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SOD Best & Worst -- 1986
Topic Started: Nov 9 2009, 04:27 PM (1,268 Views)
Matt
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WORST AMNESIAC


NINA WARNER, ALL MY CHILDREN
To Barbara Kerns's credit, stepping in as Nina Warner number three was though since viewers wouldn't accept anyone other than Taylor Miller in the role. (At the end of 1986 they got their wish when Miller returned to the show.) After Miller look-alike Heather Stanford tried but failed to make Nina her own, AMC took a risk that didn't pay off in the end. With Kearns, Nina became a brunette and developed partial amnesia (she believed she was 16). With this plot twist, Nina's life with Cliff and Bobby was gone and she could start anew. But with servant Benny Sago? We didn't enjoy seeing Nina prancing around as a teenager with the hots for Sago any more than we liked seeing Cliff pining away for Nina. Sending her off on a cruise was the best solution.
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Matt
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BEST SETS


LOVING
Beautiful, realistic, wonderful to look at, LOVING's sets are absolutely smashing. There's the Alden drawing room with its wedgewood blue walls, carved moldings, Oriental rugs, and fine furniture of various textures and hues, Cabot Alden's study with tis leather furnishings, polished wood and lush rugs speaks of old money and good taste. These two sets capture the essence of the Alden family: wealthy, refined, elegant. Likewise, Kate Rescott's home reflects the socioeconamic standing and personality of its occupant, Kate is a working class woman with little money to spend. Moreover, she cares little for material things. Outside the Rescott house, the paint is peeling while inside, the wallpaper is old and worn and the couch is upholstered in a garish, floral fabric.

LOVING's set are so spacious that one gets a feel for the entire room. They also accommodate varying camera angles. Instead of the waist-up shots most other soaps rely upon, LOVING's expansive sets allow full-length views of characters. In the process, a total environment is revealed, and that is as important to the mood of a scene as the dialogue. The rooms are also beautifully detailed. Whatever is need to fully define a character is there, whether it be paintings, statues, or newspapers stacked in a corner. These sets, which are also wonderfully lighted, are masterpieces. Kudos to designer Boyd Dumrose.
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Matt
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MOST INTRIGUING CHARACTER


DUKE LAVERY, GENERAL HOSPITAL
That man. He's so suave, so unpredictable, so dangerous, so... intriguing. Have I seen him somewhere before? What kind of accent is that? More importantly, who does his hair?

Port Charles hasn't seen a character create such a ruckus since Robert Scorpio popped up from Down Under a few years back. Duke Lavery is a presence to be reckoned with; a Scot whose complicated, mercurial nature keeps the audience off-guard and on the edge of their seats. He's the perfect foil for another amalgam of emotions, Anna Devane, who was desperately in need of the right man. She found him. Lucky girl.
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Matt
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BEST LOVE STORY


CRUZ & EDEN, SANTA BARBARA
Once Cruz & Eden admitted they loved each other and intended to stay together forever, their problems started. One person after another saw fit to keep them apart -- from possessive daddy C.C. to obsessive hubby Kirk to jealous ex-girlfriend Tori Lane. But through it all, Cruz & Eden's love survived. Watching these star-crossed lovers overcome one obstacle after another, only to be pulled apart again, can get frustrating but it's never boring. The story was, and continues to be, well written and excellently portrayed by A Martinez and Marcy Walker.
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Matt
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BEST ANNIVERSARY


AS THE WORLD TURNS
AS THE WORLD TURNS celebrated its 30th anniversary in 1986 and brought back many former cast members for the occaision. Viewers were delighted to see such stars as Rosemary Prinz (Penny Hughes), James Douglas (Grant Colman) and Marie Masters (Susan Stewart) reunited. On the show, the family gathered to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of Chris and Nancy Hughes (Don MacLaughlin and Helen Wagner). We didn't know then how important this plot device would be because Don MacLaughlin died a few months later, and these anniversary episodes gave ATWT's veteran viewers a chance to reminisce with characters they've known for a lifetime. The entire affair was handled with ATWT's characteristic warmth and class.
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Matt
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MOST DISAPPOINTING SHOW


