On Tuesday night the cast and crew of ALL MY CHILDREN and ONE LIFE TO LIVE, Prospect Park's Rich Frank and Jeff Kwatinetz, a massive amount of press and a group of loyal fans packed NYU's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts to watch the premiere episodes of the shows, which return Monday, April 29. We won't reveal any spoilers (and we really hope no one else does either!) but wanted to share some first thoughts after seeing the shows on the big screen. Here are some thoughts on ALL MY CHILDREN:
* The show looks beautiful with both interior and exterior shots. A promo for AMC reveals that Pete Cortlandt (Robert Scott Wilson) drives into town passed a Pine Valley sign and, watching the first episode, it really helps establish where we are. This place looks and feels like the Pine Valley in my mind, which wasn't always the way the town felt during its final years on network television.
* Many fans had concerns that AMC would look like OLTL. That didn't happen. They are both very distinct shows. It looks like ALL MY CHILDREN, only more contemporary and more real.
* Eric Nelsen (AJ Chandler) and Denyse Tontz (Miranda Montgomery) are breakout stars. I expect the entire high school set up to appeal to younger viewers. It seemed realistic, which is usually not the case with teen stories on daily dramas. I instantly cared about AJ and Miranda, despite the characters being aged (the show jumps five years ahead) and played by two actors that are new to the show. The writing was on point and the roles were perfectly cast.
* Angie and Jesse Hubbard (Debbi Morgan & Darnell Williams) have still got "it". They lit up the big screen just as much last night as they did on TV three decades ago. Their chemistry is undeniable and their storyline is quite intriguing.
* There is more than one mystery unfolding, and the show really left me dying to find out more. Many of our favorite AMC characters (and actors) are involved, and while this was only one episode, it's a great sign. Maybe it's the Internet, maybe its the half-hour format, or maybe it's some other secret sauce, but the pacing has been turned up to "steady cantor."
* The show had a sexy angle, and some suggestive dialogue, but nothing shocking and all completely in character and in line with the story. I know some fans have been worried by comments about what'a ahead but there's nothing gratuitous about AMC at all. This episode is absolutely "rated PG" in my book.
* My favorite thing was just a general feeling: the episode was full of heart. That's what was missing for me in the final years of ALL MY CHILDREN (until the last few months). I really hope longtime fans who may have tuned out before the end give the TOLN version of the show a chance. It feels like ALL MY CHILDREN again.
* And have no fear; all signs seem to suggest that AMC remains committed to "answering" many of the questions raised by the ABC finale.
* I didn't have a single quibble with any of the storylines or dialogue. Now, how often does that happen? My only (very) minor complaint was the opening sequence. As the cast comes on the screen the character names are displayed instead of the names of the actors. I found that to be a bit cheesy and out of date, but I'm looking forward to hear more opinions about that. What do you think?
If the premiere is any indication, we're in for the best ALL MY CHILDREN we've seen in many years. I can't reveal any plot points, of course, but other than that, I would love to answer any questions from AMC fans! Please add them in the Comments section, below.
Remember, you can watch AMC for FREE (with commercials) at www.hulu.com, and view an almost commercial-free version (with other enhanced features) by paying $7.99 a month for Hulu Plus (sign up button is below). For easy instructions on how to watch TV from your computer on the nice, big flat-screen in your living room, visit this post.