Less life to live: Good move or bad omen?

For the Week of May 20, 2013
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Prospect Park announces that new episodes of One Life to Live will be cut in half. What does it mean for the future of the show? And Victor's dramatic exit leaves viewers wanting more. It's time to get your Life back in this week's Two Scoops.

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Hi folks! There's a lot to cover this week, so I'm going to dive right in.

The big news, of course, is the announcement that both One Life to Live and All My Children will now air just two new episodes weekly, instead of four episodes each week. New AMC episodes will premiere on Mondays and Wednesdays, while new OLTL episodes will premiere on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In its announcement, Prospect Park said it is worried that the sheer volume of new episodes risks alienating potential new viewers. According to Prospect Park, every day thousands of people begin watching the shows from the first episodes, so they want to make it easier for new viewers to catch up.

But clearly there is more to it. Prospect Park says most viewers are watching either OLTL or AMC, not both. By debuting new episodes of each show every other day, the hope is that viewers who are only watching one series will start watching the other on the off days. I'm not sure how successful this strategy will be. Personally, I have never watched AMC and don't intend to start now. OLTL has always been "my show" and it's very different in style and substance from AMC, even though the two shows are sister soaps.

I wonder how much finances played into the decision to cut the number of new episodes in half. By reducing the frequency of new shows, Prospect Park will extend the season and be able to produce fewer episodes throughout the year. So there is a clear financial benefit to the change.

All that being said, I don't think we have to worry about the future of the shows -- at least for now. With fewer episodes coming out, producers will be able to focus on making each episode the best it can be, while having more time to plan out future stories. Another good result is that all the episodes will remain on Hulu for free for the foreseeable future. Originally, only the ten most recent episodes would remain online. This could give new or returning viewers more of a chance to start watching.

Now, on to the show itself.

Week Three (or Chapter Three, as it's being called) began with Victor's surprising announcement that he would be leaving town, just days after he returned from the dead. I expect that this had more to do with Trevor St. John's limited availability than the storyline. Still, the show got the most it could from Victor's brief return -- and hopefully Victor will reappear once Trevor's schedule allows.

We finally got the confrontation between Todd and Victor that we had been waiting for, and it did not disappoint. Victor and Todd's half-hearted attempt at a truce fell apart within minutes of Victor announcing to Todd that he was leaving town. Todd accused Victor of abandoning his family and said he should have killed Victor when he had the chance. Then Victor literally choked the life out of Todd, leaving him for dead, while admitting that he had been poisoning him. If Jack hadn't shown up when he did, Todd would probably be dead. Clearly Jack cares for his father, although I suspect that he will regret saving Todd's life before too long.

Now that Victor has disappeared, the Llanview Police Department finally has a case to investigate. Natalie found traces of arsenic on the bottle stopper in Todd's room, backing up Todd's claim that Victor was poisoning him. And the police fished a body out of the river that has the same tattoo that Victor was sporting. Presumably, this was the man we saw Victor incapacitate on the docks in the opening episode. So now Victor is suspected of killing one man and attempting to kill another. If and when Victor returns, he will have a lot of questions to answer.

We still don't know who is watching all of the happenings in Llanview via hidden cameras. One thing I really like about how this mystery is unfolding is that it's not clear what's going on. Too often in soaps, viewers know what's happening long before we see it play out on-screen, and the supposed twists and turns just fall flat. That's not happening here, and it's a welcome change. Who do you think is spying on our favorite Llanview residents?

We saw more of Destiny this week than we have before, but I'm still having a hard time adjusting to the recast. The actress is still finding her way in the role. When Destiny slapped Matthew for complaining that she didn't abort their baby, it fell flat for me. Destiny seemed more like she was pouting than angry. However, I did enjoy her interactions with Nora, and I like how the character is being written.

Destiny is trying to raise Drew without accepting handouts from Bo and Nora or her parents. She is taking classes online during the day and working at the Banner at night -- all with little help from Matthew, who has gone back to his selfish ways. He only agreed to watch Drew after Jeffrey stepped up. Compared to how easy Starr had it as a single mom, it's refreshing to see a more true-to-life interpretation of single motherhood.

I also enjoyed the addition of Jenni "JWoww" Farley as Shelter bartender Nikki. I never watched Jersey Shore and only knew of the actress from the casting announcement. I thought she did a great job in her scenes with Cutter, Blair, and Natalie. Even though she's sleeping with Cutter, Nikki knows that Blair signs her paychecks, so I doubt she'll put up with any funny business from Cutter. Blair hired a new singer for the club named Jessie, even though she tried to get Blair to buy her a drink when she's underage. Guess Blair was more impressed with her Auto-Tune singing than I was.

Clint's push to move up his wedding to Viki seemed rushed to me. He had just asked Bo to be his best man only a few days earlier, but all of a sudden he wants to elope with Viki and fly off to Paris for a honeymoon? Luckily the plans were put on hold when Jack showed up, needing some consoling from his Aunt Viki. But what gives? The cynical part of me says it's just a way for the producers to avoid paying for a big wedding and explaining the absence of so many family members. But maybe Clint knows something we don't, and there's more behind his rush to marry Viki than meets the eye. Readers, what do you think?

Speaking of readers, keep those comments coming. In my next column, I will be printing some of your comments and offering my own reactions. So please send me an email, leave your thoughts below in the comments section, or call our 24/7 feedback hotline at 267.341.7627.

Well, that's it for this week! Thanks for taking the time to read the column. I'd love to hear your thoughts, too, so please send me an e-mail, leave your thoughts below in the comments section, or call our 24/7 feedback hotline at 267.341.7627.

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Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of Soap Central or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen and what has happened, and to share their opinions on all of it. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same point of view.
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