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September 17, 2014

TV Squad Soap Report: Passions played out

by Allison Waldman, posted Aug 6th 2008 2:23PM
Passions timmyPerhaps the strangest soap opera of all time has come to an end now that Passions has been canceled by DirecTV. The gothic, modern psycho-drama set in a small Maine town replete with witches, elves, zombies and even some regular people, lasted nine years on the air. In primetime terms, that would be a hell of a run. For soaps, it characterizes Passions as a noble -- to some -- failure.

I never cared for Passions. It turned me off in the first season, 1999, but it wasn't because of the outre elements. I was actually interested in the gothic stuff because I'd grown up enjoying Dark Shadows with Barnabus and Quentin and Angelique and all those horror classic reinterpretations on a next-to-nothing budget -- furniture provided by Stern's Department Store, as I recall -- including werewolves, Frankenstein's monster and The Innocents, and parallel universes. Dark Shadows remains a vivid, happy memory.

But Passions wanted to mix the bizarro storylines with real soap opera plots and the mix never worked for me. To its fans, and I know I'm going to hear from them, Passions was hilarious good fun. A hoot! A blast! Great entertainment. I just didn't buy into it.

Like I said, I was turned off in the first season, in one of the first shows when the character of Sheridan Crane was introduced. She was played by MacKenzie Westmore, and my antipathy for the character had nothing to do with the actress. Rather it was headwriter James Reilly's insensitive script. He presented Sheridan as a close friend of the late Princess Diana, showing her on the phone with Diana right before the Princess was killed in Paris. The idea of mixing a real life tragedy with a soap story was just exploitive and smarmy. I had a hard time getting past that effront, even as I conceded to the joyful goofiness of Tabitha and Timmy.

No matter how they tried -- and they did try -- getting more outrageous and non-soap only made Passions a more difficult program to enjoy. It was cartoon and The Carol Burnett Show at the same time. In small doses, a sketch is funny. In large doses, it's just tiresome nonsense.

And all this falls on James Reilly. Passions was his creation, his vision. He took the encouragement that he'd received while writing Days of Our Lives Marlena's possession story -- one of the all-time dumbest ever on soaps, in my view -- and sold NBC on a whole show filled with occult madness. When NBC canceled the Emmy award-winning, classy soap Another World in favor of Passions, I was ticked off. Perhaps that clouded by judgment, but believe me, I gave Passions a chance.

So now, I don't mourn the loss of Passions. It was a bad idea from the start and in the long run, its demise only adds fuel to the fire of those who'd like to wipe out daytime dramas completely. I feel for the actors and crew who worked so hard to get the show made. Lead by Juliet Mills, Galen Gering, Liza Huber, Lindsay Hartley, the late Josh Ryan Evans, Jesse Metcalfe, Ben Masters and Kathleen Noone, among others, they were game. I give them credit for that.

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ROBIN

COULD YOU TELL ME IF PASSIONS WAS CANCELL? IT WENT FROM NBC TO 101 DIRECTV ,NOW ITS NOT THERE . WHAT HAS HAPPEN ? I WAS JUST GETTING INTO IT BUT MISSED THE LAST WEEK OR SO OF THE WEDDING.
THANKS
ROBIN

August 27 2008 at 11:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ms. Shirley

It was strange, but fun to watch. Witches, he/she person..not so good, aunt/neices, same boyfriend, babies same daddies, no problem - it's Passions. Ok, It was different, but I did enjoy the soap. I'm annoyed that it was taken off with Gwen and mom being exposed. No hint what so ever. Very sad to not have the chance to ever watch the only daytime soap......

August 18 2008 at 4:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ms. Shirley

Well, It was strange, but I always recorded it to watch later when not at home. Yes, I could not believe how bad the story lines were, but it kept me wanting to see when Gwen and Mom would be totally exposed. Then there was the he/she person...bad, it went on too too long. Witches, go figure...but it was kinda fun to watch. Come on people let get Passions back on the air as bad as it was, it was fun!

August 18 2008 at 4:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sharon

I didnt know Passions was ending so soon. I missed the final 3 episodes. When can we get the DVD collection of Passions? I dont watch the 101, except for Passions, and now have no reason to watch the 101 at all. I dont like all those slutty shows and game shows. In fact, now there isnt much on any channel to watch so I am seriously considering going back to fuzzy reception with rabbit ears. TV has gone to the dogs. And not in a good way! At least Passions was comic relief, with the witches and all.
I still wnat to know when will the DVD's come out?

August 15 2008 at 9:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Denis

I watched Passions all 9 years and loved it. There was nothing else like it. It waso so much better than other soaps. Occasionally I was frustrated with a s/l etc. stuck with this kooky great series. I thought most of the acting was great. Lindsay Hartley, Eva Tamargo, Ben Masters, Juliet Mills--and many others--even some of the newcomers--like Heidi Muller--all strong actors. I miss Passions. I looked forward to it so much. I hate reality shows and talk shows and don't care for the other soaps.

August 14 2008 at 6:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mossie

I personely feel cheated and stolen from. I watched from day one, up until the end. I moved from Dish to Dirrect tv, and was only changing due to this one show "Passions". If I had known, I might have this trade for only a few months, and then you would be taken off the air, I probley would not have traded from Dish.
You's have made a large mistake. Good luck to you's all, but I will not watch channel 101 in any time spot.

Thank You;
Mossie

August 13 2008 at 11:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Karlene

I grieve over the ending of passions. I have spent countless hours trying to find out if Lindsay or any other actors of Passions have websites that will answer questions. Someone help me please.

August 13 2008 at 1:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Trish

I'm very disappointed. I've watched passion's from day one and was suprised to have learned just today that it will longer be on tv. I thought it was a pretty good show, with a few minor infractions. The show could have ended a lot better than i t did. I was anticipating on monday to see Ethan and Theresa getting married after he got an annullment from Gwen.

August 12 2008 at 4:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mj green

I never liked Sheridan and Luis. She started out strong and cocky, and turned into whiny and needy. He bullied her. Antonio treated her well. She was in the psych ward, but she was still going through problems. I see, Heather, that you didn't mention Luis having sex with her IN THE HOSPITAL. His brother's wife! Eww? Antonio coming back was the only nice thing that happened in the end. Passions was Direct TV's highest rated show, but they kept cutting the budget. So much easier to have cheesy game shows and reality shows, just like the networks. The fans were still there. They didn't leave; Direct TV did.

August 07 2008 at 5:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
AT

I started watching in season 2 and watched on and off for 2 or 3 years. I thought that the acting was terrible but decided to view the show as a parody of itself, as a parody of the soap opera drama - full of melodrama and fake tears and monotonous dialogue delivery. It was horrible.

Every so often I'd tune into an episode over the years but they added so many new characters, and they had new actors playing old characters. I couldn't keep up!

As Jennifer referred to, I did like the reciprocal Buffy-Passions references. There was one scene on Passions in which Tabitha was watching TV, appeared to be cheering a fight and then cursed the "vampire slayer", and, of course, the "...I watched Passions with Spike" utterance by Giles on Buffy. I don't recall which reference came first but appreciated that the second show followed.

August 07 2008 at 11:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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