It’s been quite the year for soap fans! Luckily, all four American soaps have been renewed but we’ve dealt with some big exits (like DAYS’s Alison Sweeney), soap hopping (Y&R’s Billy Miller and Michelle Stafford to GH) while B&B got to go on some pretty amazing location shoots. Sit back and enjoy 2014’s best and worst soap moments.
Best: Adam & Billy’s fiery crash on The Young and the Restless
The exits of Billy Miller and Michael Muhney in the roles of Billy Abbott and Adam Newman were quite powerful. Airing at the end of January, Billy confronted Adam over the hit and run of his daughter Delia and the car went off a cliff, with only Billy emerging from the wreckage.
While most panned the killing off of a child, the cheap move by executive producer Jill Farren Phelps did lead to some quality material for the actors involved and gave exiting stars Miller and Muhney some explosive final scenes.
Worst: The Billy recasts on The Young and the Restless
Most Y&R fans were pleased to welcome back David Tom as Billy Abbott earlier this year but could definitely agree that the chemistry Billy once had with Amelia Heinle’s Victoria (when Billy Miller) was in the role, was no longer there. Rather than try to have the characters move on from each other, Y&R attempted to solve the issue be letting Tom go. Word is that they even went on to say that Tom appeared to be too young in the role (despite Tom actually being older than Miller). Producers even attempted to lure Miller back as the Abbott playboy but to no avail.
The show announced in May that they hired Burgess Jenkins as 2014’s third Billy where the chemistry between Billy and Victoria was once again absent and rather than appearing younger, Jenkins’ version of Billy (“Grandpa Billy”) seems much older. Jenkins has also failed to emote any sadness when discussing poor dead little Delia, the 2013 plot point that has ruined Y&R for many.
Best: Michelle Stafford wakes up on General Hospital
After almost a year of rumours, former The Young and the Restless star Michelle Stafford (ex-Phyllis) joined the cast of General Hospital this past May as Nina Clay, Silas’ (Michael Easton) previously comatose wife.
The show managed to keep it under wraps until it’s reveal at the end of the episode which aired on Thursday, May 1st. The actress had stated that she didn’t want a big announcement and then have fans wait for her first appearance, so head writer Ron Carlivati told Daytime Confidential that executive produce Frank Valentini was able to slip her into an earlier show which had already been written and shot.
Bonus Points: Casting Donna Mills as Nina’s mother, Madeline Reeves.
Worst: Hope’s love life on The Bold and the Beautiful
The Bold and the Beautiful continued to revolve around the love life of Hope Logan (Kim Matula) in 2014. Should Hope be with Liam (Scott Clifton)? Or Wyatt (Darin Brooks)? Who cares. Obviously Matula no longer did and bolted when her contract ended recently.
While Matula is a great actress, a Hope-less B&B will free up some much deserved screen time for other characters like Rick (Jacob Young), Maya (Karla Mosley) and Caroline (Linsey Godfrey) — but more on that later.
Best: EJ & Abby’s affair on Days of our Lives
Tom and Alice Horton’s great-granddaughter, Abigail Deveraux (Kate Mansi), was finally interesting for a hot minute in 2014 (please take her back to this) when she had an affair with EJ DiMera (James Scott). In February, Sami (Alison Sweeney) ended up stranded in Chicago and EJ tried to blow off some steam at the company gym. After his workout, EJ went to the shower but he wasn’t alone — Abby was there to surprise him.
Mansi told us in March what filming the triangle was like: “The key to that story is that we all just had to be a team and we had to be willing to explore things that were uncomfortable. I mean, I was quite frankly a fan of Sami and EJ. When I found out [about the affair], I was like “Oh my god! I feel like my parents are getting divorced!” It’s been great, I love working with both of them and the story was a lot of fun.” The affair, especially the shower scene, did bring forth a lot f haters but also those who loved the twist: “I think that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, it shows that they are so passionate about the show and it means that we’re all doing our job and I love that they are so engaged. I wish that people would sometimes have a little bit of a conscience, though. But at the end of the day, it really has toughened up my skin, which is great.”
Worst: The Daytime Emmy Awards Pre-Show
With no television deal to broadcast this past year’s Daytime Emmy Awards on television, the organizers could have put on a proper red carpet and telecast by tapping into the existing slew of daytime soap opera experts rather than giving the microphone to vapid social media “stars.”
Streamed on the DaytimeEmmys.net for two hours before the actual award show, none of the hosts knew anything about the stars they were interviewing. Rape and race weren’t off limit for these hosts as Jessica Harlow referred to The Bold and the Beautiful’s Lawrence Saint-Victor (Carter) a “beautiful chocolate man” and actually asked him “What’s it like to be a black man on a soap opera these days?” Meanwhile, Brittany Furlan told General Hospital’s Ryan Paevey: “We’re trying to get you away from us before we rape you.”
