Are you ready to go back to Llanview?
The online reboot of One Life to Live premieres Monday, more than 15 months after the soap's broadcast finale aired on ABC. So, what should fans expect from the new version? Will it still feel like the same show or will longtime viewers feel like something is off? And will new viewers be completely lost if they start watching now? We have answers to all your burning questions:
1. How do I watch it? First things first. One Life to Live and All My Children have made the switch to online, and both series will be available through Hulu (www.hulu.com) as well as iTunes — meaning viewers can now watch the shows on their computers, iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs, regular TVs (through a Blu-Ray player), and a host of other digital media devices. Each week, new episodes of each show will debut at 5 a.m. ET Mondays through Thursdays. On Fridays, half-hour recap episodes for each show will be made available. For longtime viewers who are nervous about wading into the waters of online TV viewing, actor Jerry verDorn, who plays Clint Buchanan, assures: "It's so easy. ... And the older fans, they can always call their nephew or the niece or a young kid off the street and say, 'Hook me up with Hulu.'"
2. What are the biggest changes? The biggest changes happened behind the scenes, starting with the set location. Both One Life to Live and All My Children are now filmed in Stamford, Conn. Secondly, their running times have been trimmed to 30 minutes per episode. The series also has a new intro and theme song produced by none other than rapper Snoop Lion (née Dogg), which actor Robert S. Woods calls "the best one since Peabo Bryson's." In addition, many of the key One Life to Live players — including head writer Ron Carlivati and actors Michael Easton, Kristen Alderson and Roger Howarth — defected to General Hospital while Prospect Park and The Online Network were still hammering out the details of the OLTL reboot. And finally, OLTL has a new showrunner — Jennifer Pepperman, a former coordinating producer and associate director on the series.
3. Will all the old characters be back? Some, but not all. As mentioned above, Easton and Alderson (who play John McBain and Starr Manning) have moved on to Port Charles. And Howarth is headed that way too, albeit after a brief stint in Llanview. But many fan favorites, including Nora (Hillary B. Smith), Bo (Woods), Blair (Kassie DePaiva), Viki (Erika Slezak), Clint (verDorn), Cutter (Josh Kelly), Natalie (Melissa Archer), Dorian (Robin Strasser) and even David Vickers (Tuc Watkins), will be returning. In addition, while the characters Destiny and Matthew will be returning, their faces won't be familiar. Robert Gorrie is taking over the role of Matthew from Eddie Alderson, and Laura Harrier is replacing Shenell Edmonds as Destiny.
4. What's happened, plot-wise, during the hiatus? The online reboot picks up six months after the show's finale on ABC. And while we don't want to give away too much of what happens in the first episode, it's safe to say that a lot has gone down in those six months — and not everything will be explained right away. A quick summary of some of the major players: Dorian returns from Washington, D.C. to find herself embroiled in a political scandal thanks to a story in The Banner, and reconnects with David Vickers. Cutter and Blair have formed an unlikely business partnership to open the new nightclub Shelter. Natalie is embracing single motherhood but still feeling "a little lost," according to actress Melissa Archer. And while Bo and Nora are having some drama with their son Matthew, their marriage is stronger than ever. "It's like the old days," Woods tells TVGuide.com. "They're not bickering. They're supporting each other." Adds Smith: "I think Bo and Nora fans will be really happy with the first [few] episodes. ... It's a reconnection of Bo and Nora, which hadn't happened in a long time." But what about the biggest cliffhanger of the finale — Todd (Howarth) being arrested for Victor's murder, paired with the big reveal that Victor is actually still alive? Their worlds will collide again in the online premiere, but you'll have to tune in to find out how.
5. Are there going to be new characters? Yes. Among the new characters introduced in the first episode is Jeffrey King, played by High School Musical alum Corbin Bleu. King is a hungry young journalist who's trying to move up from freelancer to full-time reporter at The Banner. "He's very savvy," Bleu tells TVGuide.com. "He's very quick, very motivated and very power-hungry. There is a great sort of power struggle between Viki and him." Down the road, Jersey Shore star Jenni "JWOWW " Farley turns in a guest appearance as a bartender, and rapper Riff Raff plays art dealer Jamie Franko.
6. Will the show look the same? Yes and no. The external locations and some of the sets are different, and even technically speaking, the new version has made some changes — using varying camera angles and video equipment like jibs and Steadicams, which will give the scenes an updated appearance. "They really enhance the look and the feel the show without changing it," Josh Kelly tells TVGuide.com. "The bottom line is, they are more expensive to use, and it looks more expensive."
7. Is the tone different? Though the show's writing staff is almost entirely new, the transition has been seamless. "I think they did their research, if you will," Kelly says. "My character felt like my character. It didn't feel like they were writing a different one. It felt similar to what it was before." Also, now that it's online, One Life to Live is definitely a little more racy. In the first episode alone, there are a handful of words that wouldn't have made it past ABC's censors. And look for the sex scenes to get a little steamier. "Because you don't have a network, you have the capability to make things a lot edgier and a lot sexier, and they're pushing the envelope with it. They really are," explains new cast member Bleu. "To the point that when I read the first episode, I was surprised. Because it's not the same One Life to Live that my grandmother used to watch."
8. I've never seen One Life to Live before. Why should I start watching now? If sex and scandals are your thing, this is the show for you. As Bleu said, this isn't your grandparents' One Life to Live. "It's young, it's hip, it's fresh," JWOWW assured TVGuide.com at the show's premiere in New York City last week. With so many story lines packed into a 30-minute episode, the segments go by in a flash — and it's surprisingly easy to pick up. "I can 100 percent say that I feel it's a lot less soap-y," Melissa Archer tells TVGuide.com. "When I watched it, [I thought], wow, this looks like a CW show. It looks like a good, fun program that I would watch [even] if I didn't like daytime [TV]. And if I do like daytime, even better."
Are you planning to watch the online version of One Life to Live? Vote in our poll! And check out a One Life to Live catch-up video below.
One Life to Live will be available on Hulu and iTunes beginning Monday at 5 a.m. ET.