Jump to content

Half-hour or One-hour soap operas??


Goldensoaps

Recommended Posts

  • Members

In my opinion, the best soap operas had only 20-30 minutes...great stories...watchable...easy to watch and you have time to do other things....in my case, I can invest daily 20 min in a soap...but 40 minutes...sometimes it is too long...

Great Soaps of only 20-25 minutes....

SEARCH FOR TOMORROW (1951-1986) - 9130 episodes

LOVE OF LIFE (1951-1980) - 7315 episodes

THE EDGE OF NIGHT (1956 - 1984) - 7420 episodes

THE SECRET STORM (1957-1974) - 5195 episodes

THE DOCTORS (1963-1982) - 5280 episodes

PEYTON PLACE (1964-1969) - 514 episodes

RETURN TO PEYTON PLACE (1972-1974) - 426 episodes

RYAN'S HOPE (1975-1989) - 3515 episodes

ANOTHER LIFE (1981-1984) - 875 episodes

CAPITOL (1982-1987) - 1270 episodes

LOVING (1983-1995) - 3169 episodes

RITUALS (1984-1985) - 260 episodes

GENERATIONS (1989-1991) - 470 episodes

THE CITY (1995-1997) - 352 episodes

PORT CHARLES (1997-2003) - 1633 episodes

A total of 46824 episodes....we will need two lives to watch all of them.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Claire Labine would agree with you. Half hour soaps can be great, if the work is there. I think that a one hour soap can be fine, with the proper writers and producers (ATWT and GL did a decent job with that format for a number of years in the 80s and 90s).

I think they should consider going back to fifteen minute soaps. They would be relatively cheap and you wouldn't have to write as much.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

The thing is, I figure the 1hr format can work, but not for new soaps. Any new soap that's an hour is almost asking to fail, especially today. It's too much initial investment in too many new characters and the writers have a huge undertaking on them, especially in trying to build the audience up from near-zero. Even Santa Barbara might have stood a better chance as a half-hour soap wedged between Days and AW.

And as said above, Claire Labine much preferred half hours, as did Bill Bell. Look at how much Y&R initially suffered by expanding to an hour? Hell, he left Days when they made the move to 1hr as well (though I don't think the move was at all related, just convenient timing).

I think that with the ratings the way they are right now, all soaps bar Y&R (and even then, it might be wise since MAB can't write a children's show let alone soap) should contract to a half hour. Considering the shrinking cast sizes, it might do them some good and allow the story to flow more organically if they're not using the same 10 characters in stories moving at breakneck speed, though I know B&B does this anyway even at a half-hour, not like they should or anything...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I like the half-hour format, and really, I think it's the definitive runtime for a soap. Not too long, not too short, and you can easily knock out a week of catching up in one sitting. In order to be good, though, the show needs to be tight. No dead weight, no stories that are going nowhere, no repeat conversations over and over again, etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

All soaps except Y&R and GH should cut back to 30 minutes, most definitely would be beneficial to Days. They want to have these long-drawn out stories, but in an hour format some stuff starts to get tedious and repetitive.

GH and Y&R don't even have the story for ten minutes, much less an hour.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

The thing about it is that Y&R currently runs around 37:50 an episode, B&B around 19:45. The networks have jammed so many commercials and promos, which is part of the problem. The challenge that 30 minutes shows face is that if you have a bad primary story, the show REALLY sucks. On an hour show, you have more story diversity. My favorite show is TEON and watching the 22 minute epi had a bit of this, but when primary was good -- it was awesome.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Claire Labine would agree with you. Half hour soaps can be great, if the work is there. I think that a one hour soap can be fine, with the proper writers and producers (ATWT and GL did a decent job with that format for a number of years in the 80s and 90s).

Not just Claire! Bill bell and AGnes Nixon BOTH resented the hour changes forced on them and only did it with a lot of hmming and hawing and concessions made by the networks (like Agnes getting them to promise to save the taped episodes). It's kinda hysterical to read All Her Children where Agnes goes on and on AND on about why she would never do an hour soap, all the problems that would happen, then hear him ask the cast and everyone the author asks likewise says they'd never do an hour soap--and then they bring up how to get audiences to tune into Ryan's Hope, Agnes agreed to do ONE week of hour episodes that Summer I believe (the theory was audiences would tune in a half hour earlier, and I guess after a week get accustomed to that and watch Ryan's Hope before?) She does say that for the weeks he had to figure out several major stories to climax at that time to be worthy of the extra time.