GUIDING LIGHT
GUIDING LIGHT, Soap Opera Digest's choice for best show of 1985, lost its direction and glow in 1986. It was a year of meandering plots, failed relationships, fizzled romances, dead ends and too many flase starts. The on-camera turmoil reflected the chaos behind the scenes where head writers were replaced and producers followed suit. Many favorite characters were left without story lines. The complications which were trumped up to disrupt Kyle and Reva's happiness were never developed beyond stalling tactics -- and demanded almost complete character reversals.

GL was already suffering when Vicent Irizarry (Lujack) decided not to renew his contract. So much time had been devoted to his star-crossed love affair with Beth that his departure left an enormous gap. At a loss, the writers used his death as the inspiration for Phillip's Prohibition-era novel. This became a soap-within-a-soap as viewers saw Springfield's population act out a parody of a campy '30s gangster flick. The novel also reunited Beth and Phillip, making her feelings for Lujack seem suspiciously shallow. While the show looked for someone to fill Lujack's leather jacket, viewers suffered through the search for the Sampson Girl -- the only nationwide contest with five finalists from the same town.

Jealousy was the driving factor in most relationships and conflicts: Kurt and Mindy; Rick and Roxie; Maeve and Kyle; Calla and Ross; Vanessa and Billy; and even Ed and Mo, who fought a long drawn-out custody battle for his baby daughter against a vindictive Claire. Claire's personality had been so transformed that sending her into a coma was the only way to halt this runaway plot twist. When Claire awoke, she became her old self again. Unfortunately, the audience was not as quick to recover.

Brawls between HB and Hawk over Lillian's honor became de riguer as did Jackson's mysterious evil doings which were based on some unexplained need for revenge. Loyal Fletcher Reade became Maeve's nursemaid and whipping boy in an extension of the baby Ben story line, but all of these plots were woven together with the thinnest of threads. Characters had to spot one another in compromising situations which were really innocent, misunderstand the letters they should never have read, give up what they really wanted to be noble, and generally behave in a fairly unimaginative, recycled manner. Even the touches of humor which had given the show strength on a day to day basis vanished in the serious problematic anti-romances which became the show's signature. Not everybody should be miserable all the time -- a lession GL's writers never learned, no matter how many times they were replaced.
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Matt
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BEST PRIME TIME CASTING


STEPHANIE BEACHAM, THE COLBYS
It's difficult for a new soap to establish a clearly-defined identity. Sets and costumes help, but in the final analysis, the burden falls on the characters and the writing. To that end, THE COLBYS scored a resounding success with the casting of Stephanie Beacham as Sable Colby. From the moment this sleek, chic, dragon lady slithered on screen, you knew who she was, where she was coming from and what she stood for.

Charming and manipulative, Sable projects vulnerability and viciousness. She is easily the most fascinating character THE COLBYS has to offer, and to that end, praise must be given to her portrayer. Beacham knows just how to play her role for maximum effect. When Sable Colby is around, everyone watches -- and listens.
Edited by Matt, Nov 11 2009, 10:27 PM.
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Mason
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Sable was by far the best character Dynasty ever had - and she was only on that show for one of its nine seasons.

I feel The Colbys is underrated. It was much better than Dynasty (I mean...minus the whole alien abduction finale thing).
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Matt
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BEST DAYTIME CASTING

KALE BROWNE, ANOTHER WORLD
Throughout the early part of 1986, ANOTHER WORLD floundered. Story lines were pointless, characters directionless. The show was so amorphous, we were amazed that they actually cooked up enough dialogue (most of it meaningless) to get on air every day. But then Kale Browne arrived and things changed. Portraying millionaire jet-setter Michael Hudson, Kale brought his charm, wit, and most of all his talent to ANOTHER WORLD and in the process did a great deal to help the limping serial. It's amazing what a dramatic effect one performer can have on a serial. Aided by a dynamic love story with Anna Stuart (Donna Love) which was penned by a new team of writers, Kale Browne added a badly needed spark of excitement to ANOTHER WORLD.
Edited by Matt, Nov 11 2009, 10:48 PM.
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juniorz1
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The Royal Stoner

