Picking up the threads

1975 GL

This is essentially a “Part Two” to my previous post, about reboots and revivals of our favorite soaps.

A reboot’s on the wish list of many Guiding Light fans, as well as fans of other P&G shows.

I mean, in this era of procedurals, could anything make for a more obvious reboot than The Edge of Night? With a fabulous update of that theme song, of course.

And there’s certainly been interest in these shows.

Supposedly, someone’s been trying to sell GL as a property pretty consistently since it left CBS for That Game Show That Shall Not Be Named.

This post suggests that before Paul Rauch’s death, he’d been working on getting some version of GL back on the air.

There were several attempts that centered around GL head writer Jill Lorie Hurst; the early attempt to form a production company (A New Kind of Light) with several GL stars and, more recently, the teaser video showing many GL stars together.

I am a fan of Hurst’s work and was hoping (and still hope!) that one of the ideas would catch a wave, that something of these ideas would come into bloom.

The plot thickened this week with the announcement of “Sudsville,” a platform for soaps that may be similar to Hulu or Netflix. There’s scant information so far (and I’m not loving the name), but it’s a promising sign that interest is still there.

The raw materials are there for a reboot of these shows, but before moving forward, we have to acknowledge the wreckage, too: the failed reboots of All My Children and One Life to Live.

The cost of those failures goes far beyond fans missing their shows. There was a substantial financial loss to Prospect Park (one of their own making, it could be argued, but a loss nonetheless).

It may have cast a cloud of fear over other producers and companies, scaring them away from rebooting other properties.

The AMC and OLTL reboots are pretty interesting to me, because in terms of content, I think there were great lessons to be learned there.

I think AMC 2.0 nailed its landing far better than OLTL 2.0, mainly because AMC 2.0 did the very thing I would want to do for a GL relaunch – weave in the foundations of the past, but also use as a launching pad for the next generation and a time to clear out some of the more worn pieces of story.

AMC 2.0 tried to chart its own rhythm and its own path. The Miranda/AJ/Pete story featured three characters the audience knew and loved, and it was one of the most realistic and root-worthy portrayals of young characters I’ve seen in a while.

The show used some veterans, too, and pulled some surprising characters out of mothballs (Dimitri and Billy Clyde).

There were some mistakes; Celia was mostly a “who cares?” character, and the perennial pain parade that was inflicted on the Hubbards got very old after a while. But overall, it was a strong showing.

OLTL 2.0, on the other hand, was an attempt to do an exact transfer of the old show over into the new space. It had many strong moments, and most of the same cast, but it simply wasn’t as watchable.

It hadn’t changed the pace and the mapping in necessary ways. And some of the stories just felt stale and uninspiring.

And that leads me back to the question I posed in my prior post: What would a reboot look like? How would we adjust the focus on a reboot of, say, GL or ATWT, to capture its essence, but adjust it for a shorter episode length, or a limited series arc (13 episodes a season)?

I’m still thinking……