Port Charles is an American soap opera that aired on ABC from June 1, 1997 to October 3, 2003. The show was a spinoff of General Hospital and, like the mothership, was set in fictional Port Charles, New York. The show was an attempt by ABC to shore up its 12:30 Eastern timeslot (which had been filled for years by the troubled soaps Loving and its spin-off The City) to better compete with CBS's hit, The Young and the Restless.
In its original incarnation, the show was a typical American soap opera, focusing primarily on a group of interns working in Port Charles General Hospital. Several long-running characters from General Hospital (Lucy Coe, Kevin Collins and Scotty Baldwin) were transplanted to the new show to clearly tie the spin-off back to the mothership.
Two years into the show, the focus of Port Charles changed dramatically, introducing supernatural & gothic elements such as angels, werewolves, witchcraft, time traveling and vampires; with its new focus, the show more closely resembled a modern day version of Dark Shadows.
Finally, in 2000, the show moved from traditional, open-ended storylines to a structure that resembled a telenovela. Storylines were told over thirteen-week story arcs (termed books by the creators).
This series provides examples of:
- Actor Allusion: Debbie Morgan plays a doctor on this show (Ellen Burgess), just as she played on Loving/The City and All My Children (Angie Hubbard) for roughly a decade prior.
- Alternate Universe: An arguable example in its supernatural days. While closely tied to General Hospital during its first two years, once Port Charles moved to telling stories about vampires and werewolves, very little of the action on Port Charles impacted General Hospital and vice versa. Until the Crossover, that is....
- Babies Ever After: The series ends with Alison pregnant with Caleb's baby.
- Big Good: Would anyone ever believe that Cloudcuckoolander Lucy Coe ended up being part of a bloodline of Vampire Slayers, alongside her Cousin Rafe, unable to do so anymore though having died in his last stand off against Caleb, and only acting as her guardian angel, and the only one able to defeat Caleb not once, or twice but three times?
- Broken Pedestal: Julie's crushed to learn her father's been cheating on her mother left and right for years, possibly even driving her brother to suicide when one of his conquests included his own girlfriend.
- Celebrity Paradox: Despite the show being a General Hospital spinoff, set in the very same hospital and town as its parent series, at one point, a character was watching TV and the "General Hospital" theme was clearly audible.
- Citizenship Marriage: The show paired this with Honor-Related Abuse when Ian married Amahl to prevent her from being deported back to the Middle Eastern country that she fled after being raped, knowing that her family would seek to kill her to restore their reputation.
- Crossover: The show's supernatural storylines were brought into continuity on General Hospital during the winter of 2013 - though given a somewhat non-supernatural explanation at the end. then another twist at the very last minute that switches the story back to a supernatural thriller cliffhanger
- During its earlier years, before the supernatural tint, characters from GH would occasionally show up on PC and vice versa.
- Once the show premiered, GH's annual Nurses Ball would start on PC, with the action picking up right were it left off on GH, and vice versa. Unfortunately, this caused a problem for viewers in markets that didn't air PC or aired it in a different time slot, sometimes well after GH.
- Continuity Snarl: Debbie Morgan plays Ellen Burgess, despite the show being a spinoff of General Hospital, which was established as being part of a Shared Universe with Loving/The City and All My Children, three shows where she played Angie Hubbard.
- Daddy's Girl: Julie. Even becoming a doctor like he is. It's then subverted in that she doesn't want anyone to know she's his daughter, even using her mother's maiden name as her last name, because she wants to succeed on her own merits.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Matt claimed to have been paralyzed in a skiing accident. But when an x-ray showed a bullet lodged in his back, it was soon revealed that his father was a mob chief and that he had been caught in the crossfire between his and a rival mob family. He moved to Port Charles both out of anger and for his safety.
- Disabled Love Interest: Matt to Grace, even though they never slept together, and to Ellen. Before they consummate their relationship, he makes it clear that his injuries do not affect his ability to perform sexually.
- For Want of a Nail: During the show's time travel arc, Frank communicates with a teenage girl in the 1970's, urging her not to go to a party where she'll lose her virginity and kick off a lifelong downward spiral. It turns out that the girl in question was Karen Wexler's mother and Frank's well-meaning advice has resulted in her not being conceived and therefore never existing. Even worse, her mother ends up screwed up anyway.
- Hospital Hottie: Everyone.
- Inspirationally Disadvantaged: Matt. It helps that his actor was paralyzed in Real Life. Even better, he was given storylines that could have easily been written for an able-bodied actor.
- Ironic Name: The show is called Port Charles, after the town it's set in, when most of the action takes place in the hospital and focuses on the doctors and nurses working there. (Strangely, this is a reversal of the situation with its parent show, called General Hospital even though most of the action takes place in the surrounding town).
- Left Hanging: The show ended on an unresolved cliffhanger, since its taping structure did not allow the writers to wrap up the existing storylines. Averted in 2013, when General Hospital revisited the final storyline and provided (some) resolution.
- Likes Older Women: Matt regarding Ellen, and Chris, who seduces Julie's mother.
- Not of This Earth: The odd watches carried by angels. Victor's lab cannot identify the metal.
- Posthumous Character: Ellen has several flashbacks of her friend Dr. Falk, murdered in the pilot episode.
- Real-Life Relative: Lynn Herring's (Lucy) Real Life husband Wayne Northup played Rex, Serena's kidnapper.
- Required Spinoff Crossover: Inverted. Despite this show being a Spin-Off of General Hospital, it's characters from this show who would occasionally turn up on it's parent program, though this trope was sometimes played straight also.
- Shared Universe: Aside from it's parent show, Ian Thornhart being the twin brother of Patrick Thornhart meant with One Life to Live too.
- Ship Sinking: Joe and Karen, intended to be the show's signature couple, ended up fizzling out when the writers threw too much drama at them. This happened to nearly all the couples that the show initially developed—Frank and Julie, Chris and Eve (never even got beyond flirtation, despite an obvious mutual attraction).
- Spin-Off: Of General Hospital.
- STD Immunity: Joe has a fling with a nurse who later discovers that she's HIV positive. After three blood tests, he's satisfied that he hasn't contracted it. (The risk of female-to-male transmission is lower than the other way around and if they used a condom, the risk is even lower).
- Where da White Women At?: Alison and Jamal. Her being rich and him being poor didn't help matters.
- Whole Plot Reference: The show kicked off with the abduction of Scott's daughter Serena, in a storyline very reminiscent of the film Ransom, right down to Scott screaming " Give me back my daughter!"