With 2013 coming to an end (finally), here’s a look back at all the best and worst moments to hit our favourite daytime soaps. All My Children and One Life to Live were resurrected for a few short months, General Hospital and The Young and the Restless celebrated milestones while Days of our Lives and The Bold and the Beautiful shook things up. Robin finally returned to Port Charles, Dylan turned out to be Nikki’s long-lost son in Genoa City, Ridge came back to Los Angeles as a Red Wings fan and Kristen raped a priest in Salem!
Best: All soaps rise in viewers
General Hospital, Days of our Lives, The Bold and The Beautiful and even The Young and the Restless saw ratings rise in the U.S. After years of reading news stories about cancellations and the decline of the American soaps, it was refreshing to see such positive spin for all four network soaps.
DAYS, GH and B&B all experienced a creative resurgence, while Y&R celebrated 40 years on air and 25 years at number one. Meanwhile, GH celebrated 50 years…
Best: General Hospital’s 50th Anniversary and the Nurses Ball
The biggest moment in soaps this year was when Port Charles saw the return of the Nurses Ball for General Hospital’s 50th anniversary in April. Executive producer Frank Valentini and head writer Ron Carlivati saw the returns of fan favourites, including Genie Francis (Laura), Vanessa Marcil (Brenda), Ingo Rademacher (Jax), Jacklyn Zeman (Bobbie), Kin Shriner (Scotty), Rick Springfield (Noah/himself), Jack Wagner (Frisco), Denise Alexander (Lesley) and Rachel Ames (Audrey).
With Lucy’s (Lynn Herring) help, Sabrina’s (Teresa Castillo) dream of reinstating the Nurses Ball in Robin’s (Kimberly McCullough) honour was finally realized and we got to see PC’s Cinderella, err- Ugly Betty, transform into a princess and get Patrick (Jason Thompson)…even if that nasty Britt (Kelly Thiebaud) showed up with a baby bump.
Best and Worst: All My Children & One Life to Live return – but wait, they’re cancelled again
Cancelled ABC soaps All My Children and One Life to Live finally found their way back to fans earlier this year on Hulu, iTunes and FX Canada…
Well, the fun only lasted for a couple of weeks. Prospect Park announced that they were changing the distribution model and cutting the episode orders, thus voiding its deal with Canadian specialty channel FX Canada, leaving Canadians to only watch the last batch of episodes on iTunes. While the soaps did make it on air in the U.S. via OWN, it would soon be announced that One Life to Live would be shelved indefinitely due to a lawsuit Prospect Park filed against ABC for allegedly attempting to sabotage the plans of the online reboot. Months later, AMC’s Debbi Morgan (Angie) took to social media to announce that All My Children was also cancelled, according to Prospect Park’s lawyer.
Best: Jeanne Cooper’s tribute on The Young and the Restless
The Young and the Restless and the television community lost iconic actress Jeanne Copper this past May. Y&R wasted no time by producing a special stand-alone-episode that eulogized Katherine Chancellor’s portrayer featuring Jess Walton (Jill), Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki), Eric Braeden (Victor), Christian LeBlanc (Michael), Tracey E. Bregman (Lauren), Stephen Nicholas (Tucker), Heather Tom (ex-Victoria; Katie, B&B) and Cooper’s real-life-son, Corbin Bernsen (Father Todd).
Worst: Katherine Chancellor’s memorial on The Young and the Restless
Unfortunately, Kay Chancellor didn’t get the same tribute that Jeanne Cooper got. While writers has months to prepare, they came up with some plot involving that Katherine had passed away in Hong Kong after travelling the world, sending postcards to her loved ones. While we got returns — Michael Damien (Danny), Patty Weaver (Gina) and Adrienne Frantz (Amber), all we can remember was Paul (Doug Davidson) marry Christine (Lauralee Bell) AT THE DAMN SERVICE! Cooper passed away on May 8th and the memorial service didn’t air until the first week of September. That gave former head writer Josh Griffth plenty of time to come up with a proper tribute. It was also enough time to let producer Jill Pharren Phelps to locate one of the MacKenzie Brownings – I mean there were four of them. There’s no way Katherine’s granddaughter would have missed her memorial service.
Fans have also been less than pleased about what’s happened since the great dame of Genoa City’s passing. Katherine left some stupid music box to Jill, Chancellor Industries to Victor and most of her fortune to Devon… such a cruel joke.
