SoapNet, which in its heyday ran same-day episodes of daytime fare like All My Children, Days of our Lives and One Life to Live along with original shows like General Hospital: Night Shift, Bank of Mom & Dad and Being Erica, is closing up shop Dec. 31, after months as a so-called zombie TV station.
The channel was originally set to shut down in 2012, when Disney/ABC announced plans to replace the network with Disney Junior. A last-minute reprieve took place when Disney opted to launch Disney Junior on its own, and SoapNet stayed alive – sort of. The channel continued to operate, but mostly as the walking dead, filled with repeats of Days and General Hospital and acquired shows like One Tree Hill. The network didn’t pursue anything new, knowing it was just a matter of time before Disney/ABC pulled the plug.
While the network had lost many of its soap offerings over the years, the channel was the go-to place for repeats of some classic (or at least should be classic) television shows. Here are five SoapNet staples that we will particularly miss:
The show revolved around Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, played by Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel, two best friends who happened to be mother and daughter. The dynamic duo, who resided in the idyllic and eccentric burg of Stars Hollow, Conn., bantered, ate and dealt with their family drama with rapid-fire wit, pop culture-laden humor and lots of coffee. Years after the show left primetime, loyal fans still debate the Gilmore girls’ love lives (Logan or Dean? Luke or Christopher?) and whether anyone could thrive in Richard and Emily Gilmore’s regimented and WASPy world. The stellar cast included Kelly Bishop, Edward Herrmann and a pre-Bridesmaids Melissa McCarthy who played Lorelai’s best friend, Sookie St. James.
Move over, Nancy Drew, Veronica Mars was the girl detective we wanted to be when we grew up. Kristen Bell played the tough-as-nails title character, who solved crime when she wasn’t suffering through high school classes and her town’s class issues. The show lasted three seasons, but has lived on in the hearts of fans who teamed up to fund the Veronica Mars movie via Kickstarter. Now fans will have to catch up on the show on Netflix or YouTube, before the film comes out in 2014.
There’s a lot of drama running through the hospital hallways in Port Charles, New York … so much drama, in fact, that General Hospital holds the Guinness Book World Record as the longest-running American soap opera that’s still in production. The show revolves around the hospital and the many tragic cases coming through the emergency room doors, along with storylines involving the lives of the nurses, doctors, patients and benefactors including the wealthy and influential Quartermaine family and the down-to-earth Spencers. Plus, no one can forget the soap world’s first super-couple, Luke and Laura, nor its celebrity guest stars like Roseanne Barr, James Franco and the late Elizabeth Taylor. The show has won more Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Drama Series than any other soap.
Brothers & Sisters
The family drama with the star-studded cast – Sally Field, Rob Lowe, Calista Flockhart, Rachel Griffiths all starred in the show– ran for five seasons on ABC before getting axed from primetime. The complex lives of the wine-loving Walker clan always felt like a soap opera with storylines that ran the gamut from secret siblings to lost love to health scares, business intrigue and everything in between. Unfortunately the show only ran on SoapNet for one year. We needed more time to catch up with a family that was more neurotic, argumentative and complicated than our own.
Beverly Hills, 90210
Before there was Facebook, SnapChat, sexting or even Mean Girls, there was Beverly Hills, 90210: the teen drama that chronicled the lifestyles of the rich and famous when they were still in high school. What started as a fish-out-of-water story following two twins from Minnesota who enrolled at West Beverly High, ended up becoming a pop culture phenomenon and the quintessential show of the ’90s, tackling hot-button teen issues such as dating abuse, drugs and sex. Sadly, when SoapNet goes off the air, you won’t be able to head down to the Peach Pit for one more helping of Brandon, Dylan, Donna, Kelly and the rest of the gang.
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