September 14, 2018: These Online Soaps will Steam Up your Screen - Lauren Sarner, New York Post
May 8, 2014: "Beacon Hill" recap (1:12): Red Flags - Dana Piccoli, AfterEllen.com
April 30, 2014: Alicia Minshew - Bellus Magazine [excerpt]
April 12, 2014: This Week’s BEACON HILL: Sarah Brown and Alicia Minshew Deliver Bravura Performances! - MichaelFairmanSoaps.com
April 11, 2014: “Beacon Hill” recap (1.8): A Taste of the Truth - AfterEllen.com
March 13, 2014: 'Beacon Hill' Series Review - 'Welcome Home and 'Latte Amore' - TVSource Magazine
March 13, 2014: 'Beacon Hill' recap (1.2 & 1.3): Tea and Sympathy - AfterEllen.com
March 6, 2014: 'Beacon Hill' Series Premiere Review - 'Going Back' - TVSource Magazine
March 6, 2014: Review: 'Beacon Hill' is Definitely Worth Watching - Bubblenews.com
March 5, 2014: Boston-set Web series 'Beacon Hill' shows promise with top cast, intriguing plot - Boston Herald
March 5, 2014: Boston's Own Online Soap Opera Aired Today and It's Already Addicting - Bostinno.streetwise.co
March 4, 2014: Soap Star Alicia Minshew Gets Political - Watch the Interview on New York's CBS "The Couch"
There's lots more in our Press Archive.
by Lauren Sarner
Online soaps? Who knew?
While only four venerable network soaps still cling to life — “The Bold and the Beautiful” and “The Young and the Restless” (CBS), “Days of Our Lives” (NBC) and “General Hospital” (ABC) — there’s a digital niche of web-only soaps.
And they’ve even won Daytime Emmys — or, in some cases, won and then lost.
The TV Academy made headlines last spring when it rescinded Patrika Darbo’s 2018 Emmy for her guest-starring role on Amazon’s “The Bay” (due to “submission errors”). The network soaps then threatened to boycott next year’s awards ceremony if rule changes were not put into effect.
That’s a big deal for a part of the TV industry that keeps many actors and behind-the-scenes personnel gainfully employed — and also shined a light on web-only soaps.
“We all believe [web soaps] are where it’s heading,” says Jessica Hill, creator of the Emmy-nominated online soap “Beacon Hill,” which has streamed one 12-episode season (some episodes are only eight minutes long). Returning for Season 2 in 2019, it counts among its stars well-known daytime faces including Alicia Minshew (“All My Children”) and Sarah Brown (“General Hospital”) as ex-lovers swept up in Boston-based family and political drama.
Other online soaps include YouTube’s “Tough Love” and “Anacostia” and “Venice: The Series,” streaming on VenicetheSeries.com.
Hill was motivated to develop her series because her favorite soaps had been cancelled. “My partner [Linda Hill] and I run a publishing company [Bella Books]. Storytelling is something we’re very familiar with,” she says. “And we both grew up watching soaps on television, and each one started to get cancelled. There were only a handful left. And we started thinking, ‘Why not write our own story and come up with our own show?’ ”
Hill’s Florida-based publishing company provided a built-in fan base, but she was aware that she needed to snare traditional soap viewers, too. That’s why she courted actors from the genre.
“One of the things we did was purposefully go after daytime actors that already had a fan base, that already knew how to film things — they can handle a lot of dialogue quickly with very few takes,” she says. “Beacon Hill” earned a Daytime Emmy nomination in 2015, two years after the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences began accepting web series nominations.
Although online soaps such as “Beacon Hill” don’t air daily, Hill says the series maintains the spirit of the genre’s storytelling style. The downfall of having a web soap, she says, is that audiences don’t know where to find them — and there’s no network support for the shoestring budget. (Which is why there’s a four-year gap between Seasons 1 and 2.)
“It was a learning curve at the beginning because you have to teach people where to watch the show,” says Hill. “A lot of them were like ‘OK, what channel will it be on?’ You had to go online and go to our website [Beaconhilltheseries.com].”
Hill says she and her partner produced Season 1 themselves and partly financed Season 2 with crowdfunding. They also had no quantifiable way to measure their ratings.
