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Monday, May 04, 2009

"Another World" Is Back!

It’s always hard when a favorite show gets cancelled. But I don’t think any cancellation hit me harder than when NBC cancelled “Another World”…

“AW” had been such a huge part of my life. When I was in eighth grade, I would come home every day and watch the episode my mom had taped for me. Eventually, I got angry with the direction of the show and stopped watching. But I couldn’t stay away forever, especially when the show became must-see-TV once again.

Of course, I rediscovered the show just in time to say goodbye. I’m not going to lie to you. It hurt. In fact, I never watched a single second of “Passions,” its replacement, as my own personal protest.

So, you can imagine my joy upon hearing the news that “AW” is rising from the ashes…

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, “Another World” is back.

TeleNext Media, the show’s producer is resurrecting “AW” online with AnotherWorldToday.com, which combines classic clips with character updates. The website will have weekly text-based episodes that pick up our favorite characters today, 10 years after we said goodbye to them. Through on-line polls, readers will help guide the story.

The first episode, which debuted today (the show’s 45th anniversary), centers on the return of Grant Harrison to Bay City. Fans will remember that Grant was believed dead, but resurfaced in the show’s finale. He has returned to reclaim his son, Kirkland, who is now living with Jamie Frame.

We also get the beginnings of a mystery involving Felicia Gallant and Dean and Jenna Frame.

The new series is being written by Alina Adams. Adams does a lot of projects for Telenext Media, including the PGP Classic Soaps Blog, Where Are They Now? features for Telenext soaps, the message boards for “As the World Turns” and “Guiding Light” and the tie-in novels for “ATWT” and “GL.”

While doing all of those things, Adams discovered just how popular “Another World” still is, 10 years after its cancellation. “[It] was far and away the one with the most interest,” she told me when I had the opportunity to speak with her today. The addition of clips and full episodes of “AW” on Hulu.com have helped sustain the show’s popularity.

That made Adams think about what would happen if she could put some of these things—character updates, classic clips—together, and AnotherWorldToday.com was born.

But Adams decided to “kick it up a notch” and allow the fans to participate and help guide the story.

So with 10 years to catch up on, how did Adams decide on what characters to focus? “Since the bulk of the clips we have [on Hulu] are from 1991, I focused on what were the storylines in 1991 that were also around in 1999…It’s all about the core families. If you have Rachel, you have to have the kids—Jamie, Matt and Amanda…Once you do that you have a pretty full canvas. We have Cass and Lila, so you have to have Felicia.”

Fans will notice that some couples—Rachel and Carl, Cass and Lila—are still together, while others—Amanda and Cameron, Marley and Tyrone—didn’t last. While some of that was decided by the clips available, Adams also considered other factors. “The last episode was Cass and Lila getting married, so I thought they should still be together.” Adams also decided to keep Rachel and Carl together since they were featured in the show’s final moments.

So what’s coming up in the series? “I will only know when the fans tell me,” Adams said. However, she did say that the two key stories were launched in this week’s premiere episode. The first is Grant’s fight for custody of Kirkland. This will push Jamie and Marley, who were a popular couple in 1991, together.

The other story involves Cass and Lila and the mystery surrounding Felicia, Dean and Jenna’s disappearance. “Dean and Jenna are heavily featured in the 1991 episodes, so we’ll be using the past clips to illuminate the present day story.” Adams teases that the mystery will be solved through the clips. “All the clues are in the past.” Another mystery that will be solved is Jenna’s parentage, which was never resolved on the show.

It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that Adams was an “AW” fan herself. “I loved Mac, Douglass Watson, and I hope we can continue to honor his memory.” Adams said that obviously bringing back Mac was not an option out of respect for the character and actor, but there were other characters she was looking at resurrecting. When I mentioned to her that she should find a way to revive my favorite soap character of all time—Jake McKinnon—she told me she has been thinking about a way to do it.

Adams said she’s already read on message boards, “If they bring Vicky and Jake back, I’ll forgive them anything.” Both Jake and his wife, Vicky, were killed on “AW”s sister soap, “As the World Turns.”

Adams also told me that Linda Dano, who played Felicia, suggested bringing Lucas, Felicia’s great love, back to life. “The actors themselves have ideas, which is great,” Adams told me.

The website and Adams have already received some good feedback from fans who are thrilled to have their beloved “AW” back, even if it is just online. “It’s such a wonderful opportunity,” she told me.

You can visit the website here. And here are the final moments of the show to make you realize just how much you’ve missed it…