But anyway, I think it's telling if you have arguably the two greatest soap opera writers, Bell and Nixon, both fight hard to not have their shows go to an hour, and have them do so essentially against their wishes. Of course, they were used to writing half hour shows (the extra half hour really made things different in terms of how much of the actual scripts they could do, how many subwriters you needed etc) so part of it was habit. I think lots of the actors resented it because it made it much harder to be in theatre or something else when you'd often be out after 8 instead of by 5 or earlier, which according to that book I bring up apparently too much, was when AMC would finish shooting.

Then again Harding Lemay clearly seemed to prefer the hour format--maybe partly because he came from a playwriting background (Bell came from advertising, though Agnes did do a number of the Golden Age of TV liuve dramas which were essentially 90 minute plays).

I do think the hour format can have advantages. Sometimes with only 20 mins a day, I admit it feels like just as I'm getting into an episode, it's over (of course with a boring soap or episode the opposite can be true). And with more stories going on at once, often you have an increased chance of finding at least one of the stories or one of the characters on that day, interesting. In theory anyway.

The soaps going to an hour more or less coincided with the Dallas effect (well a few years later) when soaps all seemed to start featuring big indutries and more rich characters. I do think part of that may havehad to do with the format change though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

The thing about it is that Y&R currently runs around 37:50 an episode, B&B around 19:45. The networks have jammed so many commercials and promos, which is part of the problem. The challenge that 30 minutes shows face is that if you have a bad primary story, the show REALLY sucks. On an hour show, you have more story diversity. My favorite show is TEON and watching the 22 minute epi had a bit of this, but when primary was good -- it was awesome.

Yes, exactly. This can be a prob as I make my way through the first year of Dark Shadows--I love it far more than I expected to (I'm glad I started at the beginning and not with the Barnabas Collins stuff as I was tempted to do), but there can be 4 eps or more at a time where I'm simply tired of seeing the same five characters (I believe early on they never ever used more than five for budget reasons on an episode) and story. Even back then there were a lot of commercials--I believe each episode is 23 minutes or so. But yeah by the 90s they shrunk it so an hour soap opera is actually under 38 minutes, which is simply insanity (primetime tv is usually 42 mins without commercials--though back in the 80s it was 45 and before then sometimes 48).

That said when The City had its last year, my local ABC moved it (as a number did) to 12:35 am. I loved that--I usually stay up till around then anyway, and so I'd watch it live just before going to bed.

I certainly think there's truth in saying a new soap is asking for trouble with opening at a full hour. And yet B&B is an awful example of what can go wrong--it feels like every time I turn it on I see the same handful of characters saying or doing nearly the same thing...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

In the Agnes interview from 77 I have somewhere she says that she didn't want to take AMC to a half-hour but ABC basically told her she needed to without ever actually explicitly saying that.

I certainly think there's truth in saying a new soap is asking for trouble with opening at a full hour. And yet B&B is an awful example of what can go wrong--it feels like every time I turn it on I see the same handful of characters saying or doing nearly the same thing...

I think that's down to lack of interesting characters or situations. When B&B was at its peak, generally the early 90s, episodes were full of more fun and better pacing and excitement. DS can also be that way, so can Ryan's Hope. But when they drag they drag.

The best use I've seen of the 30 minute format might be some of the Loving episodes -- I remember one where they had a town meeting over the Corinth serial killer and Ally and Gwyn were stuck in the care as it was filling with exhaust fumes. Very exciting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
  • Members

I actually read a 1990's interview where Harding Lemay clarified his thoughts on the hour format. He said that it is the ideal running time for a soap, but only if the writing team is actually talented. For mediocre writers, 60 minutes is way too much for them to handle. Furthermore, Lemay stated that it was never his desire to see so many other soaps follow AW's lead in expanding to an hour, and wished that most of the soaps in the 90's would go back to 30 minutes (because of their bad writing).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy