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Remembering PORT CHARLES—Although It Would Be Better To Forget It

There used to be this soap opera called PORT CHARLES. It was a spinoff of GENERAL HOSPITAL. (Port Charles is the name of the city wherein GENERAL HOSPITAL is set.) I was working from home at the time, as I do now, and I’d like to take my lunch breaks by plopping down in front of the TV with my sandwiches and Doritos. I didn’t have cable at the time, thus I was forced to rely on one of four channels. That’s how I came to experience PORT CHARLES.

The soap started out playing it straight, a conventional soap opera. When the ratings continued to decline, they tried what Dan Curtis tried with DARK SHADOWS. They decided to make it supernatural, with a focus on vampires. Why did DARK SHADOWS succeed where PORT CHARLES failed? Sometimes, as Fantasy novelist Terry Brooks says, the magic works. But then that means that sometimes it *doesn’t*. Boy did it *not* work with PORT CHARLES.

Folks, words cannot adequately convey how mind-numbingly, soul-sickeningly, painfully, unhealthily, cosmically, and desperately AWFUL that show became. Insipid, stupid, melodramatic, juvenile, petty, tawdry, without an ounce of inventiveness or artistry, it is in the running for the worst thing ever put on television. I kid you not. I found myself watching because it defied reason for me: how long, I wondered, could something so amateurish, so pathetically inadequate, be allowed to continue on the air. And every day it got worse! Eventually I couldn’t take anymore and started watching the local news instead. The show somehow lasted for six years.

PORT CHARLES is a reminder of just how badly DARK SHADOWS *could* have misfired. There but for the grace of Dan Curtis…

TheCheezman • April 6, 2020

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