“We learned a lot,” she says. “Maybe [Season 1] should have been six episodes that were longer. But we weren’t sure what the attention span was going to be when you’re watching something online. Now, we’re pretty comfortable thinking most people want something that’s 15-20 minutes. We got a good response, we ended up with an Emmy nomination."
“For our first attempt, that was pretty cool.”
by Dana Piccoli
In Beacon Hill’s first season finale, the cliffhangers don’t so much shock, as they nicely set up events for Season 2. No one perishes in a fiery car wreck, no one is murdered or exposed as a criminal mastermind. It’s actually kind of refreshing.
Kate has been ignoring her father’s phone calls, which appears to be pissing him off big time. He’s kind of the Darth Vader of Beacon Hill, trying to pull Kate over to the dark side. Another person whose motives are hazy is Evelyn, who tries to make small talk with a distracted Sara. We find out that Sara didn’t attend her grandfather’s wedding, and this is the first time that they’ve actually laid eyes on one another. Sara is a little cold, shades of her mother coming through. Evelyn gets Sara’s hesitancy, and tries to explain that she does in fact love Sara’s grandfather. Their conversation is cut short by a phone call, and Sara excuses herself but not before suggesting that they pick up their conversation at another time. When she leaves, Evelyn’s expression betrays her upbeat demeanor. (Melissa Archer does a really lovely job with this scene. Hope to see more of her next season.)
Sara walks the Beacon Hill streets, trying to diffuse her angry editor. She’s missed her deadline for a juicy scoop on the Preston seat debacle, and promises to have a story soon. She stops in from of a home, and Kate comes to the door and invites Sara in. This time, Kate is smiling. It was Kate that initiated this meeting. By the clothes they are wearing, it is the same day as their run in at the coffee shop. Apparently, it only took a few hours to convince Kate that she wanted Sara back in her life. This may be a lesbian world record.
They sit, drinking coffee and playfully cross-examining each other. Kate wants to let Sara back in, but she’s afraid of getting hurt. That fact that Sara is a reporter doesn’t bode well for them getting closer either. (Kate must watch Scandal.) They agree to a truce, and a tentative friendship. The dynamic between the characters in this scene is really fun to watch. Sara is an open book, relaxed and free with her movements. Kate pulls her arms in tight, her posture somewhat rigid. As she and Sara begin to talk more, Kate beings to almost melt, allowing her smile to come naturally. In other words, she drops the politician act for a moment, and lets Sara in.
At the coffee shop, Emily and Louise are chilling, munching on some scones when a pretty blonde walks in, looking for the Preston house. It’s Sara’s girlfriend Diane, come to surprise her. Emily and Louise give each other the “oh shit” face.
Back at Kate’s, Sara is full on making her ex laugh and ignoring her ringing cell phone. She tucks it into her pocket, and asks Kate to join her for dinner. When Kate doesn’t answer right away, Sara promises not to discuss politics or her grandfather. This elicits a very sexy “maybe” from Kate, which causes Sara to have this reaction:
The phone call was from Diane, who is growing increasingly concerned about her girlfriend’s connection to Representative Katherine Wesley. You are a smart lady, Diane.
At the Preston manor, the doorbell rings, which rouses the sloshed Claire from her room. With a drink in hand, she reluctantly answers the door. Whoever appears on the other side, takes her breath away.
So we didn’t get a big Kate/Sara kiss, but considering the pace of the show, it would have felt rushed. This first season of Beacon Hill has been wonderfully written and acted, and has certainly left me wanting more. What about you?
Bellus Magazine (BM): How long have you been acting?
Alicia Minshew (AM): I have been acting professionally for about twenty years. I starting doing commercials and plays when I was in high school. I did my first commercial at 16 down in Miami and my first professional theatre show when I was about 20. I was a dancer and singer in the show “My Fair Lady”. Making the move to New York City was what really started my career. It was there that I made a living from commercials, did some theatre and indie films, went to an intense acting program, and ultimately and landed the role on All My Children! New York City was the game changer…gotta love this city!
BM: What was it like playing Kendall Hart on the soap series “All My Children”?
