Pine Valley has been struck several times by tornadoes, but almost all of them have been on our screens.
This week, a figurative tornado hit Pine Valley’s cast and crew when it was announced that production of All My Children will move from New York to Los Angeles.
Sara Bibel has a great perspective on both the business and creative side of soaps (she used to write for Y&R) and she’s posted an excellent assessment of this surprising news.
Of course, I have to add my two cents.
As I see it, one of two things is going to happen. Either a few key people will leave the canvas and some new blood (perhaps a GL actor or two?) will join the canvas and invigorate/improve the show.
Everyone over 40 will disappear, the screen will fill up with a lot of people we don’t recognize, Pine Valley will look like the West Coast version of the Daisy and Grady show, and AMC will become even more unwatchable than it already is.
Unfortunately, with Chuck Pratt in charge, I suspect we’ll be getting what’s behind door #2.
The veterans are most vulnerable, of course, and the million dollar question is whether Susan Lucci will make the trek West. With an upcoming romance with Ryan in the works, we’re likely to see Lucci stick around, but anything is possible.
There’s also the question of the status of David Canary. Canary, whose dual role was cut in half this year with the murder of Stuart, is an integral part of AMC and deserves every award he has. However, if I were Canary, I’d seriously consider retirement.
I may get publicly stoned for suggesting this, but I don’t think the writing has done Canary any favors for years. The Adam/Annie story seems to be a repeat of the same Adam-romance story we’ve seen for the last twenty years. Whether it’s Adam/Dixie, Adam/Gloria, Adam/Liza or Adam/Annie, the writers keep making Adam drive women crazy (and not in a good way). The only difference with Annie is that she came to Adam already pre-disturbed!
If I was writing AMC, I’d reveal that Stuart survived the shooting, not Adam, and send Stuart and Marian to Llanview, where they’d be on the board of Buchanan Enterprises (and make occasional appearances). I’d recast Ross Chandler* with a hot, handsome fiftysomething LA actor who’s looking for work, and set up a fight for the Chandler legacy between JR, Ross and Scott (with Liza and Colby as spoilers).
The remaining biggest question is whether Alicia Minshew (Kendall) and Thorsten Kaye (Zach) will make the move West. Both have friends, family, homes and businesses on the East Coast, and Kaye’s wife Susan Haskell will be staying in NYC to continue on at One Life to Live.
AMC would suffer from the loss of beloved vets like Lucci and Canary, but in my humble opinion they’d be devastated if Kaye and Minshew left. AMC has made the mistake, as many other shows have made (most recently GL with Jonathan/Tammy), of centering the show around a few characters, instead of taking the time to build a more solid ensemble. I suspect ABC will move heaven and earth to encourage Kaye and Minshew to stay.
Of course, the changes that will really matter for the show is a change in the creative team.
ABC would be wise to find the show a new showrunner (I hear Ed Scott is free) and hire a writer who can write for characters, not plot ideas. AMC needs a few new ingenues, not an interchangeable parade of baby-swapping bimbos.
I understand the need to bring in younger characters and a younger audiences, but I wish they’d be interesting, quirky, unique characters – the Phoebes and Langleys and Opals of the new millenium.
Right now, the entire show looks like a bad audition reel for a new CW show, and that’s sad.
*Listen, if they can recast Liza with Luner, they can damn well reinvent Ross, a character who hasn’t been on for almost 20 years.
For a review of the 40th anniversary episode, click here.