What happens when a major character is unexpectedly killed off? How does a show, especially a daytime soap opera, pick up the pieces once it happens? That’s part of the test behind Steve Burton’s recent departure from “General Hospital,” which has given some great material for everyone else left behind and left a big hole on the canvas in the process.
“General Hospital” followed various Port Charles residents as they dealt with their complicated personal and professional lives. Local mobster Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) is trying to rescue his mental ill girlfriend Kate Howard (Kelly Sullivan). Kate’s alternative personality Connie married Sonny’s rival Johnny Zacchara (Brandon Barash) in an effort to avoid getting committed to a mental institution. While Sonny deals with his complicated personal life, he has to endure the possible loss of his best friend/enforcer Jason Morgan (Steve Burton) who was close to having his family back with his wife Samantha (Kelly Monaco). With the possible return of Jason’s brother, the show was prepared to usher in an era that didn’t included Jason Morgan, for the time being. Will the show be able to pick up the pieces where Jason’s disappearance left off ?
In terms of potential stories, “General Hospital” has a lot of possibilities in the coming months that could help the show to relive its glory days. The returns of popular performers as Finola Hughes (Anna Devane) and Ian Buchanan (Duke Lavery) has generated some strong emotional material. Hughes, Buchanan and Anthony Geary (Luke Spencer) were also thrown into a promising love triangle that could last for months. It was definitely a shock when Buchanan’s Duke was revealed to be the one keeping Robin Scorpio-Drake from her family for many reasons. The biggest one was that he was supposedly dead for decades. The only possible problem could be explaining Duke’s more than 20 year absence from the show. Buchanan’s return has implicated that Duke wasn’t the same man he once was. The show made a bold choice in connecting him with Jason’s shooting/disappearance. Let’s hope that the show doesn’t attempt to tarnish the popular character’s legacy in the process of creating some new drama.
The show’s other big change has come in the form of adding some popular characters from “One Life to Live” and transplanting them into the Port Charles landscape. The show has done wonders with the addition of Roger Howarth’s Todd and Kristen Alderson’s Starr. Their presence has helped anchor the teen set and also provided some comedic zing whenever necessary. Howath’s presence has helped give some credibility to even the craziest storylines, which included the recent water crisis. He also had a strong rapport with his leading lady Laura Wright (Carly) that allowed them both to have some laughs while their characters went through some dramatic moments. The potential coupling could be doomed from the start because of Todd’s numerous secrets, but that should make for some decent drama down the line.
Unfoturnately, the show’s biggest weaknesses continued to be dragging out certain storylines (Connie’s return and Johnny’s getting away with murder) and leaving some cast members without one (Nancy Lee Grahn’s Alexis). Let’s hope that the show tried to wrap up those stories sooner rather than later. It’s time that the show focused on the rest of the cast and gave other talented performers more to do than being mere background players. Only time will tell if more changes were in the works or not. Let’s hope for the sake of the show that those changes lead to more exciting returns. Fingers crossed.
“General Hospital” airs weekdays at 2:00 PM on ABC.
Verdict: The long running soap has gotten better in recent months and continues to with strong potential stories.
TV Score: 3 out of 5 stars
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)