LOVE the praise for Cruz & Eden and for Kale Browne. Can't wait to read more! Thanks so much for doing this Matt!!!
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Matt
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BEST SCORED SHOW


DAYS OF OUR LIVES
It's no secret (except to those who vote for the Emmy Awards) that DAYS OF OUR LIVES is the best scored show on daytime. Musical director Marty Davich possesses an uncanny knack fo rmatching music to story, and the result is magical. Despondant Patch gazing forlornly out at the Salem River as Bob Seger's "Somewhere Tonight" softly plays, or the good guys chasing the bad guys to the pounding beat of a Phil Collins tune, are two examples of how the right score heightened emotion and set the tone of a scene. DAYS also effectively uses one piece of music to link three or four separate scenes at the show's close, creating a moody aura that lingers after the final credits are shown.

And then, there are the love themes. Who can think of Bo and Hope without humming "Tonight, I Celebrate My Love"? Which brings us to a song that hit number two on the record charts, "Friends and Lovers," otherwise known to DAYS viewers as Shane and Kimberly's theme. It was the perfect match of song and romance. Originally put together just for the show, public acclaim resulted in Gloria Loring and Carl Anderson recording the tune and the rest is mega-success.
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Matt
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MOST MELODRAMATIC SHOW


DYNASTY
Blake strangling Alexis; Sammy Jo and Amanda drowning each other; Claudia setting fire to a hotel. Heavy-handed? Heavens, no, it's just a typical DYNASTY cliff-hanger. Melodramatic to the max, this show is a parody of itself. Nearly every sledgehammer scene climaxes with someone being threatened, followed by someone else stalking out. For fun, the writers throw in subtle soul-searching mud wrestling.

The only characters who never do nasty things are Steven and Krystle, DYNASTY's designated victims. In their little corner of Denver, maximum melodrama comes from seeing them suffer. If Steven and Krystle had any sense, they'd grab Danny and Christina and go off to live together in a quite little community like Knots Landing. But hey, this is DYNASTY, or as it could also be titled, "50 Ways To Threaten Your Family."
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Mason
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Matt
Nov 12 2009, 10:40 AM
BEST SCORED SHOW


DAYS OF OUR LIVES
Oh, how the times have changed, LoL.
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Matt
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FUNNIEST SHOW


SANTA BARBARA
Quite simply, SANTA BARBARA is like no other show on daytime television. Most soap writers incorporate serious drama, intriguing adventure and a touch of humor into their shows. SANTA BARBARA's writers have put all of that in -- with the emphasis on humor. The result is an outrageously campy show. Characters like Mason and Gina are larger than life and ultra witty. In fact, the quips on SB go unmatched. It's as if the writers are trying to see just how far they can go; what they can get away with. Viewers who don't tune in regularly might get a bit confused trying to figure out just who's related to who, but they'll be guaranteed a good time with lots of laughs if they stay tuned.
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Matt
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MOST IMPROVED SHOW


AS THE WORLD TURNS
Much has been written about the renaissance of this long-running soap and all of it is true. By highlighting mystery and humor and setting up some very unusual triangles, executive producer Robert Calhoun and head writer Douglas Marland kept us in suspense and laughing at the same time. The introduction of the Snyder family strengthened the story by involving its various members with the established families. The triangles of Sierra/Craig/Lucinda and Holden/Lily/Dusty worked very well. ATWT's strongest point is still the way it unravels a mystery -- the Douglas Cummings and Tad Channing murder stories being cases in point. The family revelations among Lucinda Walsh, Sierra Esteban, Lily Walsh, and Iva Snyder kept us guessing when all hell would break loose. The antics of Shannon O'Hara, Harriet COrbman -- daytime's Lucy Ricardo and Ethel Mertz -- and Lisa McColl cracked us up.