AM: Playing Kendall ultimately changed my whole life. I learned so much in the 10 years that I played her. I learned about acting, about life and how to be professional in this business. It was so much fun and so much work all at the same time. It really was a dream role. I got to work with so many talented actors…most of whom are to this day my closest friends. Of course getting to play Susan Lucci’s daughter was really a highlight of that. The writers always wrote great stories for me and always kept me busy. As an actor you want that! I am so grateful for my time on All My Children. I wouldn’t have my husband Richie or my daughter Willow if it wasn’t for the show. My on screen husband,Thorsten Kaye, introduced me to my real life husband and the rest was history! Being on the show gave me a career and a great life.
BM: Tell us about Beacon Hill.
AM: Beacon Hill is a wonderful, sexy political web series. It is being produced by Crystal Chappell’s production company. She approached me about a playing the role of Sara, and I have always been a fan of her acting work as well as the shows she produces. When I read the script and saw the rest of the cast involved, it was a no brainer to take the role! It is written by the talented women of Bella Books, one of the biggest lesbian book companies. I play a gay woman who is a reporter struggling with many aspects of her career and love life. Sarah Brown plays my ex-girlfriend who is a politician. So there is a lot of drama about our relationship and our jobs. It is a really smart and exciting show. It is kind of like Dallas meets The West Wing. New episodes stream every Wednesday at 3pm EST on beaconhilltheseries.com. There are 12 episodes this season. I have loved being a part of this show, it’s very different from playing Kendall!
BM: What is it like playing a lesbian reporter?
AM: I love playing a different kind of character than I have ever played before. It’s very empowering. I also love playing a gay woman. There is something very grounding about working with women that I just love. I like telling a story that is very real and people can relate to. I am so used to playing love scenes with men, so doing that with Sarah was so refreshing!
April 12, 2014 - MichaelFairmanSoaps.com
This Week’s BEACON HILL: Sarah Brown and Alicia Minshew Deliver Bravura Performances!
by Michael Fairman
This past Wednesday, Beacon Hill released their 8th installment in an episode entitled, “Regret” which featured a knockout script which resonates to anyone who has ever been in a relationship only to have someone walk out on the other and have their heart and their trust broken. And then, how do you deal with that when you see them again after many years? Old feelings are dredged up: the hurt, anger, the regret, the love, it’s all there and underneath the surface.
With a fantastic script from Beacon Hill creators Linda and Jessica Hill along with Skip Shea, the latest episode finally brought Sarah Brown and Alicia Minshew together in a room as Katherine and Sara to have that long awaited conversation that was six years in the making in the back-story of Beacon Hill.
Sarah Brown is one of the finest actresses, period. When she is on screen she commands your attention and her choices are interesting and raw, and she captivates you. And in “Regret” she truly delivered … the pain, the anger, the trying to make sense of it all at how this woman she loved walked out on her …. and now questioning …. what does she want? Brown was phenomenal with playing all the complex emotions that were so relatable to anyone who has been in a similar situation or has even gone through a tad of the heartbreak of someone walking out on your relationship without saying even goodbye!
Alicia Minshew showed strength, vulnerability, and depth as well. It was so nice to see her get a chance to show her chops in major scenes of substance once again, something she did time after time as Kendall Hart Slater on All My Children. But Katherine is no Kendall. And while Sara was the one who walked out on Katherine all those years ago, Minshew showed her hurt and regret for the pain she caused her former lady love, but still has that major issue with the thought of her grandfather (Ron Raines) manipulating Katherine for political gain and more!
The question becomes, how will these two former women-in-love, who clearly still have feelings for each other make it back to one another? Or, will they? If you have not got tuned into Beacon Hill yet, get on board now as there are only four episodes left of season one by subscribing via logging on to their website here!
If you saw this week’s Beacon Hill, what did you think of Sarah and Alicia’s performances and the script? Let us know!
by Dana Piccoli
True love. Real, true love is something that never really goes away. Sure you may “move on” or even find someone wonderful, but you never really let go of that love. That’s where we find Sara and Katherine (or Kate, as Sara calls her) in this episode of Beacon Hill.
