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SOD Best & Worst -- 2004
Topic Started: Nov 30 2009, 08:59 PM (2,040 Views)
Mason
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MOST IMPROVED SHOW


ALL MY CHILDREN


With wan pairings like Maggie and Henry and clunker "plots" like the search for America's sexiest man, AMC slogged through most of 2003. The show became more watchable when Head Writer Megan McTavish returned, but it was clear that the messes she inherited would take some time to clean up. Her efforts paid off in 2004. Not every story worked, but there were far more hits than misses - and given the sorry state that AMC was in last year, that's a batting average to be proud of. These days, the show feels...well, like itself again: rich in history, rich in family, rich in emotion. A stellar cast of well-used vets (David Canary's Adam! Michael E. Knight's Tad!) and zestful newbies (Bobbie Eakes's Krystal! Leven Rambin's Lily!) completes the picture, making today's Pine Valley a consistently pleasurable place to visit. McTavish and company's mission wasn't easy - they just made it look that way.
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Mason
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MOST SHOCKING TWIST


THEY'RE ALL ALIVE, DAYS OF OUR LIVES


Looking back, we should have figured something was up when Alice was the serial killer's final victim. But with all the talk about cost - and cast - cutting, we chalked it up to a penny-wise, pound foolish decision to ax 10 popular stars. Leave it to clever scribe James E. Reilly to pull off the unthinkable by making all of the Salem Stalker victims alive. Online posters spent months gathering clues, trying to figure out what the twist of all twists would be, but few came up with this one. Ditto the Digest editorial staff. Sure, some found it callous that the actors weren't told they'd be coming back and the heartbreaking exit interviews (including lines like "I was blindsided!" and "It's like me dying.") were for naught, but well worth it in the end to have the actors back on-screen.
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Mason
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MOST PREPOSTEROUS PLOT


HOW EVERYONE IS ALIVE, DAYS OF OUR LIVES


So, after all that, it turns out Tony merely planted suggestions of murder in Marlena's brain? Paging the continuity police. Abe was shot in the neck. Jack was clocked in the back of the head with a brick. Cassie was sliced and diced in that pinata. We would have accepted everyone being alive because of some DiMera hocus-pocus, but not when the killing sprees that aired left no wiggle room for that kind of out. This engrossing tale started out so strong, but there were too many holes and too many unanswered questions, like why did Bo and Hope get hit in the head at the fashion show? And were we really supposed to believe that Tony 1) found an island that just happened to spell New Salem backward, 2) replicated everyone's house, including a high-rise for Marlena to live in the penthouse and 3) was plotting to take over the world and control the weather? No, no and no. DAYS, you had us and you lost us.
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Mason
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BEST COUPLE


VICTOR AND NIKKI, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS


In 2004, the king and queen of Genoa City almost tumbled from their thrones. The revelations that 1) Victor is the biological father of Ashley's daughter and 2) Nikki knew and didn't tell him about it, put their marriage to the test. It survived, but Nikki's worst fear came to pass when Ashley confessed to Victor that she still loved him and wanted them to be together. And Victor chose...his (not so paranoid after all) wife! It's a Himalayan task to maintain a supercouple's magic for more than 20 years, and the beauty of Victor and Nikki's union is how the characters have matured. In the past, this crisis would have torn them apart, but the foundation that they built held steady. A daytime couple that stays together. Isn't it romantic?
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Mason
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WORST COUPLE


EDWARD AND HEATHER, GENERAL HOSPITAL


There's no doubt that Edward lost a part of himself when his wife passed away. But watching him shack up with Heather just days after Lila's funeral, we wondered: Was it his brain? While Eddie had been a flirt in the past, his heart always belonged to Lila. So when he befriended Heather, a virtual stranger, we cut him some slack, assuming she was just a convenient shoulder to cry on. Imagine our surprise when the Q patriarch, nothing if not a shrewd businessman of sound mind and judgment, began behaving like a giddy schoolboy - professing his love to the former psychopath, then actually marrying her. Heather, naturally up to her old tricks, turned out to be the one who kept her character intact. Luckily, as fast as Edward said, "I do," GH had the sense to say, "We don't."
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Eric83
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"Relax nobody's having sex.... at least not yet"

