It wasn't too long ago that many of us thought we'd never see One Life to Live on our screens again. Now here we are at the end of season one! I won't say it's been perfect, but I've loved the show this season and have high hopes for season two. Let's talk about the highlights of season one as well as possibilities and hopes for upcoming episodes.
If you've been keeping up with the The Online Network's YouTube channel, you know that some of the actors as well as Executive Producer Jennifer Pepperman have picked their favorite moments from season one of One Life to Live. I'm going to share my own top five. I'd love to see your top fives or even your one favorite moment in the comments below or over email! You'll notice I've listed two honorable mentions, since I couldn't quite narrow my list down to five, but, you know what? The show has had some awesome moments and it's my column, so I can cheat if I want to. So can you, so leave as many favorites in the comments as you want.
5. Téa, Blair, and Todd team up There's a reason they're a classic trio. These three play beautifully off of one another. I'm not usually a huge Todd fan, but I found myself disappointed that this storyline was shortened due to Roger Howarth's limited availability. Téa, Todd, and Blair are a fabulously messy tangle of emotions, deception, and complex bonds with one another -- all of which added such richness to their scenes, which moved seemingly effortlessly from drama to comedy and back again.
4. Natalie confronts Clint after finding out the extent of his meddling in her relationship with John I'd been anticipating this reveal for a long time, and I appreciate that the show let it simmer for a while before they gave us these scenes. Natalie's anger and hurt combined with Clint's obliviousness and refusal to see he'd done anything wrong made for drama enough. Add Viki's outrage as she learned how Clint had hurt their daughter, and it was impossible to look away from the screen for even a second.
3. Téa confronts Dani about her relationship with Arturo We knew this was coming from the moment Dani's attraction to Arturo became obvious. Téa is not a woman to let her opinion go unheard, especially when it comes to Dani, and I found myself eagerly awaiting the confrontation between mother and daughter. Florencia and Kelley have such wonderful mother/daughter chemistry that, even as you cringed at the charged words they were throwing at one another, you could feel the love behind this screaming match.
I appreciate the way the show has explored the complexities of Téa and Dani's relationship this season. At the start of the season, we saw Dani concerned about her mother's emotional pain but hurt and acting out because of the way Téa had neglected Dani. The show hasn't let that drop, and we've seen a lot of love between Téa and Dani but also a lot of breaks in their bond that haven't quite healed. Watching them navigate their changed relationship has been a highlight of the season for me.
2. Victor shows up at Shelter at the end of episode one I admit it, I'm a spoiler fiend. I cannot resist reading about upcoming "surprises" -- which then cease to be surprises, hence the quotes -- on my favorite shows. The Internet version of One Life To Live has managed to keep several things under wraps and, in a viewing world where such things are growing rare, it's been a delight to see moments that truly shock viewers.
As far as I know, most people had no idea Trevor St. John was returning to the show as Victor. His reveal -- looking all sexily and mysteriously scruffy, might I add -- at the end of the very first episode was the one moment that left me shouting, "Damn! This is going to be good!" at my computer. I didn't love everyone's reaction to him being alive. I thought the show could have played up the shock factor a little bit more, but there were at least two scenes centered around Victor's return that were absolutely spot-on: Dani's reaction to seeing Victor for the first time and Téa telling Victor about their baby's death.
1. Jeffrey has the tattoo It says a lot that I still want to scream "holy crap!" every single time I mention this. Jeffrey was the perfect best friend, coworker, and love interest until BAM, he absolutely wasn't. I love that the show didn't drop us huge clues about this one. Jeffrey wore the good guy mask so masterfully that he fooled both the residents and the viewers with his totally-did-turn-out-to-be-too-good-to-be-true charm. That moment when he oh-so-casually put his foot up on the table and we saw his tattoo for the first time was pure brilliance.
Honorable mention 1: Dorian vs. Viki How could you not immensely enjoy watching these two powerful and stubborn women face off? I started the storyline feeling sorry for Viki as Dorian gleefully arranged Viki's downfall with Viki none the wiser. But, that didn't last long as, much to Dorian's consternation, Viki landed on her feet and started to give as good as she'd gotten. These two take so much pleasure in one-upping each other and getting under one another's skin. Their every scene together crackles with undeniable chemistry of the I'd-kill-you-if-I-could-get-away-with-it sort.
Honorable mention 2: Natalie finds Allison at Clint's bedside What a way to end a season! This moment left me desperate for season two immediately. I'm wondering just how it will play out when the show returns. I was expecting to see Clint's behavior remain mysterious to his family for a little bit longer. With Natalie seeing Allison, I can see this going a few ways. First, Allison and Carl could kidnap both Natalie and Clint, or Allison could start dosing Natalie too. I vote for one of those options for all the delectable drama they would bring.
