January 4, 2018 at 3:43 pm #1202455990
Over the course of the year, a great deal has changed in the world of daytime drama. Notably, all three hour-long shows hired new head writers. Days and Y&R have experienced the most notable shifts, while GH and B&B have also changed to a degree.
The Young & the Restless
In 2017, the show’s characterization improved and stabilized with the return of Sally Sussman just prior to the start of the year. While she did much to restore dignity to the long-running serial, the show was too slow-paced and ratings sagged. In October, Mal Young assumed Head Writing responsibilities, and the show experienced an immediate tone shift. Daily episodes were immediately filled with high-stakes disasters; the focus shifted back to the conglomerates like Newman and Chancellor; and the characters became much snarkier. Despite all these changes, there is very little that is new or exciting. Each time I watch the show, I feel as though I am reading a tabloid.
The Bold and the Beautiful
During the early part of the year, I found the show very entertaining, even though I had reservations about certain story threads. I loved the re-introduction of the Spectras and everything Quinn. Unfortunately, the quality of the stories gradually diminished throughout the year. The return of Sheila, which should have galvanized the show, was filled with one implausible twist after another. Bill’s war on Sally Spectra ended in an inexplicably unsatisfying manner. And the show hit a year-end low by focusing almost exclusively on the triangles of Bill/Steffy/Liam and Ridge/Brooke/Thorne. I do not find the show fun anymore.
Days of our Lives
During the first half of the year, the show was uneven. The stories tended to be weak, but they did have their good moments. Then in July, Ron Carlivati’s stories began airing. The humor was quickly restored to the show with an unlikely but surprisingly hilarious doppelgänger story. Old stories were wrapped up, and the focus shifted to the return of characters such as Eve, Will, Sami, and Susan Banks. The majority of actors were given great stories resulting in Emmy-worthy performances. The show made great use of history in terms of both story and character. Days has experienced a virtual renaissance. Critics and audiences alike seem very happy with the show.
In January, I made the decision to remove GH from my DVR. I tuned in every now and then, and I did not enjoy the show at all. One of the main reasons I stopped watching is because of the way the writers destroyed one of my favorite characters, Michael Quartermaine. From my perspective, that issue has yet to be corrected. Chris Van Etten became co-Head Writer, and in a recent interview his ideas sound promising. Some fans are pleased by the return of Steve Burton. I watched GH for a few weeks in December so that I could make a semi-informed assessment. I look at the show and see Jason and Sonny chasing Faison. I think to myself, are you kidding, GH? Please move the focus back to the hospital. It’s 2018. Time to grow up and move on.
1. Days of our Lives
2. The Young & the Restless
3. The Bold & the Beautiful
4. General HospitalJanuary 4, 2018 at 3:57 pm #1202456008
I agree with your rankings and with your assessments, although I did like Y&R better than you did in the first half of 2017. Ironically, I LOVED today’s episode of Y&R, but I agree with you about the snarkiness and too much emphasis on their boring businesses. Your reflections were generally spot on!
I fear that GH will once again become “The Sonny and Jason Show”. I do wish the female characters would grow up and become intelligent instead of doormats for criminals.
I find the incestuousness of B&B problematic. Everybody has relationships with their brothers and parents ex-husbands and ex-wives. While I love Quinn and Eric, I miss Quinn’s energy as a scrapper who is always in trouble!
There are several stories that I do love on Y&R, especially Dina’s story. I am starting to get interested in what will happen next, especially now that Graham has returned.
Days was on such a high that it was inevitable that there would be a feeling of letdown once there was resolution to their November sweeps stories. I am interested in what will happen next and the newcomers are nice additions to the canvas that I look forward to getting to know and see what happens. I don’t mind going on a long ride but I am team Sonny and Will (Wilson) all the way!January 5, 2018 at 10:40 am #1202456985
Thanks for these reflections, both of you! I watched DAYS all year, B&B for a portion of the year, a sampling of Y&R and hardly any GH, and I’ve generally trusted in your opinions on what might be worth checking into if I have time.
My overall impression of 2017 is that it was a positive one for soaps. The headwriter changes at Y&R (with Sally Sussman at the end of 2016), DAYS, and GH all seemed to effect positive changes in the shows. And while GH still has a bunch of problems and continues to cling to some of its most vexing tropes, my impression is that the only show that didn’t improve over the course of the year was B&B, which basically hit the course in its multi-year cycle where it focuses on stories that are some combination of ridiculously implausible, painful retread, and/or incredibly unpleasant to watch.