The awards went off better than the pre-show. Everyone’s favourite moment was at the end when host Kathy Griffin told Y&R’s executive producerJill Farren Phelps to “wrap it up.”
Best: Eileen Davidson conquers daytime and primetime!
Eileen Davidson has quickly risen as one of television’s most valuable players. Fans were miffed when the actress bowed out of Days of our Lives as Kristen DiMera due to the soap’s overwhelming filming schedule but were happy to learn that she’d be returning for a couple of arcs. Then it was announced that CBS had lured Davidson back to their network so she could return full time to The Young and the Restless as Ashley Abbott. Fans and Davidosn must be thankful that since both DAYS and Y&R are produced by Sony, appearances on both soaps at the same time are possible.
That’s not all. The soap queen shocked the industry when it was announced that she would be joining fellow DAYS alum Lisa Rinna (ex-Billie) as new cast members on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills — with Davidson earning the most out of all the Beverly Hills housewives!
Worst: Ian Ward vs. Saint Dylan McAvoy on The Young and the Restless
A lesson that The Young and the Restless fails to learn. Just because you manage to nab a primetime veteran, it doesn’t mean it’ll translate to story gold. This is the show that managed to squander Ray Wise. Rather than research and bring back a villain from the show’s past, Y&R’s slew of writers (yes, because it takes multiple head writers on this program) created a super villain in Wise’s Ian Ward that the entire town was a afraid of, but none of the viewers cared.
Ian Ward was nothing but a plot device to further elevate failed character Dylan McAvoy (Steve Burton), proving that you can grab a big star from another soap, tie him to two core characters (Melody Thomas Scott’s Nikki and Doug Davidson’s Paul) but you’ll still end up with a boring vanilla barista without any layers or depth if you choose to write him as a flawless saint. Y&R hasn’t learned this lesson, Dylan’s next big storyline involves the possible gentrification of the warehouse district which houses the coffee shop Dylan has owned for a little over a year.
Best: Mariah is Cassie’s twin on The Young and the Restless
We find it hard to believe that Mariah was going to be Cassie’s twin sister from the start. This entire thing started because a CBS executive caught a glimpse of Camryn Grimes in Magic Mike and they decided to bring her back to the show as Ghost Cassie (who as you’ll remember, has had more dialogue than an alive Noah Newman). There was a point on the show when the often-mentioned but never-seen Mariah was a stalker ex-girlfriend of now-forgotten character Tyler (Redaric Williams) — who was implied to have the same complexion and features as Lily (Christel Khalil).
We were able to forgive all that and accept that Mariah is actually older than Robert Adamson’s Noah because the chemistry between Grimes, Sharon Case (Sharon) and Joshua Morrow (Nick) is still there. In a genius move, not only did they bring back Jennifer Gareis as Grace, but managed to keep the return a secret until it aired in Canada.
Best: Revolving Guest Stars and Preparing the Next Generation on General Hospital
General Hospital managed to honour its legacy this past year through a revolving door of super villains from its past. We got return stints from Cesar Faison (Anders Hove), Helena Cassadine (Constance Towers) Victor Cassadine (Thaoo Penghlis), Mikkos Cassadine (Robert Kelker-Kelly), Lord Larry Ashton (Hugo Napier), Jerry Jacks (Sebastian Roche), Johnny Zacchara (Brandon Barash), Heather Webber (Robin Mattson), Ric Lansing (Rick Hearst) and that eye-roll inducing Levi (Zachary Garred) ended up being Peter Harrell, Jr. We also got a special treat the day of the show’s 50th anniversary with Laura Wright, Sarah Brown and Tamara Braun all appearing in scenes as Carly.
In preparing for the soap’s future, General Hospital has cast charismatic actors to cultivate their next generation with Nicholas Bechtel as Spencer Cassadine, Michael Leone as Cameron Webber, Brooklyn Rae Silzer as Emma Drake and Hannah Nordberg as Josslyn Jacks. We can agree that the storyline passing (or lack thereof) of recurring favourites like Lynn Herring’s Lucy Coe, Ian Buchanan’s Duke Lavery, Jon Lindstrom‘s Kevin Collins and Kin Shriner’s Scottie Baldwin, Port Charles is a much better place with having them around as much as possible.
