CHILDREN were superb and engaging. I eagerly look forward to tomorrow’s installment. I thought I’d cringe at the profanity, but I didn’t bother me, in the least. It came across naturally. For example, on ALL MY when a naked AJ was playing his guitar and Miranda walked in and AJ said the s word that rhymes with wit, it seemed natural. Unless a guy is having sex with a girl, most of them would have spluttered a vulgar word if they were caught playing in a guitar in the buff.

    I found ALL MY CHILDREN to be superior to ONE LIFE. There was stuff I could relate to. Opal trying to convince Pete to move back to Pine Valley permanently. Opal calling Pete Petey and he reminded her that his name was now Pete. Angie said she had to drop by the market to pick up some things for dinner. And I am intrigued by Miranda being harassed because her mother is a lesbian. And according to I Tunes and Hulu, more people have been tuning in to ALL MY than ONE LIFE. And that is because ALL MY CHILDREN is more reality based. Save, what happened towards the end on ABC when all the dead people were resurrected. Sheesh. Well, that is behind us. Thank God.

    I’d love it if a judgmental, supercilious character like Phoebe arrived on the scene and got together with her like-minded friends and gossiped about everyone in town. I thought Phoebe was hysterical. I was always a happy viewer to see her, particularly in her heyday when she feigned paralysis to keep her husband Charles from making a life with Mona Kane. And she also hired Myrtle, “that dreadful carnie woman” to pretend to be Kitty’s long lost mother.

    The new ALL MY CHILDREN isn’t what it used to be on ABC in its heyday, but that one episode is more reminiscent of the show than what we saw on ABC for the last five years or so.

    I noticed that the TV soaps have suddenly starting show more flesh. A number of hunky guys are shirtless on BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL even as I write this. THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS featured a hot interracial sex romp between Tyler and a white model. GH and DAYS have featured males parading around on stage sans a shirt.

    I’m sure all this skin is a result of the returns of the two online soaps. I don’t care about exposed pecs and washboard abs. I want compelling stories. And judging from what I saw today, I’m pretty sure, Prospect Park will give me just that.

    Marlena says: Great letter Tess. Thank you so much. I liked OLTL much better than AMC, too. I wonder if the on air soaps are adding sex because they are afraid of the new online compeition.

  2. Adam says:

    Having watched OLTL-but not yet AMC-I can say that it took me exactly 30 seconds to feel like my show was back. Visually, it’s nearly identical. I do think the music was a bit loud and intrusive, in places, and I don’t know if I like the opening all that much, but…I loved the the stories. The characters are all there, and while Matthew is a bit of a prat, I can’t say that the way he or Jack acted, is out of character. There were hints at other stories, that life has indeed gone on for these people over the past 16 months.

    I will also say that worries about the “racy content” based on this episode, seem to place this just a little beyond what was happening when last we saw Llanview. If there is a problem, it is the club setting, which I do hope does not become the “only hub” of the younger set. It is very early, but I loved David and Dorian, Todd pushing his way into Shelter, the Bo/Nora/Matthew and Bo/Nora/Clint scenes. It was great, truly great, to see Victoria finally working as EIC and Publisher of The Banner. Dani’s drug addiction seems like something out of the Malone or even the Nixon days(is Matthew her pusher, or trying to help her in his own messed up way?), and that’s a great thing. If they have a surprise appearance by Dr. Larry Wolek, I will love this return even more. That’s what this really is, after all. Not a reboot, or a relaunch, but a return. ABC stopped making the show, but PP has picked up and, dare I say, breathed new life into things. I think I’m going to have to rewatch the episode.

    Oh, and did I mention the sets were amazing? Seriously, this looks at least as good, design-wise, as what ABC was making. Hats off to everyone…and finally, to the end credit-thank you, Prospect Park, for making this happen.

    Marlena says: Great letter, Adam. Thanks for sending. The design was great, wasn’t it?

