Richard Dean Anderson talks about HIS prime time soap

Discussion in 'Sundry Prime Time Soaps' started by Willie Oleson, Sep 28, 2017.

  1. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    It's always nice to see that these actors are still very optimistic about their show.

    The clip from Emerald Point N.A.S. shown in this interview looks a bit static and without genuine emotion, and yet there's something about this setting (maybe just the drapery!) that reminds me of Leslie and Rodney Harrington.
    upload_2017-9-28_23-20-49.png

    A beautiful place, beautiful people, a lush intro theme...why did it not succeed? Was there not enough chemistry between the actors?
     
  2. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Mega Star

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    I think the problem was that the focus of the show was the American Navy -- a real life, specific, patrotic thing which you can't critique or parody the way you can the oil or wine or any other kind of big business because then you'd be criticising or parodying America itself which is blasphemy. So there's immovable monolith at the centre of the programme which means all the drama and conflict and juicy stuff is confined the outskirts. It's a bit like Paper Dolls or Models Inc, only in reverse. Whereas the American military is too rigid, the world of fashion is too vague and ephemeral to build a drama around, so again there is nothing at the centre. All the action happens on the periphery and there's nothing in the middle.

    (I'm not entirely sure that makes sense, but I know what I'm trying to say!)
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2017
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  3. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    It does.
    Things have changed a lot, haven't they? American patriotism is no longer untouchable, or maybe it is, but presented in a more clever, less obvious way?
     
  4. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Mega Star

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    I think DALLAS always did it in a roundabout way, in the way that JR committed heinous deeds in the name of America (especially the BD Calhoun escapade) to justify his own self-interest. Or you could take the isolationist mentality of the Ewings ("We may be right and we may be wrong, but we're Ewings, we stick together!" "Ewings unite!") as a metaphor for America itself. They just couldn't say it directly.
     
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  5. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    And yet another brilliant perspective, James!
     
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  6. tommie

    tommie Soap Chat Star

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    I dunno
    I've been trying to get around to watching Emerald Point NAS for ages, but I always end up turning off the first episode and doing something else.

    Maybe it's exactly what James say - it's simply too rigid of a setting and too little things they can get truly prime-time soapy outrageous about. Interestingly there's an influx of military dramas this season; NBC's Brave, CBS's S.W.A.T. Team and The CW's Valor. None of them really seem like break out hit material, but I guess SWAT Team will appeal to CBS's older audience.
     
  7. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    CBS attempted to do a daytime soap in the early 1980s called Capitol, which involved two feuding politically-connected families. It had similar problems to what @James from London says about Emerald Point. Though one could buy that these families were rich and powerful, they could not depict such simple details as which political parties the main players belonged to (leading to such over-used lines as "The party bosses say we can't do this," or "The party won't support that"), and though they were supposedly "connected," the writers could not drop names of real politicians or power-brokers into scripts to make it sound more realistic. One character was a congressman, but he never spoke of what bills he'd voted on that day, or what had gone on in the House chambers that day--the sort of stuff we saw on the news and knew was going on. Like most soap characters, his job didn't seem to interfere with his storylines (usually involving his comparatively dull romantic pursuits). It was like they had to develop an alt-reality Washington DC that these people functioned in, which took so much of the "edge" off the premise.

    RDA had every reason to be optimistic and excited about Emerald Point--it allowed him to escape General Hospital!--but we have to keep in mind that if EP had not been cancelled, he would not have moved on to the starring role in MacGyver, which was arguably his most famous role.
     
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  8. Carrie Fairchild

    Carrie Fairchild Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Why were they so hesitant not to align characters with specific real life political parties? Were they not allowed? Or is it down to the fact that a daytime soap films in such a way that it'd be impossible to appear current when it comes to the fast moving world of politics?

    I haven't watched House of Cards or Scandal but I'm presuming their characters identify as Republicans or Democrats? I know in British dramas like Secret State and A Very British Coup, they do identify as Labour etc.

    Back to Emerald Point, I tried watching it years ago but as I recall, I found it quite boring so I ditched it early on (possibly after episode one). On paper, it should be my dream soap - it's from the creators of Dynasty, I love Sela Ward, I love Bond films and it features naval officers in uniform. But hey ho, it was not to be.
     
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  9. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    I was very excited when Sky Channel announced their new programme "Emerald Point" in the late 80s.
    From the makers of Dinnesty!
    And such an unusual choice for Sky Channel, which - at that time - mostly aired sport/travel/nature programmes. And of course those infomercials presented by Pat (from Pat & Mick).

    As a rule, I don't like it when my soaps are being cancelled.
     
