Discussion in 'US Soaps Forum' started by cijimccashin, Jun 10, 2020.
I wanna know what do you guys consider the best years and/or era for each of the US soaps.
The period of greatest public conciousness was from the mid-seventies until the early nineties, but different fans can make different cases for their own soap. It can also be attached to a certain set of characters or a couple you follow. The early seventies had some great stuff, but most of the shows were only a half-hour back then, and there were fewer commercials and smaller casts. Y&R was great for a long time, but by the late nineties all of the soaps were chasing younger viewers at the expense of storytelling and production values
I mean, being born in the mid-80s the 90s will inevitably end up being a special decade for me and I guess that goes for soaps and television in general when it comes to nostalgia.
With that said, daytime soaps really did seem to peak creatively and culturally in the 70s - both with taking risks and being progressive with storylines. I guess you could make an argument about the 80s being the decade where they actually seemed to invest in their budgets as opposed to slashing them (which of course sort of counteracted the soaps initial premise of being cheap money-spinners for the networks).
Yes I would like to know your own opinions on some of the USA soaps.
One of the better aspects of the 1970s up to about 1983 is the freedom given to each soap to create their own identity. You had medical dramas like The Doctors, and a soap that focused on crime and mysteries (The Edge of Night). Shows like As the World Turns, Ryan's Hope, Guiding Light and Love of Life were focused on inter-generational family drama. All My Children and One Life to Live embraced social-issue controversies to drive plots. The Young and the Restless brought in the concept of sexy, younger characters driving story rather than their older counterparts, while Days of Our Lives and Another World battled for the #1 spot throughout most of the 1970s with a more theatrical, actor-driven format that emphasized characterization over plot.
Around 1979 General Hospital changed from a standard medical drama into a more action-oriented show featuring sci-fi and espionage elements, causing almost every other show to attempt to do what they were doing when they became the #1 rated soap. Soon, it was more stylish to copy other shows than it was to pursue an individual identity. It made each show a little less than it had been, because soaps with a "unique point of view" engendered greater loyalty. This was also when soap writers and producers started moving from show to show. The turnover rate increased because the networks no longer valued consistency. This caused soaps to lose their individuality at an even faster pace since the traveling producers tended to repeat the same plotlines at their "new" show and to go after the same fans.
It all became pretty much homogenized by the 1990s, when every soap seemed to have been instructed by the network to copy not GH but Days of Our Lives, which had taken an identity of wacky, fantasy plots heavy on shock value but light on characterization. All this, despite the highest-rated soap being the more traditional, character-driven Y&R.
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