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The End of an Era... or a Series

As I was mulling over ideas for this blog post (and watching Deathtrap with the family), I came across a story online that gave me my idea.

Guiding Light has been cancelled.

Now for those of you who have watched the soap, this (obviously) comes as no surprise, since today was the last episode. But I've been in my writing cave for a while and missed this announcement.

I haven't watched GL in a few years but became hooked way back in college. The East Halls dorms at Penn State only got CBS in the rooms (this would be in the days when rabbit ears were all the rage,and Luke & Laura's wedding was broadcast in the common room in all its standing-room only glory).
Anyhow, my roommate and her twin (who lived upstairs with another friend of mine) were hooked on Guiding Light and since it was the only channel, I got hooked along with them. From 1988 until somewhere in the mid 90s I watched Guiding Light and saw Reva through too many husbands/lovers to count. Josh too. Billy & Vanessa's on-again/off-again marriage, Lizzy's birth, Harley Davidson Cooper, etc. Even when I graduated, and got married and a job (in that order), I would tape it, and needed my hour of "decompression" when I came home from the work day.

"What," you ask, "does a soap opera have to do with Romance writing?" Well, aside from the various story lines geared toward the characters' happily-ever-afters, I was reading a very nice article about the end of Guiding Light and how the end of the series was bringing back favorite characters and nice words about the soap opera genre.

It got me to thinking about the end of a series. How it affects the readers and the writers. It's no secret that my next trilogy isn't about Mers, but that doesn't mean I'm done with the Mer world. Trust me, Mariana's story is knocking about in my brain and the opening scene has already been written. The hero, Jace, has yet to shut up and is demanding some attention. (As is Matt Ewing, the hero of I Dream of Genies.)

I'm bummed that I only found out about Guiding Light's ending this evening, hours after the final episode aired. I'm bummed that I missed the final two weeks. I'm bummed that I didn't get to celebrate along with the cast and fans. I would have liked to reconnect with the characters I knew back in the 80s and 90s. I'm sure there will be reruns somewhere, but there's nothing like ending the series with it as it ends.

In the same vein, I have mixed feelings about the ending of LOST in May 2010. I've watched from Day 1 and can't wait to see how they resolve it, but, again, it'll be a disappointment that it'll be over. I'll probably end up buying the whole series on DVD and watch it from start to finish, enjoying knowing what I know now.

So how do series' ends affect you? What are your favorite series that have ended and what ones do you hope gone on for years?


  1. Judi, the day (night) that Buffy the Vampire Slayer ended its run was such a pivotal moment in my TV watching life!!! Even all these years later, and despite my love for other shows that have come on since, nothing has ever replaced Buffy in my heart, and I still miss having new episodes to look forward to. Sigh. Jen B-Y

  2. Hi Judi!

    And I LOVE this question, because I am still mourning the passing of Another World, my grandmother's favorite soap.

    When it ended in the nineties, I had been watching it for 35 years. I had a raging crush on the character of Cass, a tall, dark and handsome rogue who was reformed by the love of a good woman. Ya can't get more romance than that!

  3. Wow - I was an Another World fan too! The actor who played Cass turns up in various commercials now. And I saw the actress who played Rachel on a Law and Order episode.

    Love this topic and can't resist mentioning that my next book, MY OWN PERSONAL SOAP OPERA, deals with the head writer of a soap opera.

    As to shows I mourned...Arrested Development. I only watched this show after it went off the air, on DVD, but thought it was hilarious and incredibly clever.

  4. morning, folks!

    I love hearing about the other series you loved. How about Dallas and Dynasty? Remember them? M*A*S*H. I really like how they stay in society's consciousness. I have a lot of pop culture references in my stories, so keep 'em coming! Who knows, it might show up in one of the next books. LOL

  5. I really miss Six Feet Under. It wasn't a soap, of course, but the offbeat characters drew you in and kept you coming back for more.
    Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was another one. Avery Brooks was the absolute best "commander" character the Star Trek franchise ever produced.

  6. I loved the early Star Trek series and didn't think I could switch being a fan for the new series, but I did. I loved the second series as much, but when Cpt Picard and his crew were gone, I couldn't get into the new one at all. Or any of the offshoots of them I absolutely have no time for series...or barely anything at all!

  7. I used to watch Guiding Light and Days of Our Lives, but haven't for years. Still, it was sad to learn such an iconic show had come to an end.

    I, too, wished I would have taped the last couple weeks of GL. Did anyone watch? If so, did they wrap story lines up in a satisfying way?

    Word verification: spitr. LOL Ptewie.

  8. yes, you certainly feel lost when a series ends especially if you bought into the town the past lives etc. I can remember in college, the girls couldn't get a seat in the student lounge when The Young and the Restless came on. All the guys were in the front row. Too funny.
    Yeah, I sort of lost my taste for TV when my favorite show was canceled in 1970 yeah High school then. But last September the members of the fan cub held a 40 year reunion and all remaining cast showed up. That-That was awesome.

