Review: Pioneers of Television – “Primetime Soaps”

I should have known from the promotional spots for last night’s episode of Pioneers of Television on PBS that it would be a disappointment. Even more so than last week’s episode (“Funny Ladies,” which I reviewed here), “Primetime Soaps” was basically an hour focusing on just two shows: Dallas and Dynasty, with the former getting the most attention.

Likewise, just as “Funny Ladies” failed to mention any early sitcoms and their female stars, “Primetime Soaps” all but ignored Peyton Place, the pioneering prime time soap opera. I would guess there were maybe two to three minutes spent on Peyton Place. What makes this exclusion so perplexing is that Pioneers of Television has covered plenty of television shows from the 1960s in past episodes, so it isn’t like the producers were worried viewers wouldn’t remember or be interested in a 1960s prime time soap.

Knot’s Landing was given limited coverage. There was no mention of The Colbys (aka Dynasty II: The Colbys) or Falcon Crest. Nor was Dynasty‘s famed “Moldavian Massacre” cliffhanger discussed. Footage was shown from the October 13th, 1960 episode of Bachelor Father in which a young Linda Evans guest starred opposite John Forsythe, decades before Dynasty. The quality of the footage was abysmal, which is odd because the series is currently airing on Antenna TV and looks quite good.

Next week’s episode, “Superheroes,” is the one I have been looking forward to the most. Based on the first two episodes of the season, I’m not getting my hopes up.


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