What exactly is the difference between Daytime Soap and Primetime Soap?

Discussion in 'Dynasty' started by Ked, Aug 5, 2017.

  1. Ked

    Ked Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    I suppose on a superficial level I can guess the differences, but I'd like to know all the specific details of what separates the two. Usually daytime soaps tend to be looked down on (or at least that's been my experience) while primetime is held up to higher standards. Why is that?
     
  2. tommie

    tommie Soap Chat Star

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    I dunno
    In the US daytime soaps are meant to be on 52 weeks a year, five days a week and they are meant to go on forever. Recasts happen. Storylines inevitably get convulted, especially with writers going in and out of them at a moments notice. I expect we just accept a lot more crap from them.

    Primetime soaps tend to be on for one hour per week from anywhere (traditionally) 22 to (in the past)30-ish episodes per year, with a lengthy summer break to give writers and producers a head start on next seasons storylines. This is why recasts don't tend to work out well in primetime - in daytime people accept it because we're being force fed them on a daily basis until we inevitably accept them (or just rotate to another recast if they really suck), in primetime you don't have that luxury. It's jarring! We had 13 episodes of Cellini's Amanda and everyone trying to figure her out - in daytime that would've been 65 episodes! As an example.
     
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  3. Matthew Blaisdel

    Matthew Blaisdel Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    In daytime Krystle would have been in the attic for at least 5 years :crazy:

    But seriously, daytime always looked "cheap" to me.
    Maybe because they're all just filmed on video instead of film.
    Never really liked daytime, if you watch 30 episodes or miss them doesn't really matter in 90%, because nothing has changed.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2017
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  4. tommie

    tommie Soap Chat Star

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    I dunno
    This is true - daytime, in its nature, is constructed in such a way that you CAN miss episodes but jump into the stories at a later date. This is where primetime shows struggle, hence their decline. It's virtually impossible to jump into a primetime soap, but with daytime the stories move at a much slower pace so it doesn't matter if you miss and episode or 60. That's the construction they've chosen and it's effective.
     
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  5. AndyLaird

    AndyLaird Soap Chat Active Member

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    Presumably also daytime soaps have much bigger casts, with not every cast member appearing in every episode? Whereas primetime soaps have fewer characters but all the regular cast members in any given season will appear in most of the episodes.

    Primetime soaps like Dallas and Dynasty focus on one family, with a handful of external adversaries, which wouldn't be enough to sustain a daytime soap. Knots is more daytime-like in this respect but still had a fairly small core cast.

    Quick word on recasts: I am all in favour of them. Otherwise you effectively give the actors control over the storytelling - if an actor wants to leave when his contract's up, that's the end of the character arc. Recasts are fine in principle, but it does depend on the suitability of the new cast member (Samms and Cellini were always going to be a tough sell although Samms was fine once the character got her spark back). In daytime recasts are unavoidable.
     
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  6. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    Yes, I was never able to get into daytime soaps at all, even though I tried. I recognize that they had a lot of talent on them, on both sides of the camera, but the videotape cheapy look (the flaws of which I once read someone aptly describe as "more immediate and yet somehow less precise") didn't help. Also, you're churning out 5 episodes a week, so the format always seemed to have a shaggy-dog story aspect to it, one which was both highly repetitive and overly melodramatic.

    At least, that was my view of them back in the day.

    The nighttime soaps seemed to use different conventions, were shot on 35mm film like a movie (although that was obviously compromised by ~1986 when Lorimar began using its new computerized post-production process, dubbing down and then throwing away the film pieces, to low-grade video prior to editing -- leaving no film master and no negative, reportedly -- resulting in a shoddy video-esque look they now have to semi-fix with the digital magic of the present..... While DYNASTY's version of this instead created a really ruddy, washed-out and incredibly grainy look which was equally horrible, although the Shapiros owned the negative, and the R1 DVDs for Season 6 thru S8 have been beautifully corrected and look far better than when they originally aired).

    But that put other limitations or demands on nighttime soaps: people expected more from them because they not only looked better, they didn't drone on daily. So viewers are less forgiving when the narratives fumbles and stumbles. And, as stated above, you can't get away with recasting major characters.

