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Well written television...

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Well written television...

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I've written in many places the last few months about the 'dumbing down' of television in general. Very rarely are there intricately and wickedly twisted plots that beg viewers to pay attention. Lost and Heroes and the like require close following, and have some witty dialog, but also have a very basic common thread so that while intriguing and captivating they aren't engaging. Not to say I'm not a fan of those, I enjoy many television programs more than is actually healthy I'm sure. One however has caught my attention and engaged the long dormant part of my brain that invested in characters on a program. That is Guiding LIght. I used to watch Guiding LIght as a child along with all of the other CBS soap operas. Back before The Bold and the Beautiful replaced Capital. As I got older, school and other things became more important to me and it seemed that the writing had become more superficial, that is to say characters felt two dimensional whereas before they felt like real people. I remember watching Day of Our Lives and seeing Carly with Shawn Douglas and thinking that she was so gentle with him, and I always wanted a big sister. On Guiding Light Vanessa and Billy were a great a passionate couple. Along the way somewhere soap operas forgot their history and started to shift to a more 'reality tv' style of script. The characters lost their depth and storylines that used to take a deliciously long six months were concluded in two weeks or dropped unfinished after three. There wasn't as much at stake anymore so there wasn't as much to keep me there. A year ago Guiding Light changed their production model. They altered their writing, filming, sets and in turn everything having to do with the show. It took a little while for the cast and crew to get used to these changes and find a good rhythm but they did. First with the 'Otalia' storyline of Natalia and Olivia who had been enemies, vying for the same man who's heart was transplanted into Olivia upon his death, and were now closer than best friends. In December we saw the writing had expanded out from 'Otalia' into this new storyline involving Shayne and Dinah, and then to other couples and storylines as well. The writers were giving us fuller, richer characters allowed to be flawed and weak while being ruthless and wicked. Gone were the one-sided villians and angels. We were being given what we had always been before real people in extraordinary situations. The actors seemed to blossom with this new found 'meaty' material and we saw a real coming together of creativity and the rebirth of a piece of television history as a piece of television art. With a new growing fan base and an ever improving creative team all around including some innovative camera angles directing choices, CBS chose to cancel Guiding Light. It has been on the air, first on radio starting in 1937 then moving to television in 1968, for 72 years. CBS's decision doesn't only affect Guiding Light it affects all soap operas. When the pioneer, innovator, and flagship falls what's left for the rest to cling to? The fans are hopeful that Guiding LIght will find another home as there ar many option available. Here is one great fan video that takes the Guiding Light theme song and clips from the show and adds a little humor as the characters of Springfield react to the news of the cancellation. Keep the Light shining, save Guiding Light!

Special thanks to Cajun70503 from the Big Purple Dreams board for the video!
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