Are Hugely Popular TV Series Cursed?

Discussion in 'Dallas - The Original Series' started by Rove, May 25, 2019.

  1. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    I don't think that every series finale has to be epic or completely wrapped up or definite. I don't watch these long running series (and certainly not the soaps) because I want to know how it ends, I only watch it because I need to know what happens next - until there isn't a "next" anymore.

    I think there was still something to enjoy in Dallas' last years, but on the other hand I don't understand the argument that it shouldn't end because there are so many jobs involved.
    Since when do we, the viewers, watch it from that point of view?
    We watch it for our entertainment, not because we're glad that all the people involved are getting paid.
    It's like saying "I hate the dream explanation, but oh well, at least people were employed so that justifies everything".
     
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  2. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Enthusiast

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  3. Mustard

    Mustard Soap Chat Fan

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    Anyone ever watched Blake's 7, which ran for 52 episodes from 1978-1981? Now, there's an ending.

    For those that don't know, Blake's 7 is like Star Trek turned upside down. There's a ship called the Liberator, but the people on it are rebels, and the military federation is dystopian and evil. I think Terry Nation created Blake's 7 because he wasn't convinced that Star Trek accurately portrayed what a military federation would look like. Terry Nation also created the Daleks in Doctor Who, of course, although their actual look came from Raymond Cusick.
     
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  4. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    I think "Game of Thrones" and "Lost" are different from "Dallas" and other successful shows written as soaps--for example, "Grey's Anatomy." "Lost" writers claimed they had a plan (if they did, it could fit on the back of a napkin) but GoT was based on a series of hefty books--alas, not completed. It was part of a saga with a beginning, middle, and end. However, as @Richard Channing said, the producers were more eager about moving on than concluding it in ways that did not make characters take abrupt 180 turns. But the show had the pedigree to have an ending worthy of its run.
    "Dallas," on the other hand, had gone on way past its original premise, which was Pam and Bobby against a hostile environment. Pam was gone, and so was much of the original family around them. It had been on a downhill quality slide since the dream season, and had lost so much of its creative juice and ratings. It would be pretty much impossible for the same team that made it a shadow of its former self to miraculously produce a fine series finale. Now, if some of the same people who had brought it to its former heights would return, that would have been a different story. But as I have said before, Dallas, Dynasty, and others should not feel obligated to bring every single story to an end, whether that be happily ever after or miserably for eternity. Their ending could have been more low key--here is where we find the Ewings at the end of the show, but their lives will of course continue. We just won't be with them to witness them.
    There have been some conversations (a bit lopsided I think) about whether Dallas, in particular, should have continued past its good years. The overall consensus save one or two posters is that it shouldn't, for legacy's sake. Legacy certainly matters, not just as a nefarious concept but as a business move: you don't want to be known for the one who doesn't recognize when the product you are putting out is sub-par, because then that product may be your last for which the audience and networks trust you --though Cidre managed to escape that fate a few times. "But it is still making money" is exactly the argument of banks selling subprime mortgages used in the 2000s: these were selling too, until suddenly they would have collapsed the US economy if the government did not intervene--and what a blow that was to the "free market" cult of capitalism.
    I think the one aspect not discussed is why people kept watching after the show was no longer as good. TV shows, especially back then, were companionship. Even ABBA mentioned watching Dallas every week as the routine of a loveless and empty life in a song (though in 1982 Dallas was of course a worldwide phenomenon). For some of us, it is ruining the legacy and good reputation of an iconic IP to have it deteriorate week after week. But for others, J.R. and Bobby still around meant they had something familiar to keep them company for an hour.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2019
  5. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    Unless they also liked (some of the) new characters.
     
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  6. Toni

    Toni Soap Chat Star

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    And then there is the fact that the rest of the world was years behind the US airing. The UK was the exception, and a few countries even programmed the show as a filler for daytime hours (how dare they!). So, from the POV of Lorimar, there was a parallel business that wasn´t exactly just a simple export of the show. If we have to believe those involved in it, only Japan disliked the series. So, up until 1990 or so, and I´d even say that during the show´s whole TV life, "Dallas" was big business. This would also explain the presence in the latter years of the likes of Ian McShane, Gayle Hunnicutt, and Lesley-Anne Down, and the filming tours to Austria, Russia, and Paris.

