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Soap Love Notes (Week of Feb. 7): Castle, NCIS, Harry’s Law, Mr. Sunshine, Hot in Cleveland

Castle Rewind

Photo Credit: ABC

I love spotting current and former daytime stars in primetime shows. So, I was very pleased to see Rachel Melvin when watching this week’s great episode of ABC’s Castle.

Rachel Melvin

Rachel used to play Chelsea Brady on NBC’s Days of our Lives. Her character was a bad girl who developed a heart…eventually. She was always a standout on that show and I knew she would eventually book work in primetime. In “Lucky Stiff,” she was Nicole Hixton, the troubled daughter of a lottery winner who had recently been murdered. Winning the money shook the family to the core and they ended up a fractured family unit. Melvin appeared in a couple of scenes; her character even thought (wrongly) that she had been responsible for her father’s death. Great stuff to play.

The Guiding Light Connection

My all-time favorite soap opera is the now defunct CBS daytime drama Guiding Light. It was the grandaddy of all TV soaps until its cancellation in September 2009. The loss of GL was quite a blow to the daytime landscape, but I’ll always remember it for all the amazing storylines, actors and super couples (i.e. Reva and Josh). This week, a few GL connections popped up in primetime:

Brittany Snow. Photo Credit: Jordin Althaus/NBC

  • On Monday nights, NBC has a  bit of a hit on its hands with Harry’s Law. Brittany Snow‘s on the show as a series regular. Before Harry’s Law and before hitting it big with American Dreams, she starred on GL as Susan LeMay for almost three years. Susan was actually the character’s adopted name; her biological parents (Harley Cooper and Dylan Lewis) named her Daisy. The next new episode is Monday February 14 at 10/9C on NBC.

Robert Newman

  • Tuesday night (February 8), my favorite GL actor — next to Grant Aleksander — guest-starred on NCIS. Yes, Robert Newman was on board for the much-anticipated episode, “A Man Walks into a Bar…” It was anticipated because Gibbs and the gang faced down a shrink and her sudden psych evals while trying to solve the case of a “murdered” naval commander (he really committed suicide). Unfortunately, Newman was only in one scene but it was great seeing him. Kim Johnston Ulrich from NBC’s Passions (and last week’s Supernatural) played his wife. However, we didn’t get to see those two soap greats act in a scene together. Boo. My wish is Newman gets more and more TV opportunities. He’s already guest-starred on three procedurals within the last year: NCIS, Criminal Minds and Law & Order: SVU. Next stop: series regular for a primetime TV show? I hope so.

Allison Janney. Photo Credit: Adam Larkey/ABC

  • New to the ABC schedule on Wednesday nights is Mr. Sunshine, a comedy starring Matthew Perry and…Allison Janney. Back in the 90s, she was Ginger, one of the Spaulding’s conniving maids. Janney was awesome on the show. Of course, post-GL, she joined The West Wing where she won four Emmys as Press Secretary C.J. Cregg. On Mr. Sunshine, she plays Crystal, the owner of the Sunshine Center, the arena Matthew Perry’s character, Ben Donovan, general manages. The series premiere for Mr. Sunshine airs Wednesday night (February 9) at 9:30/8:30C. It’s actually taking the place of Cougar Town for a couple months.

Hot in Cleveland Preview

  • Also on Wednesday (February 9), The Bold and the Beautiful star Jack Wagner guest stars opposite Valerie Bertinelli’s Melanie on TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland. He plays a doctor in an episode called “Sisterhood of the Traveling Spanx.” For Melanie’s sake, I hope his Hot in Cleveland doctor is nothing like his screwed up (yet awesome) Melrose Place character, Dr. Peter Burns. Jack’s guest spot on Hot in Cleveland premieres on TV Land February 9 at 10/9C. Here’s a sneak peek…

Castle Casting Notes (SPOILERS INCLUDED)

There’s an upcoming installment of Castle that pays homage to Nathan Fillion‘s daytime roots that I’m really excited about. They’re calling it “One Life to Lose” which is perfect since Fillion appeared on the ABC soap One Life to Live for roughly three years in the 90s. In 1996, he even earned an Emmy nomination for his role as Joey Buchanan. My worship for Nathan grew when he returned to the show in 2007 for Asa Buchanan’s funeral. I mean, who does that? So many actors, once they make it big after daytime, forget their roots. That’s why I commend him for returning to the show that gave him his big break. This just makes him so much cooler in my book.

Anyway, this soap opera-themed episode will feature actors of a fictional daytime drama called Temptations (perfect!). Already we know the guest cast will include Jane Seymour and Corbin Bernsen (his daytime street cred includes Y&R and GH); as well as current All My Children favorites Cameron Mathison and Rebecca Budig. While I do like both Cameron and Rebecca and understand that they have huge fan bases and are known to audiences beyond the daytime soap arena, I couldn’t help but wonder why Castle didn’t cast actors from Fillion’s alma mater, One Life to Live? I get that All My Children now films in Los Angeles — that probably had to be a factor, because One Life is the only daytime soap to still shoot in New York City. But, there are OLTL actors I wish could have been cast instead:

Gina Tognoni, Kelly Cramer

Gina Tognoni

Dan Gauthier, Kevin Buchanan

 

Dan Gauthier

Bree Williamson, Jessica Brennan

Bree Williamson. Photo Credit: ABC

Michael Easton, John McBain

Michael Easton. Photo Credit: ABC

Trevor St. John, Todd Manning

Trevor St. John. Photo Credit: ABC

Renee Elise Goldsberry, ex-Evangeline Williamson

Renee Elise Goldsberry

I just think the world of the actors I listed above; Renee Elise Goldsberry, particularly, because she’s such a fierce presence. And, while she’s no longer on OLTL, she currently has a recurring role on CBS’ The Good Wife. Again, I don’t know the particulars behind the casting. There may have been some extenuating circumstances I clearly don’t know about. But I do wish we could have seen someone from One Life to Live in some of the major roles in this Castle episode. Regardless, I can’t wait for “One LIfe to Lose” to happen. I’ll update with an airdate once we get closer to the premiere.

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