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Midyear Reflection

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  • robbalto
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    #1201875304

    With 2016 just past the halfway mark, this seems like a good time to assess the state of the soaps.

    Days of Our Lives has the dubious distinction of falling from the best soap in 2015 to the worst in 2016. The writing has become disjointed and tedious. And at times inexplicable. The show lacks stability. Does anyone know when the new writer’s material starts airing? It can’t begin soon enough.

    General Hospital and The Young and the Restless fall somewhere in the middle. Y&R continues the over-the-top writing of Victor Newman and it has worn thin. The show does have its moments, but it is also boring at times. In some regards, GH has improved since last fall, but the show still has major problems in storytelling and characterization. Y&R is not as frustrating as GH, but GH is not as boring as Y&R. Both shows are stuck in the past and need to move forward.

    I never thought the day would come when I named The Bold and the Beautiful as the best daytime serial, but here we are. B&B is by far the most entertaining and well-written show in 2016. The show is focused and wisely blends classic soap storytelling with contemporary elements.

    Some performers I am enjoying this year:

    B&B: Darin Brooks, Felisha Cooper, Reign Edwards, Rome Flynn, Rena Sofer, Heather Tom, Jacqueline MacInnes Wood

    Days: Brandon Beemer, John Paul Lavoisier, Jen Lilley, Martha Madison, Suzanne Rogers, Arianne Zucker

    Y&R: Camryn Grimes, Mishael Morgan, Miles Gaston Villanueva

    GH: Vinessa Antoine, Ryan Carnes, Matt Cohen, John DeLuca, Jane Elliot, Genie Francis

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    EmmyLoser
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    #1201875459

    I pretty much agree with all of this, and want to add that I have greatly enjoyed the performances of KKL (B&B) and Mara McCaffray (Y&R) as well.

    When Daytime Confidential wrote about DAYS being made to take a five-week hiatus, they said Higley/Quan’s storylines will start airing in August. Maybe they devised whatever cliffhanger the show is doing pre-Olympics. This reminds me of the DAYSaster the show did going into the 2012 Olympics, which, despite seeming cheesy at the time, really revitalized the show and ended up winning them their first drama series Emmy in decades.

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    robbalto
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    #1201905921

    The ratings for all soaps continue to fall in the W18-49 demo. Each year, more soap viewers “graduate” from this demo and their viewership is not replaced by the 18-year-olds who have edged them out. Soaps ratings seemed to level out for a while, but they are now in decline once again.

    I think part of the problem is that the hour-long soap is a dinosaur. What seemed like a good idea in 1980 is no longer viable.

    Younger viewers tend to have shorter attention spans. In general, television shows move at a much faster pace than they did several decades ago. But it’s difficult to move at a fast pace when you are producing 250 hours of original programming each year. The 30-minute format cuts the burden by 50%.

    Additionally, soaps have never been able to maintain a consistently high quality in the hour-long format. Even if you look back at the 80s and 90s, soaps almost always had at least one story thread that was not working. That is understandable, because writing 250 hour-long scripts per year is an unwieldy job.

    The only solution is to return Y&R, GH, and Days to 30-minute formats.

    One may argue that reducing the length of the shows is not economical. But if the demand for the 60-minute format is inadequate, how is it economical to produce a show that is not bringing in the desired viewers?

    Another point: cutting the hour-long soaps to 30-minutes might increase their marketability overseas. B&B stays on the air in part because of its international success.

    For CBS, the change would be easy. If they cut Y&R to 30 minutes, they would still have an hour-long soap block from 1 – 2 pm.

    NBC and ABC could each add an additional 30-minute soap or move a lone soap to the 12:30 time slot.

    If soaps were cut to 30 minutes, they would probably attract more younger viewers. They would also refocus their shows and cut the less successful story threads. They would save what works best and let go of the rest. The shows would be more focused and potentially build a more loyal viewership, assuming effective writing.

    The odds of the networks cutting the length of soaps are not good, but I hope they will consider this option prior to canceling any more soaps. The demand for soaps is admittedly limited, but I believe there is still a market available for two focused, character-driven 30-minute serials for each of three major networks.

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    FreemanGriffin
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    #1201906989

    Admittedly, I have only been watching B&B and GH lately and have been totally turned off by Days and Y&R. Busy with other things.

    Here is my personal list of pre-nominations as of August 12, 2016.

    Lead Actress:

    Sharon Case, Y&R
    Linsey Godfrey, B&B
    Nancy Lee Grahn, GH
    Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, B&B
    Kate Mansi, Days
    Rena Sofer, B&B
    Heather Tom, B&B
    Maura West, GH
    Laura Wright, GH
    Arianne Zucker, Days

    Supporting Actress:

    Vinessa Antoine, GH
    Jane Elliot, GH
    Genie Francis, GH
    Camryn Grimes, Y&R
    Anna Maria Horsford, B&B
    Jen Lilley, Days
    Melissa Reeves, Days
    Suzanne Rogers, Days
    Kirsten Storms, GH
    Kelly Sullivan, Y&R

    Lead Actor:

    John Aniston, Days
    Darin Brooks, B&B
    Tyler Christopher, GH
    Scott Clifton, B&B
    Don Diamont, B&B
    William deVry, GH
    Michel Easton, GH
    Billy Flynn, Days
    Justin Hartley, Y&R
    Joshua Morrow, Y&R