    But once it finished, it gradually became "something else" that looked a bit old-fashioned in the '90s. That was when "reality bit" (to quote something of the era) and the formerly powerful Lorimar became a little part of the Warner catalog. The supersoaps were forgotten for a few years, and after the SoapNet and TNT re-runs, they were resurrected in a revival led by the many specials they began to do (E!, After They Were Famous, Return to Southfork, etc.), which directly took us here, to the internet and this site. So I don´t think the soaps were cursed, they just had a limited life. Sense of business expanded their lives and some of us enjoyed them partly or the whole thing. But nothing lasts forever. Not even J.R. Ewing (the character closest who achieve that because of TNT).
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2019
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  7. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    Did you like Dallas after Pam divorced Bobby and wasn't caught in the middle between Cliff and the Ewings anymore? I think seasons 7 and 8 were very good.

    I know Pam hated the feud and tried to get Cliff to stop going after the Ewings several times but she was never effective at getting that done because Cliff didn't care about what Pam wanted. I always thought Pam gave Cliff a lot more loyalty and support than he deserved because he didn't reciprocate it.
     
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  8. Toni

    Toni Soap Chat Star

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    Cliff became a big hypocrite in Pam´s last years, as he started to accumulate bucks. He did express love and loyalty to Pam, but it always came across as forced and contrived. It was Ken Kercheval´s craft what made Cliff transpire humanity and true affection for her, but always in a somewhat desperate, subtle way. Their last year together was a perfect example: Cliff used Pam and her money in a way that would cause permanent damage in real life. He was like a naughty shady boy, and Pam almost like a mother who knew him well but tried to be fair and not spoil him. So she cut financial ties with him. Season 10 with them together in this situation would have made great TV.
     
  9. Kenny Coyote

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    How did daytime soaps last so long, or escape the "curse" if people want to look at it that way? Didn't General Hospital air for something like 30 or 35 years? That's with 5 episodes a week too!
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2019
  10. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    Because daytime soaps aren't pop culture phenomenons.
     
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  11. Toni

    Toni Soap Chat Star

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    They are TV companions...
     
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  12. Grant Jennings

    Grant Jennings Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    I agree with both of your points. I enjoyed seasons 7 and 8; it made perfect sense for Pam to leave Bobby after Rebecca died. Pam cut Cliff too much slack, she was very much like an over-indulgent parent who lets their child run wild.
     
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  13. Kenny Coyote

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    So if I get your point it's that daytime soaps don't have this problem because they have so much less expectations of quality from their audience than Dallas or Knot's Landing did. It's very hard for a show like Dallas to continue as long as it did and to have a satisfying finale because people expect so much from it that the bar is set very high for the people creating the storylines and writing the scripts.

    BTW, are the writers the people who come up with the storylines or does the producer give the writers a basic outline of the storyline and then have the writers create the details and the actual words said?

    Yes, which is an unfair role to put one's sister in, especially a younger sister.

    I'm not sure about that. If the pilot of the plane had avoided the accident Rebecca would have lived. Their marriage shouldn't depend on the competence of the pilot of Rebecca's plane. I think Pam would have left regardless of whether Rebecca died or not. Pam hated the oil industry and what it was doing to Bobby, which is unfair because she was the one who pushed him to take a position of greater pressure and offer responsibility in running Ewing Oil. At the time she did that to Bobby, first episode, Bobby was happy with his job as the "B man." Pam wanted him to start actually running the company which ultimately led to him becoming harder and more aggressive, which is unavoidable in that type of position.

    I'd equate running Ewing Oil to being in a shark tank. It makes you become harder, makes you become more aggressive and ruthless because if you're not the biggest, baddest great white, if you're just a lemon shark or some other smaller shark, you're gonna get eaten up.

