I has become clear to many LOYAL viewer that GENERAL HOSPITAL has become a shell of its former self. My belief it that this is not due to budget cutting but strictly based on the writing and direction of the show.
Compelling story can overcome big budget events. And yet there is a place for big budget events if used properly and not merely for fancy onscreen imagery. These events should be used to propel story forward.
There are some fixes that I think need to be put into place in order to "right the mothership" of ABC's daytime drama lineup.
Family - While there are families present on the show, they are seldom shown to be strong family units. While I don't expect to rehash these relationships constantly, it would be nice to have some regular interaction between family member that didn't involve their trying to shoot each other or simply planning to have someone murdered.
An example would be the Spencer family. Front and center of the family is Luke, Tracy, Lulu, Lucky, Nicholas, and Carly. It was at one time some of the best witty banter on the show was between Luke and his niece, Caroline/Carly. I can guess that new viewers in the last six months may not even know they are related. And when was the last time Carly even mentioned her own brother, Lucas? Almost as soon as he came out to his dying father, he was written off.
HISTORY - Again, this is not something that needs to be constantly rehashed for new viewers but occassional mentions of old characters no longer on the canvas would be nice. Instead of Lulu freaking out over things and claim there is no one she can turn to, why not have her go to her grandmother, Lesley? Lulu never even talks about being raised by her grandmother while Luke and the boys pretty much ignored her growing up.
The same is true of Elizabeth. She has parents that allowed her to live in Port Charles with her grandmother, Audrey. But Elizabeth also has a sister, Sara, and a half brother, Steven Lars, both of whom where on the show and could be referenced on occassion.
Speaking of Elizabeth, does no one notice how often she dumps her own kids to run over to Robin's and watch her daughter while Robin and Patrick are gone? Could Patrick not take his daughter to Elizabeth's so she could watch all the kids?
STORY - More and more, I read how viewers are tired of the constant gunplay and gang stories on the show, not because they are on the show but they seem to take over the show. Sonny, Claudia, Jason and the like could be front and center on the show with their mob goings on a bit in the background and concentrating on them more as characters.
THINGS HAPPEN THAT JUST DON"T MAKE SENSE - The recent fire at the hospital that shut down the hospital. REALLY? Because in all the pictures that we have seen of the hospital over the years it is pretty damned big with various wings. I happen to know that hospitals are extremely careful with safeguards against fires and sections can be sealed off from one another to prevent the whole multi-wing facility from burning down. And trust me, in this economic climate if such an improbability did occur, while a neighboring hospital would welcome the patients, they would in no way swing the doors wide open to all the other staff and doctors to come in and start working.
Could the fire not simply have shut down part of the hospital?
I guess what bothers me even more is that while these seem like small things, when you are concerned about viewers leaving in droves, these types of things would make a difference and show more care being put into the show by the creators.
In closing, Mr. Frons, feel free to contact me as I would be glad to further discuss this with you one on one as a way to help you succeed with ABC Daytime.