Soaps and Serials : The Death of Soaps and how to fix it

The Death of Soaps and how to fix it

I saw this on Yahoo today. Now I don't watch daytime TV soap operas, but I'll admit some of what I do watch is along those lines, just more extreme. Let's face it, anyone who watches an ongoing movies series probably has an interest in the more soap opera-like aspects of it. Star Wars is a soap opera about the Skywalker family (hence "space opera"); The Godfather is a soap opera about the Corleone family. The Spiderman series is a soap opera about Peter Parker's personal life being wrecked by his superhero life. I even like the epic TV movies like Winds of War, Lonesome Dove, and their sequels. Stories seem more epic when they are told in parts, I get that.

This may seem a weird change in direction, but when I took Spanish, my teacher showed us Spanish soap operas, which she was completely infatuated with, for two reasons. Number one, it's a great way to learn how people actually speak the language. Number two, the stories don't go on for decades, ad infinitum. When they start a series, they also plan out when to end it. The same is true for the (live-action at least) Star Wars films. The kept making more Godfathers, but they deliberately ended it permanently with Part III. Very few comic book adaptations have spawned a series as long as, say, the James Bond series. They have a story that goes across a few films, and then they end it.

I bring this up because maybe that's a way that soap operas can gain a bigger audience: do it like they do in Mexico. Make a big mini-series and then let it go, instead of expecting it to last for decades. Like new readers to a comic book, for it to make sense you sometimes have to catch them up on decades of backstory. This would eliminate that need, but still turn new viewers on to the genre.