Best Story I THE Baby Switch, B&B
To mark its 8,000th episode on January 4 in unforgettable fashion, B&B set a chain of events in motion that would dominate the canvas for the ensuing eight months. Hope went into labor alone on that stormy night on Catalina Island, unaware that Zoe’s shady dad, Dr. Reese Buckingham, had desperate plans of his own to pay off mounting gambling debts. When Hope awoke after the birth, Liam had the heartbreaking task of telling her that their daughter didn’t make it. Steffy, meanwhile, decided to adopt a sibling for Kelly, and Taylor miraculously procured one (for a price) from her new pal, Reese. The twist? The girl, who Steffy named Phoebe, was actually Hope and Liam’s presumed-dead newborn. The intricate tale introduced Flo (who reluctantly wound up in league with Reese) and Shauna, roped in Xander and Zoe, led to the untimely death of earnest intern Emma, sent Thomas down a dark and dangerous path, and ultimately broke up Brooke and Ridge. The performances from Annika Noelle (Hope) and Scott Clifton (Liam) were spot-on all year, and there was no moment more hotly anticipated in 2019 than the duo finding out Beth was alive and finally holding her in their arms. Yes, the gratification was delayed — but ultimately, that made the payoff that much sweeter.
Best Risk I The Time Jump, DAYS
Talk about a future shock. Daring to be bold and different, DAYS’s head writer, Ron Carlivati, and his team crafted a unique time jump story that shook up the entire canvas. One day, Jennifer had fallen into a coma; the next, she miraculously woke up. It was then that Jennifer — and viewers — learned she’d actually been asleep for a year, and Salem as they knew it no longer was. It was a brave move, considering how much TV viewers tend to be resistant to change, but so far, the storytelling gamble has been totally worth it. Every episode, new surprises are revealed and discoveries are made. How did Adrienne die? What was Will’s role in it? What happened to Haley? Who really killed Jordan? The only way to find out is to tune in, which really drives the “miss a day, miss a lot” point home. It’s not easy to do something that has never been done before in soaps, but Carlivati and Co. did — and we coudn’t be more along for the ride.
Best Wrap-Up I J.T.’s “Murder”, Y&R
Ever since Nikki “fatally” whacked J.T., fans had a nagging suspicion that he might be alive, especially since an unknown person was taunting Nikki and her co-conspirators (Victoria, Sharon and Phyllis) in a chilling, I-Know-What-You-Did-Last-Summer fashion. The situation came to a head when Victor was arrested for J.T.’s murder, prompting Nikki to finally confess, which led to the ladies (minus Phyllis, who got immunity by turning on her cover-up co-stars) going on trial and receiving guilty verdicts. While the felons were en route to prison, Nick and Rey broke them free and stashed them in a cabin. There, an armed and dangerous Hellstrom revealed himself to the group, boasted about how he’d terrorized them and prepared to take revenge. In short order, the gals were rescued (and their convictions overturned), and J.T. was arrested, then underwent surgery to remove the brain tumor responsible for his violent behavior, restoring his good-guy rep and putting a tidy but memorable button on this riveting saga.
Most Preposterous Plot I Kristen is Nicole, DAYS
Desperate for a second chance with Brady, the man she loved and was madly obsessed with, Kristen concocted an outrageous scheme to worm her way back into his heart — and bed. She masqueraded as his ex, Nicole, courtesy of an exquisitely crafted latex mask. Think Mission: Impossible comes to daytime. However, it wasn’t the big screen, and Tom Cruise was nowhere in sight. The plot went above and beyond the show’s penchant for the absurd. How did Kristen learn to walk and talk exactly like Nicole, let alone effortlessly dupe every Salemite she crossed paths with? How did nobody notice that Nicole’s body looked different from day to day? And, yet again, poor Brady was depicted as the biggest dunce of all for not realizing he was kissing rubber lips or noticing the seam between “Nicole’s” face and neck. Plus, having already bedded both women, wouldn’t he have known the difference between them during their intimate moments? Sure, we were thrilled to have Arianne Zucker’s Nicole back on the canvas, but there had to have been a less ridiculous way of getting there.
