December 30, 2015 at 11:08 pm #429967
Sadly, this was another year in which my already dwindling attention to soaps continued to dither, due to what I perceive as a lack of creative storytelling, a preference for plot and tired gimmicks over character, and a sorry lack of genuine romance and emotion. Y&R continued a downward spiral with a ridiculous doppelgänger storyline; the ruining of Victor and Neil, and the continued ruining of Sharon; and a bunch of lame disaster plots and computer viruses and overall ridiculousness that William J. Bell would be ashamed of. GH continues to waste most of its more talented cast members, continues to prop up mobsters and use silly villains, and is simply unwatchable for me anytime Sonny Corinthos is on screen. B&B struck gold with the ‘Maya is transgender’ storyline and the introduction of the Avant family. And at least its consistent. However, the constant merry-go-round of women between Wyatt and Liam is oh so boring. And finally, DOOL remains the most enjoyable show, with a deep respect for history and characters I love and can relate to. I question some of the story choices of the current regime and find that I miss many aspects of the previous writers’ approach to story and character. But at least I tune in and see characters who act like actual people with real relationships to one another.
Now that sounded a bit negative, but honestly I love this genre and am very sad to see its current state. Here it is, in no particular order and with more details when I was inspired to, my list of the best and worst on soaps in 2015.
Most Wasted Return: Bo (DOOL)
If the powers that be at Days knew that Peter Reckell was only committing to a short-term stint, why in the name of everything that is holy did they completely waste his precious time on the show by having him be chained up for weeks rather than enjoying time with his Fancy Face and the rest of his family. Unbelievable.
Best Love Triangle: Lucas/Adrienne/Justin
Three mature adults dealing with infidelity, grief, love, nostalgia, and with their sons married to each other. All three performers (Judi Evans, Bryan Dattilo and Wally Kurth) delivered great performances bolstered by very human dialogue and solid storytelling.
Best Couple: –TIE– Maya and Rick (B&B), and Chad and Abby (DOOL)
Most Tiresome Romantic Hero: Liam (B&B)
Need I saw more… this guy’s ping-pong with women makes him annoying and not credible anymore as a romantic lead. With is too bad because he is played by such a great charismatic actor.
Worst Case of “Out with the Old, In with the New”: The new writers at DOOL seemed to have something personal against the previous regime, doing away almost mindlessly with a lot of excellent parts of the show that the previous writers had worked with. OK, so Serena and Xander were pretty useless, but Kassie De Paiva’s Eve is an excellent character that will leave a big hole, the brilliantly human Lucas-Adrienne-Justin triangle suddenly disappeared from our screens, and it was a great dis-service to viewers to needlessly trash the character of Aiden after many people had invested in that romance… especially if Bo was leaving anyway!
Best New Family: The Avants (B&B)
LOVE THEM! And B&B got the casting coup of the year with Anna Maria Horsford, Obba Babatundé and Reign Edwards.
Most Promising Couples for the New Year: Gabi and JJ (DOOL), Zende and Nicole (B&B)
Worst of the Worst:
(1) Michael’s unrealistic and lame reconciliation with Sonny undid a lot of brilliant story that had finally demonstrated consequences for Sonny’s criminal behavior. It was ridiculous and another example of years of this show propping up mobster and murderer Sonny Corinthos. This reconciliation made me physically sick.
(2) DOOL’s decision to kill off Will Horton. So unnecessary.
Most Tiresome Villains: Andre (DOOL) and Ian (Y&R)
Worst Goodbye: Luke (GH)
Seriously… Luke’s last scene was with Sonny… SONNY?!?!??! And with a conversation was all about Sonny taking care of Port Charles or something like that. Ugh…!
Worst Doppelgänger/Evil Twin/Lookalike/Etc: –TIE– Marco (Y&R) and Denise (GH)
A Peruvian drug lord without a Peruvian name, this stupid plot made Phyllis and all the Abbotts look like idiots and turned Victor ever more cartoonish. And on GH, it’s really hard to make Maura West unwatchable but the writers managed to do so with this stupid tale.
Best Use of Veterans: DOOL
Consistent, compelling, organic involvement of Maggie, Victor, Doug, Julie, Caroline and Stefano. Loving the recent Maggie-Victor-Caroline story.
Missing in Action: Shane, or at least Kimberly, should have come for Paige’s funeral on DOOL. Would have been nice to have Kimberly also try to talk sense to Theresa. I love performer Patsy Pease. She should have also been at Bo’s funeral.
Most Rushed Story: In about 24 hours DOOL had the Bicentennial Ball, Hope and Aiden’s wedding, then Hope almost gets killed by Aiden, gets saved by Bo, they had a welcome back party for Bo, and Ciara wanted her parents to get married. They should have taken their time.
Biggest Shocker: Aly’s Death (B&B)
I really didn’t expect that they would actually kill her. Even though the story was compelling, I still think it was a big mistake to kill off Thorne’s only child.
Best New Business Ventures: Theresa, Kate and Nicole work together at Basic Black (DOOL), and Maxie and Nina work together on Crimson (GH)
Best Reunion: Jonathan Jackson (Lucky, GH) and Tony Geary (Luke, GH)’s scenes together were absolutely perfect. One of the best father-son relationships in the history of soaps. Thanks JJ for returning!