Allison could also knock Natalie out, perhaps causing some temporary amnesia for Natalie that would drag the full reveal out a bit longer. Amnesia is always a popular choice! Or, finally, Natalie could stay conscious and free long enough to report what she's seen, and Clint's family and friends can figure out that Clint's breakdown has been a setup and maybe even start to unravel the larger conspiracy. I want to see that happen eventually, but I do think the show could milk this story for a little bit longer before getting to that point.
That's my list, but I could have included several more honorable mentions like: Dorian confronting Rama, David's Saturday Night Fever-esque Shelter entrance, Jeffrey and Destiny's first kiss, Viki and Clint's breakup, Téa and Blair's argument that finally led to Téa admitting what pain she was in, and Bo and Nora's radio show scenes. Even with all of that, I know I've left a few out.
Obviously I found a lot to love in season one! I remember my disbelief as I watched the very first episode. I couldn't quite fathom my beloved show was back. And, with so many returning characters from prominent Llanview families, it still felt like home, even with the many new and recast characters and other changes.
If you take a look at my favorites, I found some of the family-centric moments the most memorable of season one. I'll never forget Dani's reaction to seeing Victor alive or her intense arguments with Téa as the two have struggled to find their footing as mother and daughter again. Nor will I forget Natalie and Viki's reaction to Clint's lies about John being revealed. And though they didn't make my top five, Bo and Nora have been one of my favorite parts of the show ,and I've especially loved their relationship with Destiny and their grandson, Drew, as well as their love for Matthew, even as they struggle with the choices he is making.
Going forward, I hope the show continues the strong focus on family stories. I'd love to see a few characters brought back, either with their former actors or recast. I don't know if the show would consider recasting Starr. That would be a difficult move, since Kristen Alderson is so tied to the role in everyone's mind, but I do miss having Starr on the canvas. The character would add so much story potential with both Blair and the 20-something group. An easier recast, since she's already been played by a couple of actresses, might be Jessica, though I'd definitely love if Bree Williamson returned to the role. With Viki, Clint, and Natalie already front and center, Jessica could fit easily into the current stories.
Another thing I've truly appreciated is the way the show is utilizing the full cast. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part, we've seen all the major players almost every week, and no one has been put on the backburner too long. Everyone has their favorite characters, and it's nice to be able to tune in and know you're likely to see your favorites featured in any given week.
There was a lot to love, but there were also some bumpy patches. I know there are some who aren't delighted about the show breaking up into seasons, but I do hope it will give the writers and producers some time to examine what went well and what didn't with this first batch of episodes and hopefully correct course a little bit to make season two even more enjoyable for everyone.
The main thing I'd like to see the show improve on is the pacing. It felt a little all over the place this season. Some elements seemed to move at a snail's pace. For example, the beginning of the tattoo organization mystery seemed to drag on forever until it got super exciting in the past few weeks. Other elements, like Natalie forgiving Clint pretty much the moment he asked, felt incredibly rushed.
Part of the timing issue might be due to the fact that they filmed these episodes, thinking they'd show four a week instead of two. Perhaps the mystery storyline wouldn't have seemed so slow in the beginning had we had four episodes a week. Whatever the case, I hope the writers will tackle the pacing issue and keep the two-a-week format in mind while writing future episodes so that story progression doesn't feel as choppy.
I'd like to see the show continue to expand the cast. I don't want to see a huge expansion, since, as I mentioned above, I love knowing we'll see most of the cast each week, but I think the cast would really benefit from even a few extra characters. They're off to a good start with the introduction of Ron Raines as Carl, the return of Allison, and the hints that Dean might be becoming more of a regular character.
One of the big elements of soaps is the game of romantic musical chairs and, with fewer characters, this element suffers. For example, Todd seems gone for good unless the show is planning a recast so, unless the show is going to fulfill my dreams and hook Blair and Téa up, Blair is going to need a new love interest eventually. I can't think of anyone on the current canvas who would work.
The introduction of Carl has given Dorian a new possible love interest, and I'm looking forward to seeing that play out with all the complications Carl's real mission in Llanview might bring. I don't know that Carl will let Dorian in on his full mission but I do imagine they'll mange to get up to some scheming together, and I'm already giddy with anticipation at the thought. I'd love to see a few more new or returning characters with similar potential to shake things up romantically for other Llanview residents.