But first, we have a brief scene with Claire speaking to her private investigator, Collins. He’s dug up something, and that something, lives in Paris. For the briefest moment, Claire looks almost happy. When she hangs up, her expression turns more wistful. Who else senses a mystery baby given up years earlier?!
At chez Wesley, Kate practically breaks the door down to get inside and attempt to process her encounter with Sara at the coffee shop. Just as she’s about to take a sip of water (I think vodka is more in order, Katherine dear) there is a knock at the door. Of course, it’s Sara. She asked Emily where Kate was living nowadays because she couldn’t leave things the way they were. Turns out, Kate never left the old townhouse. To say things are awkward would be an understatement. When Kate asks Sara what she wants, Sara tries to lighten the mood. Kate is like, oh, you brought jokes with you? How nice.
Kate doesn’t let Sara off the hook and asks why she showed up in the first place. Sara isn’t quite sure herself. Perhaps it’s the tether that binds their hearts together still after six years. Perhaps it’s nostalgia or curiosity. If she knows, she’s not telling. She quickly puts on her reporter hat however, and tries to dig into Kate’s ties to her grandfather. Will she be replacing him or not? Kate admits that she has not spoken to Sen. Preston yet. Sara doesn’t quite believe Kate, and laments that while she has come to Boston to make amends with her grandfather, she can’t get past how he is still the puppetmaster he always was. Sara then asks Kate to remember how her grandfather manipulated both of them when they were a couple. Oh she remembers. Sara has unwittingly unleashed the big old lesbian truth bomb. Quick, find a foxhole!
Kate calmly tears into Sara, and reminds her (and enlightens us) as to how their relationship ended. Sara left that fateful night after their big fight and NEVER SAID ANOTHER WORD TO KATE. Kate was shattered, and confused beyond measure. She even had to find out through Sara’s grandfather that she had moved away.
Sara tries to apologize, explaining that while what she did was awful, she knew she couldn’t untangle herself from her controlling family if she had to see Kate again. Her resolve would be broken, and this was about self-preservation. Whether or not Kate would have chosen to take Sen. Preston’s offer back then or not, she’s proud of what she has done these last six years. She managed to survive and thrive. Sara dismisses her, accusing her of sounding like a politician which Kate points out is accurate as hell. Sara only thinks that Kate is where she is because of Kate’s family name and her grandfather’s scheming. Sara, I love you doll, but you have never really been able to see the forest through the trees have you?
Kate puts the kibosh on the argument by saying that Sen Preston gave her an opportunity to be great and she took it. No regrets. Beside, Sara was gone. Kate had to find a life for herself. She tells Sara that she’s moved on, but her eyes tells us otherwise. She asks Sara if she has as well. This moment is so delicate and so poignant, because Kate is hoping that Sara hasn’t either but she’s terrified to hear the truth.
Sara doesn’t answer her; she just agrees that fighting about the past is fruitless. Unlike Kate, she lays out her painful, vulnerable feelings for the world to see. When she saw Kate at the coffeeshop, everything came rushing back and the last six years flew by in the blink of an eye. She’s still raw and full of regret. She confesses that leaving Kate was the hardest thing she’s ever done, but Kate laughs bitterly. Kate asks if Sara thought she wouldn’t understand her feelings back then. If they would have stayed together, Kate would have found a way to work it all out. Sara tells her that she is here now, but Kate can’t even believe what she’s hearing. After six years, did Sara expect Kate to be holding a place in her life for her?
When Kate presses Sara for answers to what she wants now, Sara deflects. She asks if Kate will take the Senate seat if her grandfather steps down. Kate doesn’t know yet. Sara takes this as a yes, and gets incited again, thinking that she and Kate will never be free of his manipulations. History repeats itself as Sara storms out, leaving Kate alone again with her thoughts. She knows that Sen. Preston doesn’t control everything. At least Kate’s heart is sacred ground.
p.s. Alicia Minshew and Sarah Brown have been knocking it out of the park these last few episodes.
by Dana Piccoli
This week Beacon Hill gave us more bang for the buck by releasing two episodes instead of one. We pick up where we left off with Sara, who has just returned to the Bostonian home of her family. To say she’s filled with trepidation would be putting it lightly. Good thing she can tuck those fears away inside that oversized cadet cap she’s sporting.