Worst Father: Ridge (B&B)
Well, that’s one way to overlook the fact that your son slept with your bride… claim his baby as your own!
Most Ruined Character (Female): Elizabeth (GH) and Kelly (Y&R)
Most Ruined Character (Male): Nikolas and Dante (GH)
Best Portrayals of Grief: Kassie De Paiva, Bryan Dattilo and Alison Sweeney (Eve, Lucas and Sami, DOOL), Kelly Sullivan and Joshua Morrow (Sage and Nick, Y&R)
Worst Breakup: Lulu and Dante (GH)
Dante’s infidelity was completely out of character and stupid, and then the way the relevation happened was incredibly undignified (and made an ass out of Dillon). Emme Rylan and Dominic Zamprogna nailed the subsequent scenes, but they nevertheless rang hollow for me because such a good couple was ‘broken up’ in such an unrealistic, character-assassinating way.
Best Friendship: Neil and Nikki (Y&R)
Best Non-Couple: Mariah and Kevin (Y&R)
Great chemistry between Camryn Grimes and Greg Rikaart. I loved the scenes where they discussed how their sex wasn’t that great.
Best Vixen: Jen Lilley (Theresa, DOOL)
Best Case of Good Riddance: Clyde Weston (DOOL)
Boy was I glad to see this creep go.
Worst “Things:” The elephant statues (DOOL), the neckties (DOOL — why neckties?!), and the Paragon virus (Y&R)
Outstanding Lead Actor: Justin Hartley (Gabriel/Adam, Y&R)
Runner-Up: Billy Flynn (Chad, DOOL)
Outstanding Lead Actress: Finola Hughes (Anna, GH)
At times the only saving grace for GH, she consistently demonstrates dignity, strength and complexity. Completely nailed her scenes with a dying Duke and her subsequent struggle and guilt over her (non-) murder of Carlos.
Runner-Up: Kristian Alfonso (Hope, DOOL)
Outstanding Supporting Actor: Kristoff St. John (Neil, Y&R)
I did not like the way the writers turned Neil into a criminal, but his turn to the dark side has only held up due to the excellent work by this talented veteran.
Runners-Up: Bryan Dattilo (Lucas, DOOL), Doug Davidson (Paul, Y&R)
Outstanding Supporting Actress: –TIE– Judi Evans (Adrienne, DOOL) and Kassie DePaiva (Eve, DOOL)
Runners-Up: Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki, Y&R), Lauralee Bell (Christine, Y&R), Jessica Collins (Avery, Y&R), Deidre Hall (Marlena, DOOL) and Mary Beth Evans (Kayla, DOOL)
Outstanding Younger Actor: Casey Moss (JJ, DOOL)
The most relatable young male on soaps.
Outstanding Younger Actress: Brooklyn Rae Silzer (Emma, GH)
Runner-Up: Reign Edwards (Nicole, B&B)
WISHES FOR 2016
B&B: Liam sticks to one girl for an entire year and gets a storyline that uses the charism and charm of Scott Clifton without making him a total douche. Wyatt gets a romantic interest that has nothing to do with his brother. Brooke gets a good storyline (it was fine to put the character to rest for a bit, but it’s time for her to shine again).
DOOL: I remain hopeful with the upcoming cast additions (Vincent Irizarry and Jordi Vilasuso) but would wish that both Kassie De Paiva (Eve) and Greg Vaughn (Eric) stay on board.
GH: My wish every year is for the character of Sonny to either disappear or face some real consequences. More of Brad and Lucas, Sabrina, Tracy, Anna, Monica, Maxie, Nathan and Olivia. Less Morgan, Kiki, Ava, Franco, Paul, violence.
Y&R: Dump Dylan (Steve Burton). Victor Newman is written as the complex person that he is, not a one-note villain. Some solid writing leads to Neil facing the music for his actions and getting real redemption, hopefully bringing back Shemar Moore (Malcolm) for a short-term stint and Tonya Williams (Olivia) permanently. Jill Foster Abbott (Jess Walton) is back to kick some ass. And I would love to see some old familiar supporting faces turn up to bring more of a sense of history and warmth to the show (including Miguel the Newman butler, Gina Roma, Traci Abbott, Paul’s mother Mary, John Silva,…)December 31, 2015 at 1:58 pm #429969
I agree with 95% of your post. Don’t care for Neil on Y&R tho.
I would add:
Worst return: Steve Johnson, Days
Best to Worst writing: Days was the best and now it’s pretty much the worst ):
Ohter stories I hated: Neil/Hillary/Devon triangle – boring!
