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In 1996, we named AS THE WORLD TURNS, the once-mighty daytime powerhouse that had crumbled into unrecognizability, our most disappointing show. Since then, Executive Producer Felicia Minei Behr and Head Writer Lorraine Broderick have steadily rebuilt this 42-year-old show from the foundation up.

Under their watch, old favorites have been reinvigorated, others have come to life and new characters were introduced s-l-o-w-l-y, through familiar faces. Longtime back-burner man Hal joined Carly and Jack in one of the most fascinating, unpredictable triangles in years (who could have guessed eight months ago that she would lose both and marry John?). Meanwhile, the staid Hughes house was thrown into chaos when Tom finally strayed from the straight and narrow, paving the way for a realistic, heartbreaking story of a marriage in ruins. Tom's one-night stand also marked the rebirth of the tragic, spiteful Emily, a core character we've always loved to hate. Molly got a makeover when Lesli Kay Sterling was finally allowed to unleash her comic timing on this once too-whiny character, revealing a spunky, hilarious vixen. And after 12 years, Lily and Holden were given a mature story in which their love is the one thing not being tested.

Thanks to a perfect balance of stories, we didn't tire of anyone. The recent Caribbean jaunt, for example, showcased at least four different storylines, all intertwined - and only half the town took the trip! Instead of revolving in their own little worlds, characters are suddenly interacting, and the focus is thankfully back on relationships and history.

After a string of fly-by-night executives, it's comforting to now watch a team that recognizes the value of ATWT's stellar cast and storied past. Come home to Oakdale - you won't believe the difference two years can make.
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SOD Best & Worst -- 1998 · Soap Opera History & Discussion