Lol at reading the comments about DAYS. It is the only soap that could recover from something that outlandish.
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Mason
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ga68153
Nov 30 2009, 11:36 PM
Lol at reading the comments about DAYS. It is the only soap that could recover from something that outlandish.
If you ask me, it still hasn't, LoL.
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Mason
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BEST TRIANGLE


CARLY/JACK/JULIA, AS THE WORLD TURNS


It's a risky entry, and may end up being the last straw for the "Carjackers," but we had to make one last show of support for ATWT's own audacious, unpopular venture.

Triangles usually work best when all sides are equal, because divisiveness and uncertainty hold interest. This one compelled because it was uneven. Of course, Julia never stood a chance. And though we wouldn't describe ourselves as "Julia defenders", as has been implied online (more like "Julia sympathizers"), it made sense for her to fall for this perfect guy; for Jack, in an amnesiac's haze, to cling to the one thing - family - he instinctively sought; for Carly to be in the frustrating position of reminding him that his heart unequivocally belonged to her.

ATWT showcased three actors at the top of their game, playing three characters with legitimate claims and gambled big. For what it's worth, we think it paid off.
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Mason
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WORST TRIANGLE


KENDALL/RYAN/GREENLEE, ALL MY CHILDREN


With Cameron Mathison's (Ryan) 2003 return, we anticipated a tantilizing triangle with Kendall and Greenlee, rivals-turned-best friends who each had a rich history with Lavery.

But a truly heartfelt tug-of-war never materialized. Instead, Kendall and Greenlee turned against each other, stooping to such inane lows in their bid for Ryan that we found ourselves hoping he'd say sayonara to both of them. Then again, Ryan was written so pompously, it was difficult to discern why the women craved his affections in the first place.

By the time Ryan finally picked Greenlee, it seemed like AMC had plucked her name out of a hat and shoehorned the story to fit that outcome (Ryan gets psychic messages from Greenlee: It must be true love!), as opposed to her emerging organically as the right choice for Ryan.

Take comfort, Kendall, viewers were the real losers in this triangle.
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Mason
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BEST WEDDING


PAUL AND ROSE, AS THE WORLD TURNS


It would probably make the editors of Modern Bride faint, but this was just the kind of nuptial ceremony we can get behind. More than just a wedding, it was a week of episodes (in December 2003, but we're still counting it for this year) that perfectly captured in tone, scope, script, performance and production exactly how wildly engrossing daytime drama can be.

So, they never actually tied the knot - the emotions here were tangled enough already. After a speech (fueled by insecurity, jealousy and one nasty misunderstanding) that can only be described as eviscerating, the groom cruelly spat, "I don't" at the altar. Cue the bride's meltdown into a grotesquely gorgeous puddle of chiffon, only to die (Of heartbreak? Better: poisoning!) hours later.

Just consider the fallout - months of suspicion, guilt, vengeance, rage, fear, penance, incarceration, isolation, therapy, insanity, etc. for half of the characters on ATWT's canvas - our honeymoon.
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Mason
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WORST WEDDING


BOBBY AND BRITTANY, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS


The setting was lovely; everyone looked beautiful and the ceremony went off without a hitch. Zzzzz. The bride's haughty parents, who opposed the nups, inexplicably came around to watch their daughter wed a strip-club owner, and the little tension that did exist between Brittany and man of honor J.T. was forced. Flawless, happy-at-last weddings work best for long-established supercouples, but this duo needed more to make it memorable. For example, conflict. During the vows, rather than have Britt pause (yawn), imagine if Nikki had attended and then Bobby recited his birth name, "I, Charles Robert Cassen...," thus revealing himself as the brother of the boy she killed as a child. Or Y&R could have played up the inherent humor of a rich girl-turned-stripper marrying so far out of her social station. Instead, we got nice, which is fine in real life, but dull on daytime.
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Mason
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BEST NEW COUPLE