Worst: The lack of the ‘Young’ on The Young and the Restless
The Young and the Restless has not cultivated its younger set in over a decade. A show that brought us the “Glow by Jabot Kids” is not properly investing in its future. None of the youngsters on Y&R have any ambition. Melissa Ordway, the actress who plays Abby, has had more to do as a model on The Price is Right than on Y&R. She’s an attractive young woman and is part Newman and Abbott and yet she’s spent the year worrying if her sister Victoria (Amelia Heinle) and her uncle Billy (Billy Miller, David Tom and Burgess Jenkins) will be reuniting. You’ve got Fenmore (Max Enrich) off in college while Summer (Hunter King) is a stay-at-home married woman by age 20. Meanwhile, Nick’s (Joshua Morrow) is getting more play than his boring bartender son, Noah (Robert Adamson).
Best: Hilary’s affair with Devon on The Young and the Restless
Viewers didn’t know what hit them when The Young and the Restless paired and then quickly married Neil Winters (Kristoff St. John) with Hilary Curtis (Mishael Morgan), the woman who was hell bent on ruining his life and those around him. Thankfully for the actors involved, something hot happened — Hilary embarked on a steamy affair with Neil’s son Devon (Bryton James).
“To get this type of response from the fans this past year has just been amazing,” said James during an interview with us this past November. “It’s been great to play and the writers have done a great job at making it a real story that has had a real beginning and have given it the pace it needs to grow and to get fans to root for us and get behind us… even though we are doing some questionable things! We’re hiding our relationship from the people that we love. [Stories like these] take time. They didn’t just slap us together… they’ve given us some history and a lot of things to play off of and play with. I couldn’t be happier than to be in the middle of this right now.”
Y&R has given fans an actual couple to root for in 2014 after many pairings that were quickly thrown together without any emotional attachment from the viewers or the characters.
Worst: Jess Walton & Tristan Rogers are wasted on The Young and the Restless
The Young and the Restless’ Executive producer Jill Farren Phelps made a bold move when she snatched up Tristan Rogers from General Hospital late last year. While GH was offering him a recurring gig as Robert Scorpio, Y&R offered him an actual contract — where many assumed he’d be getting an actual storyline worth checking out. A year in to his return and there’s nothing. Colin spent most of the year “helping” Jill (Jess Walton) solve some dumb mystery box that was left to her from Katherine Chancellor (the late Jeanne Cooper).
Memo to the Y&R writing staff: Give Jess Walton a reason to sign a contract with the soap. We want the real Jill Abbott back. The schemer. The real Jill wouldn’t care what happens to Dylan’s coffee shop. Hell, she wouldn’t even care to know who Dylan is.
Best: Billy Miller joins General Hospital as the new Jason Morgan
It took the entire summer, but it was finally a confirmed in September. Former The Young and the Restless star Billy Miller was headed to General Hospital as the new Jason Morgan. GH has executed Miller’s entry as the new Jason very carefully, giving him a brand new face and new personality — he doesn’t even know he’s Jason! As “Jake Doe,” the character has established ties with the three women Jason loved the most: Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst), Sam (Kelly Monaco), Carly (Laura Wright). Of course, “Jake” is under the influence of the notorious Helena Cassadine (Constance Towers).
Viewers were outraged when the writers wrote off Kimberly McCullough’s Robin of leaving her family after a short reunion to save the stone cold hit man, but I guess all is forgotten now, right?
Worst: Phyllis wakes up from her coma and stops Nick & Sharon’s wedding
Let’s get this straight: Phyllis (now Gina Tognoni) miraculously (thanks to Victor) woke up from her coma in Georgia and found a way to hitchhike to Genoa City? And then she walks around town unnoticed only to stop Nick (Joshua Morrow) from marrying Sharon (Sharon Case)? That was just a slap in the face for all the Shick fans. And just like that, Sharon was reduced to the town pariah while Phyllis then made Jack (Peter Bergman) and Kelly (Cady McClain) feel bad for falling in love.
Best: Justin Hartley as the new Adam Newman on The Young and the Restless
The Young and the Restless managed to lure Justin Hartley away from primetime with this meaty role and a storyline! It was going to be hard to replace Michael Muhney, but Justin Hartley is quickly making the role his own. Hartley’s chemistry with Peter Bergman (Jack) has been riveting to watch this past week. We’re also offering Y&R some bonus points with Kelly Sullivan as new character Sage. While we were partial to Megan Ward’s version of Connie/Kate on General Hospital, we’re glad to have Sullivan on Y&R in a role that is a much better fit for the actress.
Best: The Bold and the Beautiful travels the globe
The Bold and the Beautiful has probably gone on as many location shoots around the world in 2014 than The Young and the Restless has had head writers. B&B travelled to Abu Dhabi and Dubai in March, Paris and Monte Carlo in June and Amsterdam in October.
