One year ago, we were mourning the death of soaps and anticipating General Hospital getting the axe.
ABC moved the show to 2 p.m., probably to kill it.
Turns out it was probably the best thing that could have happened.
Approaching January 2013 and its 50th anniversary in April 2013, General Hospital is thriving. The producer/writer team of Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati came over from One Life to Live and made some changes.
First, some One Life to Live characters were integrated into the show. For those who don’t like the merger, the new team has also returned some old favorites, quickened the story arcs, and given the audience plenty of last-minute surprises, only giving out script pages to actors on an as-needed basis to avoid spoilers.
In Part I, we will go through the returns that GH saw during 2012.
Returns – The Blasts From the Past
The big story of 2012 was the return of many well-known and best loved characters.
A.J. – When Sean Kanan was announced as returning to General Hospital, viewers wondered if he would possibly be cast as Jason Morgan. But he showed up in his original role, as the long-dead A.J., with a story that continued from his smothering death at General Hospital. He was resuscitated by Steve Webber, got out of town and only kept in touch with Monica. Kudos to the writers for respecting the show’s history, as Steve Webber was on the show (in the form of actor Shaun Benson) when A.J. died.
Alan Quartermaine - Alas, Alan (Stuart Damon) was killed off during the MetroCourt crisis, but the public outcry was so loud that he was brought back as a ghost who served as the voice of Tracy's conscience. This year, with the death of Edward, Alan's ghost again returned. Maybe he'll be around as Tracy and A.J. fight for control of ELQ.
Cesar Faison – One of the most famous villains ever to appear on GH, Faison, portrayed by Anders Hove, hadn’t been seen on General Hospital for many a year when he revealed himself to Robin Scorpio in a Swiss hospital. And viewers were thrilled to find that he’s as frightening and as mean as ever, this time posing behind a latex mask as Duke Lavery and attempt to seduce Anna.
Duke Lavery – Anna’s dead husband in true soap fashion came back to life, first as the masked man Faison, and then we learned that the real Duke was being held captive in that same Swiss hospital everybody else is in. Ian Banning, of course, played the fake and the real Duke. The question now is, every time Anna looks at the real Duke, will she be seeing Faison?
Robert Scorpio – Though it was a tragic occasion, his daughter’s death, it’s always great to see Robert Scorpio, portrayed by Tristan Rogers. He grieved over Robin and then took off after the man he believed to be his son, Ethan. Later on, he joined the Faison storyline.
Anna Devane – Robin’s mother (Finola Hughes) showed up to mourn her daughter and is now Police Chief, replacing Mac Scorpio. Anna’s been back from time to time over the years, but having her in Port Charles for a long period of time has been great.
Holly Sutton – Emma Samms returned in the beginning of the year to change her story about her son Ethan’s paternity, thus giving Robert something to live for after Robin's death.
Lucy Coe – Lovely, zany Lucy (Lynn Herring) was always a fan favorite and someone viewers wanted to see return. And so she did, as head of CoeCoe Cosmetics, pushing her way into the Quartermaine mansion and giving Alice some beauty cream. We have a feeling that Lucy, who has come to get the Nurses’ Ball on its feet, is just getting started.
Jerry Jacks – Happily, Jerry just never seems to be gone, troublemaker that he is. He was part of a big story arc this year and now it appears is going to be part of another, the Robin story. Glad to see you, Jerry. Now if they’d only bring back Jax full time.
Felicia Jones – Kristina Wagner returned as Felicia to help Maxie during her trial for the murder of Lisa Niles and has slowly rekindled her relationship with Mac.
Ned Ashton – Wally Kurth as Ned appeared for Edward’s funeral, and the word is that he recently taped more scenes. It’s great to build up the Quartermaine family again as they prepare to fight over ELQ.
Skye Quartermaine – the much-married Skye (Robin Christopher) was back for Edward’s funeral as well. Whether she figures into any plans for 2013 is unknown.
Heather Webber - One of my favorite characters and someone who can really spice up a scene is Heather, played to perfection by Robin Mattson. And has Heather ever back in fine form, just as looney as ever and just as capable of murder, mayhem, and one of her favorite pastimes, working with infants. By the way, Heather is still around, last seen disguised in a black wig and glasses, so we can expect more from her soon.
We had some other returns that were welcome, but not major since the characters either departed more recently or show up from time to time.
Helena Cassadine came back on the scene a couple of times, as did Jax, who had basically just left.
Diane Miller (Carolyn Hennesy), a real fan favorite, had been off the show since getting a role on the series True Blood. Now the tough attorney is back.
And finally... General Hospital saw the return not of a character, but of an important actress: Kirsten Storms reclaimed her role as Maxie Jones after a long absence. Jen Lilley did a marvelous job as her replacement (and suffered plenty of abuse from the fans) but it was a real plus to see Kirsten back in her role.