  3. mike says:

    I loved the shows today Marlena! Despite the racier content, it was truly like a homecoming. It was such a great feeling to be back in Pine Valley and Llanview!
    I found OLTL to be the sexier, flashier of the two, but given that a lot of the action took place at a nightclub, that’s to be expected. I also liked that OLTL really centered on the veterans, while AMC featured more of the newbies. Also seeing TSJ at the end of OLTL was a great cliffhanger. AMC seems to be holding off a bit on what it is that happened “5 years ago”.
    My only real complaint for both shows is that the opening credits seemed a little amateurish compared to the rest of the production, which for both shows are both quite slick. But that’s a minor complaint.
    All in all, a day I wasn’t sure would ever come – my shows, back from the dead and alive with fresh possibilities! Thanks to Agnes Nixon, TOLN, Hulu, itunes, FX Canada (I’m in Canada) as well as the actors and fans who refused to give up!!! I am so happy for us all!

    Marlena says: Thanks so much for writing, Mike. Glad you are happy!

  4. Dale says:

    Hello, Marlena! Today was an exciting day, n’est-ce pas? Who would have believed that a year ago we would be here talking about the new All My Children and One Life To Live? It was truly a red letter day for soap fans!

    Over the last two weeks we have been deluged with promotion for the returning shows and I was fearful that they might not live up to the hype. Well, so far, so good! I loved both AMC and OLTL today but for different reasons.

    First, AMC: I like how Pine Valley is being depicted as a smaller town, as opposed to a large metropolitan area. Hopefully this will lead to further intimate character interactions as we saw on today’s premiere episode. The introductions of the younger cast was well done, tethering them to vets as they did. AJ and Miranda have some real young love potential a la Greg and Jenny. I am curious and looking forward to David’s story and what he’s up to. Brooke holding the All My Children book at the beginning of the show and all the other mentions of past history and characters was touching. But why no mention at all of Erica? That seemed odd to me. And can somebody tell me Francesca James’ secret? The woman looks phenomenal! Day one was a promising start.

    Now for OLTL! It was the antithesis of AMC. Lights, camera, ACTION! Where to start? How about the fact that the first show mirrored the last ABC show? Remember, on that episode, the first shot was of the Banner on Llanfair’s doorstep and the last shot was of Victor, bound and gagged. Today’s show began with the Banner on the doorstep and ended with Victor. Coincidence or design? And when the old OLTL theme from the 80′s began playing in the background at the beginning of the show….well, I knew this was gonna be good!

    All of the vets (Viki, Dorian, Bo, Nora, Clint, David, Tea, Blair, Todd) made the new OLTL not seem as new as the new AMC. I like the recast Matthew so far. The jury is still out on Destiny. Jeffrey seems promising. Not loving the new interior design of La Boulaie, but at least La Strasser has new scenery to chew on! LOL! But isn’t it good to see the refurbished and lavish looking Llanfair?

    I thought the standout performer today was Kelley Missal, an actress that had not impressed me much on the “old” OLTL. Dani seems to be on a crash course to disaster, and Ms. Missal seems up to the challenge of the meaty material ahead. When did she get so good? Did you love the look on Blair’s face when she was rejected as a cougar? ROTFL! I like the new nightclub, but I hope they turn the music down a bit. Llanview still seems like an urban center, and I like that because it’s different from AMC and lends itself to bigger storytelling.

    And today’s storytelling was big! Lots of intrigue and drama with Todd and the Victor reveal, and the set up for another round of Viki and Dorian is just pure fun. Yes, it was a dazzling, fast paced “look at us!” kind of premiere, but the best moment was lost amongst all the hoopla: the quite scene between Tea and Dani in the nursery that ended with Tea singing a lullaby to her dead baby. There was SO much going on in that scene that was unsaid but acted so heartbreakingly by both actresses. It’s nice to know that after the music ends, OLTL still shows that it has heart and soul. If they can maintain a balance of traditional soap storytelling and still sell it to the kids, I think it has a bright future.

    Marlena says: Great letter, Dale darling. We have been One Life to Live FANS together forever!

  5. Eric Henwood-Greer says:

    I was largely thrilled with both–I liked that they had different feels and pacing, not the cookie cutter “let’s make all our soaps feel the same” that Frons pushed at ABC. (I think Tess above said she prefered AMC, not OLTL–but no matter opinion seems split, and I’m not willing to choose one yet.) AMC of course has lost more cast members, and arguably had more things they had to rebuild from so had to have more setup than One Life which felt almost like jumping right back in from when it ended.