  9. Hi, Judi

    Good post. I have never been a soap opera fan. I remember watching Guiding Light occasionally years ago. My mother watched it when it was on for only 15 minutes. That was back in the day. I do miss some of my favorite TV series. I still miss M*A*S*H and Seinfeld. And I also look to the end of Lost with a mixture of anticipation to see how they wrap everything up and sadness that it will end. Another series I love is Heroes. I'll be sad when that ends. I loved the first few books in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, but then I lost interest and never read the last few books. My kudos to writers, whether TV or books, who can keep the interest level going through a series. That's not easy to do.

    Carolyn Matkowsky/Cara Marsi

  10. The end of M*A*S*H was hard for me too. We had a final episode get together, that put most Super Bowl parties to shame.

    I was a Days of our Lives baby. Another World and The Doctors were my Grandmother's 'shows'. She put up such a fuss about missing them they moved a TV into ICU to quiet her. (late 70's)

    Soaps are like a romance novel that never ends. Granted they jump more sharks than any other 100 shows combined it somehow works.

    Good memories

  11. Libby,

    Will be watching for My Own Personal Soap Opera--especially since the heroine's name is Frankie!!

    Don't know if that's by accident or design, but it sure makes me want to read it. . .


  12. I watched the last episodes of GL.they did a great job. The very last word was spoken by Reva to Josh(yes they reunited) was "Always". Which you know is the word carved in the mantle at cross-creek under Reva+Josh.

    They did have returning characters.After Alan Spaulding died,Fletcher came and took Alexandra away.Mindy showed up,Bridget,Danny,Michelle.etc...
    Even Jeanne Cooper and the guy who plays Michael(forget his real name) from Y&R showed up in Springfield (but not as their Y&R characters) they wanted to be apart of such a milestone.

    They did do a year Later thing..which was nice.Mindy and Rich married,people had babies,new was a nice send off.

  13. oops that's Mindy and Rick not Rich

  14. Hey Judi,

    Great post! It's nice to hear that you have some more ideas for the Mers--though I am beyond excited about the genies. I suppose what's nice about romance novels in series is that there's always that one character whose story may come to fruition. So even if it does "end" there's a chance for an off-shoot!

    As for TV, I'm with Jen B-Y--the end of Buffy was devastating!


  15. Hi Judi~

    I remember the last episode of M*A*S*H, I cried like a baby. Now my kids are hooked on it and it cracks me up.

    It's funny about the soaps, I recently found out that a friend I went to high school with is one of the writers on The Young and the Restless. I always thought Jay would end up as a scientist of some sort--he was always so studious and intelligent, he had glasses and took advanced calculous and physics. When I 'ran' into him on facebook not to long ago, we caught up. I found out he'd been in movie and TV production for years and was writing screenplays before he got his latest gig writing for TYATR. Boy was I ever shocked.

  16. The ending of M*A*S*H. I still cry when I see reruns.

    There are certain moments that just resonate with you. You realize you can never go back in time, but the threads of external life become interwoven with your being. They tie us together, bind us in time, and give us startlingly clear glimpses into the past when we reconnect.

    This happens with books, tv shows, movies, and even perfumes. They are triggers and it is fun to set them off every so often.

  17. Oh, Guiding Light, General Hospital, and All My Children were running fabulous storylines in the mid-eighties Judi. I had such a crush on Phillip Spaulding.

  18. I never liked "Newhart," but the final episode has to be one of the best endings to a series ever.

  19. Judi,
    This is a terrific subject! The ending of a series is so much better than having it simply not return the next season. MASH's ending made me cry and still does when I see it. I miss not having Buffy to tune in to, and while I watched Newhart once in a while I absolutely loved it's ending show!

    I'm really glad that you haven't totally abandoned the Mers but I'm waiting for the genie series with anticipation. I can't wait for the other two Mer books either! Yes, I know Nov is not far away now.

    As for LOST, I've bought the first 3 seasons and will get the rest and then watch them all in order. I lost too many episodes this year so I'm totally lost.

    Oh, I brought you a pretty silk scarf, pretty blue to match your eyes and long so you can wrap around your neck, sporting luxurious fringe on both ends.


  20. Rosemary,

    Yes, I named the protag in MY OWN PERSONAL SOAP OPERA Frankie because I was a fan of the Frankie character on Another World. Were you thinking of her? LOL

  21. Hey, thanks everyone for sharing your memories. I think I watched the last Newhart but don't remember it (which might mean I didn't). The ending of Seinfeld annoyed me. I loved that show and it just kind of petered out that way.

    elainG8 - thanks for letting us know what happened. I'm sure I can find it somewhere online but that was a great summary. Thank you!

    Interestingly (since I write paranormal) I never watched Buffy. I should get the dvds at some point and watch it start to finish.

    As for Phillip Spaulding - was there any girl our age who DIDN'T have a crush on Grant Alexander (yes, I do know Phillip's real name!) LOL.

    Danielle, like I told Deb, "it's a big ocean under there." I've got at least 4 more swimming around in my brain. But the genies are flying around, too. It's a bit crowded in my head right now...

    Thanks for sharing the memories!

  22. I was a General Hospital fan in the (original) Luke & Laura years. Also watched All My Children for a while and loved Ryan's Hope when it first came out. But haven't seen any of them for years. Not too many shows can hold fans' attention for 40+ years.

    I'm glad when a show doesn't just disappear, but gets a resolution.

    Write fast, Judi. I want to read about Genies.

  23. Forgot to mention, I was named after a soap opera character. LOL.


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