doesn’t mean I haven’t been working...
But, while I’m excited to be collecting some of my Red Room essays on As the World Turns into an e-book, the truth is that I’ve been having difficult time writing about the current state of serialized storytelling, though certainly not for lack of available material. In fact, it’s gotten to the point that the effort required to keep track of the ever-expanding number of serials – particularly on the Web – is starting to take all the fun out it.
The thing is, among the flood of serials I’ve watched in recent years, the handful that haven’t left me yearning for the world as it was... – Friday Night Lights, Men of a Certain Age, In Treatment and the first season of Life UneXpected – none remain on the air. Yesterday, the only Web series that met my admittedly idiosyncratic, not to mention, elusive, criteria released its series finale. Ostensibly, the story of two teenaged lesbians in love, Anyone but Me’s creators, Susan Miller and Tina Cesa Ward, crafted a narrative so simple, yet deeply textured, and elicited performances so subtle and nuanced, that ABM’s appeal transcended sexual orientation.
I echo The New York Observer’s Gillian Reagan, who, after ABM’s first season, said the show "succeeds in showing us the potential of the [web-original] medium." What gives me pause regarding the future of this kind of serialized storytelling on the Web is that after three years of not only great reviews, but well over 100,000 viewers, 11-million page views over multiple online platforms and selling out its first-season DVD on Amazon, Anyone But Me could not generate sufficient revenue to sustain itself.
As for my “admittedly idiosyncratic, not to mention, elusive, criteria,” below are links to a 1957 episode (#268) of As the World Turns currently up on YouTube, one of the few preserved from that era, which, in twenty-two minutes of conversation among four characters, perfectly illustrates what I’ve long struggled to describe: how the storytelling in early soaps lives on in some current (and recent past) serials. It's pretty hard to improve upon what 'World Turns' creator, Irna Phillips, said in the show's bible: "there is no more poignant drama enacted anywhere than behind the closed doors of a home."
© 2012 Lynn Liccardo
Limited Licensing: I, Lynn Liccardo, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publish it under the Creative Commons Attribution license, granting distribution of my copyrighted work without making changes, with mandatory attribution to Lynn Liccardo and for non-commercial purposes only.
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