Before she can even take in her surroundings, she runs into a handsome young chap wielding a tray. The fellow in question is her brother Eric, and he’s somewhat surprised to see his sister.
They exchange brother and sisterly pleasantries, but the weirdness of their current situation is hard to ignore. They hug the hug of children who grew up in a house where the art of affection was a rarity. They decide that Sara should stay at the house while she’s in town and discuss their grandfather’s condition. He’s partially paralyzed on his left side, but can still manage to scream down the stairs for his tea. Their conversation comes to a screeching halt when their mother Claire appears. She’s got a sharp tongue and the rigid posture of a Madame Tussauds wax figure. In other words, she’s terrifyingly awesome.
Claire doesn’t quite care for all of her father’s carrying on (and probably a lack of attention) so she drinks his goddamn tea. Eric is beyond frustrated, but grateful that Sara has shown up. He probably won’t be when he finds out her real purpose for being there. Sara inquires about their step-grandmother, Evelyn, who is notably absent. It turns out that Evelyn is getting a little snip snip, tuck tuck in the Caribbean while her husband lies ailing. This surprises neither sibling. Eric has moved in to get the family back on its feet, leaving his wife behind. When Sara questions him, he tells her that he and his wife have an understanding. Loyalty is important to Eric, and the deadly serious look on his face makes Sara all squirmy.
Talk turns to their grandfather’s senate seat, and how there is much discussion about his stepping down. Surprising to Sara, her grandfather agrees with the party chairs, and is willing to give up his seat to the right person. That right person you may ask? Katherine Wesley.
Also dealing with family drama is Katherine herself. Her father has shown up at her door, a move Katherine was expecting. We learn a little fun fact about the Wesleys. They are a house divided. While Katherine is a liberal democrat, her father is a staunch republican. Thanksgiving must be fun.
He cuts to the chase. He’s heard the rumblings about Katherine taking over the Preston senate seat and he is there to warn her that she is about to open Pandora’s political soapbox. He wants her to switch parties, to which she says hell to the no. If she doesn’t, her father reveals that the republicans will come at her with everything they have to destroy her chances. Behind his formal demeanor, there is a glimmer of concern.
At the local coffee shop, quirky barista Emily and fellow owner Louise are gossiping about Sen. Preston. Actually Emily is talking major shit about Sen. Preston, and Louise is trying not to appall the patrons.
Katherine walks in for her soy latte (speculation) and Louise promptly apologizes for the badmouthing. Katherine, being the savvy politician she is, carefully avoids any association, while maintaining a gorgeous smile.
She also happens to recognize the gentleman in the coffee shop as a reporter for the Boston Globe. He tries to get an answer from her about being considered as Sen. Preston’s replacement, but she’s already got a sound bite prepared. He then follows up with a shot right to the tender vittles. He’s heard from a few sources that Katherine once had a relationship with Sen. Preston’s granddaughter. For the briefest of moments, Katherine’s unflappable demeanor is flipped. She regains her stride though, and glides the hell out of the coffee shop.
March 13, 2014 -
TV Source Magazine
'Beacon Hill' Series Premiere Review - ‘Welcome Home’ and ‘Latte Amore’
by Jenn Bishop
The second episode of Beacon Hill begins with Sara arriving at her grandfather Senator Preston’s home. Her brother Eric (John-Paul Lavoisier) is there to greet her with an awkward hug. With the Senator Preston’s trophy wife Evelyn busy sunning herself in the Caribbean, Eric has moved in to become primary caregiver. Their mother Claire (Crystal Chappell) is there also but is too busy battling alcoholism to be of much assistance.
Eric informs Sara that the stroke has left Senator Preston partially paralyzed on his left side. This has done nothing to soften his stern temperament how ever. “Our family is nuts. He may be the biggest reason why but he’s still family,” Eric reminds Sara.
Eric tells Sara that Katherine is being eyed as next in line for the Senator’s seat. He states that it was their grandfather’s idea. “Of course it was,” Sara responds. It’s intriguing that Senator Preston would want his replacement to be his granddaughter’s ex-girlfriend especially when it seems that particular relationship may have ended badly.