Most Shocking Twist I Thomas’s Dark Side, B&B
Thomas’s transformation from romantic designer to borderline sociopath has been equal parts jarring and fascinating. Tapping into the character’s complicated history — he did set rival Rick’s house ablaze and blew up his sports car, after all — served the story well as Thomas spiraled following the death of Caroline and latched on to Hope and the idea of a possible future with her. His infatuation quickly turned to obsession, and Thomas pulled one scheme after another — drugging Liam, who promptly slept with Steffy comes to mind — to pull the grieving mom into his orbit. And just when it looked like blackmailing Flo, Xander and Zoe to keep the Beth/Phoebe secret was his lowest low, Thomas played a key role in Emma’s untimely death, and showed disturbingly little remorse in the aftermath. (Not to mention how mean he has been to Douglas!) Though his looks suggest young leading man, Matthew Atkinson has brought a creepy, sinister vibe to the Forrester scion that has worked well to solidify Thomas 4.0 as B&B’s emotionally unpredictable villain du jour.
Best Use Of History I The Codicil, GH
In 2016, viewers learned that before Mikkos went to the great weather machine in the sky back in 1981, he revised his will to ensure that his oldest living son would inherit his vast fortune. The reveal triggered the Valentin/Nikolas turf war that ended, seemingly, in Nik’s demise. Fast-forward to this year, when Jax and Hayden, both sights for sore eyes themselves (Oh, how we wish we could have kept her!), returned to Port Charles on a secret mission involving a heretofore-unknown codicil to Mikkos’s will. Their partner in the high-stakes hunt turned out to be a man they both have very complicated history with: the alive-and-kicking Nikolas (promising recast Marcus Coloma), who the codicil would allow to regain control of the Cassadine estate, thereby forcing Valentin to say au revoir to Wyndemere. This was an inspired way to reintroduce Nikolas, whose resurrection offers bountiful storyline possibilities for a slew of other major players (e.g., mother Laura, ex-lover Liz and potential romantic interest Ava)
Worst Use of History I Franco Becomes Drew, GH
For several years, Drew’s pre-2012 memories lay idle on a flash drive, but when it came out of mothballs this summer, it was Franco who became the repository of Chief Petty Officer Drew Cain’s past identity. The premise was rife with sudsy potential, and the plot got off to a fine start, with heart-wrenching scenes of a pre-procedure Franco asking Cameron to tell Liz, “I’ll be back”; Liz reeling from her hubby’s sudden eradication; and Drew grappling with the emergence of his earlier self in another man. But quickly, the real Drew took a one-way trip to an off-camera death and the focus shifted away from a relationship fans cared about (Liz and Franco’s) to one they didn’t: Drew’s long-ago, off-screen romance with Kim. When she got busy with “her Drew” in Franco’s body, Kim came off looking like a lunatic; so, too, did Monica, who became inexplicably fixated on the chance to find out what “Drew” was like as a boy. This sci-fi experiment just didn’t work.
Best Secret I Wiley Is Jonah, GH
When Nelle handed her newborn to Brad last summer, we couldn’t have imagined how intricate and far-reaching the consequences would be — but when this messy mega-secret does ultimately come out (sometime before Wiley’s old enough to drive, we hope), a whole lot of lives stand to be in ruins, both those who were left in the dark — like Michael (who is mourning a son that never died) and Willow (who has bonded with her “birth child”, unaware that her real bio baby passed away last year) — and those who’ve been sitting on the explosive knowledge of Wiley’s true provenance — like Brad (who’s been bulk-buying antacid and praying his marriage survives his deception) and Julian (whose discovery that Lucas was unwittingly raising Sonny’s grandson led him to try to bump off Brad — and accidentally injuring his own now-comatose son, just moments after Brad finally spilled the beans to his hubby!). This slow-burn saga is classic soap, one destined to generate drama for years to come.