    I have a lot more ot say–but it’s late, and I feel I should watch a couple more episodes first. However, in her 30 second scene at the end of AMC how geat was it to see Francesca James looking *spectacular*. I still feel like her character must still be connected to Kelly Cole somehow–but I guess we’ll see.

    Overall, a few editing and directing issues aside (which I think will be quickly cleared up–OLTL which filmed a month after AMC but has the exact same crew seemed to already benefit from this), it felt like a smart update to the traditional soap format, something that has been needed for a while. As you write, it’s still recognizably classic soap–but the dialogue felt a bit more real, the filming and editing a bit more “primetime”–I think it was a good compromise (and I hate to say made the network soaps today feel a bit stale in comparison.) I also like the shorter length–at 26-27 minutes of content, we only actually get ten minutes less than the hour long soaps, with many more network commercials, provide–and ten minutes more than Bold and the Beautiful provides, and it seems a good length.

    Marlena says: Thanks, Eric. Always good to hear from you!

  6. tess says:

    On today’s chapter of ONE LIFE TO LIVE, Victor showed up very much alive. But the characters response to this revelation wasn’t terribly believable. Yeah, Tea gasped and touched his face as if checking to see if he was real and not a figment of her imagination. But why didn’t somebody pass out? Hell, they were at a hospital. Someone could have fainted and had to be revived.

    To me, the story is moving faster than a shoplifter spotted by store security. On yesteryear’s version, Victor would have been in hiding for weeks. He would have surreptitiously been at the hospital checking in on Dani.

    And who the hell is Dani’s father? Is it Victor or Todd? On Soapnet in the morning, there are old eps of Victor aka Todd trying to get close to Dani. Now during that time, we thought Victor was Todd. So do you see my confusion about who is Dani’s father. The poor girl must get terrible headaches thinking about her paternity and maybe that’s why she got hooked on drugs to blot the craziness out of her mind.

    The brass never should have brought Roger Howarth back or if they had to have him, they should have fired Trevor St. John and allowed Howarth to resume the role instead of trying to retain the services of both actors and cooking up a preposterous story in the process.

    But I’m glad the show is back. I think the writers should slow it down and tell us a moderately paced story.

    • Chris says:

      After Roger Howarth came back to ABC’s OLTL as the real Todd, it was revealed that Todd (not Victor Jr.) is Dani’s biological father when both Todd and Victor Jr.’s DNA tests were conducted to find out which one was the real Todd.

  7. Patrick Erwin says:

    I wanted to see a few episodes before I commented. So here goes.

    First of all: I have to say that I appreciate that for whatever issues Prospect Park had, their best move was to get writers, crew and actors in place, and then get the HELL out of the way!

    I thought both were well done and I have high hopes for the success of both. Having said that, it feels like AMC 2.0 is a reboot of the original, while OLTL felt more like a true continuation of the original.

    I thought AMC was actually more interesting in many ways, despite having so few of the original characters returning. I know it’s sacrilege but I’ll say it anyway – I’m not sure I miss Erica Kane. A lot of the feel of AMC reminded me of its beginnings and its golden period. I’m interested in Evelyn and the mysterious benefactor. Miranda, AJ and Pete are all very well done younger characters, played by solid actors.

    OLTL was also solid, though I felt that the club scenes in the first and second episodes were distracting. I also have to admit, having Todd back in this context after being on GH was jarring.

    But Viki and Dorian were back in fine form on day one. The recast Matthew is perfect (he sort of reminds me of a young Ric Hearst).

    The new length is absolutely perfect and the dialogue and pace is great. I only wish, of course, that GL and ATWT had tried a shorter length, too.

    Marlena says: I like the shorter length, too. Always so good to hear from you, Patrick darling!

