Dear NBC, Ken Corday, and Sony Pictures Television,
As a 30-year viewer of Days of Our Lives (every day, every episode, not just casually), I have some advice on how to handle the 'Bo problem'.
As fans of the show know, the character of Bo Brady, portrayed by Peter Reckell, hasn't been seen in Salem since October 2012. At first, the show did not address his absence. Characters mentioned seeing him offscreen, so his presence was still felt. After a while it became sort of ridiculous, as he kept missing important events and holidays.
Finally we were told that he had left town on a top-secret mission to bring down Salem's notorious criminal Stefano DiMera. More time passed and this turned into a larger, even MORE top-secret mission involving a bigger crime syndicate. Almost a year and a half later, Bo sent Hope a letter (via John Black, who hasn't had much to do himself) explaining that he did not know when (if?) he would be returning home.
All of this extremely loose storytelling was apparently conceived to explain Peter Reckell's absence on the show. I'm guessing producers hoped they could lure him back after a year or so, so they kept the story open for his return. But it seems Reckell is holding his ground. One reason he left was because he was fed up with back-burner story lines; Reckell made it known that if he was going to appear on the show, he wanted more screen time. Being an actor, he wants to act.
Well, perhaps the silver lining in the gray, GRAY cloud of Alison Sweeney's imminent departure is that maybe there is hope for Peter Reckell's return–the loss of the show's biggest star surely means more screen time (and more money in the budget) for other cast members. I'm sure there have already been talks with Reckell about finally coming back. This would be welcome news to any true fan of Days, because it's been depressing watching Hope without Bo. Don't get me wrong–Kristian Alfonso is a superstar in her own right, owning the screen in any scene in which she appears.
But there's just something about 'Bo and Hope', and the chemistry between Reckell and Alfonso. We don't want to see Hope getting paired with new-crankypants-guy-in-town Aiden, or anyone else. We want to see Hope with Bo.
AND NO RECASTING. It was completely unbearable to watch when Robert Kelker-Kelly took over the role of Bo in the 90's. Nothing against Kelker-Kelly as an actor; some roles should just NOT be recast. (Case in point: can you imagine anyone else in the world taking over the role of Sami?)
So ideally, Peter Reckell will return to Days.
But...I have a better idea.
Why not a Bo & Hope spinoff? Back in the soap heyday of the 80's, there was talk of spinning off some of Days' supercouples onto another daily drama ('Pacific Lives'? 'Manhattan Lives'? 'The Sands of Time'?), but one would be CRAZY to suggest a new daytime drama in this day and age when soaps are getting canceled...right? So that's not what I'm suggesting. No–I'm talking about a prime time weekly series.
Are you paying attention, NBC?
Here's how it would work, and I'll try to keep it brief: Soon after receiving the sad news of Bo's murder (by those dastardly gangsters), Hope and Ciara are kidnapped. Roman, John, and Abe set out to find them, unaware that a very much alive Bo, working with the FBI, is behind their disappearance. The Salem cops track down the building where Hope and Ciara are (supposedly) being held, only to witness the building blow up. The town of Salem is left to grieve the entire family.
Except, of course, they are all alive. In actuality, Bo DID bring down those gangsters, and as a result, has been placed in the Witness Relocation Program by the US Government. Bo, Hope and Ciara have been moved far, far away from Salem and given new identities.
And, of course, wherever Bo and Hope go, murders and mysteries follow. One of the best times of #Bope history was when they ran their own detective agency, along with comic relief Howie Hoffstedder. This series would bring the couple back to that heyday. A new case to solve every week...
...the new Hart To Hart.
The benefits of this idea:
- Days viewers would delight in knowing the real identities of our heroes, while new viewers would still be able to enjoy the show without knowing their backstory.
- Peter Reckell would get to flex his acting muscles, as Bo and Hope are thrown into one undercover situation after another. Anyone who remembers the special 4th of July 2011 Days episode (in which Salem residents portrayed that year's Oscar nominated film characters in dream sequences) saw Reckell having the time of his life–and delivering a very impressive performance–as True Grit's 'Rooster Cogburn'. THIS is the kind of work he's been dying to do.
- If the show does not perform well in the ratings–or, in a better scenario, after running successfully for a few years–the characters would be able to be folded back into Days of Our Lives, reuniting them with their Salem friends and family.
Please give this idea a shot, NBC! I can see it as a good Saturday night series. What do you think?!