Best prime time soaps of the 2010's?

Gabriel Maxwell

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How do you define a soap? Does Scandal qualify? What about a period drama like Downton Abbey? Regardless, I'll say:

1. Revenge [ABC]
2. Empire [FOX]
3. Riverdale [THE CW]
4. Dallas [TNT]
5. Dynasty [THE CW]

And I'd have to add a disclaimer -- based on season 1 of the series.

Some other soapy 2010s shows that I imagine could be considered here - the aforementioned Scandal and Downton Abbey, as well as Nashville, This is Us, The Royals, The Arrangement, and lots of short-lived ABC shows like Pan Am, G.C.B., Park Avenue 666, Betrayal, Blood & Oil... I assume shows like Desperate Housewives or Brothers & Sisters would be disqualified because they started in the 2000s, despite airing for a while in the 2010s, too.

 

James from London

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New DALLAS all the way for me, followed by New DYNASTY then EMPIRE (in fairness, I only saw the first season of that and can't really remember much except I really liked it). I gave up on REVENGE halfway through the first season, but I wouldn't mind giving it another go.

Is RIVERDALE a proper soapy soap?

THE CROWN isn't a soap in the same way, but is still brilliant soap opera (among other things).
 
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Emelee

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I don't know what series count as soaps anymore. o_O
 

James from London

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I feel like a proper soapy supersoap needs people barging in and out of offices threatening to destroy each other.
 

Willie Oleson

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How do you define a soap?
A continuing drama that doesn't really need a fixed ending. Every now and then a storyline requires a pay-off/conclusion, but it should be possible to continue the series within the parameters of that particular soap.
Ideally, the storyline-conclusion morphs into another storyline - and more drama (sometimes with new characters).
Sometimes a soap revives/revamps itself with a (previously) unrelated, out of the blue event, e.g. Falcon Crest S6 and Knots Landing S8. These storylines are being told backwards until they "meet" the present, and then it moves forwards.

The premise of the classic soap is rather nondescript: the loves and lives of town's folk, family members etc with the focus on adult/scandalous storylines.
I guess the current soaps need a stronger theme to attract viewers, but strong themes also come with more parameters.

I'm not sure how the genre-hybrids fit into the soap category. A continuing horror, supernatural or SF story can be experienced as "soap" but I usually feel that the drama is being overshadowed by the impossible e.g. witchcraft, dragons, super powers etc.
A soap doesn't have to be believable, as long as it's not impossible.

And yet the first two seasons of The Walking Dead had some excellent drama (until they killed off the show's most intriguing nemesis, what were they thinking??) so it can be very confusing sometimes.
 

Emelee

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Are these soaps:
Grey's Anatomy
Scandal
How To Get Away With Murder
Quantico
Game of Thrones
The Crown
Victoria
The Royals
Downton Abbey
Nashville
Revenge
Desperate Housewives
Gossip Girl
Ugly Betty
Jane the Virgin
Handmaid's Tale

Why - why not?
 

James from London

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OK, purely an instinctive reaction:

Game of Thrones - no, it's more epic than a soap. And it's headed towards an end game.

The Crown - no, cos it's more than a soap, but it works brilliantly as one.

Nashville - no, cos it's too nice

Revenge - it's certainly very soapy, but I feel like the structure -- one person's secret agenda which takes them into a soap world -- makes it kind of an action/secret assignment show at heart? I could be way off on that one. I've only seen half a season, so I bow to other people's expertise.

Desperate Housewives - if it is a soap, it's not the kind I like. Too light, too whimsical.

Those are the only ones I've seen.
 

Canon

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The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones feel like soaps to me, particularly daytime soaps - snail pace plotting, characters standing around talking endlessly about what they intend to do (though with these shows they usually die before any kind of satisfying character or plot development takes place).

GoT has an end in sight though whereas TWD, even with its lead character on the way out, still won't fu*king end!
 