Best: Rick wants control of Forrester Creations and beds Maya on The Bold and the Beautiful
Towards the end of this year, The Bold and the Beautiful finally let Jacob Young (Rick) do some heavy lifting. Rick faced off against Ridge (Thorsten Kaye) for control of Forrester Creations all while finding out that his wife Caroline (Linsey Godfrey) and Ridge shared a few kisses while she “helped” him with his sketches. Rather than take his wife back, Rick finally reunited with Maya (Karla Mosley) who orchestrated the reveal and has kept her quite satisfied as his sidepiece (until he divorces Caroline, of course).
Best: Sami’s revenge on Days of our Lives
Alison Sweeney announced her departure as Sami in January and gave viewers a glorious finale with Sami teaming up with arch nemesis Kate (Lauren Koslow) to gain control of DiMera Enterprises from Stefano (Joseph Mascolo) and EJ (James Scott) after finding out about EJ’s affair with that “sweet innocent” Abigail (Kate Mansi).
Worst: Sami & EJ’s exits on Days of our Lives
The writers at Days of our Lives had enough notice to give Sami (Alison Sweeney) and EJ (James Scott) a proper sendoff and satisfying fans. They didn’t. EJ ended up in the morgue thanks to some random day player while Sami grieved for her final two weeks and then left for Los Angeles after some cleverly named executives wanted to make a movie about her life. Seriously.
Best: General Hospital’s big umbrella story
Many fans criticized the show’s plan to kill of AJ Quatertmaine (Sean Kanan) for a second time, especially on the soap’s 51st anniversary but this lead to one of the best soap storylines in years. General Hospital had Sonny (Maurice Benard) gun down AJ after he was lead to believe that he killed Connie (Kelly Sullivan) — it was really that she-devil Ava (Maura West)! This of course lead to Sonny and Ava’s crypt sex, resulting in her pregnancy. Once Franco (Roger Howarth) figured out Carly (Laura Wright) were having an affair, he plotted to expose Sonny and Carly’s roles in AJ’s deaths at the Hallowedding, allowing Michael (Chad Duel) to disown his mother and adoptive father, a moment GH fans have been waiting over a decade for.
Worst Outlook for 2015: The Young and the Restless and Days of our Lives
The Sony soaps need to shape up. While The Young and the Restless seems to be doing well story-wise with the return of Adam and the Hilary & Devon affair, they’re going to really need to strengthen things up in the new year. Charles Pratt’s imminent arrival as co-executive producer and head writer has many worried, and they should be.
As for Days of our Lives, they really lost momentum from a great first half of 2014. The exits of Alison Sweeney (Sami), James Scott (EJ), Blake Berris (Nick) and Eileen Davidson (Kristen) are hugely noticeable. They’ve brought on One Life to Live stars Kassie De Paiva (as the new Eva) and Melissa Archer (Serena) and even brought back Molly Burnett (Melanie) but the stories are still boring. They even managed to split up golden couple Eric (Greg Vaughan) and Nicole (Arianne Zucker). Speaking of which, it’s Zucker’s Nicole who needs to be front and center. Critics have also noticed that all of soaps heroines of the show’s super couple era have found themselves without their leading men due to budget cuts: Marlena (Deidre Hall), Hope (Kristian Alfonso), Adrienne (Judi Evans) and Kayla (Mary Beth Evans).
Days of our Lives will celebrate its 50th anniversary in November 2015. The show’s executive producer Greg Meng told us in March that he loved what General Hospital did in 2013 and they were definitely looking at how the lone ABC soap celebrated its milestone. Since DAYS films six months in advance, now would be a great time to iron out the big returns and start promoting its anniversary.
Best Outlook for 2015: The Bold and the Beautiful and General Hospital
The Bold and the Beautiful is in a great place creatively. It needs to focus less on quick back-and-forth triangles and rotate all character sets on the front burner. Let’s keep the Maya/Rick/Caroline momentum going. Maybe even throw something for Katie (Heather Tom), Aly (Ashlyn Pearce) and Oliver (Zach Conrow) to do while Katherine Kelly Lang will return as Brooke following her hiatus at the end of January. Also look for a return appearance from Jacqueline MacInness Wood as Steffy.
General Hospital has kept its biggest mystery of 2014 a secret for 2015 and that’s who’s really Fluke (Anthony Geary). They’ve also built up the Sam (Kelly Monaco) and Patrick (Jason Thompson) pairing organically to where the duo are finally getting together on New Years and are bound to be ripped apart when it’s revealed that Jake (Billy Miller) is actually Sam’s husband Jason. The show has even managed to bring back the animosity between Sam and Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst) over Jake/Jason, as well as Jake/Jason’s friendship with Carly (Laura Wright).