Is it possible to be able to enjoy a daytime drama online at your convenience? In the case of “One Life to Live,” it has become a strong possibility with its recent premiere on The Online Network. The premise may be familiar, but the execution has made it worth while to turn on your home computer each day.
“One Life to Live” followed the citizens of Llanview a year later after the show was originally cancelled on ABC as they dealt with the various changes in their lives. Some references were made as to what happened during the show’s long absence, but it essentially threw viewers back into the thick of the chaos. Viki Lord (Erika Slezak) was busily planning her wedding to Clint Buchanan (Jerry verDorn) as she ran her newspaper, which she planned to use the internet to her advantage. Viki was working with a young reporter named Jeffrey King (Corbin Bleu) to work on bringing her newspaper into a new age of delivering current news. Jeffrey’s latest story involved Viki’s friend, and rival, Dorian Lord (Robin Strasser) who was thrown right into a political scandal that could ruin her career. Luckily, Dorian had her young aspiring actor husband David Vickers (Tuc Watkins) to keep her company. Dorian’s niece Blair (Kassie DePaiva) just opened up her nightclub Shelter, but a recent drug overdose could close the club before it had a chance to make money. It also doesn’t help Blair that her ex Todd Manning (Roger Howarth) has returned to town and was already causing problems with her family. Will Blair be able to mend fences before the damage is already done?
In terms of questions, “One Life to Live” has to still answer a few as to how they plan to make the show continue after so many changes have occurred. The early episodes of the revised show have worked so far because the producers managed to secure the right number of key players who can drive even the silliest of stories. It’s a shame that Hilary B. Smith (Nora) and Robert S. Woods (Bo) haven’t been seen much, but that will surely change in future episodes. The show was wise to start off with Slezak’s Viki due to the fact that she was the heart of the original show, even when the character was at her lowest point. It was also nice to have Slezak’s Viki to be the perfect person to help bridge the gap with the younger characters, especially Bleu’s Jeffrey. Bleu and Slezak had an easy going rapport that should likely get better as the show progresses. Another welcome relief was how Strasser’s Dorian made an equally grand entrance in the premiere and managed to make her presence enjoyably known whenever possible. Strasser and Watkins had a comfortable chemistry that made viewers laugh, for the right reasons, as they continued to plot their way through the couple’s latest crisis. Let’s hope that the show will continue to use them to help add some comic relief whenever possible, while still trying to explore the lives of the rest of the cast.
As for breakout performances, Melissa Archer (Natalie) and Josh Kelly (Cutter) made the cut because their characters were given the chance to shine in very different stories that viewers haven’t seen yet for them. Archer’s Natalie was transformed into a single mother who was starting to regain her confidence, but she still hasn’t lost her familiar edge as she brushed off a potential suitor. Kelly, on the other hand, was now playing a reformed grifter who was trying to earn his living legally. It’s too early to say if Archer and Kelly will be paired together down the line, but viewers were able to get a quick glimpse of some potential chemistry when they shared a quick dance, even though the moment seemed a little forced in the beginning. Hopefully, some new, as well as familiar, romances will make up for the awkward new additions to the show. Robert Gorrie’s Matthew and Laura Harrier’s Destiny haven’t been properly integrated into the show’s complex landscape as of yet, but viewers should be able to get familiar with their versions of the characters soon enough. Maybe, some carefully placed interactions with veterans like verDorn and Howarth might do the trick. The show should definitely take advantage of Howarth’s presence as much as they can before he returns to “General Hospital” again.
“One Life to Live” premiered on April 29th and is available weekdays on The Online Network, or toln.com for short. Episodes are also available for free on hulu.com. Viewers can also purchase episodes on Hulu Plus and iTunes as well.
Verdict: Even with shorter episodes, the show still managed to get to the heart of each story with some strong performances.
TV Score: 3.5 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)