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  10. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    In the soap world (and increasingly every other world) executives are scared to death of controversy. If some old lady from Iowa writes a letter complaining that she's never going to watch As The Stomach Turns again because "Mayor Dreyfuss is one of those damned [insert party]," they lose all their composure. Obviously, they believe, they will lose 50% of their audience if they identify a character as a member of either party, since people are so aligned with their political party. Also, if Mayor Dreyfuss is having an affair with his secretary and is covering up the murder he committed to get elected...well, that old lady from Iowa can say it is typical behavior of those damned [insert party]. If this fictional character reflects badly on his "fellow members of the party," the real-life party folks might get angry at the writers. So it's a sort of unspoken agreement that politicians on fictional programs don't say which party they're in---to avoid trouble.

    Your point is also valid. Soaps film weeks (even months) in advance, so it would be difficult to keep the conversations totally up to date.
     
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  11. Carrie Fairchild

    Carrie Fairchild Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Segueing slightly off topic but did any of the US soaps ever include on the day references to current real life events? Like the assassination of JFK or the Moon landing or the like? A few of the UK soaps do it, where they'll film a scene on the day or day after of a breaking news story and insert it into the already filmed episode.

    EastEnders is probably the most notable, having filmed insert scenes acknowledging the deaths of Michael Jackson & Nelson Mandela as well as the Brexit referendum result and football results.
     
  12. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The late, unlamented Sunset Beach attempted to do this for a period of time. Like many other gimmicks imposed on soaps, it was done poorly and often looked ridiculous (stilted dialogue, bad segues, etc.) so they stopped doing it after a few months. Like your example, they had actors film 'drop-ins' that the editors tried to drop into already-completed episodes...which is a prime opportunity for mistakes to be made. For the most part, soaps in the US don't react much to events in real life unless they decide to use them as a plot point--and even then, it's long after the event and written as something in the past (that is, distanced from current life).
     
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  13. Carrie Fairchild

    Carrie Fairchild Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Unlamented! What is this sacrilege that you speak :D
     
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  14. Rove

    Rove Soap Chat Star

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    I preferred his role as Jack O'Neill from Stargate SG-1.
     
  15. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    General Hospital was talking about his character, Dr. Jeff Webber, several months ago, and some people waxed nostalgic about how good he was in that role...and hoped he would return for a brief appearance. RDA seems to be good in everything he does, whether due to talent or just an ability to choose roles well.
     
  16. ChrisSumner

    ChrisSumner Soap Chat Active Member

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    I have this show on DVD and I've never managed to finish it. The cast was bland and it was so slow and boring. I don't think the theme of to blame for how bad this show was.
     
  17. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    Can I have it, or maybe you could accidentally upload it on YouTube?:D
     
  18. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    I always think of Ellie's "right or wrong" speech when she gives her "even when we knew we wrong" speech five and a half years later in exactly the same spot. Sort of bookend moments for the great post-Jock era of DALLAS.

    Ellie has learned something over those years period. But it's too late.


    It was an '80s thing. You could mention political party -- and specific political ideas -- in the '70s and certainly the '90s and beyond.

    But not in the Reagan era.

    It's why DYNASTY's Season 8 devoted much of the year to a gubernatorial race, and yet no party and no actual politics ever came up. And that was the result not just of the program's typical passive-aggressive, all-dressed-up-with-no-place-to-go Tomfoolery but also a manifestation of the unspoken rules of the decade for American TV.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Allusions to any political specifics were somehow verboten. Such that even subtle little side quips like "wrong party, Bobby" from Donna Krebbs (or however she worded it) during DALLAS' Season 10 when Donna was in Washington, D.C. raised eyebrows and made you tingle ever-so-slightly (if the viewer even caught it).

    And why?

    I've said before that there was a weird dual political correctness that kicked in and washed over the American media in the '80s, a bogus leftist one (where you knew implicitly that if you disliked, say, the shrilly dislikeable Faye Furillo who'd been cheated on by her husband, then of course you hated women) and a bogus rightist one (where no Reagan/Thatcher trickle down economic policy could be uttered much less maligned) even in the same project.

    It was a weird bilateral cognitive dissonance going on, certainly in TV.

    So many Hollywood productions in the self-consciously insecure and narcissistic '80s wanted desperately to be important and relevant. And yet they were too chickenshit to commit for fear of --- something .... Not just a fear of controversy or offending someone, but almost of facing or coming to terms with what the project itself actually thought. Especially in an hour where the United States had just elected the most rightwing president in modern memory, yet one whose countenance the American public loved and whom speaking out against even mildly could stop a room (of caucasians) and plunge it into a stunned silence.

    It was this weird Emperor's New Clothes thing. Or, in DYNASTY's case, the Emperor's New Clothes in reverse.

    Perhaps that's why the showbiz of the '80s was so fixated on the '60s and Vietnam --- they could convey a quasi-liberal sensibility about a nonsensical war now safely over, but they could also give equal time to fawning over the military by acknowledging the war's cost to the soldiers and their families.

    Ahhh, the 1980s: all restless agitation and paralysis. Probably from all those shoulder pads.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2017
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  19. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    That's why everyone should watch THE AMERICANS. It's a great eighties show.
     
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