    Pam hated the oil industry for what it did to her father, her brother, and eventually Bobby. So I find it incredibly unlikely that after Bobby "died" and left Christopher his portion of Ewing Oil, that Pam would react by going to work side by side with JR to "protect Christopher's inheritance" and continue doing that until Christopher became old enough and mature enough to take over Pam's job at Ewing Oil. Some posters have suggested it would have been a tremendous storyline to have Pam stay there and keep running the company with JR. and that they felt cheated when Pam decided to quit working at Ewing Oil and sell Christopher's share to JR. I think she did the only thing she could reasonably be expected to do. She got herself out of working a job she had neither the desire nor the expertise to do and she protected Christopher's financial future by selling his shares to JR for a ton of money.
     
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  14. pete lashmar

    pete lashmar Soap Chat Fan

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    Christmas 1981 was destroyed by the final episode...I was completely and utterly gobsmacked....what had I just watched!?

    I'm a huge fan of the show, which much like Dallas, has never received the you can't bend it DVD/Blu Ray treatment that it richly deserves.

    But as series finales go Blake's 7 is probably the very best there is.
     
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  15. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    I think daytime soaps aren't subject to a certain zeitgeist. I'm not saying that the zeitgeist made the 80s prime time soaps, but I think it helped them to become so extremely popular.
    Maybe that's why Dallas and Dynasty were the most high-profile soaps?

    Daytime soaps don't need season story arcs, they're hardly affected by cast changes. All they need to do is to go on and on and on.
     
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  16. Kenny Coyote

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    Trued but it must be a tiring work schedule for the actors and the rest of the crew. A big star of GH would be in at least half the episodes, right? I know they didn't have to appear in every single episode but still, say 3 episodes a week. That's probably the most demanding schedule for an actor on TV that exists.

    Imagine how enormous a box set of every GH episode ever made would be!

    Oh, BTW, you mentioned "daytime soaps aren't subject to a certain zeitgeist". Alright, probably not. But, even though General Hospital ( I use that for example because its the only one I've seen a little of at least) has never ended, it probably did have a certain time that was considered its glory years, much like Dallas has its peak years. Do you know what that time period would be for GH? Just name a 4 or 5 year span when it was especially popular and the quality was high. I'm wondering if it is also in the 1980s - just like Dallas, Dynasty, Falcon Crest, etc. Thanks!
     
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  17. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    Yes. I'm not saying that working on a daytime soap is a walk in the park.
    I think daytime soaps that run for 4 or 5 decades can have more than one peak. And eventually everything will get a little tired.
     
  18. Kenny Coyote

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    That makes a lot of sense. Also, think about how essential recasts are for a soap that runs that long.

    It's certainly not. Larry Hagman said that it is excellent training for young actors though.. He said he worked on a daytime soap early in his career and it helped him learn a lot.
     
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  19. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    Daytime soaps really are a different genre, one that is an anachronism today, and we are witnessing its dying embers after it burned brightly for decades. The repetition of information was in-built, as audiences were expected to watch/listen to them concurrently with some other task (usually a household chore). That is also why characters even mention who said what, harking back to the days of radio (the soap's original medium). When people want to stay loyal to a soap now (there are only 4 left in the US) and they record them, playing them back has the unfortunate effect of exposing all the genre's inbuilt elements, which simply do not work on careful re-watching the way we binge-watch regular shows. Sure, some soapchat fanatic may do so and enjoy, but that is not representative of the general audience.
     
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  20. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    It depends on the show, or the period of the show. With a non-serialized show, free lance writers would submit scripts which, if purchased, would be tweaked by the story editor (a producer) before being filmed. Some shows would sometimes take ideas the producers came up with and give them to staff writers or free-lance writers to flesh out, those producers sometimes giving themselves a "story by" credit and sometimes not, giving all "written by" credit to the writer to whom they'd given the assignment.

    It just depends on the show, and its producers.

    DALLAS, obviously as a continuing storyline (i.e,. soap opera) kind of series, had to create a "bible" of plotlines for each season arrived at by the producers and any story editors and staff writers in that circle. DALLAS always gave total screen credit to the writer assigned that episode's script.

    During Season 7 (per DVD count) every episode was written by Katzman, Art Lewis, and David Paulsen (all de facto producers) and no staff or free-lance writers were used at all. And it was one of the series' best years.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
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