Worst Secret I Theo and Kyle In New York, Y&R
Kyle had distanced himself from his wild-child days of partying in Manhattan — until his Big Apple bud, Theo, showed up in Genoa City. Theo wanted to rekindle their fast-lane bromance; Kyle did not, leading to testy confrontations and constant chatter about something ominous they did back in the city that no over could ever know about. As Kyle desperately tried to keep this apparent bombshell from coming to light, our minds reeled about what could be so juicy as to torpedo his cherished relationship with Lola. (Did the bad boys deal drugs? Run a prostitution ring? Cover up a homicide? Did Kyle have a secret love child?) Alas, the secret they were so hell-bent on concealing turned out to be a bona fide nothing burger: They hosted a party where an underage girl got alcohol poisoning. The “big” reveal landed with a thud, and the young lady in question came and went from Genoa City in an equally low-impact way, begging the question, what was the point?
Best Revolving Door I Y&R
Earlier in the year, Genoa City had started to feel like unfamiliar territory, with an influx of new faces populating the canvas — and with that, tried-and-true veterans either back-burnered or sent packing. Luckily, a new head writer/executive producer team came on and made quick work of correcting that unsatisfying trend, starting with the reintroduction of long-serving Doug Davidson as Paul and bringing newbie Alice Hunter’s stint to a swift close (Kerry, we hardly knew ye), then streamlining the overexposed Rosales family by jettisoning Arturo and Mia. Then the show brought the pivotal character of Adam back from the dead in the form of newcomer Mark Grossman in a storyline that also saw the returns of Greg Rikaart (Kevin), Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe) and Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea), and, perhaps most gasp-worthy of all, Michelle Stafford as Phyllis. Luring back Mishael Morgan (ex-Hilary) in a new role, Amanda, was also a smart move, while Eileen Davidson’s multiple visits as Ashley also brightened the canvas. We commend Y&R for recognizing a problem — and fixing it.
Best New Characters I Flo and Shauna, B&B
The introduction of mother/daughter duo Shauna and Flo is the perfect example of how to create a soap family without backlash. After reluctant baby-swapper co-conspirator Flo appeared, it was revealed that she was Wyatt’s first love. Enter her flashy mama, Shauna, Quinn’s BFF of yore, and the newcomers had a clear connection to two characters who were firmly rooted on the canvas. Need a family tie? Well, Flo’s father turned out to be the late Storm Logan, which linked her to that beloved clan, and raised the stakes on the baby Beth saga once Flo realized that Hope was her cousin. In addition to the precise plotting, the casting was spot-on. Prime-time vet Katrina Bowden (Flo) is a natural and shows a lot of promising chemistry with Darin Brooks’s Wyatt, and screen star Denise Richards (Shauna) is bringing a delightfully spicy vibe to the Forrester manse while she eyes Ridge as a potential mate. Flo and Shauna’s presence easily could have been a distraction; instead, they fit seamlessly into the mix. We can’t get our fill of the Fultons.
Most Entertaining Character I Obrecht, GH
Every time Kathleen Gati pops up on screen, GH fans know that they’re in for a good time. The unscrupulous beauty she plays is unapologetically not in the running for Port Charles’s Miss Congeniality — and that’s just the way we like her. Obrecht (Liesl, to her few friends) spent 2019 making Brad and Valentin’s lives miserable by lording her knowledge of their misdeeds over them; surviving a drunken dip into the icy waters off The Haunted Star (courtesy of Brad); trying to literally slap “Drew” back into Franco; nursing a charming crush on Jax (she even agreed not to call 911 on Wyndemere trespasser Hayden in exchange for a date with the Aussie); offering pithy observations about the soapy world she lives in (“A DNA test is only as good as the security around it”); and delivering legendary jabs that were well worth the trip to a German-to-English translator (“Must you be such a socken-in-sandalen traeger?” she sniffed to Brad — that’s “socks-in-sandals wearer”, for the record). Terrific writing and Gati’s zesty performance make Obrecht a supremely fun baddie.
