Still going strong after 49 seasons of romances, betrayals, and all manner of melodramatic mayhem, ABC's General Hospital is the longest-running television daytime drama currently on the air. The soap series, set in the fictional burg of Port Charles, New York, has expanded its universe over its more than four decades on the air to involve settings and characters far outside the realm of its titular hospital. What began as a daily series about the lives and loves of staff members at a large metropolitan medical facility gradually evolved into a multifaceted saga featuring dozens of colorful characters from all over Port Charles.
Such is General Hospital's cultural cachet that some of its storylines have entered the popular consciousness of even non-soap viewers. The relationship of characters Luke and Laura Spencer, played by Anthony Geary and Genie Francis, became a TV touchstone and inspired daytime soap commentators to coin the term "supercouple." Though it began with a still-controversial rape scene, the courtship and marriage of Luke and Laura quickly became one of the series' most popular and enduring story threads, encompassing everything from mystery/adventure plots to psychotic episodes.
Likely owing to its status as one of daytime television's most successful shows, General Hospital has seen more than its share of A-list guest stars over the years; everyone from James Franco to Leonard Nimoy to Sammy Davis, Jr. has dropped by Port Charles at various points in the series's lifetime. General Hospital also showcased the talents of several well-known celebrities before they were famous, including John Stamos, Ricky Martin, Demi Moore, and Star Wars star Mark Hamill.
Though the heyday of soap operas has largely ended, and many of its television contemporaries have ended their runs, General Hospital remains a daytime TV staple. Having chalked up dozens of Daytime Emmy victories and generated a plethora of spin-offs, specials, and references on other shows, the series has firmly solidified its place in television history.
Season 51 (324 full episodes, 551 clips available)
Episode 450 - Fri, Dec 19, 2014
Episode 449 - Thu, Dec 18, 2014
Episode 448 - Wed, Dec 17, 2014
Jake confronts Sam about her suspicions, while Patrick later asks Sam for her forgiveness. Nathan makes a promise to Maxie. Sonny updates Shawn on the mob wars and solicits his help. Michael continues to take out his anger on Kiki, Morgan and Carly.
Episode 447 - Tue, Dec 16, 2014
Maxie learns the verdict of her custody hearing. Elizabeth confesses to Jake why Sam is suspicious of him. Obrecht visits Nathan and reveals some confidential information with him. Nikolas has a surprise guest. Olivia opens up to Ned about her feelings.
James Franco goes from one extreme to the other. The actor does some outstanding movie work and is nominated for an Oscar award, among many others awards for the season. Once he gets all of the award nominations, he goes back to his roots again in…soap operas.
Franco did a bit of work on "General Hospital" in 2009 and had so much fun he decided to try it again. He will reprise his role for some more episodes in 2011.