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I watched the first 3 years or so of the show when it was on...i will say the most extreme 180 change in character was Julie Devlin...yet it made actual sense in a weird way.  When the actress left in mid 2000..there was a void there in a way since a lot of her stories were quickly wrapped up...the Christina custody story, her marriage to chris...and her and Rachel Locke's cat and mouse situation.

 

While the recast ellen had a hard time following Debbie morgan..i d8nt even think Debbie Morgan could have made the Sebastian story work either.  I do tho k recast Ellen and Rachel had a good rapport..mand I hated that the connection they hinted at never was followed through on..nor was Ellen's fate ever revealed I don't recall.  Did she leave suddenly..or did Rachel dispose of her?

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I loved "Secrets"! 

 

The plot worked really well given the format the show was using at the time. If I remember correctly, the first month or so there was some mystery over who the three were. One of the really nicely done character moments had Lucy Coe investigating Paige Smith because she had aged so beautifully and she wanted to know her beauty secrets. I thought that was a very Lucy thing to do. Once they revealed they were Angels with unfinished business, then they weaved in the mystery of the fifth chair. I also think Amy's true connection to Ian and Eve a secret for a long time. When they eventually revealed Eve was sitting in the fifth chair, I was hooked. 

 

The only downside of this plot was it was really the first arc where they gave up on Allison and Jamal, who I thought were wonderful. Rafe was just so vanilla and boring. The writing didn't help, but the Brian Gaskill didn't bring much to the table. I thought Gaskill had a very modern look, for the time, but I didn't see where they were going with Rafe and Allison. Also, revealing Jamal was the father of Valerie's baby was one of those unforgivable rewrites. 

 

The big gripe I had was that they didn't write all of the ladies out when the story ended. Joy Bisco and Vanessa Branch should have left with Tamara Davies. The follow up arc, Superstition?, was boring.

 

Going back to 2000, I think you make valid points about the show. Christina was a character that had ties to so many parts of the canvas, and I think removing her from the canvas took away from a lot of the overlap. There wasn't really a big overarching story or villain in the rest of the year. I thought the stuff with Kevin and Charlie McMillan/Livvie was very well done and fascinating, but it relied heavily on the introduction of a newcomer. Kevin's hearing with the discipline board over his handling Livvie's case is a very well done episode. As mentioned above, I really liked Allison and Jamal, but so much of their story featured them with others (Amanda, Frank, Courtney) in more supporting roles. I haven't seen the story about the nurses' strike or the Claire Wright story. Both of those are stories from that period I would love to see.

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I loved 2000 and the headwriting stint of  Karen Harris/Jonathan Estrin/Barbara Bloom. It felt like PC had finally hits its stride. I was excited to watch almost everyday. When the telenovela style/ B&E started that December there was a noticeable decline in quality on the first day

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  • 11 months later...

 

 

I'd never seen these. Typical false soap advertising for Scotty as he rarely acted like a bad boy type on PC (I think he did with Lucy for maybe a year or so but not much).

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  • 3 months later...

Was there any way for PC to have survived past "The Gift?" Or was it doomed to be axed no matter what?

One person I talked to suggested that the problem was the 12:30 timeslot, up against The Young & the Restless, and that no show that was fairly new on ABC was going to stand up against it. So, this person suggested that the schedule should have been refigured as such: move OLTL to noon, AMC to 1, The City could have survived and continued on past '97 airing after AMC, and PC could still have been created and air between The City and GH. Thus, ABC could have survived into the 21st century with 5 soaps. What do you think of this?

 

I am writing a timeline for an alternate history forum, in which Kurt Cobain doesn't get involved with heroin, and doesn't commit suicide, and thus shows the impact on the world of entertainment because of that. PC plays a small part in it, and ABC does that lineup reshuffling I talked about. If you want to read it, look here: https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/cobain-continues-redone-a-kurt-cobain-survives-timeline.424961/

 

