Not that I need to be adding yet another helping of British telly to my already heaping plate; however, lately I’ve been wondering if I’m missing out on the full British TV experience by shunning the soap opera ouvre
I actually used to watch American soaps in my teenage years. The women in my family went with the straight CBS ticket from The Young and the Restless and its spin-off The Bold and the Beautiful in the lunchtime slot to As the World Turns and Guiding Light rounding out the afternoon.
During college and the beginning of my adult work life, there was no time (nor DVR) to facilitate a soap habit. When I stayed home with my infant son, I started up with them again. Having the TV on kept me company during the sometimes fussy afternoons. But I soon realized that nothing much actually happened. You could come back after a long vacation still be entirely in the loop.
Also the acting was never anything to get too excited about. With the exception of those actors who used soaps as a stepping stone (Julianne Moore, Marisa Tomei, Tommy Lee Jones and Kevin Bacon to name a few) there’s a requisite melodramatic style of acting that long-term daytime serial actors tend to employ.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that soaps are a whole different entertainment animal. It’s bound to be a case of quantity over quality. In the US at least, each production is cranking out five shows a week, fifty-two weeks a year.
Or at least they did. Of the programs I listed above, half of them are off the air. Game shows and entertainment and self-help talk shows have taken over the afternoon market leaving little room for the “stories” (as my mother called them) that American housewives tuned into for so many decades.
This is why I’m quite curious about British soap operas since, from what I read online, they seem to be as popular as ever. The only exposure I’ve had has been a 2010 TV movie called The Road to Coronation Street which dramatized the creation of the world’s longest running soap opera still in production. I enjoyed learning the history behind Corrie but also about the beginnings of Granada and ITV and their focus on the North of England.
So here’s the part where you get to have your say. The following poll allows you to advise me as to which program would be best for my indoctrination to UK soaps. You have the choice of four popular series as well as the opportunity to say “other” and provide another title. You can also tell me not to waste my time with soaps at all. Whichever choice wins the poll, I will commit to giving it a proper go.
Besides voting in the poll, please feel free to use the comment section as well to lobby for your choice or just to explain why you believe the genre has survived and thrived in an age of streaming video and very competitive drama.
I eagerly await your verdict on my next telly adventure!