Most Rejuvenated Family I B&B’s Logans
B&B’s other first family returned to the front burner in 2019 with a new branch on its family tree and plenty of soapy drama to keep the waterworks flowing. Donna was already home for good when she, Brooke and Katie were called into action to rally around Hope in the wake of Beth’s “death”. The shocking revelation that Flo was the daughter of their late brother, Storm, prompted the sibs to take an emotional journey back in time as they remembered Storm’s sacrifice to save Katie’s life. And when Katie needed a kidney donor, her sisters were first in line to get tested, and completely gutted to discover that neither one of them was a match — but Flo was. Over the course of the year, Katherine Kelly Lang seamlessly stepped into the matriarch role that had been vacated by Susan Flannery’s Stephanie, and Brooke even began showing shades of her one-time nemesis as she made her disapproval of Thomas abundantly clear. Yes, it was a good year for the Logans — and for the actresses who comprise this beloved clan.
Most Rejuvenated Character I Ava, GH
After spending most of 2018 in a snoozy pairing with Griffin, where even her bad-girl antics (e.g., setting Kiki up to think Griffin was cheating on her) were a yawn, Ava came roaring into 2019 with a nefarious new lover — and the on-screen fireworks generated by her discovery that she’d unwittingly been sleeping with the enemy (Ryan, Kiki’s killer, who’d been posing as Kevin) did not disappoint. (Ava stabbing Ryan after the Nurses’ Ball was unquestionably one of the dramatic highlights of the year.) From there, GH expanded the Crimson cover girl’s universe to include a touching friendship with Laura and a lovely emerging bond with Trina, and has finally called a moratorium on endless scenes of Ava taking verbal abuse from Sonny and Carly — indeed, she and Sonny even managed to act like actual adults co-parenting Avery during Ava’s recent stay at Shadybrook. The return of Nikolas will doubtless involve Ava more as that story unfolds, putting portrayer Maura West in prime position for an equally juicy 2020.
Most Rejuvenated Character, II I Traci, Y&R
As the most level-headed Abbott sibling, Traci got plenty of screen time last year playing referee among her warring relatives, but in 2019, the character really got to shine on her own. Always the voice of calm and reason, Traci got unexpectedly close to Cane, who was floundering in the wake of his divorce from Lily. Their friendship inspired Traci to write a new novel with the lead character based on Cane, which was brought to life in fun, film noir-ish vignettes in which they appeared as figures in the book. Though there appeared to be romantic flickerings, she opted to stay in the friend zone. Traci’s talents were then put to use when she and Jack co-authored a memoir chronicling the Abbotts’ history, good and bad, and their collaboration gave Jack a new appreciation for his sis. Though that book is complete, we hope Y&R continues to open up new chapters for Traci.
Best Couple I Ben and Ciara, DAYS
Putting Ben in Ciara’s orbit meant seriously pushing the envelope when it came to soaps’ standard recipe for romance. But last year’s Best New Couple in our Best & Worst issue continued to build upon the fiery foundation that first brought them together, finding true love and overcoming multiple obstacles to develop into one of daytime’s most intriguing pairings. Ciara stood by her man while Ben got a job, turned his life around and even emerged as a hero when he saved Ciara from his sister’s — and Claire’s — attempts to harm her, and Julie after she had a heart attack. Even the challenge of Ben being wrongly imprisoned for Jordan’s murder hasn’t shaken Ciara’s faith in him. In fact, she’s determined to prove his innocence and set him free so they can resume where they left off — totally devoted to one another. The chemistry between portrayers Robert Scott Wilson and Victoria Konefal hasn’t waned in the slightest, and despite the obvious (he still killed three people, after all), this pairing remains a “Cinful” treat.
Most Boring Couple I Kyle and Lola, Y&R
Kyle and Lola are two congenial characters and are appealing and sweet together ... but the show has struggled to come up with a solid way to inject compelling obstacles into their relationship. First, they became the first couple in soap history to become estranged over a purse (more specifically, its price tag, which offended Lola’s modest sensibilities). Then Summer ran interference, strong-arming Kyle into marrying her so that she would donate part of her liver to save ailing Lola. (Isn’t it romantic? Especially the part where his love for Lola proved so undying that he ... slept with Summer?) That blip of a union came and went, swiftly (and we do mean swiftly — Kyle and Lola only met in September of 2018!) followed by “Kola’s” own march down the aisle in August. The wedding was gorgeous, but the “I do’s” would have meant more had their road to the altar been a little more fleshed-out — and thus far, their newlywed life has been little more than an exercise in tedium. This is a duo in dire need of excitement (and Theo ain’t it).
