I have watched and loved the folks in Oakdale for many years; with declining viewership and budgets, Oakdale is not what is used to be. This show could use a real overhaul in storytelling - not to say that all is bad, however there are fixes that could make this show so much more enjoyable for its fans.
I had a long conversation with someone who is as big a soap fan as I am (Soap Central founder Dan J Kroll) - we discussed very candidly what we saw as some of the problems with ATWT.
Change the pace of the stories: ATWT was once the show that people said it moved too slowly before anything major happened and now the stories move at a breakneck speed losing some of the emotional punch. I applaud the writers for being able to churn out as much story as they do - what about a happy medium with story moving not so fast. This rapid storytelling takes something away from the enjoyment of the story because just as you are getting into the story then it's over without the payoff that I am used to.
A New Head writer: you need fresh perspective would help this show so much right now. Your current head writer seems to be constantly recycling her stories - how many times can Paul and Meg breakup and reconcile? How many times can Paul be involved in some type of violent accident and live? How many times can Dusty punch out someone for saying the wrong thing to him? When are Henry and Vienna going to get a major storyline? Where is the character growth - will Paul ever learn anything from his scheming? Will anyone in town ever be punished for their misdeeds or crimes - this is becoming a colossal joke?
The Veterans - When will the veterans be integrated into stories or given stories of their own like on Y&R or B&B or OLTL? This is a multi-generational show - when was the last time Casey had a conversation with Nancy? When was the last time we saw Tom talking to his mother, Lisa? Lisa and Barbara are best friends - why haven't we've seen Lisa and Barbara talking about Paul being in the hospital and Barbara leaning on her or Kim for support? A great scene right now could be Lucinda running into Susan then start to talk about picking the wrong men like Brian and Susan commiserating about her mistake with Rick Decker - these ladies are not friends but it would make some interesting drama.
Recasts - Does anyone think about the fact that when a role is being recast; it would be nice to see the previous actor playing the role? With this last barrage of recasts all at once, what if Alexandra Chando returned as Maddie - the audience had an emotional investment with the actor and we would have been happy to see Maddie back.
As quickly as characters come and go lately, why is Josie still in town? What purpose does she serve now that she is not Paul's employee? Where is her familial connection to anyone in Oakdale? Right now, she seems like she has worn out her welcome by going back and forth between Paul and Dusty and not serving any real purpose in town.
Give everyone something to do and not just the favorite characters: Dallas has been played by three different actors and he has never had a storyline of any sort - why? At some point some characters deserve to be doing other things besides being background players like again, Henry and Vienna. Balance out the show more with characters like Bonnie and Derek on maybe once a week.
Not to say that the show is all bad and it's not by any means:
The recent story with Lucinda was interesting by having her marry this man who was all that she thought he was - to have Lucinda (Elizabeth Hubbard) in a major storyline is never a bad thing. Again, this story could have gone for a while longer to see how she and Brian could work together. This was also an opportunity to show the struggles that Brian faces after admitting that he was a gay. Well, now he is gone and the story is over.
Noah and Luke have finally consummated their relationship; where do they go from here? This story has plodded along at a good pace as most stories should on the show. It seemed too slow based on how other stories have been paced.
The integration of Janet and Liberty into the Snyder family was done well - we got a chance to get to know them and now they feel like a real part of the community. There have been times when characters were forced on the audience when we wanted them gone right away like Sofie and Cole.
The key to any good soap opera is telling good stories, good writing and acting. ATWT has been top notch in that regard for most of its history. Another thing that this show has always been able to do is cut it losses and change things for the better. It seems that this time - no one is listening to the fans and their views. With the New Year here, it is the time to make some necessary changes behind the scenes to make this show better or should I say great again. It has major competition with OLTL on at the same time; if people turned the dial for a few days to see what's happening over there, we would be in big trouble.
Let's see what some readers of the column have to say:
Michelle said, "Now, is it just me or is this new Craig fabulous? I love him! I prefer him over everyone else who has played him and I have been watching ATWT for 30+ years."
M said, "Today I went back to work mad. I cannot believe that anyone in there right mind would jump into a marriage like Craig and Carly and now Meg and Dusty. First of all if I were Meg and I really did still have feelings for Dusty and didn't want to send him over the edge, I sure would not even consider Dusty's proposal, and I would know that Dusty is doing it in part to get at Paul. If she had any feelings for Paul at all which she appears to, she would stay away from Dusty. He's not any better than Craig. He was a mobster at one time, He let people believe he was murdered, and right now I think the court should take the boy away from both of them and give them to another relative who has some sense. I don't know why Dusty should have custody of him in the first place. Step parents are not given custody over blood in real life, except in extreme circumstances, it's just not real. It must be good TV though because my blood is curdling as I type."
That's all I have for now.