There is a reason that soap operas are so popular and run for an extended period of time, they are addicting. Listed below are the top ten soap operas of all time and the reasons why we couldn’t get enough of them.
- All My Children. Known in the soap world as AMC, All My Children started in 1970. Susan Lucci has been on the show since its inception and made the show popular with her long awaited Emmy award for Outstanding Lead Actress; she was nominated 19 times before receiving the award. The show was originally written to be light hearted and to focus on social issues and young love.
- The Young and the Restless. The show’s original focus was on one wealthy family and one poor family and has since been redesigned. In the early 1980’s all the original characters except for one were written out of the show.
- General Hospital. Credited in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest running American Soap Opera in production, General Hospital has had a loyal following since its inception in 1963. The show originally started out by focusing mainly on a doctor and nurse dedicated to healing the sick and has since expanded to include a multitude of families and story lines.
- Days of Our Lives. The second longest running scripted television program after General Hospital, Days of Our Lives has been on the air since 1965. The focus of the show has always been on two core families, the Horton’s and the Brady’s but has brought on many others and weaved them into either one or both of the families. The show is most known for covering topics that the other soaps would not at the time, from artificial insemination in the 1970’s, to demonic possession in the 1990’s.
- One Life to Live. Debuting in 1968 One Life to Live was the first daytime show to feature racially and socio-economically diverse characters and had a flare for scripting on current social issues. The main character Vicki has endured love and loss, being widowed, raped, divorced, a stroke, breast cancer and multiple personalities.
- As the World Turns. When soap operas began in the 1930’s as fifteen minute radio shows, there wasn’t much time for complicated storylines or multiple characters. As the World Turns is known as being one of the first thirty minute soap operas. With double the length of the regular radio show programs this show was able to introduce more characters and has focused on the personal and professional lives of doctors and lawyers.
- Guiding Light. The first soap opera to make the transition from radio to TV, Guiding Light is also in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest running drama in television and radio history. It even had a period of running on both. Spanning from 1937-2009 Guiding Light was based on personal experiences of its creator Irna Phillips.
- Another World. This soap opera was created in 1964 and centered on the drama of families from different classes and philosophies. Known for being the first soap opera to mention abortion, a taboo topic in the 1960’s, it also featured a lot of firsts in the soap opera world. They were the first to have a cross over with another soap opera, the first to launch three spin-offs, and the first to have their theme song on the Billboard Hot 100.
- Santa Barbara. This soap opera may have had a short run compared to others but captivated its audience, nonetheless. Running from 1984-1993 Santa Barbara centered on a murder that happened five years prior to the show beginning. Over the course of the show just about every major character was accused of the murder.
- Peyton Place. The first prime time soap opera, Peyton Place ran from 1964-1969 and was the forerunner for prime time soaps including Dallas, Dynasty, Falcon Crest and Knots Landing. This show was based on a novel and preceded by a film adaptation. Criticized for its sexual themes the writers did swap out incest from the book to teen pregnancy in the show in an effort to make it less controversial.
Soap operas have become a dying breed with only a handful left on daytime TV and a few set to cancel this year. Whether you became a soap junkie by watching with your grandmother as a child or started later in life, the captivating storylines and characters are enough to get you hooked for life.Taken From Cable TV Providers