Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Classic, Long-Running Primetime Soaps

Created by David Jacobs, "Dallas" was the saga of the Ewing family and their huge oil empire. Patriarch Jock Ewing, played by Jim Davis, and his wife, Ms. Ellie, played by Barbara Bel Geddes, had three sons. The eldest son was J.R. Ewing, played by Larry Hagman, who was the relentless CEO of Ewing Oil. Bobby Ewing, played by Patrick Duffy, was the less obviously malicious, younger brother, and Gary Ewing, who was the blacksheep of the family and a recovering alcoholic. For more than a decade, other stars included Donna Reed, George Kennedy, Ian McShane, Susan Lucci, Barbara Eden, and Pricilla Presley. The "Who Shot J.R.?" episode was the highest rated single episode for a television series, until it was beaten by the series finale of "M*A*S*H*."

Also, created by David Jacobs, "Knots Landing" was a "Dallas" spin-off, which was set in a small beach community on the California coast. It focused on the lives of four married couples, who resided in a cul-de-sac called, "Knots Landing." The series was based on the 1973 Ingmar Bergman movie, "Scenes from a Marriage," but with four marriages. The show began with Gary and Valene Ewing, who moved from Texas to the California cul-de-sac. It starred Broadway actress and singer, Michele Lee as Karen Fairgate MacKenzie, the feisty matriarch.. The showed aired from December 27, 1979 to May 13, 1993 on the CBS Television Network. It was also the second longest-running primetime drama on United States television, after "Gunsmoke." In 1997, the cast reunited for a two-part television movie called "Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac." In 2005, they reunited again for a nonfiction special called "Knots Landing Reunion: Together Again."

Produced by Aaron Spelling Productions, "Beverly Hills 90210," followed the lives of Brandon and Brenda Walsh and their friends through high school, college, and into adulthood. In addition to making sideburns cool again, the show dealt with a steady stream of love triangles, other romantic entanglements, and more serious issues such as rape, kidnapping, drug addiction, murder, and more. The show was popular with young audiences, since it aired from October 4, 1990 to May 17, 2000.

Created by Aaron Spelling and Darren Star, "Melrose Place," was a "Beverly Hills 90210" spin-off, which featured the lives and loves of young adults in an apartment complex in Los Angeles. From the complicated scheming of scandals to the murderous plots of lovers, the young adults, who live in "Melrose Place" were diametrically opposed, than the best of friends. It's original cast members included Josie Bissett as fashion designer, Jane Mancini, who was married to Michael Mancini, played by Thomas Calabro. They managed the apartment building. Amy Locane as actress/waitress Sandy Harling, lived with Rhonda and worked at Shooters. Doug Savant as social worker, Matt Fielding, worked with runaway teens. He was gay and friends with Rhonda. Grant Show as mechanic, Jake Hanson, who lived alone and helped with repairs. He also used to date Sandy. Andrew Shue as writer, Billy Campbell, who moved out of his parent’s house and in with Allison Parker, a receptionist, played by Courtney Thorn-Smith, who worked at D&D advertising agency. Lastly, we have Vanessa Williams as aerobics instructor, Rhona Blair, who lived with Sandy, Matt’s best friend. The show aired from July 8, 1992 to May 24, 1999.

Created by Richard Shapiro and Esther Shapiro, "Dynasty" was the saga of a wealthy Denver family in the oil business, that centered around Blake Carrington, the patriarch; Krystle, his former secretary and wife; his children, Adam, lost in childhood after a kidnapping; Fallon, pampered and spoiled; Steven, openly gay; and Amanda, hidden from him by his ex-wife, the conniving Alexis. Most of the show focuses on the conflict between two, large corporations, Blake's Denver Carrington and Alexis' Colby Co. Dynasty was famous for it's passion, glamour, catfights, and the biggest shoulder pads in Denver history. It was also fueled by an all-star cast and "sexsational" storylines. Remember, the famous wrestling matches between Alexis and Krystle, Steven's scandalous romances, Fallon's affairs, and the power struggles at Denver-Carrington, led by the dashing, Blake Carrington. The show aired from 1981 to 1989.

Created by Earl Hamner, "Falcon Crest" focused on the ongoing feud between the Channings and the Giobertis, two, separate, rich wine families in the fictional town, Tuscany Valley, California. It starred Oscar winner, Jane Wyman as Angela Channing, a despotic woman and corrupt matriarch, who ruled with an iron fist over her vineyards. Robert Foxworth starred as Chase Gioberti, a man new to the area, having inherited a portion of the Falcon Crest vineyards and winery from his father, Angela's brother Jason, who died after a fall in the winery during the premiere episode. The rivalry between the established professional and the newcomer, who both happened to be tied together by blood relations, set the tone for much of the series. The Dallas-Falcon Crest one-two punch proved lucrative for CBS and "Falcon Crest" remained a Top 20 show in the Nielsens for several years. It aired on the CBS Televison Network from December 4, 1981 to May 17, 1990.

Based on the novel by Arthur Hailey and produced by Aaron Spelling Productions, "Hotel" was set in the elegant St. Gregory's Hotel in San Francisco, with episodes, that dealt with the dramas of the guests, and with ongoing storylines among hotel staff. It's cast included James Brolin, Connie Sellecca, Nathan Cook, and Shari Belafonte. The series was set in the elegant St. Gregory's Hotel in San Francisco and episodes were partly self-contained, dealing with the dramas of the guests, and partly concerned with ongoing storylines amongst the hotel staff. The pilot starred Bette Davis as hotel owner, Laura Trent, but since Ms. Davis was too ill to continue, when a series was commissioned, the part was given to Anne Baxter as Victoria Cabot. The show aired from September 21, 1983 to May 5, 1988.


Barb said...

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bsteele1956 said...

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