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SOD Best & Worst -- 1998
Topic Started: Nov 28 2009, 04:49 PM (1,457 Views)

I've also got the Best & Worst issues from 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004, if anyone's interested.



The object of a good mystery is to keep the viewer guessing whodunit. Not only did DAYS succeed on that note with the multilayered yarn, "Who Killed Kristen?" the show also kept viewers in suspense as to who the actual victim was.

When Kristen's lifeless body was found floating in the pool at the Blake House, it seemed as though the evil schemer had finally met her maker. And with goofy lookalike Susan going around town acting so jumpy, she seemed to be the logical culprit. But within a week, we found out that Susan was actually Kristen in disguise. So the body in the pool was Susan's...right? Not so fast. Susan wasn't dead, either. She was stashed away in a Caribbean fortress, courtesy of Kristen's plotting. But Kristen didn't know that her plan was a success; she thought she had killed Susan in a drunken haze. Meanwhile, the police thought Laura murdered Kristen to avenge the cruelty she had suffered at the hands of the DiMeras. In a surprise twist, it was actually the mild-mannered Edmund who accidentally drowned the victim in an effort to help true-love Susan.

In a brilliantly written - and acted - series of scenes where Kristen and Susan finally came face to face, we discovered the final reveal: Edmund had offed England-bred Penelope Banks, quadruplet sibling to Susan, Mary Moira and Thomas, who had been separated from them at birth. Ah-ha! This carefully woven tale was not only filled with more suspenseful twists and turns than a roller coaster, but it wound up being a fitting sendoff for fan favorite and multifaceted performer Eileen Davidson (who we're sure took a reeeally long - and well-deserved - nap after wrapping up this mystery).
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We have a few bones to pick with this nine-month long (and counting) saga, in which a serial killer enacted the plot of Kevin's murder mystery novel, General Homicide. While the murders may have been perpetrated with a chilling flair, only one of the victims (Jake) was a core character, so we were not emotionally invested in the crime spree. Notably, the PC writers...oops, sorry, we mean the killer...didn't follow the pattern in the book. Karen was supposed to be hung from the rafters at the Nurses' Ball - not Jake. And Joe (make that John) was supposed to buy the farm courtesy of a power drill, not a stabbing. These discrepancies indicate that PC was making the story up as it went along, which is too bad. The cardinal rule of effective storytelling is to know exactly where you're going, and then find the most interesting route to get there. Finally, Julie is the killer? The same Julie we saw applauding in the audience at the Nurses' Ball while Lucy was being suffocated in a shrunken dress and Jake was being hung? That's insulting to the many viewers who were paying attention and trying to solve the mystery. Throw in Julie's "brainwashing" to this outcome and we feel cheated. The next time Kevin writes a book, here's hoping it's a romance novel.
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The orchids arrived on time. The bride was stunning. The groom never looked better - dressed to the hilt in a dapper morning coat. But Ben and Meg should have known their long-planned wedding was doomed when the organist kicked off the festivities with "Ave Maria." Si, Maria Torres Evans - Ben's long-presumed-drowned wife - was alive and back in town.

The audience had already been clued in to "Dana's" true identity weeks before, which made it fun to see all the near-misses (about 50 of them) leading up to the wedding. When Maria approached the chapel doors as Ben and Meg were exchanging their vows, it was agonizing. We were on the edge of our folding chairs as Maria broke a shoe heel and then got locked in the ladies' room.

At the reception - bingo! - Maria caught the bouqet, making her Meg's reluctant flower girl. The best part of this story is that Maria's return means Ben and Meg's wedding wasn't legal - so maybe we'll get to see it all over again.
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Can it be that the couple who had the Best Reunion in 1997 could play host to 1998's Non-Event Nuptials of the Year? Yup. And if we wanted to throw something (rice? rocks? etiquette books?) at the on-again, off-again Brandon and Kelly for not going through with the "I do's," their feeble, at-the-altar excuse of "We're not ready" didn't help matters. Not ready? Brandon proposed twice! And Kelly secretly kept his engagement ring for three years.

