Bruce Dennill
2 minute read
30 Sep 2014
1:57 pm

Generations: gone but not forgotten?

Bruce Dennill

The removal of Generations from the SABC1 schedule on Wednesday creates an interesting space to fill, given that, unlike a show like Egoli, which aired its final episode in 2010, Generations has a planned comeback deadline in December.

The soap’s makers are keeping the brand alive via social media, but it’s uncertain if South African TV viewers are equipped to stay in touch with their favourite characters and storylines in the next two months – or whether they want to.

There are precedents for this sort of thing internationally. When US network ABC pulled the plug on All My Children and One Life To Live (combined airtime – 83 years) due to poor ratings a few years ago, production company Prospect Park licensed the shows and produced new episodes for paying online audiences on its The Online Network last year.

READ MORE: Life after Generations

That deal ran into union issues, but as a business model, it offered exciting potential.

ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Fans speak out in anticipation of Generations’ last episode

Lucia Swart-Walters, editor of TVPlus, offered some thoughts on the way forward for Generations fans and actors.

“No doubt the ‘ending’ of Generations is going to have a big impact on TV as we know it. Since [replacement series] Skeem Saam has changed  from a weekly drama into a full, daily soap opera, it’s proven its popularity.

“There’s no doubt that the show will get even more viewers and maybe become the most watched soapie in the country now that it’s taking Generations’ 8pm timeslot – partly because of the popular timeslot, but also because it’s got a good script.

“Nothing else much competes in terms of soaps in that timeslot, so Skeem Saam has struck gold.

“Whether it will prove an opportunity for new actors remains to be seen – it depends on what they really plan to do with Generations.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we see actors move from soaps, as they did when Isibaya started.

 ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Last Generations episode: SA reacts

“This will create more jobs as some Generations actors have already moved onto presenting and exploring other avenues, but it doesn’t necessarily mean those will be jobs for only new actors.

“As for fans: If we are lucky, we will see throwback episodes of Generations sometimes to fill timeslots.

“When it does return, it will either be a completely new soap that we will need to get used to from the beginning, or they will have found a clever way to tie the storylines together to explain the sudden absence of key players.

“Personally I hope they tie all the ends together, purely because it’s a massive challenge and I can’t wait to see how they will manage it. For now, we can only wait.”

Skeem Saam producer Winnie Serite said she was very excited about the new timeslot for her show.

Serite said the hotly contested 8pm slot was a challenge she and her production team were “ready for”.

She added that they “Won’t be making any last minute changes to gear up for the new time slot, but will keep working hard”.