Passions celebrates 20 years! Read more here --->
It's been twenty years since we first heard the extremely catchy theme song for Passions on our televisions. The James E. Reilly created soap made its debut on July 5th, 1999. Over its nine years on air Passions earned five Daytime Emmy Awards, four Soap Opera Digest Awards and was honored with wins from the GLAAD and NAACP Image awards.
In the early days of Passions, we were introduced to several key residents of the town of Harmony. We got to meet the Lopez-Fitzgeralds, Cranes, Russells, and Bennetts. And of course, the Lennox family that consisted of a three-hundred-year-old witch, Tabitha, and her doll brought to life, Timmy.
The show quickly gained a huge following of viewers and brought in a whole new generation of fans to the soap genre thanks to the supernatural elements it intertwined in some of the storylines. As Juliet Mills (Tabitha Lennox) said in a recent interview with us, there wasn't really any other soap that you could compare Passions to other than Dark Shadows which aired in the 60s. Creator James E. Reilly was known before the show for his writing of the infamous possession storyline on Days of Our Lives. He decided to take the idea of mixing supernatural and somewhat taboo plotlines with the normal soap tropes.
Passions literally had EVERYTHING you wanted and some things you didn't even know you wanted! From magic, zombies, an orangutan nurse, a tsunami (thank goodness for that door. Eh, Tabitha?) and even a gateway to hell in a closet. All of the chaotic unusual elements aired alongside "normal" soap plotlines like romances, classism, rivalries, adultery, and betrayals. I think that was a huge reason for Passions success. It was new and exciting. And actor James Hyde who played Sam Bennett on the show said: "It was way ahead of its time." You truly never knew what you were in for when you sat down to watch the latest episode.
The cast of characters that lived in Harmony also drew in fans to their stories. We watched and rooted for the lovesick Theresa who vowed in the very first episode that she was going to marry the rich and handsome Ethan Crane. And we cried tears of joy as the two finally said "I do" in the series finale. We also screamed in frustration as the hot-headed Luis and equally as stubborn Sheridan didn't get their happily ever after! Shuis was endgame and you cannot tell me otherwise! We laughed as we enjoyed all of the shenanigans that Timmy and Tabitha got into over the years. Who didn't want to sip a "martimmy" and get into some wicked trouble with the duo?
In an unexpected twist of fate, the same day that the character of Timmy was killed off the show the amazing young actor who portrayed the loveable character passed away. And I believe as soap fans we are a family no matter what character you like or don't like. And when the Passions family lost Josh Ryan Evans back in 2002 we mourned with the show and it's cast.
Passions also made history on and off the screen. It was the first serial show in daytime history to show two women in bed making love after the character of Simone Russell came out as a lesbian. The show also was the first to enter the streaming world by being the first daytime drama to make full episodes of the show available for purchase on iTunes.
The show was known for a few trademarks as well. Most notably their frustrating use of the dream sequence. These scenes often enthralled fans with their eccentric and sometimes long-awaited events just for us to be hit with the knowledge that it NEVER happened! Another staple of the show was their huge summer events. Passions had a largely younger audience and put the focus on making the summer stories grand for their viewers. These stories included a carnival, a failed double-wedding, that previously mentioned tsunami and the reveal of the intersex blackmailer Vincent Clarkson.
Whether you loved or hated it, Passions stood out amongst the crowd. It brought us inventive storylines and some amazing cast members that are still lighting up the soap world. And if you ask me, the genre is a better place with Passions it. Reboot anyone?!!
Twenty years after the show debuted and over a decade after it's cancellation the soap still has a large and dedicated fanbase.
With the 20th anniversary this year a special project is in production. A special magazine is coming out as well as a documentary to follow. For more information on the project follow @Passions20th on Twitter.
Happy anniversary Passions!