6 long-running soap operas on television

Probably a lot of us have at least one TV series, which we would like to watch endlessly. Characters become so familiar, that we just can stop following their life, each time waiting for new episodes. Therefore, it is so easy to understand the disappointment of fans when their favorite TV show is being canceled. But there are such TV shows that bring joy to their viewers year after year, decade after decade. We will tell you about 6 soap operas that have been telling a story of a lifetime.

1. Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara

“Santa Barbara” is a true masterpiece, which has become a synonym for something long and continuous. This soap opera aired in the US from the summer of 1984 to January 1993. 2137 episodes are divided into 9 seasons, which make up approximately 1600 hours of air time. “Santa Barbara” has a lot of star actors, including Tea Leoni and Leonardo DiCaprio, who played as a child. During all 9 seasons, 142 actors were involved in this soap opera.

The plot tells a story about a wealthy Capwell family. However, the series featured other not less wealthy families: Perkins, Andrade, Lockridge. The main story develops in the first season, and the rest just goes on from it. Joe Perkins was unlawfully convicted of murder. Coming out of prison, he tries to return justice, which reveals many secrets and crime. The first season had been criticized, but the authors skillfully introduced new characters and arranged catastrophes for disliked ones.

2. Neighbours


“Neighbours” is an Australian soap opera, which appeared on the TV screens in 1985 for the first time and as of February 13th, 2015 includes 7060 episodes. During this time lot of famous actors starred in this soap opera: Kylie Minogue, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Natalie Imbruglia and others. Shooting takes place in the Vermont South in a suburb of Melbourne. Viewers love “Neighbours” so much, that allow shooting scenes on their streets and even yards.

Events unfold in the fictional suburb of Melbourne. Initially, the story involved three families – the Clarkes, the Robinsons and the Ramsays. The Robinsons and the Ramsays are in a constant rivalry, and their confrontation involves other families. As the years went by the writers added more characters and more storylines to the show. Now the audience has to keep track of who is doing what, which keeps the viewer in constant tension.

3. The Young and the Restless

The Young and the Restless

The premiere of “The Young and the Restless” held on March 26th, 1973. To this day this legendary soap opera has collected over 10 thousand episodes. Originally episodes were half-hour long, but in 1980 the air time was increased to 1 hour. “The Young and the Restless” is probably one of the most successful soap operas on American television. It has been awarded Emmy 6 times and appeared in the Nielsen’s weekly rating more than 900 times.

Events take place in the fictional Genoa City, Wisconsin. Initially, the plot was built around two main families: the Brooks and the Fosters. The Brooks are rich and influential, while the Fosters are poor and seem outsiders. The series describe a competition between these families. And even though a lot of characters were written out with time, there is a storyline that remained throughout the entire soap opera: the story of the rivalry between Katherine Chancellor and Jill Foster.

4. All My Children

All My Children

Another long-running soap opera “All My Children” broadcasted in 1970 for the first time. 10712 episodes aired 5 times a week from 1970 to 2011. According to the creator’s idea “All My Children” was supposed to raise actual problems of modern society, such as Vietnam War. The main character Erica Kane was considered one of the most popular TV characters in history of daytime television. By the way, in one of the episodes in 1973 Erica decides to have an abortion, which was the first time when abortion was shown on television. In addition, “All My Children” was one of the first TV shows to raise an issue of plastic surgery and its physiological effect.

The plot unfolds around the main character Erica Kane played by Susan Lucci. Events take place in a fictional suburb called Pine Valley, Pennsylvania. At different times Elizabeth Taylor, Amanda Seyfried, Sarah Michelle Gellar and others played in “All My Children” as guest stars.

5. As the World Turns

As the World Turns

This soap opera was broadcasted for half a century: from April 2, 1956 to September 17, 2010. To watch all 13763 episodes one will have to spend 573 days and 11 hours in total. From 1958 to 1978 “As the World Turns” was the most popular daytime television show in the United States. After that, the ratings went down.

The story takes place in an American town Oakdale, although the scenes were shot in Manhattan, New York and in Brookline. The soap opera describes everyday problems and feelings of its characters. This approach to plotting became the standard for all soap operas. At various times Martin Sheen, Meg Ryan, Courteney Cox, Roselyn Sanchez, Helen Wagner and many others took part in the series.

6. Guiding Light

Guiding Light

The viewers watched lives of their favourite characters for 57 years and 15 thousand episodes. If you ever decide to re-watch “Guiding Light” get ready to spend 164 days 4 hours and 30 minutes of your life. By the way, this soap opera included in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-running TV series.

In the beginning, the story was built around a priest, who lives in a fictional suburb of Chicago. Later more and more new characters appeared in the series. And over time “Guiding Light” became a story about six families, who were connected by the most intricate relationships. The script writer Irna Phillips is actually among the founders of the genre “soap opera”.

In April 2009, CBS management informed viewers that the series would be closed due to low ratings. The last episode was released on September 18, 2009.

About the Author: Ashton