RIC AND ALEXIS, GENERAL HOSPITAL


They're everything a typical soap couple is not. Forget sweet nothings, candlelight and roses...even sex. But it's their sublime awkwardness that makes Ric and Alexis's courtship so endearing - neither one has ever been very good at this thing called love, and that makes them perfect for each other. Frankly, we wouldn't have thought about putting them together, but this wildly unexpected pairing brings out things we haven't seen before in either character. He's not intimidated by her strength; she doesn't have to go all girly to get the guy. At first, the attorneys walked the fine, familiar line between love and hate (You know: insult, insult, kiss!), but somewhere between that sexy spin on the dance floor and the surprisingly tender vows they shared at their quickie nups, the relationship went beyond "unconventional." This truly odd couple has the potential to redefine what romance is all about.
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Mason
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MOST BORING COUPLE


HECTOR AND SAMANTHA, THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL


It didn't help that the death of Samantha's pooch kicked off (pun intended) this tedious tail, er, tale. Then we found out that all the grieving was really about her stillborn baby from a teenage pregnancy. Okay, that held some promise - until Sam ran into Hector, whom she hadn't seen since getting pregnant, and the potential for this couple was crushed by warp-speed pacing and heavy-handed backstory. (The short version: Hector had been nobly raising their not-dead daughter, Caitlin, now a teen). We just couldn't invest in Hector and Samantha's relationship. (A digitally composed snapshot of them as young lovers wasn't enough.) And their rushed reconciliation lacked authenticity. We don't know if they were victims of flawed plot execution, zippo chemistry or both, but at this point, who cares?
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Mason
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BIGGEST WASTE OF TALENT


DEIDRE HALL (MARLENA, DAYS OF OUR LIVES)


It seems almost absurd that in a year where Deidre Hall's Marlena dominated the screen for the first five months we could say her talent went to waste, but it did. The powerhouse actress, who masterfully propelled the serial killer story, was rudderless by June, when the "victims" were revealed to be alive. We're all for giving actors a break, but she could have one from five days a week to three, rather than three days a month. Highly anticipated scenes, like the reunion between John and Marlena, and Marlena's reaction to finding out she really didn't murder her pals, were given short shrift. Now, she's marooned in a castle with the other dead-agains and is working as much as Christopher Gerse (Will). Judging by the ratings decline and the letters to Digest, fans are none too pleased. Paging Dr. Evans. Stat!
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Mason
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BIGGEST WASTE OF TALENT, II


JULIA BARR (BROOKE, ALL MY CHILDREN)


In daytime, a performer can have a large-and-loyal body of fans, multiple Emmys and still be overlooked by the writing staff of the show to which they're under contract. We know this...but we just can't accept it. Especially in a case such as Julia Barr's Brooke. In November, Brooke was on for four consecutive days, so rare an occurrence that we only half-jokingly considered putting Barr as a "Coming" in "Comings & Goings"! AMC had a strong year, but plenty of its stories would have been enriched by the still-viable Brooke's increased presence within them, especially the baby swap and the downfall of Edmund and Maria's marriage. While we're delighted that she is becoming more of a force as 2004 draws to a close, facts are facts: For 10 months, she was little more than window dressing. Barr - and her myriad supporters - deserve better. Here's hoping 2005 delivers it.
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Mason
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BEST RECAST


GINA TOGNONI (DINAH, GUIDING LIGHT)


If stepping into a role made memorable by another is one of soaps' hardest jobs, then embodying a character as complex as Dinah must be one of the worst. (Let's just say it involves far more than hair dye and snarky one-liners.) But somehow, Gina Tognoni made it look effortless. A talented actress with a firm grip on what makes her character tick, Tognoni has made Dinah into an essential GL fixture, again.

