TV Squad Soap Report: The new Guiding Light is not working
Gallery: TV Squad Soap Report 1
Sad to say, I don't like it. It's been over a month and the problem with all this sustained out of the studio production is that it's distracting. It's not the camera work that's distracting -- like when NYPD Blue first began and the shaky, handheld camera was considered vomit-inducing by some critics. No, the production values are not substandard. That's not it.
By always being aware of the surroundings -- where they're shooting, the fact that they are not in a studio -- you can rarely become involved in the story and the characters. Instead, you find yourself wondering why they're shooting baskets in a high school gym? And when two different sets of characters are in the same gym over a period of days, you begin to recognize that the scenes are being set in the gym for reasons other than what the writer had in mind.
Guiding Light is a very good show. Or it has been a very good show. I admired the work executive producer Ellen Wheeler has done with the show. Last year, when they won the Daytime Emmy for writing (and tied for Outstanding Drama Series with The Young & the Restless), one of the reasons was the innovation of the "Into the Light" episodes (every Wednesday); stand alone shows that would focus on a particular story, relationship, concept. It was smart and well-executed. Perhaps the idea of doing this on the fly production was seen as another innovation. If so, it's not working.
The real reason for this new concept is money; it's cheaper to film this way as opposed to filming in a studio. I would hope they find a way to make this work in time because the alternative might be for CBS to pull the plug. I would really hate to see that happen because a show with this kind of stellar reputation deserves a better fate. It has some great acting (Kim Zimmer, Beth Ehlers, Robert Newman, Jordan Clarke, and many others). I like Guiding Light; I just want it to shine the way it was meant to shine -- in a studio.