Last week, Prospect Park has showed viewers that they have more than One Life to Live as the production company brought the fan favorite soap opera back from the dead as part of their The Online Network initiative on Hulu, Hulu Plus, iTunes and FX Canada. With a small piece One Life having lived on vicariously (and controversially) through General Hospital, does this live up to the hype that it made or should One Life have just stayed dead?
Though I was heavily critical of All My Children, I don’t really have the same criticisms of OLTL. Unlike its sister soap, One Life to Live truly felt like it picked up right where it left off. Stories have progressed since the ending on ABC, but unlike All My Children, the show is treating viewers like it is their responsibility to get caught up with everything that has happened in Llanview, not the show’s duty to explain it to you.
This is both a good and a bad thing. The show is moving at a pretty rapid pace. Stories are consistently moving, things are not slowed down to deal with long-winded exposition to explain who’s who, and how they are connected to everyone. Instead, OLTL offers term viewers the acknowledgement that they are there, but throwing newer viewers a few bones with more relationship building scenes rather than an overabundance of exposition. Less is more in that regard.
This isn’t to say that the show’s writing is flawless; on the contrary, it’s far from that. When I heard that the great Thom Racina was going to be penning the series, I had such high hopes for the way various storylines and characters could be developed and play out under his reign; the most important of which being the tale of two Todd’s. So to have Victor Lord, Jr., wander into shelter in the final scene of the first episode, I was more than a bit perplexed as to where the story was heading.
In the second episode, with no build up, Victor storms into the hospital, throws a punch at Todd and no one reactions except for Tea. Yes, after he was believed to be dead for nearly two years, Victor walks back into their lives and no one could be bothered to freak the hell out? That would be the realistic reaction; not the “Oh Victor, how have you been? Haven’t seen you in a while,” that most characters seemed to have. I won’t even get into the delayed reaction from Victor’s sister Victoria.
I’m more than willing to give the show time to develop the story, but considering it’s unknown how long Trevor St. John is sticking around (the credits have him listed as a contract cast member however) and Roger Howarth has returned to General Hospital, one has to be prepared for the possibility of the story to wrap in a few weeks’ time. If the premiere week is any indication of the type of story we will be getting, I have to say I am a little worried about how things might play out.
While I didn’t initially like the opening theme song, by the end of the first week I found myself singing along with it. The dancing is still on The Cosby Show level of cheesy, I liked seeing the cast get to cut loose and do something fun. That doesn’t mean I want this to be the opening credits forever, but I have far more things to gripe about than the opening, because after all, I only have one life to live.
Though the first week was filled with its ups and downs, it will hopefully improve and stabilize over time. With only a few weeks until the show re-enters production for the next round of taping, one can only hope they are closely watching, analyzing what worked and what didn’t in order to make changes.
Criticism aside, I’m very excited to have One Life to Live and All My Children back. They’re both doing the one thing any great soap opera should do, and that is engaging me to want to tune in tomorrow.