Keeping it real in daytime...They can do it!

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david46208
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I have been watching Coronation Street from some time now thanks to the internet. And what I noticed about it (and generally with all the British soaps) is that all the stories are real. Not realistic. Not realistic for the world of soaps. But real. There are no evil twins. No returns from the dead (that I have seen). No ladies in a cage. No bumbling police forces who can't solve a crime. No all purpose doctors who are heart surgeons, primary practitioners and gynecologist all wrapped into one. No one is in a coma. No one's life is hanging in the balance for the umpteenth time. No super villains lording over the towns folk from his Transylvania style mansion or estate. No mustache twirling villains either. None of the characters are rich or wealth. No rags to riches stories. Most of the cast looks like everyday people verse models. No shirtless man scenes (yahoo!). And guess what? On Coronation Street you get the feeling right off the top that the actors can all act! Even the young ones. So the series is not used as a training ground for models to feel their way through scenes until or if they eventually get it.

Somehow despite lacking all of the trappings of today's daytime drama's in America, Coronation Street is dramatic, engaging, entertaining, socially relevant and compelling all at the same time.

The series currently airs 5 episode for a half hour on Monday's (1 episode) Wednesday's (2 episodes) and Friday's (2 episodes) a week during the evening. It boast an average of 10 million viewers per episode. It is also the UK's highest rated television series.

On CS when they deal with money troubles. They really deal with real life issues surrounding money. There is no million dollar loans they can get by making a deal with the devil.

When people cheat and or are tempted to cheat, the circumstances are real. No one is trapped in an elevator under rubble thinking they are going to die so they make love with their idea mate.

A paternity secret is as real as if your own mother kept the secret of who your father was. Not the soapy sense of it.

The old ladies are not glamorous bitchy diva's who sashay around sets. They are your average old feisty grandma's who bring more drama in a moomoo or everyday clothing than clutching pearls in their McMansion.

And somehow, a soap where any of these stories; could actually be happening; to any one of us; right now in real life. And can command that type of audience is something worth looking into.

Somehow I believe that in America we could produce a 3 day a week (M, W, F) or 2 day a week (T,T) half hour cable soap operas that were of the same caliber. Meaning that instead of focusing on soaps about successful people. Just write a series about the trials and tribulations of working to middle class Americans and you will have a stellar drama series.

I live in the very diverse Bay Area of California. So I could already image a multiracial series called Castro Valley which is named after an actual east bay commuter city mainly compromising of working to middle class residents.

Lifetime could enter into this business with an American version of EastEnders and call it Weehawken Cove set in Hoboken, New Jersey. Focus it on the interconnected lives of the blue collar residents who feel they are slowly being pushed out by the the growth of the yuppie middle class whom are inhabiting and slowly taking over. And the conflict that ensues between the classes.

BET could enter into the market with an African American themed serial called South Shore, which is named after a real (mostly black and somewhat affluent) mixed income neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. There you can play out the interconnected lives of the black middle class versus the interlopers in the community who try siphon off of their success. And the often tattered yet interesting dynamics of our community. It is always ripe for drama.

And not to leave y'all out of the mix (keep reading). So I did some research and you could target the gay and lesbian community with a 2 to 3 day a week Logo serial called Delores Park. The series is named after an actual park in San Francisco which boarders the mostly gay Castro District. Or you could set it in New York and call it Greenwich Village.

Thus you cast these series like the guy did for the web soap Anacostia with a mix real people (who can act) and there you have it.

Those are just my thoughts.

This was the episode that got me thinking: http://bit.ly/11ipjvy


stoney07
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I LOVE Coronation Street and

I LOVE Coronation Street and Eastenders. (Not so much Hollyoaks...it reminds me of a US soap)...but the others I love.

I even used to write my own US versions...like you said, in a small city with your average everyday people. Some skinny, some overweight, some handicapped, some gay, some straight, some old, some young...it's really a lot easier to get more in depth with these types of characters too. I might go back and reread it now that I think about it. LOL

Patchworks
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I didn't think I would enjoy

I didn't think I would enjoy Coronation Street for the very reasons that you identify. However, I find that I do enjoy it. It is real, and great drama can be mined if you create characters and relationships that one can invest in. CS almost has a P&G soap quality, without the desperation. LOL!

david46208
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@stoney07: Yeah I like it

@stoney07: Yeah I like it too. And like the idea of realistic people on screen with real drama. It is more engaging and gives you more to talk about. What was the name of your drama series?

david46208
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@Patchworks: You know I

@Patchworks: You know I making the same connections between P&G and Coronation Street. It is like no one is kidnapped. No mind control. No witches. I love it!

And P&G got to the point where even reality in soaps was not even real anymore. It felt like a scene from the film don't be a menace where the mailman constantly screams "MESSAGE!"

Patchworks
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"Message!" @david46208 - That

"Message!" @david46208 - That is hilarious!

