Beloved characters are returning from the dead for second chances at romance and treachery! Sound like the plot of a soap opera? Try two soap operas — namely All My Children and One Life to Live, which return today on Hulu, the gold standard of free streaming services.
2013 is turning out to be the year of digital life after death for series with significant fan followings. Between Netflix’s resurrection of Arrested Development, the Veronica Mars movie Kickstarter project, and Hulu’s own takeover of the two classic soaps, we’re seeing that online service providers have created important new paradigms for the economics and production of original content — whether financed through subscription dollars and/or targeted advertising. For instance, Hulu’s innovative model allows for free, advertising-supported viewing of new episodes of OLTL and AMC on computers, or for more flexible viewing options (such as mobile devices, gaming consoles, and smart TVs) through the Hulu+ subscription service.
Hulu’s commitment to its original content is comparable to network-produced primetime series; when not watching the new episodes (which, in a nod to the series’ roots, have been tightened up from 60-minute run times to 30 minutes), fans can check out trailers, old clips, and behind-the-scenes features.
Making these genre-defining series available anywhere and anytime completely changes the soap opera demographic. Once the sole province of daytime TV aficionados, any Hulu user can decide to make Pine Valley his personal primetime destination, or visit Llanview on her morning commuter train. After all, if there truly is only one life to live, there’s no time like the present to hit the play button – which you can do below to watch the full episodes of each show.