    Daytime soaps are more like the stage -- the suspension of disbelief is much greater. But primetime soaps have to go further to convince you of what it's doing, and they weren't always successful at doing so. Once the mystique of the '80s nighttime soaps was damaged, it was really hard to get it back.
     
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  7. Rove

    Rove Soap Chat Star

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    That's exactly how I've felt regarding the difference between daytime and primetime soaps. I do not watch daytime soaps at all. I find them repetitive in story-telling, just the same old stories with different faces. It's interesting how daytime soaps, those stemming from America, are suffering the same fate as 80's prime-time soaps. How many have entered the television cemetery during the last several years. Maybe people are tired of characters dying and coming back from the dead (for the umpteenth time). Perhaps our appetite of watching glamorous people, many of whom never see the light of day but have the most amazing suntans. How do they make a living when most of them are milling about talking?

    Prime-time soaps were like visiting the cinema once a week. It was an event. I've watched some of those behind the scene videos on youtube in the making of Dallas. Great care was taken in setting up scenes. As others have pointed out film stock was used, until that dreadful cheap videotape came along.

    As for recasts? Daytime, NO!. Prime-time NO! This is just my personal opinion but I've never liked them - ever. For whatever reason in producers attempts to recast a role (think Miss Ellie) get clever with your writing instead. Move the character on/away or kill them off in dramatic fashion as shock value can always be a good thing.

    A prime example of how recasting can upset the rhythm of a show is the Barbara Bel Geddes/Donna Reed debacle which caused damage to the brand of Dallas. To the viewer (who are now more intelligent and not as forgiving) recasting well established roles smells of behind-the-scenes troubles.
     
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  8. Ked

    Ked Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    Just want to say a quick thank you to all those who have replied so far. :)

    I remember years and years ago, for a brief period, I got hooked on the daytime show "Passions". It happened because I would get home from school early, nobody would be around, and I'd want to watch television, only there was nothing on at the time except for this show that had an astounding amount of good-looking people on it. :lol: At first I found the pacing too slow and the characters a little annoying, but I slowly found myself wondering, "What's gonna happen next?"

    Over the next several (weeks? months?) I began watching them day-to-day (imagine my disappointment when I realized it was only on during the weekdays :lol:), practically gripped in the daily struggles of this sea-side town filled with picture-perfect people (seriously, it'd be easier to count how many "ugly" characters they had).

    But then after a while, I realized I was worn out on so many things:

    I came to despise Theresa and her romance with that one dude who's name I don't care enough to remember; that, and Theresa's signature single-tear-dribbling-down-the-side-of-her-perfectly-brushed-cheek-which-never-once-ruined-her-perfect-solid-black-eyeliner. Seriously, what was with that? :lol: In general, the characters were all so vapid and whiny - and a few of the storylines were starting to feel downright insulting. One of the worst things, though, was how the characters would just stand and *stare* whenever there was going to be a scene-transition. I just can't take needless staring, I just can't.

    So, I came to the conclusion it would be a good idea to just stop watching. And I did. Though I did have the pleasure of discovering a few new scenes on youtube, such as this ridiculous little delight:



    This was utterly ridiculous, yet I can't deny its a whole lot of fun. I even like to imagine a scene like this happening with Alexis and one of her daughters-in-law, and as the two are fighting, they knock over the coffin holding one of Alexis' sons... and then the coffin is revealed to be empty. Dun-dun-duuuuuunnnnnn...

    That's one thing I always gave "Desperate Housewives": once it killed characters off, they stayed dead. ^^

    I don't know... I realize that's your personal take on the subject, and I can certainly understand why you'd feel that way, but sometimes... sometimes certain characters are just too important to be either killed off or leave. Take Steven and Fallon: I personally can't imagine them being around for only the first two (or in Fallon's case, four) seasons before dying off. Sure, it would have been interesting with just Adam and Amanda, but I'd rather have all four of the Carrington children prowling around the mansion, even if the two original ones are recasts.

    Another example is Allison from Peyton Place.

