A soap opera is about a group of individuals dealing with the trials and tribulations of life under highly sensationalized circumstances.
A reality show is about a group of individuals dealing with the trials and tribulations of life under highly sensationalized circumstances.
It was inevitable that the two genres would cross paths.
And so along comes Queens of Drama, a Pop reality series about a group of soap actresses striving to craft and sell a show. It’s fascinating to watch the almost operatic drama you’ve come to expect from both reality shows and soap operas to run right up alongside one another in this show-trying-to-create-a-show format. If you’re familiar with — or better yet, a fan of — one of the seasoned daytime actresses headlining the program, that’s great. But you don’t need to know who the stars are. Whether collectively proud of it are not, we’re all familiar with the reality show format. And the fact is, it’s all here and it’s all you need to join in: false loyalty, catty relationships, cocky and often backstabbing testimonials disguised as confessions to the audience.
What puts this show high on the list of brilliant synergy is how it manages to be a homage to what makes great soap in the first place. The show doesn’t merely bring in a cast that knows steamy conflict, but brings in pros like Hunter Tylo and Donna Mills with strong backgrounds in creating scripted drama, but obviously with the talent for encouraging what appears to be spontaneous conflict as well. The show also has some impressive pacing. There are enough disagreements, perceived betrayals and sharp cuts of the eye, that by time the queen of operatic drama — Joan Collins herself — strolls in immaculately dressed (you’d expect less?), you can almost picture a cat fight in a pool on the horizon.
Thankfully, like any good soap opera, you need a cast that’s game for anything and Queens of Drama has hit the jackpot. Chrystee Pharris comes from NBC’s Passions and plays the sort of neutral zone you find in a lot of reality shows. The one person everyone can talk to and form an alliance with, but strives to be a voice of reason amid the chaos. If the show has a lead, it’s Lindsay Hartley, who’s appeared on All My Children and Days of Our Lives. Another prominent cast member is actress Crystal Hunt. Hunt has appeared in the motion pictures Magic Mike XXL and Sydney White. In the world of soaps, she’s highly regarded for her work on classic daytime series like Guiding Light, where she played Lizzie Spaulding, and One Life to Live, where she played Stacy Morasco. Hunt has been nominated for Daytime Emmy and Soap Opera Digest awards according to Metacritic.
On Queens of Drama so far, Hunt has played the adversarial component to Hartley, generating the majority of the show’s spark and fun. We’re looking forward to season two. Check out Crystal’s facebook fan page to keep up on what the actress is performing in next.