Vampire shows are now all the rage; myopia at ABC takes its toll on yet another soap
|What follows is an article I wrote for an online newsletter in 2003 about the cancellation of Port Charles, the soap that introduced vampires (and werewolves, oh my!) to daytime. It only lasted 6 yrs., but was on an upward swing when its untimely demise occurred. I still say it could have been brought back very successfully, possibly even helping to reinvigorate daytime television(which is in dire need of rejuvenation!). However, I am very much afraid that this was the last summer such an idea would have been feasible.
It’s finally arrived, the time that all PC fans have been dreading for so long now; Oct. 3rd is rapidly approaching, and with it, the final episode of Port Charles. Although the cancellation of PC was not entirely unexpected, it has still left me in a state of shock, and yes, sorrow, also. The last time I felt this badly about a show going off the air was when they cancelled Another World, and before that, Texas.
I actually feel worse now than I did about the cancellation of Another World, because it had been in a more or less steady decline ever since TIIC killed off beloved heroine Frankie Frame-Winthrop in one of the most gratuitously violent scenes ever seen on daytime television. The show seemed to lose its heart after that, and it never did recover. PC, on the other hand, is currently at the top of its game. It was the only ABC sudser to be nominated for best show in this year’s Daytime Emmy awards, plus it garnered nominations in other major categories, including best actor (Thorsten Kaye) and supporting actress (Kelly Monaco). Both Texas and Another World had the opportunity to put together farewell episodes for their fans (AW’s last show was putrid, but the one for Texas was absolutely wonderful, everything I could have hoped for), but PC will be cut brutally short, without even a special finale which would wrap up current storylines and provide at least some sort of closure.
PC would and could have succeeded, were it not for the callous disregard it’s been shown by ABC and its affiliates since day one. Weird time slots, not being aired in many major markets, and an almost complete and total lack of promotion all took their toll on the ratings, and in the end contributed to PC’s untimely demise.
I would like to end this column on a positive note, though, because PC has been a very positive experience for me through the years; so, to that end, here are my five fave raves about PC:
1. Chris---Nolan North’s engagingly devious anti-hero has been one of the very best parts of PC. Although the character was sadly underused, there was no one more entertaining than Chris Ramsey. Snide, funny, irreverent, earnest and heartbreaking all at the same time, the character was truly a walking contradiction, and one of the most richly multifaceted to ever grace daytime. His initial pairing with Eve was the greatest romance that never was, and although he went on to find true love with Julie, fans always wondered what might have been…if only he and Eve had hooked up as romantic partners, not “just friends”. It’s an incredible shame that PC is coming to an end just as Chris is finally getting some semblance of a storyline, what with his budding romance with diva Elizabeth---these two sparkle whenever they’re together, and watching them interact has become one of my favourite parts of the show. They always bring a smile to my face, a smile noticeably absent ever since the departure of
2. Eve---one of my absolute favourite characters ever, Eve ranks right up there with such legendary vixens as AW’s Rachel, and GH’s Carly. Before getting married to Ian took all the p*** and vinegar out of her, she was one of daytime’s feistiest, funniest, most indomitable heroines. From her earliest days as the conniving, scheming “bad girl” of the original group of seven interns, to her sad farewell as a beloved wife and mother, Eve left an indelible impression, one that time can never erase. An eerily similar parallel can be drawn between the premature death of AW’s beloved young wife and mother Frankie, and Eve’s untimely demise. In both cases, the heart was cut right out of their shows, and cancellation inevitably followed. I’m fully convinced that PC never recovered from Eve’s absence on the canvas---who knows how many devoted PC fans quit watching because of that stupid, ill-conceived move by TIIC.
3. The Interns---when PC premiered, it was all about the interns: Matt, Jake, Joe, Karen, Julie, Chris, and Eve; their struggles, both personal and professional, occupied most of the first year and a half of the show, and this period was when PC was at its best. The show was exciting and fresh back then, a daytime drama focused on medicine, which held a great deal of interest for me. The interns actually worked, and the audience got to see this aspect of their lives, as well as the more personal element, which made for some fascinating viewing. Unfortunately, in a botched attempt to fix what wasn’t broke, TIIC decided to tinker with the format of the show by getting into the whole “General Homicide” mess, and it was downhill all the way from there on in. Until, that is, the advent of
4. “Tainted Love”---this was THE novella par excellence, a virtual masterpiece of daytime drama. Marvelously penned, intricately plotted, and beautifully acted, this was the apotheosis of everything daytime drama can be. I can’t say enough wonderful things about this novella. Although some fans feel that it was the beginning of the end for PC, I would greatly beg to differ. On the contrary, “Tainted Love” revitalized the show, breathing new life into it, and rescuing it from the dreary doldrums it had been in ever since the focus shifted from the interns to “General Homicide”, and then on to nothing in particular. From being a “show about nothing”, PC went to being a program which explored various supernatural phenomena with varying degrees of success, but never lost sight of the fact that in the end, a soap is all about emotions and love.
5. Caleb---there are a few select characters in the annals of daytime that are seminal characters. Groundbreaking, original, fascinating, they are often even known by people who don’t watch the shows that they’re on. Luke and Laura are the most famous of these, followed closely by such luminaries as Todd Manning, Sonny Corinthos, and Caleb. Complex, charismatic, seductively hypnotic, and downright dangerous, Caleb easily ranks right up there with the rest of daytime’s very best bad boys.
Thanks to everyone at PC responsible for making it such a fantastic show---for six years of joy and sorrow, laughter and tears, six years of entertaining me, enlightening me, occasionally enraging me, but always touching me; six wonderful years of “love, pain, the whole damn thing”. It’s terribly sad to see it end, but it was absolutely breathtaking in all that it managed to accomplish---PC truly was the little show that could, and almost did. To quote sister show GH’s Sonny Corinthos, “It’s been a great ride!”