Worst: The ELQ Pickle Fiasco on General Hospital
Quartermaine fans hoping for some ELG stories on General Hospital were left with a bad taste in their mouth as Tracy (Jane Elliot) and AJ’s (Sean Kanan) relish showdown came to a halt on an episode of “The Chew” (Really, ABC?).
Also, with Franco/Kiki no longer Quatermaines and AJ out of jail, does Tracy still have enough votes to be CEO? Here’s hoping we get some REAL Q’s in 2014.
Best: The Brooke/Bill/Katie triangle on The Bold and the Beautiful
Triangles have been done to death…especially on The Bold and the Beautiful, another round of Hope/Liam/Katie or now Liam/Hope/Wyatt anyone? But the scandalous pairing of Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang) and Bill (Don Diamont) proved quite successful. You felt sorry for Katie (Heather Tom) even though she pushed her husband and sister together during her bought with post-partum depression last year, but you still couldn’t get mad at Brooke and Bill for finally getting together.
And then you thought it was over, when Bill dumped Brooke and took Katie back…but it was just a rouse, you know – Bill just wanted his company back!
Best: Ridge returns to The Bold and the Beautiful
How do you improve on Brooke/Bill/Katie? By adding a fourth. Welcome back Ridge Forrester! With All My Children back in heaven, Brad Bell made the controversial decision to finally recast the role of the Forrester heir with Thorsten Kaye (who debuted earlier this month). Ridge 2.0 has been well received (as long as you don’t ask Ronn Moss’ wife), and it looks like he’ll be bonding with Katie in the next little while after finding out his precious Logan has replaced him with Dollar Bill. I guess those speedos were way too small for a stallion.
Best: JJ and Theresa cause trouble on Days of our Lives
Ask any Days of our Lives fan what has possibly been the worst pairing in recent memory and they’d tell you it was Jennifer (Melissa Reeves) and Daniel (Shawn Christian). But who knew it would leave to such great foils angsty teenager JJ Deveraux (Casey Moss) and angsty twentysomething
Jeannie Theresa Donovan (Jen Lilley)?! These two druggies made us actually watch instead of fast forward!
Best: Britt is Faison and Dr. Obrecht’s daughter on General Hospital
Paternity storylines have plagued daytime for years but it was refreshing to find out that meanie Dr. Britt Westbourne (Kelly Thiebaud) is actually the spawn of Dr. Liesl Obrecht (the superb Kathleen Gati) and the infamous Cesar Faison (Anders Hove). The paternity reveal added a new dimension to Patrick (Jason Thompson) and Sabrina’s (Teresa Castillo) one-time foil…plus Britt and Nik (Tyler Christopher) as a couple? Wyndemere Castle heirs unite!
Worst: Dylan is Nikki’s son on The Young and the Restless
There are some paternity or maternity plots that make sense, like the one above but then there are others that try to further shove an already unlikeable character down the throats of viewers. When former General Hospital star Steve Burton (ex-Jason) joined The Young and the Restless war vet / Avery’s old flame, Dylan McAvoy, it wreaked nepotism from Jill Farren Phelps. The character didn’t really take off (surprise, surprise) but instead of cutting Burton loose (and saving big bucks, since, allegedly, Sony pays him to fly in and out of Nashville to LA), JFP managed to have her pet tied to a legacy character…not just any character, but Melody Thomas Scott’s Nikki Newman… You see, Nikki was impregnated by the cult leader in the ‘70s and nobody (especially the viewers – the same viewers who watched back then and today) noticed.
Best: Maura West cast as Ava Jerome on General Hospital
The best thing to come out of the Prospect Park vs. ABC lawsuit which saw the exit and reintroduction of Michael Easton (John McBain/Silas Clay), Kristen Alderson (Starr Manning/Kiki Jerome) and Roger Howarth (Todd Manning/Franco) was the casting of Maura West as Ava Jerome, the character that was tied to all three of the new “Llanview Three” characters.
Leave it to the former As the World Turns actress to take what was supposed to be a five-episode role and turn it into one of the most intriguing soap characters of 2013. West has had chemistry with every single male co-star that she has interacted with. Once again, Y&R’s loss is GH’s gain.