The next episode takes a peak into Katherine’s world. Her father Republican Senator Tom Wesley (Scott Bryce) pays a visit as she is on her way to get a cup of coffee. He is there to discourage her from going to Washington. “It would be a hug mistake Kate. You’re not ready,” he tells her.
Senator Wesley warns her that if she replaces Senator Preston that his party would go after her. There is an implication that maybe there is something that could be used against Katherine.
Later at the local coffeehouse, owners Emily (Louise Sorel) and Louise (Tina Sloan) are gossiping over the news of Senator Preston’s stroke. While Louise says that he has done a lot of good for the community, Emily seems have a low opinion of the man. “I mean a man his age taking up with a girl who could be his granddaughter. Probably can’t even get it up anymore. I bet he’s on Viagra.”
As Katherine orders her coffee she is approached by a reporter. He asks for a comment regarding Senator Preston and whether she will be his replacement. Katherine answers with well thought out yet vague responses but when he asks about Sara, she leaves without answering. Did Sara and Katherine’s relationship cause a bit of a scandal?
Some of my favorite things:
I enjoyed seeing Lavoisier in a very different role than the one he played on One Life to Live. Eric is reserved and even tempered, a contrast from the rest of his family. Lavoisier projects these characteristics with a strong subtle performance.
I get the feeling that Eric may have at one time been very close to his sister but there now seems to be a distance between them. I have a feeling this distance is the result of Sara separating herself from the family and leaving Boston. It doesn’t seem that anything may have happen specifically between the siblings to cause any estrangement.
The Coffeehouse Ladies
Emily and Louise add a bit of comic relief. Both women have their own opinions but seem comfortable having friendly debates.
The way Emily and Louise interacted with each other reminded me of the glimpse we got of Sara and Katherine’s past in the premiere episode. I suspect the besides bringing some lightness to the series, they may also be a peak at what could have been between Sara and Katherine.
Where You Can Watch
Beacon Hill can be watched on their website www.beaconhilltheseries.com. The series is available by subscribing only at the reasonable price of $9.99. That’s less that it costs for a pizza.
by Jenn Bishop
The web series Beacon Hill made its premiere this week with the episode “Going Back.” The series focuses on the interpersonal relationships of reporter Sara Preston (Alicia Minshew). These relationships include her estranged family, her current girlfriend Diane (Jessica Morris), and the ex-girlfriend she can’t seem to get out of her system Katherine (Sarah Brown).
The episode begins with Sara and Diane getting reading for a date when Sara gets a called from her boss Martin. Her grandfather, Senator William Preston (Ron Raines), has had a stroke and Martin wants her to see what she can find out. In other words, he wants her to see what dirt she can dig up on her own family.
I get the feeling that Sara hasn’t been back home to Boston for a while. She mentions that she isn’t close with her mother, noting she didn’t even know she could text when she gets a message from her. The awkward family relations may not be the only reason why Sara left Boston. Sara’s ex Katherine works in Senator Preston’s district.
Sara’s feelings towards her ex are somewhat conflicted. She wants to avoid her and yet kind of hopes to see her again while she is home. Diane also seems nervous that Sara will run into Katherine. Could Katherine be the one that got away?
When Sara gets into her car to leave, she immediately starts thinking of Katherine. She flashes back to an intimate moment between the two and it is obvious that they were both very much in love. Sara was even willing to overlook the fact that Katherine is a Yankees fan. I wonder what happened between the two to cause them to split. Perhaps the Red Sox and Yankees weren’t the only opposing sides the ladies were on.
“Going Back” not only refers to Sara’s going back to Boston but also to her mind going to those moments she had with Katherine. Will her heart go back too?
Here are some things that stood out:
The series has great cinematography. There are some nice outdoor shots that show off the beauty of Boston while giving the audience a distinct feel for the setting. I suspect as the series moves forward Boston could become like a main character as New York City did for Sex and the City.
While not a lot has been learned about Katherine yet, I am very intrigued by her character. At first glimpse, she appears to be ambitious and very career driven. When her chief of staff Andrew (Ricky Paull Goldin) suggests that she go after Senator Preston’s seat, she at first seems enticed by the idea but something in her demeanor changes the moment he leaves the room. I wonder if there is something that could be holding her back and if that something could be regret over her failed relationship with Sara. I can’t wait to find out the rest of her story.