And what about the guests? Where were Brenda, Dylan, Andrea and the other noticeably absent faces? Not that they missed anything. Speaking of guests, those in attendance - including the groom's parents, who trekked all the way from Hong Kong - partied hearty, seemingly unperturbed by the shocking turn of events. Bottom line: While we'd never recommend marriage to a couple who aren't ready, the next time 90210 takes us all the way to the altar, save us the pomp and circumstance - and dashed expectations.
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To be perfectly honest, we had given up hope that this pair would ever reunite, despite the fact that it was obvious to everyone but them that they still pined for each other. We resigned ourselves to watching the sparks fly when they discussed their troubled children (Victoria and Nicholas) or when one of them announced that he/she was getting married - again. (Since splitting up a decade ago, Nikki and Victor routinely married other people just to get a rise out of each other.) So it was a terrific surprise when Victor, who had just embarked on a long honeymoon trip with his milquetoast bride, Diane, turned the jet around so he could be by Nikki's side after she was shot by the maid (long story). As Nikki's loved ones gathered around trying to rally her, Victor sprang into action. He secured a quickie divorce from Diane and wed Nikki on her deathbed. And whaddya know: Nikki got better! Today, Nikki and Victor remain one of daytime's few interesting, married couples as they face life's challenges together. Thanks for the payoff, Y&R.
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Y&R has the same problem with its married couples that every other soap has: What do you do with them once you've put them together? In some cases, like with Nikki and Victor (see above), the characters' popularity transcends the occasional routine conversation. But with most of the other duos, a third party has to be brought in to jazz up the action (Nick/Sharon/Grace, Olivia/Malcolm/Callie). Look what happened to Chris and Paul once Danny left (zzzzz). The problem is finding a believable challenge for a married couple once they have overcome every other obstacle to be together. In the case of Chris and Paul, it looks like his father's return will be the catalyst for good story. For Ryan and Tricia, it looks like his son, Phillip, and his ex-wife, Nina, will keep things interesting. For couples like the snooze-inducing Cole and Ashley, that ship may have sailed. Real married couples encounter trials that keep things interesting; sex, money, career, religion, child-rearing and in-laws spring to mind. So why do we hardly ever see that on soaps?
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Contradictory as it may sound, Phillip and Harley's romance is special because it's so utterly ordinary. Unlike most other star-crossed daytime duos, these two don't have unrelatable concerns: no evil twins, no clones - and now that Beth's moved on - no meddling ex-spouses. Instead, their difficulties stem from all the day-to-day baggage that weighs down most real-life relationships. For one thing, Harley's still nervous that her new stepdaughter won't accept her. For another, Phillip's dysfunctional childhood gives him a dark side that Harley will never validate. Luckily, they're keenly aware of their problems - and, understanding that there's no such thing as a love that's "just meant to be," work hard to resolve them. The resulting emotional fireworks are just as exciting as any evil twin...and a hundred times more resonant.
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On paper, this story works. Ambitious blonde comes to town, snags a modeling gig and falls for the cute photographer. She's got lots of secrets, including an abusive ex-boyfriend, a mysterious man who she visits in prison and a sister in town who looks nothing like her.

But somehow, the promise of the page hasn't played out on the small screen. First of all, we don't even know Nicole, so why should we care about her past and how it threatens her relationship with Eric? Speaking of which, what exactly is her relationship with Eric? They frolicked once on Venice Beach, and have barely had a romantic moment since because she's so busy keeping her past in the past. To make matters worse, the characters don't click because the actors don't. Saying you like someone is a line from a script; we need to see it.

Here's an idea: Bring back Madison, the runaway played by country-music star LeAnn Rimes. She had more chemistry with Jensen Ackles (Eric) in one day than he's had with Arianne Zuker (Nicole) in the past six months. At least with Madison around, Eric would have a chance of making beautiful music with someone.
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Sarah and Bailey were picture-perfect sweethearts, but they seemed doomed when Bailey cheated on her. Then, adding injury to insult, he nearly killed Sarah in a drunk-driving accident, leaving any hopes of reuniting...well...shattered.

Surprisingly, these two have managed to overcome their woes and have helped each other through the oh-so-tough times - whether it was Bailey's alcoholism or Sarah's despair over her adoptive parents' split. In doing so, they've learned everything about each other, good and bad, and when they reconnected, they did so at a time when they were wiser and more mature.

