Some big news was reported about the future of One Life to Live last week. No, I am not referring to the revelation that Tico is El Tiburon (or "El T-Bone" as some people say). Instead, I am referring to the change of writing staff for the show. (Click here for the full story) Michael Malone is leaving, and a new writer from Days of our Lives will be taking over. What does this mean for One Life to Live? It's hard to be sure; anything can happen and historically has happened. Through different writers we have endured recasts, rewritten history, bizarre storylines, and sometimes, even some positive aspects. Since I am not familiar with Dena Higley's work, I will instead discuss what some readers and I would like to see her do with OLTL.
When Michael Malone and Josh Griffith returned in late 2002, they brought the highly anticipated "Storm of Change" with them, including recasts of Joey and Jessica, the end of Troy and Nora's relationship, the return of Mitch Laurence and Victor Lord, and some other changes during a snow storm. After some less than stellar storylines and (i.e. Natalie's pool storyline, and the Music Box Murders) we have almost a completely different show. Nora, Lindsay, Bo, Viki, and other favorite characters have faded into the background so that newer characters can be the main focus. A couple of weeks ago, I suggested that maybe the favorite characters would return to the center of attention now that summer is over and that the Santis would be on the show less. Perhaps this was wishful thinking on my part, but I really think it needs to happen. While my readers may agree with that, some believe I am being too optimistic. For example, Barb wrote "You are rather optimistic about the resolution of the Santi story restoring Llanview's center to Viki, Nora, Lindsay, or Bo. Everything I have seen about the current producers/writers decisions leads me to believe they may even disappear further into the background, whether or not the Santi saga continues. " With the current writing staff, I would have to say that Barb probably is right. However, with a new writer coming to the show, I will maintain my optimism and believe that the new writer will bring the main characters back into the spotlight.
While I want the characters that we know to be the main focus of the show, I not want them to be completely rewritten so that they are unrecognizable. The best example of this happening is with Kelly. The Kelly that went to Texas to be with Kevin doesn't exist anymore. We now have a completely different character that is supposed to be Kelly, and it is just hard to believe. Heather Tom is doing a fantastic job of portraying the new Kelly, but the drastic changes made to this character do not honor the character's history. The original Kelly was a free spirit and very young at heart. The Kelly we have now is the complete opposite of the Kelly we were introduced to those years ago. Another example is Jessica. Her history was completely rewritten with the revelation that Mitch Laurence is her biological father. The Buchanans are a core family of OLTL and to make her be something other than a Buchanan was hard to accept. I thought maybe the writers did this to change the character and have her become stronger or more mature. However, ever since the fiasco with Mitch, she is perhaps even more gullible than before. She ended up getting trouble with the Music Box Murderer and is now falling for Tico's act. There was an opportunity to give Jessica an edge and make her a stronger person, but instead, she has become a person who is easily duped and doesn't learn from the things that happen to her. I have received many emails about this very issue. Marina wrote "Now you have Jessica, who is supposed to be smart and an investigative reporter, believing in Tico Santi. Her character has become absolutely annoying and she used to be one of my favorites on the show. Enough already!" I agree with the last part, especially! We've had enough of rewritten characters and rewritten history.
Finally, I want to see couples become a central part of the show. These days, it seems like all we see is Antonio pointing a gun at someone or John McBain questioning someone about a crime. What happened to John and Evangeline? Jen and Riley? Dorian and David? Roxy and Nigel? These couples have practically been forsaken to make room for the Santis. One Life to Live is lacking any type of romance, and that needs to change. I have heard from several disgruntled John and Evangeline fans recently. They want to see more of their favorite couple, and I agree. John and Evangeline surprised me with the chemistry they share, and this needs to be explored. The same thing goes for Jen and Riley. These couples and the others I mentioned need to be given a chance to become something great instead of being pushed to the side.
Bringing a new writer to One Life to Live has so much possibility of improving the state of the show. It is my hope that Dena Higley brings the veteran characters back to the forefront, remains true to each character's history, and gives the newly established couples the attention they deserve. Sometimes change can be a positive thing for show, and I am optimistic that this change could end up being just what OLTL needs. Sometimes a new perspective can bring a new, better life to a show while remaining true to it's history, and that is what I am hoping for our show.
Have a pleasnt week!
Until next time, Dawn