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First Impressions 2017

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  • robbalto
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    Now that 2017 is already 1/4 over, I thought this would be a good time to reflect on the current state of the soaps.

    The Young & the Restless has improved. The stories are character-driven and respectful of the show’s history. The writers are working hard to write stories for characters who were previously neglected. Despite these improvements, some fans find the show boring. I say, boring is a step up from annoying. While I enjoy much of the show, I must admit that Y&R is not exactly high-stakes. But the soap is on solid ground and has much potential. I suggest adding a younger set of characters who descend from the core families, but this will only work with a combination of compelling stories and strong actors.

    The Bold & the Beautiful continues to be the most entertaining soap, serving up an ideal combination of character-driven conflict, romance, and humor. 2016 was a good year for B&B, and they are continuing to move forward with new characters and stories. They have done a great job casting the recent newcomers, and the re-emergence of Spectra has invigorated the show. While I think it would have been strategic to postpone the Ridge/Quinn intrigue until the character of Quinn was on more solid footing, there is no denying the rhythm of the 30-minute soap.

    Days of Our Lives is a mixed bag of touching storytelling and nonsensical, implausible drivel. The quality from episode to episode is widely variable, depending on the focus for the day. However, the show seems more stable than it was last year. They are still cursed with the reality of filming months ahead, but they are always striving to make changes for the better (though these attempts are not always met with success). The anticipated tenure of Ron Carlivati as Head Writer is sure to bring more exciting changes this summer.

    General Hospital is pretty much a throwback to GH 2005. If you are into the plot-driven, criminal-laden model for GH, you may be enjoying the show. However, if you are seeking a contemporary, character-driven, steamy medical drama, you are out of luck. GH is stuck in the past and TPTB have done nothing to move the show forward. From the perspective of narrative storytelling, the show is reasonably stable, but I do not enjoy most of the characters nor the show’s overall style. For me, GH feels like the least sophisticated of the four serials.

    Overall, I commend B&B and Days for continually moving forward. I commend Y&R for improving the show’s style and tone, but I think more substantial changes are needed. I don’t know what to say about GH; they do not appear to be making any effort to improve the show, and I do not enjoy watching it anymore.

    My ranking so far for 2017:

    1. B&B

    2. Y&R

    3. Days

    4. GH

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    EmmyLoser
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    Great post, robbalto. I’ll add my two cents for what it’s worth.

    In 2016, I spent a decent amount of time watching all the soaps, and I found B&B head and shoulders above the others. DAYS was frequently awful — characters no one wanted to see in stories no one wanted to see that weren’t even well executed — particularly from February through the end of summer. Y&R was frankly far more watchable for me than it had been any time I’d tuned in during the previous few years, but was still kind of dull and tedious, and eventually I just had too much of the whole Victor Newman thing. GH’s problems have been enumerated ad nauseum on these boards, and I dropped it. B&B gets credit for being fun, executing stories I liked seeing, and not focusing largely on a man who commits whatever crimes he wants, often with terrible results for the people around him, and either suffers no consequences or, probably worse, plays the martyr when he has to spend a little time facing the consequences of his actions. With that in mind, here’s what I’ve thought in 2017 so far:

    GH – I’ve only watched a few episodes of GH, early in the year when Blake Berris was filling in as Spinelli. The show seemed to have more or less the same problems it did when I stopped watching it, so it’s easily at the bottom of the list.

    Y&R – I have about a month and a half of episodes of Y&R on my DVR. I intended to watched a few scenes here and there and just get a sense of what’s going on, but any time I start watching an episode, I’m too drawn in by one of the stories, and end up watching almost the whole episode, despite not really having the time. I haven’t found the things I’m watching (mostly things involving Lauren, Ashley, Jack, Gloria, Hillary, Mariah) at all boring. The hard thing for me with this show now is that there are some characters that I’m just tired of or just don’t like in their current incarnations, so I skip their scenes altogether (Victor, Nikki, Sharon, Chelsea, Victoria, Billy – Phyllis only escapes because she’s always in scenes with someone else I really like). If I could be brought around to wanting to see these characters, the show would be aces as far as I’m concerned. I’m already liking Cane and Lily (who characters I’ve never really cared for) much more than before, so there’s hope.

    DAYS – It’s a little frustrating for me because I feel like most of the things on the show are working well enough, and some are great. But the things that aren’t working tend to dominate show, drag down other stories, and push developments, characters and interactions I want to see into the margins. The ‘war between the families,’ for example, is dragging down almost any other story or character it touches. Outside of that, there’s romance and desire, humor and fun, secrets and lies, friends and family, history and heartache, anguish and turmoil, all the right ingredients. If the show could get its story flow and storyline priorities together, it would be doing really well IMO.

    B&B – The show is still a lot of fun, and the new characters have been welcome additions. But I don’t think it’s doing as well as it was in 2016. Less exciting, less thrilling, more things that don’t really make sense, more characters being irritating. Overall, though, the show is still very enjoyable.

    So, while I’d rank GH last, I’m hesitant to put the other three in any real order right now.

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    FreemanGriffin
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    I wonder why I was not able to “like” robbalto’s original post??? I am liking it here! (: Really well written and thoughtful and that was also the case with EmmyLoser’s response as well (:

    I will go in alphabetical order:

    B&B. I love the humor, think the Spectras are a wonderful addition, enjoy the show’s pace and half hour format, yet… I am really unhappy with how they have thrown Quinn under the bus with Ridge, Wyatt has been thrown down in favor of Liam, too many characters are MIA for too long a time period, characters I don’t like get too much air time, and the show is not as good as it was in 2016, where it was dominated by Rena Sofer’s Quinn, who owned the show for me.

    Days: my mixed feelings have to do with the fact that I love so many of the characters and actors and enjoy it when they are on but I truly despise so many of the characters and stories that are front and center. I am really happy that Paul and Sonny is happening. And Greg Vaughan’s Eric is nothing short of astonishing. I love Adrienne, Lucas, Maggie, Victor, Marlena, Sonny, Paul, Nicole (hate the story though; I want her to WIN), yet the show is so often painful to watch ):

    GH: so mixed. I enjoy it despite myself sometimes. I know it’s sloppy but at least the melodrama means something is happening. And I love Nancy Lee Grahn SO much that I can even watch this ridiculous Julexis obsession TPTB have. Again, like Days, I love so many of the characters and actors that I forgive the show’s insanity.

    Y&R: the steadiest of the four shows, so much improved, yet… like robbalto says there is no urgency to watching the show. It’s all solid but somehow not all that compelling. I have enjoyed Lauren a great deal lately and I adore Mariah and Sharon. yet…. IDK, it just isn’t great soap for me. Even so…

    1. Y&R
    2. B&B
    3. GH
    4. Days

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