Tognoni adopted Dinah's trademark insecurity and acerbic wit, while adding a new layer of maturity and acute loneliness absent from previous incarnations (being on the run, pregnant and wanted for murder can do that to you). Most importantly, she has so fully embraced Dinah's tangled history that there's no sense of imitation to her performance; her predecessors have melted away. And that's the sign of the most successful recast: making us forget that they are one.



(Don't get me wrong, I loved Gina Tognoni as Dinah, but Wendy Moniz was always the best. As great as Gina was, whenever I think of Dinah, I still think of Wendy first.)
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Mason
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WORST RECAST


MCKENZIE SATTERTHWAITE (NIKKI, AS THE WORLD TURNS)


In the notoriously tricky business of recasts, Nikki should have been a relatively easy assignment. Last played by the charming, spunky Jordana Brewster when she left for college six years ago, Nikki was a fond, but distant memory for most fans. The character would now be just the right age, perfectly positioned as Hal's daughter and ripe for redefinition. In other words, ATWT had a clean slate - they could have hired anyone to bring the role into adulthood.

They chose McKenzie Satterthwaite, who with her smiles-for-sass delivery was not only in over her head (a perhaps forgivable offense for newcomers), but had the misfortune of resembling the recently departed Lesli Kay (ex-Molly; now-Lois, GH). That, combined with the lack of confidence the show seemed to have in her from the beginning, doomed a can't-miss character. Nikki disappeared without a good-bye in October - we're hoping that is just ATWT's way of asking for a do-over.
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Mason
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MOST ENTERTAINING FEMALE CHARACTER


BONNIE, DAYS OF OUR LIVES


There wasn't a lot to laugh about this year in Salem...unless Bonnie was on the screen. Tacky, free-spirited, transparently ambitious, Bonnie is a far cry from soap vet Judi Evans's former stints as tortured heroines, but the actress ably pulls off the role of a trashy, flashy, man-hungry mama with superb comic timing and fearless, physical humor. Whether she's leading a line dance or is decked out in one of her tarty outfits, Bonnie provides much-needed comic relief. Is it over-the-top at times? Sure, but it's supposed to be. Story-wise, it was a smart move to bring in Mimi's mom to beef up the Lockhart clan, as well as breathe new life into Mickey and Julie's back-burner tales. Who saw Mickey's revived sex life coming? Who doesn't love a Julie/Bonnie catfight? And with Maggie in the mix, it's three's company indeed at the Horton house.
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Mason
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MOST ENTERTAINING MALE CHARACTER


DAVID, ONE LIFE TO LIVE


When it comes to being trustworthy, the uber-charming David Vickers is about as reliable as a rattlesnake, but what can be counted on is his ability to liven up a scene. In almost any situation he has a witty one-liner on hand (like calling La Boulaie "La Creme Brulee"). Moreover, he's able to find the humor in even the most mundane things. What makes David so likable is that he's more than just a maverick. Thanks to Tuc Watkins's layered portrayal, David is flawed, but he has a great capacity for compassion. He may do despicable things, like seduce (and accidentally kill) elderly Aunt Betsy for money; still, you can't help but love a guy who will go to any lengths to protect his fianceť, Dorian, and her family. Whenever David is on-screen, we can count on cracking a smile. But trust us - we're not laughing at him.
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Mason
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MOST ENTERTAINING DUO


PHYLLIS AND DRUCILLA, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS


Love stories rule, but some of the most unforgettable relationships are loathe stories. The paragon is Phyllis and Drucilla. Their bon mots are delicious. (Dru: "I outrank you." Phyllis: "You are pretty rank.") Funny thing, these catty rivals don't hate each other; they just really know how to push one another's buttons because although they'd never admit it, they are so alike. Even in contrived circumstances (sharing an office, stuck in an elevator), the fab foes milk the set-up to great effect. They are not, however, cartoonish. The sassy lasses can set aside their differences during crises (when dealing with their teens or uniting to save their jobs). That just makes it even bettr when they resume hostilities. In a medium not known for comedy - they are called daytime dramas - watching Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) and Victoria Rowell (Drucilla) duke it out, literally and figuratively, is as heady as any soap romance.
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