Keeping it real in daytime...They can do it!
I have been watching Coronation Street from some time now thanks to the internet. And what I noticed about it (and generally with all the British soaps) is that all the stories are real. Not realistic. Not realistic for the world of soaps. But real. There are no evil twins. No returns from the dead (that I have seen). No ladies in a cage. No bumbling police forces who can't solve a crime. No all purpose doctors who are heart surgeons, primary practitioners and gynecologist all wrapped into one. No one is in a coma. No one's life is hanging in the balance for the umpteenth time. No super villains lording over the towns folk from his Transylvania style mansion or estate. No mustache twirling villains either. None of the characters are rich or wealth. No rags to riches stories. Most of the cast looks like everyday people verse models. No shirtless man scenes (yahoo!). And guess what? On Coronation Street you get the feeling right off the top that the actors can all act! Even the young ones. So the series is not used as a training ground for models to feel their way through scenes until or if they eventually get it.
Somehow despite lacking all of the trappings of today's daytime drama's in America, Coronation Street is dramatic, engaging, entertaining, socially relevant and compelling all at the same time.
The series currently airs 5 episode for a half hour on Monday's (1 episode) Wednesday's (2 episodes) and Friday's (2 episodes) a week during the evening. It boast an average of 10 million viewers per episode. It is also the UK's highest rated television series.
On CS when they deal with money troubles. They really deal with real life issues surrounding money. There is no million dollar loans they can get by making a deal with the devil.
When people cheat and or are tempted to cheat, the circumstances are real. No one is trapped in an elevator under rubble thinking they are going to die so they make love with their idea mate.
A paternity secret is as real as if your own mother kept the secret of who your father was. Not the soapy sense of it.
The old ladies are not glamorous bitchy diva's who sashay around sets. They are your average old feisty grandma's who bring more drama in a moomoo or everyday clothing than clutching pearls in their McMansion.
And somehow, a soap where any of these stories; could actually be happening; to any one of us; right now in real life. And can command that type of audience is something worth looking into.
Somehow I believe that in America we could produce a 3 day a week (M, W, F) or 2 day a week (T,T) half hour cable soap operas that were of the same caliber. Meaning that instead of focusing on soaps about successful people. Just write a series about the trials and tribulations of working to middle class Americans and you will have a stellar drama series.
I live in the very diverse Bay Area of California. So I could already image a multiracial series called Castro Valley which is named after an actual east bay commuter city mainly compromising of working to middle class residents.
Lifetime could enter into this business with an American version of EastEnders and call it Weehawken Cove set in Hoboken, New Jersey. Focus it on the interconnected lives of the blue collar residents who feel they are slowly being pushed out by the the growth of the yuppie middle class whom are inhabiting and slowly taking over. And the conflict that ensues between the classes.
BET could enter into the market with an African American themed serial called South Shore, which is named after a real (mostly black and somewhat affluent) mixed income neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. There you can play out the interconnected lives of the black middle class versus the interlopers in the community who try siphon off of their success. And the often tattered yet interesting dynamics of our community. It is always ripe for drama.
And not to leave y'all out of the mix (keep reading). So I did some research and you could target the gay and lesbian community with a 2 to 3 day a week Logo serial called Delores Park. The series is named after an actual park in San Francisco which boarders the mostly gay Castro District. Or you could set it in New York and call it Greenwich Village.
Thus you cast these series like the guy did for the web soap Anacostia with a mix real people (who can act) and there you have it.
Those are just my thoughts.
This was the episode that got me thinking: http://bit.ly/11ipjvy