ATWT also scored in its introduction of unusual and mysterious characters. Marsha Talbot, Duncan McKechnie and Hensley Taggart were not easily summed up, and they intrigued the audience. The best thing about this show is that everyone gets a story and all the generations of Oakdale are involved. On this soap, there is something for everyone. It also boasts what is probably the best cast of emsemble players in daytime.
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Matt
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MOST UNUSUAL SHORT LIFE


MARY DUVALL, SANTA BARBARA
When we first met Mary, she was an innocent nun. Her future seemed bright and full of promise. Then, without warning, Mary was on a roller-coaster ride to meet her maker. Ever the good girl, Mary sacrificed her happiness with true love, Mason Capwell, to marry her high school sweetheart, Dr. Mark McCormack (after leaving the convent, of course). Eventually, she became an adulteress when she could no longer resist that tempestuous Mason. She intended to have her marriage to Mark annulled but he raped her and she became pregnant. Mary met her demise on the roof of the Capwell Hotel, (where she and Mark were arguing), when the "C" from the Capwell sign fell on her. What a way to go.
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Matt
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MOST INGENIOUS NATURAL DISASTER


THE FLOOD ON SEARCH FOR TOMORROW
The year SEARCH FOR TOMORROW staged a flood that wiped out the town of Henderson so that it had to be rebuilt. Former executive producer John Whitesell trashed the existing sets and did not skimp on any of the special effects. For the torrential rains that preceded the flood, he ordered six hand-held hoses equipped with special rain heads which sprayed 6,000 gallons of warm water onto the cast. Special troughs were built in the studio to hold the water. 3,000 pounds of sand and mud were hauled in as well as 300 sand bags. To simulate the tidal wave that swept away actors like Mary Stuart (Jo) and Jacqueline Schultz (Patty), a 150-gallon tank was hoisted eight feet above the studio floor and the water was discharged through a flume.

Some flood scenes were taped in another studio in a tank 28 feet in diameter and four feet deep. A river-bank was constructed on one side of the tank. In these scenes, David Forsyth (Hogan), who drew on his training in the Marines and as a paramedic to make the rescue as realistic as possible.

The SEARCH flood was a remarkable technical feet for daytime and a breathtaking experience for the audience.
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Matt
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BEST LOVE TRIANGLE


NIKKI/VICTOR/ASHLEY, THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS
First Victor Newman loved Nikki. They got married. Then Victor fell hard for Ashley Abbott. He asked a heartbroken Nikki for a divorce. But wait -- unknown to her, but discovered by Victor, Nikki had a disease, possibly fatal. Decisions, decisions, decisions. Before Victor could figure out what to do, Ashley overheard the sad tale and gave up Victor, who didn't know she was carrying his baby. To this messy triangle add Ashley's brother Jack, who had an affair with, then dumped Nikki, and Victor's brother Matt who was desperately in love with Newman's wife. Perfect timing and unexpected complications turned what could have been standard sappy soap fare into a compelling triangle, with audience allegiance shifting as the story progressed.
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Matt
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MOST SURPRISING RELATIVE


PAIGE, KNOTS LANDING
It was a surprise, indeed, when a beautiful young lady arrived at the MacKenzie household and claimed to be Mack's long-lost daughter, Paige. Her emergence enriched the MacKenzie's story line in two ways: It offered Karen's younger son, Michael, an opportunity to fall in love for the first time, and it provided insight into Mack's earlier years by showing his affair with Paige's mother in flashback. Both were well written and executed.
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Matt
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BIGGEST COP-OUT


DONNA'S MISCARRIAGE, DALLAS
Last season, Donna and Ray Krebbs reconciled and looked forward to finally starting a family of their own. Even though we know this never really happened (since all of last season turned out to be a dream), this story line turned out to be one big cop-out. The show's writers went to great lengths to show us the anger and frustration that couples go through upon learning their baby will be born with Down's syndrome. Instead of carrying this out, and showing the difficulties of raising a handicapped child, it was dropped. Why, then, initiate the story in the first place?
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