  8. janet says:

    I watched them both,I was surprised I liked AMC much better. Miranda looks a lot like a young Bianca. I even liked the youngster. Loved Jesse and Angie , The return of the vets, and surprise I may even watch more. I hadn’t watched AMC for a long time but, If they keep some of the vets front and center I will be there. OLTL I have never been a fan. I tried to catch up watching it on soap net for a while but, they confuse me . One minute someone’s in love next they want someone else. No ones together for more than a few months. They kill off everybody and a gang rapist ,? RH has said he is not happy with this character and I totally agree. I will try watching again, but . Its fast paced OL to much music, I cannot stand Dorian and David Vicker man he gets on my last nerve. The character is just plain stupid . All we can do is watch and see. I am looking forward to John returning to GH. What do I know, I am just a soapfan!

    Marlena says: Thanks for writing, Janet. We’re all just soap fans!

  9. Ja-Min Kim says:

    I am overjoyed that both OLTL and AMC are back and the actors and production teams are back at work.
    My only real concern at this point is that Susan Bedsow Horgan is no longer co-head writer at OLTL.
    I hope that Prospect Park will hire a bona-fide veteran scribe who will be true to the history of the show
    to help Thom Racina come up with compelling storylines. I am thinking Scott Hamner or Matt Labine or
    Hogan Sheffer.I would also like to see Bree Williamson back as Jessica,Mark Lawson back as Brody
    and if they are planning to recast Starr,please bring back the beautiful Nick Robuck as James Ford
    it was refreshing watching him and Kristen Alderson’s Starr as opposed to her and Brandon Buddy’s
    Cole,which was one of the many things that Ron Carlavati got right when he wrote OLTL,but again I am
    thrilled that both AMC and OLTL are back and long may they both live.

  10. Adam says:

    Having watched the first four episodes, I can make a few observations. Aside from the sets being a little small, they still look great. The music can be a little intrusive, but no more than it ever was in the previous edition of the series. I think the camerawork and direction are good. I do wonder if they aren’t editing things a little tightly, and maybe losing a beat or two here and there. These are issues that can be worked out. Now, on to real issues, and real loves:

    1. Love the dynamic between Dorian and David. Some are calling it camp, but I say, David has always been like this, going back to his “Smooth Operator” fantasy of Kelly and Blair back during his first run.

    2. Jeffrey King. Love everything about him so far. Great introduction and Corbin B is amazing in the role.

    3. Matthew and Destiny. Nothing against the actors. I love how they are keeping Destiny the same, so far, but what happened to Matt? In 16 months, he’s gone from accepting responsibility to being a deadbeat? I want there to be a real reason behind this. I hope the show explores this dynamic.

    4.Vicki and Clint and Bo and Nora: The way these characters are acting and interacting, is enough to nearly bring tears to this longtime viewer’s eyes. For the first time in over a decade, it feels like I have my core characters back.

    5. Todd, Tea, Blair, Dani, Jack and Victor: What a mess. The non-response to Victor’s return nothwithstanding, I do get Todd isn’t a saint, but so much of the “ill past” of Todd happened on Victor’s watch, and it was Victor that “re-raped” Marty. How about the folks of Llanview stop trying to pick sides and stop being hypocrites? Jack, in particular, is a brat, and the writer’s need to give him a story that either allows us to really get to know-but not exactly like-him or finish this story and ship him off to Statesville, because he’s heading that direction.

    6. Shelter, Cutter, Rama and Vimal. I can understand the idea of exploring an open marriage, but I am curious if they will be doing this in order to say this is what everyone should be doing and nobody is entitled to a difference of opinion-the Ron Carlivati style of writing-or if they will simply make this an honest exploration of an alternate lifestyle without any moral judgements for or against supporters and detractors. I actually feel bad for Cutter. He’s gonna get himself into trouble with the sleazy guy and the crooked cop.

    7. The lack of Starr, Jessica and McBain. I don’t miss em. Not yet, anyways, and shockingly, Natalie has been good, so far. Or, at least, she’s not annoying me yet, which is a vast improvement from much of her original run, and that’s no knock against Archer, who often got less than stellar material.

