Counting Crows — “Start Again”
(from Underwater Sunshine) —
Some sixteen months ago or so, on a glum and gloomy Friday the 13th, I lay curled up like an inconsolable baby on my living room couch and wept like a dejected puppy watching what I truly believed were the final episodes of my all-time favorite television series, ABC’s classic soap opera One Life to Live, a show I had watched more-or-less daily for twenty-four of its forty-four years. (You may or may not recall my tear-stained love letter to my beloved Llanview-ites, which I wrote with drenched eyes, heavy heart, and gritted teeth on that final, ferociously wrenching afternoon.)
But just as nobody is ever really dead on soaps, rumors of the series’ demise turned out to have been greatly exaggerated: last week, One Life blew back onto the airwaves — alongside sister soap All My Children — via a groundbreaking online venture spearheaded by maverick production company Prospect Park, who have committed to at least a year’s worth of half-hour episodes of each program which are streaming on Hulu and Hulu Plus (and — new revenue stream alert! — which are available for download from the iTunes store.)
With the exception of Dorian Lord’s fabled mansion (which is now a sad shell of its formerly sprawling, gloriously grand self), the sets of One Life 2.0 — which had to be completely reconstructed from scratch, since ABC spitefully ordered the originals destroyed shortly after production had wrapped — are meticulously faithful renditions of their predecessors, and a large chunk of the show’s criminally cool cast — led by the peerless Erika Slezak, and including Hillary B. Smith, Robin Strasser, Jerry VerDorn, Bob Woods, Roger Howarth and Kassie DePaiva (who own 12 Daytime Emmys and roughly a zillion nominations between themselves) — have signed back on for this revolutionary reboot effort. (In addition, though she has since left the writing team, the opening scripts are being co-written by the fiercely fabulous Susan Bedsow Horgan — a not-infrequent visitor to Brandon’s Buzz Radio, and the woman who nurtured this show through its true glory years in the mid-1990s.)
It remains to be seen how this wickedly bold programming experiment will play itself out — Prospect Park has signed on for a year initially, and though we all pray this venture is a blockbuster success that makes those fops who run ABC rue the fucking day they ever decided to divebomb their entire daytime lineup in one fell swoop, just between you, me, and the lamppost, I’m having more than a little trouble figuring out how these folks are even going to get close to recouping such a massive monetary investment — tens of millions of dollars for each soap, and that’s not even counting the costly advertising blitz that has heralded these two shows back to the big time — by relying solely on the brave new frontier of online content delivery. But no matter: even if it is just for a year in the end, I can’t even begin to express how thrilling it is to again be able to revisit my fictional Pennsylvania pals for a spell each day, and to get a bit of real closure on a Life that found itself snuffed out long before its time. Second chances rarely come more well-deserved.