Magazine article Metro Magazine

01 Soap as a State of Mind: headLand

Magazine article Metro Magazine

01 Soap as a State of Mind: headLand

Article excerpt

I'VE got a theory. In considering why I found headLand to be such an atrocious show, the fact that it was a soap opera just wouldn't get out of my head. The thing is ... I don't really watch soap operas, or if I do, they're rarely called soap operas. After all, Desperate Housewives seems like soap to me, and so did Buffy a lot of the time. Shows like that are strongly centred on emotions, about partners breaking up and getting back together. They're about ever more unlikely narrative surprises, about people sleeping with the wrong person and coming back from the dead. They're about people telling each other exactly where their pain comes from and spinning that pain into storylines that can last for years on end.

That sounds pretty soapy doesn't it? So why aren't shows like that called soaps? Is it just because they're perceived as being good? I suspect that's part of it, but I think it goes deeper than that. My theory is that soap is more often a state of mind than a genre. It's in the way audiences perceive and label shows (bad=soap, good=drama), but also in the attitudes of the people who make them. And apparently, if you've decided that you're making a soap, then you perform to your own expectations of the genre.

To me, this attitude is the sliced hamstring that really cripples shows like headLand. Unlike similar failures like Crashburn or Last Man Standing, headLand never looks remotely credible as a piece of twenty-first century TV. …

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