Willie Oleson

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Grey's Anatomy
I think so, General Hospital is a soap too, isn't it?
GA has a lot of continuing drama, but they could do many self-contained episodes and ignore the continuation for a while - and then pick it up whenever they feel like it.
Personally speaking I think of it as a soap-y procedural drama.
Ugly Betty
I thought it was a dramady?
 

Willie Oleson

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1. DALLAS
It was such a treat, they even wrote a plotline for the lesser prairie chicken!

2. TYRANT
Where does "saga" ends and "soap" begins? A battle for control over an entire nation feels more epic than boardroom drama, but the Ewings fought for their companies as if it was the only thing that mattered, so in that regard it's really not that different, only bigger.
I didn't watch it as something that had to end and there was definitely room for continuation, although I liked the ending with all its bitter irony.

3. THE CHURCHMEN
Very sober in tone (you might call it Euro-snobbish) which suits the theme of this story, but it could barely disguise all the soap-y elements: forbidden affairs, ambition, disappointment, vanity, manipulation, ulterior motives etc. I was horrified to learn that there was no fourth season.

4. GRAN HOTEL
A tribute to the classic soaps, and unlike Downton Abbey often devoid of any kind of subtlety. I found it surprisingly refreshing.

5. GREENLEAF
Not nearly as juicy as new Dallas and new Dynasty, but it has its own unique atmosphere and the actors are giving a good show.

6. DYNASTY
Unfortunately it took them quite some time to realize that "let's have some fun with it" doesn't equal compelling soap. But they fixed it, and when it's good it's very good.

7. PAN AM
They really need to stop cancelling my favourite shows.

That's all I can think of...
 

Emelee

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As long as I'm not sure what series classifies (even here in this thread there are different opinions), I can't possibly make a list. The definition of a soap opera can almost never be applied anymore. No soap company sponsor any series anymore. Most shows revolve around families and/or a company. Most (all) shows revolve around people having relationships.

I am just lost!
 

Alexis

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I'm only 3 episodes in but I am loving Queen Of The South on Netflix. Not really a traditional soap. It's a story of survival and South American drug cartels. There is a high death rate, guns, drugs, rape, human trafficking and all that Jazz. It wouldn't be what I would normally watch, but it is just so thrilling. I guess the soapiness comes from the fact that it's based on a Tele Novella, which in turn, was based on a book.

It has that same addictiveness as Revenge season 1 but without that ABC Soap Gloss. At the end of every episode so far my heart is in my mouth. It's more ruthless, gritty and mean, but it's still sensational and soapy. I'm told by friends that this exciting pacing holds up all season and into the next.
I think it's funny that I like it considering that I hated when TNT Dallas tried to fold many of the same ingredients into that show. It's just that Dallas was already and established Brand. It had certain rules which should have been obeyed. I wasn't there for drug cartels at Southfork.
 
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Emelee

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Tomorrow is another day, Emelee!
Don't give up!
I'm no smarter today, unfortunately. But if I was to go with my gut feeling, there are hardly no soaps to choose among. I don't count such shows as Grey's Anatomy or Nashville as soaps.

The series that I do count as soaps are Dallas, Dynasty, Blood & Oil, Revenge and Empire. That's about it. Of those 5, I've only seen 3.
 

Karin Schill

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1. Army Wives (2007-2013)
This is like a soap opera with a US military twist to it. My sister watched it in the original run, I watched it last year on the DVDs. It was well worth watching as it follows a classical drama/soap kind of storytelling and a lot of the focus is on the wives that are at home while their men are away in wars. I love this show.

2. Dallas (2012-2014)
I love that we got a chance to catch up with the Ewings again. Unfortunately this show didn't live up to the hype. It had so much potential but was cancelled way too fast.

3. Victoria (2016-)
This is a soap opera set in the British 1800s. It humanizes one of the most powerful monarchs in history. I love it.

4. Ringer (2011-2012)

I loved watching Sarah Michelle Gellar back on TV again. The show had potential but was cancelled prematurely.

5. Empire (2015-)
I must admit I have only watched the first two seasons.

6. Pan Am (2011-2012)
I really enjoyed this 1960s piece too.
 
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