General Hospital recently went live for two episodes, generating a lot of attention for the daytime serial. #GHLive got a lot buzz with actors doing multiple interviews, mainstream press and news programs reported on it, and promos were shown during primetime. This was a smart idea and I have no doubt it did a lot for GH’s ratings.
The current stories on GH are at a bit of a crossroads. There weren’t any anticipated climaxes to months long story really available for these episodes. In that sense, the plots didn’t have the same urgency to match that of the live element. This is not say it was bad though. What we got were some major turning points for the characters sprinkled with some surprising reveals.
The best part of these episodes was the enthusiasm of the cast, crew and fans. The added bonus of Periscope feeds gave a glimpse of how it all came together. Fans weren’t there on the set but could easily imagine that they were.
This was a great way for GH to show off the quality of its cast. The experience of watching the actors we all love do what they do best in real time was a treat. It was a bit like watching live theater only with higher stakes. The cast and crew did an impressive job. I doubt a primetime series would be able to do what they all managed to pull off.
Each day the cast performed each episode twice and comparing episodes was a lot of fun for fans who looked for little mistakes and differences. This created a lot of community and interaction online, something I always enjoy.
I question the choice to focus the episodes on violence and crime while the show’s namesake, the hospital, only made a cameo appearance especially when promos for #GHLive were ran during the primetime subser/hospital drama Grey’s Anatomy. Where was the heart, hope and romance? Yet another mob war seems so boring and stale at this point. Couldn’t the powers that be think of a better story to reserved for these special episodes?
The most entertaining stories were also the weirdest. There were a lot of things that made me scratch my head. Ric (Rick Herbst) and Nina (Michelle Stafford) got married. Huh? When did these two crazy kids decide to do this? Nina married a complete stranger (seriously she almost forgot his name) instead of getting her freak on with Franco (Roger Howarth). I’m confused! Anna (Finola Hughes) channeled the wild west and gunned down Carlos (Jeffrey Vincent Parise). Too bad he was needed to bring down the big man behind it all, Anna’s longtime enemy Julian Jerome (Willian DeVry). Oops! But Anna did look pretty badass. Prince Nik (Tyler Christopher) decided that breaking up is just too hard to do so he hired a hitman to off his lover instead. This new dark Nik does fascinate me.
While a lot of the strange happenings made for excellent live television and appeared to entertain the actors as much as the audience, some things came so far out of left field that immediate explanation is needed in order to feel invested in the stories. What are Ric and Nina up to? Why is Nik so suddenly Cassadine that he’s having people offed? I’m looking forward to the next weeks’ episodes clueing us in on the details.
#GHLive was not perfect but it was good television. It was successful in creating excitement for the show and its fans. I hope they do it again in the future.