I really like the music in Beacon Hill. Music Supervisor Paul Antonelli has done an amazing job scoring the series with music that fits in well with its landscape. For those unfamiliar with Antonelli’s work, he is currently working on The Young and The Restless, Days of Our Lives, Venice, and The Grove.
Beacon Hill also has a very catchy theme song, “Black Snow” by AM r0de0. You’ll be singing the lyrics to it for days.
Where You Can Watch
Beacon Hill can be watched on their website www.beaconhilltheseries.com. The series is available by subscribing only at the reasonable price of $9.99. That’s less that it costs for a pizza. Watch the first episode and hit the comments to share your thoughts!
by Tiffany Bailey
If you follow me on here or over at Examiner, you will know that I am a soap opera fan through and through. ABC was my channel and I watched religiously. Growing up my mom and grandma got me hooked on “All My Children,” “One Life to Live,” and “General Hospital.” I literally cried when “AMC” and “OLTL” were canceled. I used to catch a lot of crap from people when they found out I was a soap fanatic because I am so young. Well, was young... the big 3-0 happened this year but that is a thought for another time.
Anyways back to why I came to write this... “Beacon Hill” is a new web series that stars many fantastic soap stars. Some of them are from “All My Children,” “Guiding Light,” “General Hospital,” and “One Life to Live.” When I caught wind of this, I immediately had to jump in and show my support. Alicia Minshew has been one of my favorite people of all time. In fact, I used Kendall as my name in a popular game as a tribute to her. (Many of my friends still call me Kendall!) Also, Melissa Archer is part of the cast. She played one half of the “One Life to Live” super couple Natalie and John. I adore her. For those of you that love “General Hospital,” Sarah Brown is also cast on “Beacon Hill.” Fans will know her as the “original Carly.” Ricky Paull Goldin is not only part of the cast, but also a producer as well. Fans will remember him as Jake Martin from “All My Children.”
The first webisode is just over 13 minutes, but it is definitely intriguing. We meet Sara (Alicia Minshew) and her current girlfriend Diane (Jessica Morris). When Sara gets a call about a story, she has to head back “home” to Boston. Coincidentally, that is where Sara's ex, Katherine (Sarah Brown) lives. As Sara gets ready to pull away, she flashes back to a time when she was with Katherine. The entire time I was interested and now I want Wednesday to come back around for another dose.
You have to buy a subscription to watch the 13-part series. It is only $9.99, which is a small price to pay for the caliber of talent in this web series. I will be telling all my soap friends about this show and doing a news article on it for my television column.
“Beacon Hill” gets 5 stars from this happy consumer. This is $10 I will never regret spending! Totally worth it. You can find the series by going to Beaconhillseries.com.
March 5, 2014: The Boston Herald
Boston-set Web series 'Beacon Hill' shows promise
with top cast, intriguing plot
by Mark Perigard
“BEACON HILL” Web series premiere today at BeaconHillTheSeries.com.
One of the drawbacks of many Web-original series is the caliber of talent.
Many are staffed with enthusiastic but clueless amateurs.
“Beacon Hill,” a 12-episode series starting today, showcases a dozen of the best actors from the daytime drama world in a steamy story set and filmed here in the Hub.
Sara Preston (Alicia Minshew, “All My Children”) is making a life for herself in the Big Apple as a hard-driven reporter with a beautiful girlfriend, Diane Hamilton (Jessica Morris, “One Life to Live”).
But news of her grandfather’s stroke gives her little choice. She must return to face her estranged family — including her mother, Claire (Crystal Chappell, “Guiding Light” and a series producer) and her grandfather, Sen. William Preston (Ron Raines, “Guiding Light”).
It also puts her on a collision course with her ex, Katherine Wesley (Sarah Brown, “General Hospital,” “Days of Our Lives”). Katherine is a Democratic state representative who could be in line to replace the senator. Her shady chief of staff Andrew Miller (Ricky Paull Goldin, “All My Children,” and also a producer) encourages her ambition, but her father, Republican Sen. Tom Wesley (Scott Bryce, “As the World Turns”), seeks to control it.
