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Soap Opera Miniseries

Discussion in 'Sundry Prime Time Soaps' started by ClassyCo, May 16, 2020.

  1. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Addict EXP: 6 Years

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    There's a lot of television miniseries that have aired over the years that could easily be slid into the soap opera genre. When the prime time soaps were at their zenith in the 1980s, there were a host of miniseries that aired to quite obviously "cash in" on the genre.

    Here's some that come to mind:

    Hollywood Wives
    Bare Essence
    Malibu
    Yes, there were others. And yes, I am well aware that Bare Essence evolved into a short-lived prime time series, just as Paper Dolls did a couple of years later.

    Any thoughts on these shows?
     
  2. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator EXP: 20 Years Staff Member

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    An aside: When I was in the eleventh grade, our teacher assigned us to write a book report. We got to choose the book, her only stipulation being that the book had to be more than 200 pages. I could not stand that woman, and just like most teenagers I enjoyed pushing the envelope. With that in mind, I chose to do my book report on Hollywood Wives, which was out in paperback but had not been turned into a TV miniseries yet. She grumbled and made the occasional snide remark, but I got a B+ on that book report. I saved it for years as a "trophy" of my civil disobedience. The best part was that I was 99% sure she had not read the book, so I could have (in theory) made the whole thing up and probably gotten away with it. But when you have Jackie Collins as your source material, who needs to embellish?

    I never saw either, but Rich Man, Poor Man was originally a miniseries that became a "regular" TV series (short-lived, though it was).
     
    • Funny Funny x 2
  3. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator EXP: 18 Years

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    Funny, my book report was Valley Of The Dolls.

    But yes, we must keep in mind that most of these mini-series were televised versions of novels, they weren't written for television like the soap operas.
    They often ended up looking like Dynasty because that's what looked good at that time.
    upload_2020-5-17_0-25-38.png
    But even shows like Murder She Wrote adapted that style.

    The mini-series became a genre in itself, but there were soap opera influences - although I think the soaps were also influenced by the popular mini-series.
    The whole Moldavia affair feels very Judith Krantz/Barbara Taylor Bradford.

    Soapy opening credits:
     
  4. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Winner EXP: 18 Years

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    I could be wrong, but I don't think there would have been a Dallas had it not been for the success of Rich Man Poor Man and Roots. Aren't they what convinced the powers that be that a prime time audience would keep tuning in for a continuing drama? And of course, Dallas was first presented as a mini-series (or even a mini mini-series).
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2020
  5. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator EXP: 18 Years

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    I believe some of the 1990s mini-series were produced with the idea of it being a mini-soap e.g. Trade Winds and The Secret Of Lake Success.

    Revenge would have been a great mini-series but it failed to be a soap because it had this one big outrageous plotline that had to be stalled and altered to keep it alive.
    Maybe it could have worked if that "mission" storyline had been gradually integrated with the soap.

    The Slasher mini-series are great guilty pleasures. You didn't think it would work but it does.
    And I'd love to see a continuing drama remake of Sylvester Stallone's Cop Land. Sort of a Sopranos meets Knots Landing.
     

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