    All in all, I’d give the first week a B+, as I think it was a good return to the “Screen” and feels like a continuation of what came before. However, the pace, which is part of what I love, is also, on the other hand, causing some problems. Again, I think with time, the crew will figure out how best to handle the format and episode 4 was certainly improved over 2&3. I think the writers have a lot to do, not only in reintroducing people and places, but settling old storylines, starting new ones, giving new viewers a chance to catch on and more. It is quite a feat and, aside from moments like Victor’s “meh” revelation, the show was mainly great, to be honest. I want to see a return to families and friends, and I can feel that in the works. After years of Ron Carlivati’s disdain for fathers as having any “worth” and misogynistic treatment of women (Blair as the brainless town pump, for instance), it’s only natural that there are many weeks of first aid to be given. I’m going to sign off now and I will be back next weekend with my take on the 2nd week of this show.

    Bravo, cast and crew of OLTL. (p.s…AMC’s first eppy was snazzy, too, but need to see more)

    Marlena says: Bravo letter writer!

    • Chris says:

      Adam, How do you know that Cutter might not be behind the drug dealings at Shelter? When that “sleazy guy” brought that cop to him, he thought that he was going to get arrested! I think he probably knows more about the drugs at Shelter than he’s letting on!

      • Adam says:

        I just get a feeling Cutter, while he doesn’t care about drugs there, isn’t directly involved. I believe his fear was that the cop was there to arrest him for Dani overdosing at the club, because you can get busted for “allowing” drugs on the premsises, even if you are “unaware” because as the owner/manager/what-have-you, the law holds you responsible for knowing and preventing. Cutter is sleazy, but I don’t think think he’s a Marco Dane pimp/dealer type of sleazy. He’s more in the mould of early David Vickers or Alex Olanov…which makes sense, as apples and trees…

        • Chris says:

          If you don’t think he’s directly involved in the drug ring at Shelter and is “unaware” of drugs there, then how come he asked Dean (“the sleazy guy”) if he sold any drugs to Dani during Tuesday’s episode of OLTL, and that Cutter didn’t want to know any of the details of the dirty cop that was hired by Dean to work as a security guard at the club?

  11. Kevin says:

    I have my ROKU streaming from my PC to big screen TV so I’m not watching them on a PC (perish the thought!) but I can tell you that it’s just like watching them “back in the day.” Nothing has been downgraded at all. You can barely tell 18 months has passed.

    And for the record, I don’t think Cutter (One Life to Live) was a favorite of anybody. The return of this man whom has obviously never taken an acting lesson a day in his life is the ONLY drawback to the return of the soaps. I’m just saying.

  12. BL says:

    I wanted to wait the entire week before I commented to you Marlena. I was very happy to see the shows back, but there is still work to do with them both.

    With AMC, I’m not really interested in Celia’s situation and I don’t understand why we should care about or even like her. When they finally showed her with Brooke, I felt relief as I was hoping she wouldn’t be on a character island on her own only interacting with Pete (who is so different than when we last saw him) and Francesca James playing someone that isn’t Kitty or Kelly. Some of the scenes were so short, I felt like the actors didn’t have enough time to get any sort of subtext. I liked for example that AJ was upset/annoyed over people still talking about what happened 5 years earlier. He lost his Aunt Marissa who had adopted him and his father went into a coma. There should have been more to that then just one short mention. Also we see Angie, Jesse, Cara, Zach and Griff react to David not being in prison, but not Adam, Brooke, Dixie, AJ or Bianca, who are all people who love(d) either JR or Marissa. I hope we get that in week two. Having Brooke have nightmares because David was being released would have been a better way to go then just Brooke having a bad dream just cause it was a traumatic experience.

    With OLTL, since it picked up so quickly from where it was before, which I liked as someone who watches, but may have been difficult to follow if they were sampling out of curiosity.There is no way you would know that David was Bo’s son, Natalie was Viki and Clint’s daughter or why Blair the nightclub owner was at Dorian’s house on episode 3 if you didn’t have a background. Small line changes could have made a difference like Natalie telling Liam he has to go back to bed because he has a big day ahead tomorrow with his grandparents, David mentioning about how his little brother would be at Shelter or Dorian saying something about her niece Blair running the place. Thankfully as the week went on we had some longer scenes, but certain things like people reacting to Victor being alive were paced oddly.

    I’m looking forward to reading more of your thoughts about AMC and OLTL.

    Marlena says: Always so good to hear from you Blossie!

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