General Hospital, which celebrated its 50th Anniversary this year, is still the best that daytime has to offer, especially after the arrival of former One Life to Live producer Frank Valentini and head writer, Ron Carlivati. Occasionally, a new regime will spell the end of characters and the loss of that sense of history, but these two have not only preserved that history, they’ve brought it back by returning beloved and long-missed characters to Port Charles. Luke and Laura will always come and go, but Duke Lavery, Scott Baldwin, Lucy Coe and Felicia Jones back on the canvas is pure bliss. Nobody on daytime can do mobster plots, secret baby plots, who’s the daddy plots, poison plots, corporate take-over plots and the ever-popular OMG-they’re-back-from-the-dead plots, like General Hospital. Add to the post-presumed-dead Helena Cassadine era (see above plot), the beyond the valley of the evil Dr. Obrecht (the wonderful Kathleen Gati), the without a conscience, cold-blooded Ava Jerome (the greatly missed after the demise of As The World Turns‘ Maura West) and throw in the deliciously wacky cray-cray of Robin Mattson as Heather Webber and you’ve got good, old-fashioned, Emmy Award-winning daytime drama. Kudos to Valentini and Carlivati!
The TV Junkie must confess, when One Life to Live and All My Children were given new life by Prospect Park, there was that bit of “I dunno” going on in her head. The TVJ waited until the shows were picked up by Oprah Winfrey to be broadcast on OWN and truth be told, was not impressed. The sets aren’t as lush and things look a bit cheesy, but all that can be overlooked.
What can’t be overlooked is the bad writing and plots on One Life to Live; tacky spy stories (GH it ain’t!), plots posing as lame excuses for the departures of three main characters who fled to General Hospital, uncharacteristic hysteria leading to the destruction of the character of Tea Delgado (the magnificent Florencia Lozano) and the list goes on. Even the appearance of the wonderful Ron Raines can’t save this mess. Only Valentini and Carlivati could save this and they’re…oh wait…at General Hospital. Now it’s been announced that production has ceased on this show, or as the TVJ prefers to think, it’s been mercifully euthanized.
All My Children, on the other hand, gave the TVJ the warm and fuzzies. Stories about people, love, families; everything a soap should be. It’s got warmth, heart, love, Opal Cortland (TVJ fave Jill Larson), mean old Adam Chandler (David Canary), a prince (Michael Nader back as Dimitri Marick), hot guys, hot girls, evil Dr. David Hayward (the in-real-life sweetie, Vincent Irizarry), the return of the ever-sleazy Billy Clyde Tuggle (Matthew Cowles), Jesse and Angie, Brooke, Dixie, Bianca and former AMC star (Kitty/Kelly), director and producer, multi-Emmy Award winner, Francesca James as Evelyn. Get the picture? All My Children is here to stay.
Boardwalk Empire is back and Nucky Thompson has his work cut out for him. The brilliant Jeffrey Wright has joined the cast as Valentin Narcisse, loosely based on the life of Casper Holstein, the real-life king of the Harlem numbers racket. His cold demeanor will give you the creeps.
Not only is the TVJ thrilled to have Haven back, but the best news is that Colin Ferguson is now part of the cast. How the TVJ has missed him ever since Eureka went off the air last season.
Donal Logue’s General Donovan might be dead on Copper, but he’s alive and well as the vile, heroin-addicted ex-agent Lee Toric, out to avenge the death of his sister, on Sons of Anarchy. This season is all Jax and Tara, but Toric is out to make Tara’s time in prison a living hell and put an end to SAMCRO.
The TVJ missed the Miss America Pageant! Whatever…it’s all downhill after Vanessa Williams.
A FEW LAST THOUGHTS…
This Week on the Tube…Under the Dome goes out with a bang! This is as close as we’re going to get to Lost and frankly, the TVJ is loving it. If you haven’t seen this show, run, do not walk, to On Demand or Netflix, so you’ll be ready for season 2.
Best TV Moment(s) of the Week…After a gazillion years, the TVJ’s favorite comedian on the planet, Bob Newhart, was finally rewarded with an Emmy at Sunday’s Creative Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. Even better, is that his Emmy was for “Guest Star in a Comedy” for his appearance on the TVJ’s fave show, Big Bang Theory. As Professor Proton, Leonard and Sheldon’s childhood idol whose TV show inspired their love of science, Newhart displays his subtle, yet hilarious brand of comedy as only he can. After so many nominations, this man who set the standard for TV comedy (the finale of The Bob Newhart Show is still the top-rated comedy series finale of all time), was given his due. In addition to Newhart, another of the TVJ’s faves, the ubiquitous Carrie Preston, won for her guest-starring role as the hilariously brilliant Elsbeth Tascioni on The Good Wife. If you’ve never seen her work on this show, or True Blood and Person of Interest (which stars Preston’s husband, Michael Emerson), what are you waiting for?
Saddest TV Moment of the Week…the reading of the names on 9/11…it never goes away; it never gets better. One day, perhaps the names of those first responders who died as a result of Ground Zero and were just regular people trying to help in an impossibly horrific situation, will also be read.
And don’t even get me started…Margo Martindale, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING???
THIS JUST IN:
For those of you who are of “a certain age,” the passing of a woman named Reiko will make you smile. Along with her late husband, Jack Douglas (the pair were always billed as “Jack Douglas and Reiko”), she was the darling of the early talk shows; Jack Parr, Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas, David Frost and Johnny Carson, all had them on as frequent guests. In broken English (a ploy to assuage the xenophobic feelings following World War II), Reiko charmed the TV audiences and made us laugh about her life with the curmudgeonly, but brilliantly witty, Douglas. In the words of the TVJ: look it up on YouTube.
Next Time…the new season.