Worst: Phyllis’ exit and other exits at The Young and the Restless
It’s no secret that Y&R’s backstage politics has plagued the soap for years… but this past year, it seems like things just got so much worse. We knew there would be exits coming when Sony and CBS hired Jill Farren Phelps. Yes, half the industry just loves working with her but the audience always suffers (See Maureen Bauer on Guiding Light, Ryan Harrison & Frankie Frame on Another World, the Quartermaines on General Hospital). We understood the exits in early 2013 (Stephen Nichols, out – Genie Francis, also out – but hey, she was able to go back to GH50) and we prayed Dylan wouldn’t eat up much of the airtime (God didn’t hear us). But then the big exits came. Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) was the first to quit. Then TPTB and Billy Miller (Billy) couldn’t negotiate the outs that he wanted (apparently, Burton’s airfare was easier to negotiate). Recently, it’s been announced that Michael Muhney will also be leaving the role of Adam in January. While there’s a nasty rumour of Muhney’s departure, no one is coming out and shedding any light on it but it’s all so hush-hush and strange…I’m surprised CBS hasn’t just broadcast the security camera footage from the studio, I’m sure it would be less depressing to watch than actual Y&R.
While Muhney’s exit and the Billy switch (David Tom will return to the role) won’t hit screens until early 2014, Stafford’s exit was pretty hard to swallow by fans. Who would have thought that the great Phyllis Summer would plunge down a flight of stairs by the hands of the clepto hair-chewing child bridge Sharon (Sharon Case)? A coma? Seriously?!
Best: Kristen rapes Eric, video is broadcast at wedding on Days of our Lives
Speaking of vixens…we can’t forget about Eileen Davidson’s powerhouse performance as Kristen Blake DiMera (almost Black Black) on Days of our Lives. After successfully seducing Brady (Eric Martsolf) away from his parents – her former love John (Drake Hogestyn) and nemesis Marlena (Deidre Hall), Kristen then set her sights on Marlena’s other son, Eric (Greg Vaughan). She donned a black wig and found a way into the father’s hotel room in the capital and raped the man! She also got it all on tape. Months later, the tape is shown at her wedding to Brady. It was probably the most ridiculous thing to happen on soaps all year (and General Hospital even had look-alike masks!) BUT IT WORKED.
We were treated to powerhouse performances by Martolf, Vaughan and Davidson when Marlena and Victor’s (John Aniston) played the video at Brady and Kristen’s wedding. Sad that DAYS and Davidson couldn’t work out a deal to have her stick around the soap. But hey, there’s always 2014.
Worst: Delia’s hit and run on The Young and the Restless
Don’t trust a soap when they strangely increase the presence of a child character. Delia (Sophie Pollono) was always on, being all cute and having the audience fall in love with her. Next thing we know, she’s the victim of a hit and run – a storyline that has made The Young and the Restless depressing and difficult to watch for months now.
Best: Robin’s return on General Hospital
When Kimberly McCullough announced her plans to leave her role as Robin Scorpio-Drake on General Hospital in early 2012, fans were heartbroken…even more so when the show’s regime at the time (Bob Guza and JFP) planned on having Robin die (for real). When the new regime came on board, they quickly worked with McCullough to change the story and have Robin appear alive (but kidnapped). We then went on this journey that saw Robin move from a Swish clinic to Corinth, PA to the Cassadine Island in Greece along with General Hospital’s League of Supervillains whenever McCullough was able to return to taping a few episodes while she was working on her career as a director. Earlier this year, it was announced that McCullough would finally be returning to GH full time (not sure how long, but she’s back for now) and that Robin would finally reunite with her loved ones.
Robin was first discovered on his family’s island by her friend Nikolas and then returned to Port Charles to continue to work on an antidote for Jerry Jacks (Sebastian Roche) who was suffering from polonium poisoning. We then got the big tear-jerking reunions with Robin, Robert (Tristan Rogers) and Anna (Finola Hughes) and then had to wait some more for her to reunite with her daughter, Emma (Brooklyn Rae Silzer), husband Patrick (Jason Thompson).
Sure, back from the dead stories are so clichéd and done, but when you’ve got people like Valentini and Carlivati’s who understand and respect the genre and the fans, along with performers like McCullough, Hughes, Thompson and Rogers, you’ll yell, scream and cry while watching your favourite soap.
Disagree? Agree? Did I miss anything? Sound off on the comments.