I am reminded, though, that CS had that mean woman beating her husband. That was a tad more than real, I think, but the story certainly succeeded in pulling me in. I felt that character's stress and was very frustrated that he failed to let anyone, other than his mistress, know what he was going through. Also, CS did just tell the story of that poor woman being burned alive in the basement. The villain just left her there. I thought that was horrible... so that seemed to have a moustache-twirling element to it.

I'm curious, though. Do you still appreciate the "realistic" and/or over-the-top camp/drama of U.S. soaps. Because I still love a Stefano plot or Cassadine bullying story. And our girl, Lexie, gained popularity when she became "Alexandra DiMera."

david46208
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@Patchworks: Well 2 things on

@Patchworks: Well 2 things on SC. The story of the character being burned and left in the basement was based off the fact that it happens in real life. So it was real from that point. Though it did have some soapy elements. The most recent case you can see here.

http://jonathanturley.org/2013/03/25/english-thug-who-burned-to-death-ga...

Yeah and the other story is good. Because stats show that women are equally as abusive toward men as men are toward women. I liked that storyline too! So I can see how it pulled you in. Thanks for the reminder.

When it comes to Lexie/Alexandra Dimera on Days, to be honest I was just rolling with the fact that black actors usually don't get central storylines like that on a soaps. But her acting chops pulled it off with panache. Ditto that to James Reynolds as Abe.

But in general I would say that it is 2013, those days are over with. Camp was in vogue when primetime shows like Dynasty, Dallas and Knots Landing were doing it. And it ended with Beverly Hill's 90210 and Melrose Place, as they were the last to do it with that level of success.

I go back to the fact that the success of dramas/dramady's today like Breaking Bad, Entourage, Lincoln Heights, The Good Wife, Mad Men, Sexy In The City, Weeds and The Wire is because of their social realism. Even if they were doing it from a more comedic aspect social realism is what makes the difference between believability and not.

We can gladly blame The Sopranos for that!

So daytime should not do what was acceptable in 1997 or 2003 anymore. In fact, much of that has led to the decline in the ratings.

The best part of the Dimera family is not the over-the-top acts. It was the Tony/EJ sibling rivalry, EJ always seeking his father's approval, Chad hating his roots, Kristien having the same nasty streak as Stefano, Kate knowing the real Stefano, and Lexie trying to bring the family together.

Right now soaps should reflect where the world is today. And that was its bread and butter from the start.

Y&R can be about business. But it needs to be taking a page out of the Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, Forbes and Black Enterprise to keep its corporate storylines relevant and infusing the real life scandals that happen in the business world. Thus, spinning the love, lies, affairs deceit and treachery out of that.

They did it a good before when they had the competing black cosmetic lines coming out and Victor engaging in a pay-to-play scam.

GH would succeed if it infused more of an ER/Private Practice/Gray's Anatomy focus on the hospital and actually delving into what the hell ELQ is really all about. Not just surface level business drama, but deeper drama.

B&B would be better serviced it they took pages out the fashion world from WWD, Vogue, GQ, Elle, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Style.com, V Magazine etc. If they followed the drama happening in the fashion world and infused storylines that mimic the fashion industry then it would be much better. And they use to do that in the 90's. They can too spin most of the drama out of that.

Days is doing better as it is moved away from the show being all campy and all over-the-top like it use to be. It still has some elements but they have grounded the stories more in reality and frankly most of the actors are pulling it off with panache.

Remember the drama behinf John Gallino being fried?

Or the power of a real life soap-like diva Anna Wintour? Watch The September Issue Documentary and you will see B&B's next 10 years of storylines right before your eyes if they were to infuse it in there. See here: http://bit.ly/151Ec6l (Especially Stoney07. You get it right off the bat. Tongue)

Now think for a minute, if Dynasty was to return as a reboot. Could it survive as it did in the 80's with that style of writing? Hell No!

I have been mulling over an outline for its reboot where the first major storyline that would be the baseline for the drama (but not limited to it) that ensues over the course of the first 3 seasons is where in the wake of Blake's death (we'd start the first episode at a closed casket funeral) Denver-Carrington must try to recover from the fallout of BP style oil spill in gulf coast that causes international outrage and sends their stocks tumbling on the market.

Dominique would now be the head of the company, having gained her brothers shares; but one of Blakes and Dominique's grandchildren would be running the day-to-day operations of the company.

Alexis's own Colby Co. would be headed by one of her grandchildren as would her newspaper The Denver Carrington which has transitioned into a national weekly business magazine titled CBW Magazine aka Colby Business Weekly (like the real life Business Week).

With Colby Co. down in the market (which it had been for years), The Cloby's would exploit Denver Carrington's troubles (Fox News style) via their magazine and use it to help prop up the Colby Co. and try to reclaim the top share of the market.

And that is me just looking at real life events.

Patchworks
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I very much like your ideas,

I very much like your ideas, @david46208. I truly hope you're doing something with them because I'd actually like to see your work one day. And, you are right. Soaps have to evolve with the rest of television. I have watched out of loyalty, but I do wish they would rise to the level where I could invite some of my friends to enjoy them with me. Alas, the struggle of the soap fan...