“Jumping hte shark”: Ken Corday’s decision to kill off Will Horton ):
Worst character: Sonny Corinthos
Good riddance award; Luke Spencer
Best couple: Lucas and Adrienne, Days
Best Return: Kimberly McCullough ofr ascrubs reunion
Biggest waste of talent: Billy Miller’s dull Jason
Worst mistakes: killing off Will, but also Michael Quartermaine goes back to being Michael Corinthos ):
Best episode: Sonny is found stabbed in park and family comes to the hospital, Days
Favorite villainess: Ava Jerome, GH
Worst couples: Ridge and Caroliine, B&B; Franco and Nina, GH; Sonny and Carly, GH; Bill and Katie, B&B
Best beginning to story that fizzled out: Austin’s killing mystery
Best Actor: Freddie Smith thoroughout the Will/Paul/Sonny story
Best Actress: Kassie DePaiva esp. for grieving Paige’s death story
Best Supporting Actor: Bryan Daitllo, esp. for epi when lucas finds out that Will has been murdered
Judi Evans for Supporting Actress, for a year’s worth of brilliant perfomrances! (:
Best younger actor/actress goes to Nicholas Bechtel’s charmer Spencer and Brookyn Rae Sigler’s incredible Emma (:
GH had some incredible individual epis but didn’t do so well with the day to day ones ):
B&B had several really great stories but mostly dull vapid material ):December 31, 2015 at 3:15 pm #429970
Kudos to soapsarecool and Freeman! My thoughts are well-represented in the above two posts, so I don’t think I will even venture a Best and Worst List! But I will be back soon with my year-end ranking of the soaps with commentary and my dream ballot.January 3, 2016 at 5:21 pm #429971
So instead of doing a comprehensive list, I am just going to rank the four daytime serials and provide personal commentary on each.
Ranking this year is arguably a challenge in that all the soaps shifted in direction and tone during the course of the year. Nevertheless, I actually find it rather easy to rank them.
1. Days of Our Lives
For me, Days was the only can’t miss soap. Why? It provided entertainment and humor on a level similar to OLTL in its last five or so years. This is the first year I have ever watched Days on a daily basis. With the change in writers, the show has undergone a drastic change in tone and style. Some, such as Michael Fairman on Soaps, argue that the change was a positive one. I disagree. The show is now wildly inconsistent in terms of quality, but still provides compelling viewing. However, I miss the fun of the previous writing regime.
2. The Bold and the Beautiful
With a bold story line featuring a front-burner transgender character, a shocking story twisted by the culturally ubiquitous smartphone video, and the emergence of a young generation of characters from core families, B&B is best-positioned as a serial for the 21st century. Unfortunately, the compelling stories are divided by periods of slow, uninspired filler and repetition. Writers need to bridge that gap and to retire the character of Ridge once and for all.
3. The Young and the Restless
After a promising start to the new year, Y&R devolved into a convoluted mess in which almost all of its stories hinged upon the presence of a Jack doppelganger. I removed the show from my DVR in early May. I thought for sure this would be my bottom-ranked show for 2015, but the show upgraded from “dreadful/idiotic” to “merely boring” by the end of the year. Very little about the show interests me, but most of the characters have not sustained any permanent damage.
4. General Hospital
GH started the year as a mixed bag, yet boasted a great deal of promise. But unlike Y&R, which is now “merely boring,” GH ended the year as “excrutiatingly bad.” Rather than cite specific stories, I will simply say that the show has major issues with the characterization of numerous core characters. With GH, I often felt angry, like I’d been cheated and my intelligence insulted. Creatively speaking, the show ended the year in really bad shape.
Rather than repeat all the specifics, I decided to keep it short. I realize that many do not share my views. Days and GH are especially polarizing if the message boards are any indication. I will say this: I started watching GH in early 1980. I’ve never really watched Days, so saying that the show is my 2015 favorite feels very significant to me.January 4, 2016 at 3:56 pm #429972
I feel like my thoughts are pretty much captured by the lists above as well. I’ll do a brief ranking below:
1. Days of our Lives — I’ve been very vocal on my feelings on the changes since the new headwriting team took over, but even while I haven’t loved a lot of the newer material, I still feel that the show was very strong for the first two thirds of the year and added something not nearly as good but different in the last quarter of the year that did lead to a lot of performances that dazzled me.
2. The Bold and the Beautiful — I only tuned into B&B very sporadically in 2015, so maybe it’s not fair for me to rank it above a show of which I watched every episode, but the return on investment there was huge. The show produced a couple of buzzworthy stories that felt fresh, sensible and incredibly entertaining, which is not easy to come by in soaps these days.
3. General Hospital — I don’t find myself disliking the latter half of GH’s year as much as some do, or as much as I probably should when I look at it on paper. For me most of the show is tolerable at least, and there are a few actors who have kept me wanting to see what their characters will do next. But this was a close call for possibly last place, because I also know that a lot of the reason I continued to watch were for payoffs that were dragged out for far too long, did even happen, were really disappointing, or a combination of those three.
4. The Young and the Restless — I hardly watched any Y&R this year, and when I did, I really wasn’t very interested in most of what was happening.January 7, 2016 at 11:30 am #429973
Hey guys, thanks for the responses. It’s nice to read some thoughts and get some feedback.
I just edited my post because I had a massive brain lapse and forgot to put Bryan Dattilo as Runner-Up for Supporting Actor. Total OOPS on my part. He was excellent this year, and is woefully under-recognized.