Daytime television is well known for its soap operas. These shows air almost daily and typically focus on the events in the lives of a specific group of characters. Not only are they very focused on specific characters they are also usually set in a specific town or location. Basically, the typical daytime soap opera is overly dramatic and focuses on the emotions of the characters. Some soap operas have endured for over twenty years while others are more popular after cancellation. Some even become trendsetters.
From American soaps to soaps from outside the US, here are eight of the most popular daytime soap operas.
Imports from Abroad
The United Kingdom has its fair share of long-running soap operas. One of these is Coronation Street, which premiered in 1960 and is still running today. Set in Manchester, the show looks at the lives of the people there who make up the working class. Both Ian McKellen and Prince Charles have appeared on the show, so it has some serious star power. Also worth a mention is the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Premiering in 1988 and still running today, star Chris Hemsworth acted on Home and Away for three years.
American Soap Operas
Several soap operas from America are quite popular. First, General Hospital first aired in 1963 and is still airing today. Set in the fictional town of Port Charles, General Hospital deals with a variety of topics, from hospital work to mob life. The members of the Quartermaine and Spencer families are always key players. Days of Our Lives is another long-running show, with its first episode airing in 1965. Set in a fictional town named Salem, the story follows the characters in all the days of their lives and is still running. As the World Turns is another popular American soap opera, set in a fictional Illinois town and running from 1956 to 2010.
There are some shows that have grown more popular with their cancellation. One such soap is Ryan’s Hope, which shows a recent 165% rise in popularity. Looking at the lives of an Irish-American family in Manhattan, Ryan’s Hope ran from 1975 to 1989. In the later years, there were many talented additions to the already talented cast of Ryan’s Hope, including Michael Palance and Leslie Easterbrook.
Some soap operas are full of supernatural elements, while still maintaining the feeling of a typical soap opera. There are many modern examples of the supernatural soap opera, but the most famous daytime soaps in this category are Dark Shadows and Passions. Dark Shadows features vampires and other supernatural characters, while Passions has a witch and her talking doll as major characters. Both are, interestingly enough, set in Maine. Dark Shadows ran from 1966 to 1971, and Passions ran from 1999 to 2008.
The daytime soap is an enduring form of entertainment. Whether delving into the supernatural or just following the oftentimes confused and dramatic lives of the characters, some towns and characters have become more popular as time has passed.