Other daytime vets scheduled to appear include John-Paul Lavoisier (“One Life to Live”) as Sara’s brother Eric, Louise Sorel (“Days of Our Lives”) and Tina Sloan (“Guiding Light”) as the managers of a coffeehouse and Melissa Archer (“One Life to Live”) as Sen. Preston’s much younger trophy wife, Evelyn. Boston native Hillary Bailey Smith (“One Life to Live”) serves as a supervising producer.
“Beacon Hill” in part rebukes daytime’s reluctance to show affection between same-sex couples. There’s nothing approaching “The L Word” — just a lot of smoochy-time, matter-of-course affection.
You can’t judge a series on one 13-minute episode, but the mix of politics, romance and family intrigue could be addictive. The premiere deserves kudos for one plot swerve.
Sara glances up at Fenway Park, and that triggers a romantic flashback.
In any other city, a character looking at a sports stadium and getting wobbly in the heartstrings would be a cue for laughter.
But this is Boston, home to the most passionate sports fans in the nation.
Sara relives the moment Katherine confessed she is a Yankees fan.
“A husband I could deal with!” Sara says.
Star-crossed couples on soaps have been tested by many things, but rooting for the Evil Empire could be a deal-breaker.
“Beacon Hill” is available at BeaconHillTheSeries.com for a $9.99 subscription. One episode a week is scheduled to drop each Wednesday starting today.
March 5, 2014:
Boston's Own Online Soap Opera Aired Today and It's Already Addicting
by Hilary Milnes
Beacon Hill, Boston's newest web series that's really an online soap opera, aired its first episode today. If you had no idea this was coming – and, more importantly, you're a shameless fan of soaps – then you're welcome, because you're going to want to consider tuning in every week.
First things first, this isn't your average web series, and by that I mean you have to pay $9.99 to subscribe and gain access to the first season. We went ahead and made the purchase, meaning we know if it's worth you seeking out for yourself (if you couldn't tell from the trailer, above, it's going to be), and also meaning that I just committed to investing a 13-minute chunk of time every week to Boston's first soap opera. Let's do this.
The show stars a slew of soap opera vets; if you're familiar with the scene, you'll recognize leading ladies and gents from series like All My Children, One Life to Live, Guiding Light, Days of Our Lives and As The World Turns. This isn't your shoddily filmed webisode starring amateur actors. This is a star-studded soap and it looks like it's going to be juicy as hell.
The story centers around Sara Preston (Alicia Minshew), a New York reporter who returns home to Boston after her grandfather, Massachusetts Democratic Senator William Preston (Ron Raines), suffers a stroke. Set and filmed in Boston, the rest of the season finds Sara leaving her NYC girlfriend behind to face (and report on) her broken family and her ex, as well as some shady politicians. Sound steamy? Might as well dive into the first episode.
Episode 1, "Going Back," doesn't waste anytime getting the ball rolling. Sara gets a call (on a totally outdated cell phone that no reporter could survive with) from her boss Martin on what's supposed to be date night, and he tells her that her grandfather (the Senator) has had a stroke and is not doing well. Martin, who's severely insensitive, immediately sends Sara back to Boston to see what's going on. (You know Martin, he's always looking for a story! Sara tells her girlfriend, Diane.) Diane expresses concern that Sara will be in close quarters with her ex girlfriend, Katherine. Why? Because Katherine just happens to work in Sara's grandfather's office. Zoinks!
Cut to Boston, where Katherine is gaining news from "social media" that Senator Preston's in critical condition, and there's talk that she's next in line to take over the Senate seat. Drama! There's also the token shot of Katherine's father leaving a Dunkin' Donuts, of course.
Once Sara arrives in Boston, wearing the world's worst hat, she pulls up next to Fenway Park, which induces a flashback of a steamy morning in bed with Katherine. There's a Red Sox versus Yankees argument, during which Sara yells Yankees suck! a few times, but the two still seem happy in love.
I guess we'll have to wait till next week to see what's going to go down this season on Beacon Hill. But whatever it is, we're already into it.
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