    Supporting Actor:

    Obba Babantunde, B&B
    Brandon Beemer, Days
    Ryan Carnes, GH
    Matt Cohen, GH
    John DeLuca, GH
    John McCook, B&B
    Christopher Sean, Days
    Parry Shen, GH
    Freddie Smith, Days
    Greg Vaughan, Days

    Best Younger Actress:

    Lexi Ainsworth, GH
    Camila Banus, Days
    Reign Edwards, B&B
    Haley Erin, GH
    “Sasha”, B&B

    Best Younger Actor:

    Nicholas Bechtel, GH
    Bryan Craig, GH
    Pierson Fode, B&B
    Casey Moss, Days
    Tequan Richmond, GH

    Drama Series rankings;

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

    Writing;

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

    Direction:

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

    At least that’s where I am right now; a few I don’t really like made it onto my list.

    My Best Actress is a tie between Grahn and Sofer, who both could wind up in the Supporting Actress category. All ten actresses I site have great Emmy reel possibilities.

    Supporting Actress is a toss-up for me between Missy Reeves and the great Suzanne Rogers; both have done superlative work this year.

    I place John Aniston in Lead and is my choice over Billy Flynn and Joshua Morrow. JA could just as easily be in the supporting category.

    I was blown away by Greg Vaughan’s phenomenal performances at the end of his run on Days. and he really should have won an Emmy for 2013, so it would be justice for him to win for this year.

    Bryan Craig only needs to submit the episode where Morgan begs his parents not to commit him in the psychiatric ward and he has Emmy #2.

    Lexi Ainsworth has been doing phenomenal work on GH since she has returned.

    B&B has been the most consistent but Days has had the best possible Emmy reel submissions for Series. Days has been terrible though.

    B&B has had the best and most consistent writing for 2016.

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    robbalto
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    #1201915243

    When I started this thread, GH and Y&R were more or less tied for 2nd place in my ranking. However, Y&R has been so boring since then that it has actually been trumped by GH’s weak storytelling. Meanwhile, B&B continues to impress while Days continues to wallow in storytelling hell. With just four months left in the year, my ranking for 2016 thus far:

    1. The Bold & the Beautiful

    2. General Hospital

    3. The Young & the Restless

    4. Days of our Lives

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    FreemanGriffin
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    #1201915249

    As usual, robbalto and I are in complete agreement. I am so bored by Y&R lately! B&B is the only show I am loving and GH has kept me interested with their wonderful actors delivering (or really: actresses! Nancy Lee Grahn, Lexi Ainsworth, Haley Pullos, Jane Elliot, Genie Francis, Vinessa Antoine, Robin Mattson, Leslie Charleson, Rebecca Budig, Rebecca Herbst, Kirsten Storms, Teresa Castillo, Maura West, (surprise, surprise) Hayley Erin (I didn’t like her at all for a long time but I have begun to really enjoy her work since late last year, specifically the cabin scenes with Morgan) – who have I left out? For males, Bryan Craig, Michael Easton and the underused Ryan Carnes and Parry Shen…

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    robbalto
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    #1201931581

    We are now in October and the end of the year is in sight. B&B and GH appear to be on steady ground, while Days and Y&R could be seeing big changes. Here is my analysis:

    The Bold & the Beautiful continues to astound me with its strong writing and high entertainment value. The show is easily on track to be the top soap of the year.
    Future Outlook: Very Bright

    Days of Our Lives has just transitioned to a (partially) new writing team. The quality of the show is uneven and a bit too melodramatic (which is not really unusual for Days), but the quality of the show has seen a marked uptick since the transition in writers. Days is the one show that is actually willing to take big steps toward improvement (even if their attempts do not always pan out). And with the impending return of numerous favorites, fan are looking forward to 2017.
    Future Outlook: Promising

    The Young & the Restless is incredibly boring. The return of Patty, while perhaps providing some amusing scenes with Sharon, is weak writing and rather pointless now that both of the baby’s parents have died. There really is not one good story right now. However, Sally Sussman has been hired as Head Writer and Kay Alden as a consultant. Given their history with the show, I am cautiously optimistic that they can turn it around.
    Future Outlook: Promising

    General Hospital continues to be a mixed bag with good moments but mostly poor storytelling and characterization. Unlike Days, TPTB at GH ignore the wishes of fans and refuse to make the needed adjustments to improve the show. So we can just expect more of the same for the rest of the year and beyond.
    Future Outlook: Dim

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    FreemanGriffin
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    #1201931593

    Mostly I agree with robbalto’s assessments. B&B is the best, GH is at least watchable, Days is so mixed but I resent where tehy are puting their energy and where they aren’t, and Y&R is boring me despite some wonderful actors.

    I do enjoy GH more than I probably should. Affection for the actors is probably the reason, and I don’t have the resentful feelings I often feel while watching.

    I watch two additional old soaps: The Doctors, which is in June 1972 at this point (I have watched from December 1967-June 1972 so far) is soapy fun, and The Edge of Night, where I am in 1982 independently and the new uploads are from the very end of the series, in September 1984 (the show ended in December 1984). Soaps were so much better then, and it helps that both shows were New York soaps. Occasionally I will watch an episode of Ryan’s Hope from the glory years: 1975-1983 (it did improve in 1987-early 88, but then went down in quality again).

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