    *spoilers start*

    The fact that Allison just walks off into the darkness and is never seen or heard from again is one of the main reasons why I hesitate so strongly to get seriously involved in the show. That we get absolutely no resolution of what happened to her - and the fact that her own parents eventually leave the show as well - it just has a "What's the point?" feel to it all (and it doesn't help that in "Peyton Place - the Next Generation", we do get Allison back - but only as a faceless/voiceless actress, because Mia Farrow didn't reprise the role for whatever reason... and the character wound up getting killed off; it all seemed like such a waste).

    I personally would have rather they just recast Alison once Mia Farrow left the show. And I think they could have done it with Leigh Taylor-Young, who was already being brought in to replace Farrow, only as a different character, Rachel. Leigh did bear a slight resemblance to Mia (and the fact that they had different-colored hair wouldn't have been a problem, seeing as how when Mia was on the show, it was still shot in black-and-white, and didn't turn color until the next season when Leigh came on), and she had the same quality about her. I think it could have been done, especially since, from what I heard, audiences seemed to react positively to Leigh.

    *spoilers end*

    But I guess it all depends. For certain shows and certain characters, a recast wouldn't work... but again, sometimes I'd rather have a recast then kill the character off.
     
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  9. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    OK, that was horrible. And not even entertainingly horrible.
    It must be possible to create a good daytime soap, but maybe they shouldn't focus too much on shock and suspence.
    I think people like to watch those characters every day, it doesn't always have to be a Big Plotline.
    But after producing episodes for 20 or 40 years that's hardly a failure.
    I tend to agree with that.
    I thought it was beautifully done, and very in character. And there's still so much goodness coming after that.
    Sometimes the act of leaving is the point. And then the Carsons had to deal with it, and with Allison/Jill's baby.
    In this case I'd say "no". As you've said it yourself, it really depends on the character and actor. And then it boils down to our personal preferences.
    They never going to please everybody.
    Yes, that's a resolution I could have done without. I preferred the idea of Allison just being "out there" (or not).
    I suppose it was done to create a murderer (Dorian) for this story.
     
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  10. Ked

    Ked Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    It did inspire me for a certain scene for my own story... only who knows, it might end up being one of those "kill your darlings" scenes, given how there's still so much I could change my mind on. ^^

    And that's *very* true. :)

    I suppose... you do raise a point... I mean, I *love* Allison's final scenes with her just wandering around Peyton Place, remembering certain things the other characters have said to her; it was all very well-shot with such an engaging atmosphere... but the fact that we never get any resolution of *any* kind on Allison, that they never find her, hear about her, or she comes back... especially since I can't help but get the impression that her family and friends never really put that much effort into looking for Allison, despite all the leads they got (or maybe I'm mistaken on this last part?)... it just felt unfulfilling. But that's just me.

    I read that Mia Farrow and Ryan O'Neal weren't approached to reprise their roles, because the crew thought that they would not be interested and that they "would've cost too much." So if that's true, then they didn't even bother asking them. Which is just awful, if you ask me. What, they couldn't *just ask*, and negotiate reasonable fees for the both of them? At least then they could say that they *tried*.
     
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  11. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    But that happens when people disappear. It was written from the Peyton Place community's point of view. We knew as much (or little) as they did.
    I thought Elliott was pretty persistent, and Constance had a meltdown much later in the series.
    But since Allison wasn't coming back anyway (apparently a recast was not an option) it would have been pointless spending too much time trying to find someone who could not be found.

    Nevertheless, she returned to Return To Peyton Place (1972) and then she died - unseen - in Murder In Peyton Place (1977). But these were both alternative versions, rather than a logical continuation.
    All episodes of RTPP have been erased, but the Murder movie is on YouTube. I thought it was a...challenge, to put it mildly. Maybe I'll try it again someday, but watching it right after the original show was a huge mistake.
     
  12. Ked

    Ked Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    Very true. ^^

    Again, very true. :)

    Did she? I remember hearing that the character did return in Murder In Peyton Place, but I also heard it wasn't a continuation, so I didn't bother with it. What was Return to Peyton Place about, though?
     
  13. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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  14. Ked

    Ked Soap Chat Enthusiast

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