Now that their relationship has moved up a notch (translation: they had sex), they've maintained their friendship and continue to talk between rounds of tonsil hockey. Will it be smooth sailing from here on out? Hardly. Not with PARTY's penchant for tragedy. That's why we're rooting for this couple to beat the odds.
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As we all know too well, this has not been a stellar year for soap romances. In such bleak times, the quirky love affair of Stuart and Marian on AMC has been a heartening bright spot. This dynamic duo has all the makings of a successful soap pairing: true love, raging libidos and a major obstacle (Stuart's crafty twin, Adam). These two are not merely in love, they are lovable (not to mention side-splittingly funny).

The idea of pairing worldly Marian with unassuming Stuart seemed loopy, but it works. She brings out the appealing masculine charm in Stuart, while he arouses Marian's little-seen vulnerable side. It's a beautifully complementary relationship in which sweet Stuart teaches Marian about the simple things in life, and she uses her playfulness and creativity (the mermaid bit was a hoot) to keep things spicy.

The delightful Jennifer Bassey and David Canary have comedic prowess and a chemistry that makes this engaging romp a treat to watch. Kudos to AMC for giving new life to two long-time Pine Valley denizens...and giving all of us a reason to smile.
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We know them better than some members of our own family, we love them without reservation, and we missed them when they left us. That's why it's such a treat when popular characters return.

ALL MY CHILDREN's Dixie ditched Pidgeon Hollow to move back where she belongs, in Pine Valley. Thankfully, her relationship with ex-hubby Tad is as tempestuous as ever. Meanwhile, on THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS, Brad popped up and is helping Jack plot to take over Newman Enterprises and blow Victor out of the water. Kaboom.

Who would've imagined that Dylan, the rebel without a zip code, would return to BEVERLY HILLS, 90210? (Of course, he's toting enough emotional baggage to provide a week's worth of material for OPRAH.)

And this week on GENERAL HOSPITAL, our favorite mobster resettles in Port Charles. We can't wait to see what trouble Sonny will stir up - and who'll be keeping his bed warm this time around.

Yes, you can go home again.
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People have been playing mind games on soaps for eons, but '98 saw characters literally messing with other folks' gray matter. The result: Cornball plots that were so out there (and we don't mean THE X-FILES "out there"), we cringed.

Where to start? Well, how about DAYS OF OUR LIVES, where Stefano implanted a microchip in Vivian's tooth so he could control her emotions? (Can you say "manic depressive?") Or THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, where Doc Taylor was hypnotized by Bailey so she'd behave like a besotted sophomore when Pierce was within radar range.

Need more? GUIDING LIGHT's Annie spiked Josh's after-shave so he'd obey her command and pursue Cassie. And, leaving the "best" for last, there's ANOTHER WORLD's Lumina Foundation. Pay them a visit, and someone (probably Jordan) will touch you, say a few key words and voila - you're under their spell. Think of it as AW's version of the Vulcan mind meld/neck pinch. Ouch.
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Here's the recipe for a good, old-fashioned, nasty feud, courtesy of Y&R. Take two characters who are both in love with the same man - Phillip Chancellor - and don't let the fact that he dies have any impact on their hatred for each other for about the next 20 years. Throw in a fortune and a mansion that were left to Kay, but which Jill has always thought were rightfully hers. Put them in situations where they can spar with each other (parties, hospital bedsides, funerals) and give them one-liners to sling at each other that would make the writers of FRASIER green with envy. (Note: Make sure these characters are portrayed by terrific actresses who clearly relish mixing it up.) Then, give them lawyers. Bake on the front-burner at least three days a week for two decades and you've got Kay and Jill, the most entertaining duo on television, much less daytime.
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The greatest thing about the Quartermaine family feud (aside from the fact that some of the funniest lines on daytime come out of this clan's arguments) is that there isn't just one faction fighting against another. From day to day, the teams change as one member aligns himself with another, only to find he's out in the cold the next. Just look at drug-addled Alan. Nearly a year ago, he was leading the battle cry to kick alcoholic A.J. out of the family...and now he's the one out on the street. And how about Ned? Once the apple of his greedy grandfather's eye, Ned is now being usurped for not being as ruthlessly focused as he once was.

But perhaps the most interesting facet of this dynastic discord is the ongoing animosity between former member Jason and the family Q. In this battle, the prize is not power or money, but the future of a little boy who is definitely part Quartermaine, but few really know how much. With Michael's true paternity looming on the horizon, you can bet things will get even hotter around the old mansion. Talk about feud for thought.
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We like to think of ourselves as pretty savvy when it comes to the inner workings of the soap world, but we must admit that ATWT's decision to drop Daniel Markel threw us for a loop.

