Picks and Pans Review: Loving

UPDATED 06/24/1985 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 06/24/1985 at 01:00 AM EDT

ABC (12:30 p.m. ET)

This soap comes with a built-in death wish. So many of its best players have been let go (notably the two freshest talents to hit daytime in years, Patricia Kalember as Merrill and Bryan Cranston as Douglas) that the show is jokingly referred to by industry insiders as Leaving. The series is co-created by Agnes Nixon, the brains behind All My Children and One Life to Live, along with Douglas Marland, who has since left. Marland won two Emmys for his outstanding writing for CBS' Guiding Light. When Loving premiered June 27, 1983, it promised to be "innovative." It has been anything but. There has been a well-written story regarding the post-war stress that Vietnam veterans suffer. Even better was a well-acted and potentially controversial plot involving incest, the first soap to handle the subject maturely and responsibly. Take a bow. But both those stories have given way to the same old tired "I'm-pregnant-you-have-to-marry-me" piddle. (And Loving had the gall to use that same dog of a plot twice in less than a year.) And speaking of dogs, what seemed like an entire episode was recently devoted to the adoption of a puppy. Cute, yes, but for a soap with so much bark it's sad to find so little real bite.

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