I'm also working on what kind of arcs could have been done after "The Gift", especially concerning the continued tension regarding Caleb, as well as the discovery of Imani being a werewolf. Taking a page from the likes of American Horror Story, especially its third arc, Coven, why not have witches involved too? In fact, keeping further inspiration from AHS, why not have Fleetwood Mac make an appearance, and give the revelation that Stevie Nicks is actually a witch in real life? I can picture a character meetup and development occurring at a Fleetwood Mac concert (since this would be in 2004 or so, when the band would be on tour to promote their album Say You Will, and in this alternate timeline, Christine McVie would still be part of the band) at Port Charles Park, and having certain developments and dialogue against the backdrop of the likes of "Silver Springs" or "Gold Dust Woman." Use the following footage from the 1997 live video The Dance as inspiration to use for this scene I'm setting up.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Toxic34
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I mean personally I would have loved that lineup, but ultimately by the late 90s I don't think it would have done anything to change the current soap status which has devolved into what it is in no real part because of its lineup.  Incidentally Wendy Riche has said she was responsible for Port Charles getting the dreaded early time slot--she was buddies with the then head of ABC Daytime and in Dec '96 they were talking about how The City was expensive and didn't seem to be improving on Loving's numbers.  Riche said they could do a soap on the cheap using GH's existing sets, set it in a different wing of the hospital and that she felt (since she had a background in programming for Fox and how to schedule things) that PC should start the ABC soap block and GH should end it, effectively causing GH, or some semblance of it, to bookend the lineup.

I can't comment on the story arcs as I think I stopped watching after Time in a Bottle...  (not really due to lack of interest just due to lack of time).

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Funny how that when they were "doing things on the cheap", ABC still considered it prohibitively expensive. Hence the shift to the arcs so that they could work only 6 months of the year, but even that didn't stop the bleeding. And it's also funny how a 2.2 rating was considered "dead air" at the time, but now, in today's digital, streaming landscape, 2.2 is a rating shows, especially network TV shows, would kill to achieve.

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The arcs were created to mimic the style of telenovelas, where a story would be set up to have a beginning, middle and an end, and be finished in 13 weeks, or 60 episodes. They would then film 2 or 3 episodes per week. By finishing these stories quickly, getting it in the can so quickly, there was no need to work any more than was needed. With traditional open-ended soaps, they'd be working the majority of the year, with no end in sight.

 

Of course, the telenovela and PC arc somewhat prefigures the modern anthology series, like AHS.

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17 minutes ago, EricMontreal22 said:

I never fully got that--couldn't they have done the show without story arcs and still filmed it only six months a year?

 

I recall that at one point, ABC was toying with its other soaps going to the short arc format -- All My Kids, in particular.

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Toxic, I get that but couldn't they have just filmed a thirty minute soap in six months--filming each day for the length of time they'd do an hour soap?

Robb I remember that suggestion as well.  Of course not the same thing but when Gottlieb joined One Life to Live she wanted to try shorter featured stories as well and I think the plan was they'd last three months.  At least one got done with movie actor Craig Wasson coming on as a wife beater and then the characters leaving at the end of their story--but quickly she realized that that wasn't working out too well.

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I wouldn't know. Obviously I have no insight into the dynamics of what was going on behind the scenes at ABC Daytime. If there was such an opportunity to do so for a 30-minute soap from the start, it obviously came too late. As mentioned before, the shift to the arcs couldn't stop the bleeding and the show was simply being judged too expensive to maintain. When PC was cancelled, the cast and crew were still on the hiatus period. This meant that after the finale of "The Gift" airing on October 3, 2003, no one could return to tape resolutions to what was hinted to come in the future. The closest PC fans got was the 2013 GH arc, after Lucy returned to the show and Michael Easton joined the cast of GH, moving John McBain there. The vampire storyline was revisited, but with a resolution effectively saying Lucy lost her mind, which certainly split opinion. Odds are that if PC had continued for another year or so, this wouldn't have been the way things unfolded.

 

I also can't help but feel that keeping GH and PC basically separate and having no crossover except the Nurses' Ball hurt PC in the long run. If there were overarching plots in which what happened in one affected the other, it would have driven more viewers to tune in.

Edited by Toxic34
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I think ABC had to air PC at the 12:30 ET slot, because they had given the 30 minutes back to the affiliates years earlier in the 90s. Too many local stations probably had news broadcasts in that time frame. Baltimore had an even worse schedule for PC as it didn't always air in the afternoon. They had GH from noon to one (a day behind) for a time, and then aired Rosie O'Donnell in the 3 pm slot.

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