Not only was Markel an experienced actor who was well-liked by his co-stars, he was one of ATWT's most ardent supporters - a team player if ever there was one. And David had so much potential: He was in a hot romance with Molly; his father, James, was back in Oakdale; he just sank a boat with the whole town on-board and then saved his archenemy, Holden, before being presumed dead. The perfect set-up for redemption, right? Not according to the show's writers. Instead, David went insane, and then Holden killed him.

It's so hard to create an entertaining villain who viewers care about. ATWT did it - and then threw him away. Now that's a crime.
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Take a wildly popular actress from one soap and transfer her character to its sister show in one of the most successful crossovers ever. Give her clever, outrageous storylines that make viewers gasp and beg for more. Then, just when her story is getting even juicier - fire her. Huh?

The audience (and Digest editors) scratched their heads in disbelief when B&B jettisoned powerhouse actress Kimberlin Brown and her sinister alter ego, Sheila. Who could forget Sheila's audacious antics as she pursued her ultimately elusive dream: love and happiness?

We realize that B&B's half-hour length presents time constraints, and we're not complaining about the Spectras' expanded presence (see "Most Rejuvenated Family"), but to dump one of the most fascinating, entertaining characters on the canvas was a grave error. Judging by the letters, e-mail and online chats, fans second that motion. Of course, since Sheila is on the run with her daughter, Mary, she could always come back...
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First, a quick recap: Lucy and Kevin were engaged. Scott mourned his late wife, Dominique, until her spirit told him that it was time for him to move on. He did and fell for Eve. They made love. Eve and Lucy then contributed to the accident that left Scott's daughter, Serena, blind. Consequently, Scott dumped Eve, and Kevin left Lucy at the altar. After a hair-raising adventure in Florida, former lovers Scott and Lucy fell back into bed, and Kevin's dad, Victor, inadvertently threw his son and Eve together on a romantic date. Now, Lucy is Coe-habitating with Scott, but pining for Kevin. Eve likes Kevin, but still longs for Scotty. Lucy also had a moment when she thought she was pregnant with Scotty's baby and fell to pieces when she learned that she wasn't. Got all that?

All variations in this quadrangle are vibrant and dynamic (especially archrivals Lucy and Eve). And that is why this has been the most absorbing, involving, romantic tug of war of the year.
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Who? Exactly. There are reasons why a quadrangle works. One of the most important is audience investment - we care about the people involved. So what did AW do? Toss three recasts (Gary, Josie, Amanda) and a brand-new character (Cameron) into an adventure in Boca Lynda. This led to Cameron getting his sister-in-law Josie pregnant, and the two keeping the truth from their respective loves, Amanda and Gary.

Whether we liked Gary or Josie or Amanda before they were recast is of little consequence. How well their replacements are doing is beside the point. (Sandra Ferguson is reprising Amanda, but two other actresses played her while she was away.) We needed to get to know the new kids on the Bay City block. Isolating virtual strangers in their own story was a huge mistake. And shouldn't a quadrangle have all sorts of hormones running wild? Gary and Josie love each other. Cameron and Amanda love each other? Where's the conflict? There is none.
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LoL @ some of the "Worst" picks. This was back when the magazines were actually able to badmouth the shows when they produced utter shit.
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It seemed that Todd Manning, a rapist and a murderer, had been redeemed. Until, that is, he successfully faked DID (Disassociative Identity Disorder) to avoid jail time for holding everyone hostage at the Buchanan lodge.

As fate would have it, someone had a cassette of Todd confessing that he faked the disorder. Ironically, that someone was Todd's little girl, Starr. With Sam's help, Starr innocently had the DJ play the tape at Todd and Téa's wedding reception. Result? Téa, Viki and Sam, the three people who believed in Todd most, were devastated and washed their hands of him.

Did we pity Todd? Maybe a little, but his charade proved that he didn't deserve love - or a happy ending. After good-byes to Viki and Sam, Todd hopped on a plane and was left to deal with the fact that he alone had ruined his life. Now, Todd is off somewhere finding himself, although OLTL has left the door open should his portrayer, Roger Howarth, decide to return. Till then, you gotta admit: Todd sure went out with a bang!
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