Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Why 2012 Will Be "The Year Of The Soap" (Part 2): DARK SHADOWS, RAGGED ISLE, DALLAS, Univision Telenovelas and More

Our special "The Year of the Soap" series continues below with Part 2. Read Part 1 here.

DARK SHADOWS was a pop culture phenomenon when it ran on ABC Daytime from 1966 to 1971, spawning movies, comic books, a primetime remake several years later and even (in part) inspiring Ryan Murphy to create AMERICAN HORROR STORY. Now, a new, big-budget film version of the show, directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp as the vampire Barnabas Collins, is scheduled to be released on May 11, 2012.

Good box office receipts are sure to lead to future films, another television revival and (who knows?) possibly interest in movie versions of other classics. What's more, a higher profile for the DARK SHADOWS brand will be yet another factor motivating outfits such as Soap Classics. Any demonstration of the ability of "retired" daytime series to make money in 2011 strengthens their business plan.

Of course, DARK SHADOWS was unique - odd, even - but but we'd argue that it's the more distinctive franchises that tend to attract star power (such as Burton and Depp) to such projects. So, what other soaps would make a good 21st century feature film? First to pop into our heads is a big budget movie version of THE EDGE OF NIGHT!

Tell us your ideas in the Comments section, below. And no reason to stop at TV: decades worth of all-but-forgotten radio soaps could be a treasure trove for today's production companies.  Hollywood has shown time and again (and more and more frequently) that it favors films featuring tested characters and concepts, especially those that arrive at the studio with their narratives already fleshed out, as well. If the last successful mega-trend was movies based on comic books (a couple Incredible Hulks, five X-mens, a million Batmans) is it such a leap to think classic daytime soaps may start being optioned left and right in 2012?

Spring 2012 will also bring momentum to project that is, in a way, everything the DARK SHADOWS movie isn't. RAGGED ISLE is a totally new, young & contemporary, only-on-the-web kind of project. However, it, too, is eerie and unique.   It's been described, in fact, as TWIN PEAKS meets DARK SHADOWS, and it is nominated for several Indie Soap Awards, including Best Drama.

When it returns for its second season, RAGGED ISLE will have a stronger brand identity, and more importantly, the general public's awareness of the pleasures of the Indie Soap universe will have evolved. Building on the momentum of a DARK SHADOWS fueled fascination with eerie soap concepts, and releasing substantial (15-minutes long, that's how long our TV soaps used to be) episodes on a regular basis, RAGGED ISLE might hold its own this spring against the four daytime series left on TV.

Key Dates:
April 11th CALIFORNIA HEAVEN Season Premiere
May 11th Dark Shadows movie release from Warner Bros.

Primetime soap DALLAS is back, this time on TNT, with even more delicious drama as JR, Bobby and Sue Ellen Ewing return to Southfork. The next generation of Ewings are joining them, and we can expect them to take ambition and deception to a wicked new level. After the success of REVENGE, a triumphant return by DALLAS will have the networks looking for the Next Big Night Soap. Will it be a 21st century DYNASTY, KNOTS LANDING or FALCON CREST?

Univision's new 24/7 soap channel, Univision Telenovelas (UT), will draw from a library featuring hundreds of Spanish language soaps (spanning over three decades) and stars that viewers know and love. In addition to Univision titles, the channel will also serve up soaps from Las Novelas de Televisa, TV Azteca and Telemundo.

A fact that's underplayed (or ignored) by the mainstream media is that Univision's soaps, such as the recently completed LA FUERZA DEL DESTINO, continue to break ratings records. They grow and grow year-over-year  in the 18-49 demographic - thanks to the popularity of the soap opera genre. This reflects the fast-growing segment of 50 million Latinos living in the US: that's 16 percent of the population, according to 2010 census data.

What is it that Spanish language, American, daily soaps have figured out, that English language, American, daytime soaps just don't seem to get? That's a subject for it's own article! For now, let's agree that 2012 is bound to be huge for US fans of Spanish soaps: El Año de la Telenovela en América, if you will.

As you can see, The Year of the Soap will continue into the spring and summer of 2012, with previously "retired" series starting to spark rekindled interest in the form of feature films (blockbusters, even) and web soaps beginning to give TV a run for its money. At the same time, big night soaps such as DALLAS will return form a years-long hiatus and  a huge segment of America, the Spanish speakers, will have more daily soaps and more options for viewing them. What will happen in the second half of 2012? The Year of the Soap will continue,  Look or The Year of The Soap Part 3 this Thursday.


  1. Wow! Thanks for the write up. We're blushing up here in Ragged Isle-ville. I hope we can live up to this. We'll try our very best!

  2. Thank you SO MUCH for your attention to and kind words for "Ragged Isle." We're mighty proud of the project up here in Maine, and we're thrilled to see it getting such positive attention.

  3. Too true! These are exciting times for the soap genre, and also for independent productions. How folks gain access to entertainment in the serial format is changing, moment to moment. So, we're actually riding the wave of the future. We Love Soaps is tracking that wave, and we're glad you're there to document the movement for posterity. Thanks for the mention of Ragged Isle, and for the kind words! Love, Sheriff Dalton

  4. Thank you for your kind words about RAGGED ISLE. I'm proud to be a part of it.
    You can always tell when something's REALLY shot in Maine - it's something in the angle of the sun.

  5. I guess since they seem to be getting rid of real soaps the weekly ones are all we have left to look forward too

  6. Thanks so much for including Ragged Isle in your article, we're all so thrilled here on the island! :)

  7. Thank you dearly for all you've done in promoting, and of course, your love for Ragged Isle. Your opinion is held in the highest regard, and we love you!

  8. Thank you so much for the kind words.
    From all of us on RAGGED ISLE, Happy New Year!
    Deputy Dan

  9. Hey, LOVE the wonderful comments about Ragged Isle. We LOVE it and it IS an unbelievable story.
    Again - thanks! Happy 2012!
    Rose Fuller