Monday, April 29, 2013

All My Children - It's not your mother's or grandmother's soap... It's THAT and MUCH MUCH MORE!

What can I say?   Prospect Park's reboot of All My Children today has been a long time coming.  

For me watching the show started many years ago.  My mother and grandmother both watched the show and it was my first experience to the world of daytime soaps.  When ABC announced that it was canceling the show I remember distinctively feeling as if I had lost my grandmother - who had died years prior - all over again.  It was the one last thing that I had that to remind me of the times I had spent with her making cookies over the stove as she babysat me.  Cookies mind you that we would then eat while we watched, as she called them "her stories..." 

After some set backs, today Prospect Park has given soap fans back a daily staple that ABC failed to see for the crown jewels that they were.  The new 30-minute episodes launched this morning on Hulu and will post new episodes every weekday starting at 5 AM ET/2AM PT.  Just in time for yours truly to watch them on the train ride to work.  Another juicy gem is that should ABC cancel General Hospital, Prospect Park already has the rights to that soap as well.  

Right out the gate, All My Children sets its tone.  With new opening credits, new actors playing aged up characters, and much spicier scenes, the retooled online version of All My Children is saying one thing and that is they’re not your mother’s soaps but are just enough of what she remembers that she will want to watch too.   It's that and much much more!  The opener gives the signature All My Children red journal and introduces the new theme song “We are the love we give.” As we all know, soap opera fans are the most loyal and I think the powers-that-be over at Prospect Park know that if they mistreat either of these shows, the fans will have their heads.
In short, All My Children picks up five years after the cliffhanger finale in 2011. Devoted fans will recall that ended with a gun pointed at a room full Pine Valley’s elite and a shot ringing out.   In the opening minutes of the new show, we see Brooke (Julia Barr) awakening from a fuzzy nightmare of the events.  A smart move and a key benefits here is AMC's reestablishing familiar characters Brooke (Julia Barr) and Adam (David Canary), which makes it feel like home to  longtime viewers. 
Within moments we are introduced to a teenage AJ (Eric Nelsen) and Bianca’s now-teen daughter Miranda (Denyse Tontz).  While the language in this episode "Chapter 1,  Part 1" stayed pretty PG, the lack of broadcast constraints was obvious with one of the most provocative and steamy (dream) scene between David Hayward (Vincent Irizarry) and Cara Castillo (Lindsay Hartley).  This isn't something you'd find on say HBO's True Blood, but it definitely showed more skin and had more sexual innuendos as fan favorites Angie (Debbi Morgan) and Jesse (Darnell Williams) playfully spoke amongst one another.  
The show as with One Life to Live is filmed in Connecticut and I immediately recognized the exterior shots and their actual locales.  The visuals are sharp indeed.  And the pace seems more primetime driven for a newer younger generation.  
As to the characters dynamics, David, Cara, Griffin, Opal, Jessie, Dixie, Angie, Adam and Brooke all sound like the characters we've come to know and love.   We don't know the full story of what happened 5 years ago but we pick up with enough references and allusions to what actually happened to make you think you know but keep you guessing.
I'm not going to lie, the one thing I am missing is Erica Kane.  Susan Lucci was the heart and soul of the original AMC and I'm hoping that in some way we'll get to see her once again play Erica Kane or find out what happened to her.
So on day one it's hats off to All My Children for once again making Pine Valley feel like home.

The cast of the show is as follows;

All My Children
Julia Barr as Brooke English
Ryan Bittle as JR Chandler
David Canary as Adam Chandler
Lindsay Hartley as Cara Martin
Vincent Irizarry as Dr. David Hayward
Francesca James as Evelyn Johnson
Thorsten Kaye as Zach Slater
Jordan Lane Price as Celia Fitzgerald
Jill Larson as Opal Cortlandt
Ray MacDonnell as Dr. Joe Martin
Cady McClain as Dixie Cooney
Debbi Morgan as Dr. Angela Hubbard
Eric Nelson as AJ Chandler
Eden Riegel as Bianca Montgomery
Heather Roop as Jane McIntyre
Sal Stowers as Cassandra Foster
Denyse Tontz as Miranda Montgomery
Jordi Vilasuso as Griffin Castillo
Darnell Williams as Jesse Hubbard
Robert (Rob) Scott Wilson as Pete “Petey” Cortlandt