Tuesday night ,PBS, the wise network that has shown American’s the private lives of the British on Downton Abbey, had a special “The Pioneers of Television” ‘Primtime Soaps’. This special covered Dallas, Dynasty, Knots Landing and Peyton Place and the stars who brought their characters to life so beautifully. The late Larry Hagman appears as well as the beauties of the aforementioned night time soaps.
Dallas which lasted (13 years) became a huge hit after Larry Hagman’s, JR was shown to be the biggest villain on television. Dynasty (9 years) also gained it’s greatest popularity after adding Joan Collins’,Alexis Carrington and Knots Landing(14 years) drew it’s biggest audience after Donna Mill’s Abby was added to the show.
Taking the soap opera premise PBS explains “Daytime dramas were a staple of the first days of television. They got the nickname “soap operas” because the early adopters of television advertising were soap companies. Over time, the term soap opera became associated with improbable, but exciting, story lines involving long- lost relatives, secret affairs and amnesia. The genre came to Primetime in 1964 with “Peyton Place,” starring Ryan O’Neal and Mia Farrow. The genre revived in Primetime in the late ’70s to great success.” . Soap opera’s beag on radio in 1931 and have been a part of peoples lives right to this day where they have gone fromTelevision to online where there are many to choose from including the rebirth of One life To Live and All My Children.
Once again television borrows Daytime soaps popularity to bring shows like Revenge, Once Upon A Time, Parenthood, Vampire Diaries, Hart of Dixie and more to Prime Time, even bringing back Dallas to great success.
Whether Daytime or Prime Time the soap opera genre will never die. It brings excitement, some real life scenarios an many over the top story lines , full of family, loyalty, love, dysfunction and the attraction for the average viewers has kept this genre alive. The entertainment value and longevity cannot be matched by any other genre.
Soap Opera’s like Guiding Light(1952), As The World Turns(1956), One Life To Live(1968) and All My Children(1970), all gone from our TV screens, but never forgotten. The latter two are being brought back online and fans of the other two are still hoping for a comeback. The Young and the Restless(1973) the #1 soap since 1988, Days of our Lives(1965), General Hospital(1963) and The Bold and the Beautiful(1987) are still going strong and still enhance the lives of their viewers daily.
Watch it here: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/pioneers-of-television/pioneering-programs/primetime-soaps/ or tune in to PBS January 26th at 3 p.m.