Best New Couple I Devon and Elena, Y&R
After losing his wife, Hilary, and sending sister Lily to prison, Devon spent many months drowning in grief and regret. Then a ray of sunlight broke through that dark despair in the form of sweet Elena (GH import Brytni Sarpy, ex-Valerie). It’s always a risky proposition for a show to move one half of a popular pairing into a new romance, but Y&R fans hungry to see Devon smile again responded positively to the lovely young woman who caught his eye — and their easy rapport and attraction was obvious when Devon moved Elena and her ailing uncle into his penthouse. Their friendship deepened as Elena’s compassion helped Devon through panic attacks and the devastating loss of Neil. Before they knew it, Devon and Elena had fallen in love — and even though the happiness of a couple is measured by weeks and not years on soaps (the presence of Hilary’s dead ringer, Amanda, is already stirring the pot), a whole lot of viewers are rooting for this adorable duo to go the distance.
Most Tortured Couple I Liam and Hope, B&B
B&B’s star-crossed lovers have had their fair share of turmoil over the years, but 2019 took an exhaustive toll on this beleaguered duo. Just when it looked like their dreams of welcoming a child would be realized, the “demise” of baby Beth created a schism between them as they tried to cope with their unfathomable loss. Liam, who was already on daddy duty with Kelly, watched his fragile bride completely fall apart and push him away as Hope lost herself in grief. Desperate to find somewhere to channel her emotions, Hope latched onto Steffy’s adopted daughter, Phoebe, unaware that she was the presumed-dead Beth, then allowed Thomas to worm his way into her life when he offered her the chance to be a mom to Douglas, who was grappling with Caroline’s death. Liam was the odd man out — and found brief comfort from Steffy — while Hope agreed to become Thomas’s wife. The reveal that Beth was not only alive — but had been in their midst the whole time as Phoebe — brought this duo back together once again, but Thomas’s refusal to give up on Hope makes us think we’ll see Liam and Hope back in this column next year.
Best Wedding I Jack and Jennifer, and Justin and Adrienne, DAYS
A treat to longtime DAYS fans, the double wedding of beloved supercouples Jack and Jennifer, and Justin and Adrienne was a fun, romantic rebound after the busted nups of Lani and Eli. Both duos were planning to tie the knot again, so when the town square venue suddenly became available — with Marlena to officiate, no less! — Maggie suggested they say “I do” en masse. The script was filled with one-liners (“I’ve got such a sense of déjà vu,” Marlena mused before once again starting a cermony that day), and the atmosphere on-screen was light (How often do we see a round of “Rock, Paper Scissors”?). Even the usual soap interruption had a funny twist: When Marlena got to the “Speak now or forever hold your peace” bit, in came a drunken Eve, claiming to be pregnant with Jack’s baby, to which her one-time lover, JJ, humorously scoffed, “No you’re not. You’re too old,” and the jig was quickly up. The “Four Musketeers” (as Justin called them) were pronounced husbands and wives and they got to (briefly) enjoy their happily ever after.
Worst Wedding I Elizabeth and Franco, GH
The jailhouse nups of Liz and Franco were about as far from the wedding of “Friz” fans’ dreams as GH could have delivered. Their champions waited out one of the longest engagements in Port Charles history and multiple ceremony postponements which only heightened anticipation for classically splashy “I do’s” — only to have the duo become Mr. and Mrs. via an impromptu ceremony while the groom was under arrest, with vows exchanged between bars. Our take is that the show wasn’t trying to disappoint the “Frizzies”; the powers-that-be just overestimated how much the romantic notion of Liz wanting to be Franco’s wife even as he faced (faulty) murder charges would make up for everything their sparse PCPD ceremony lacked (the presence of Liz’s kids, a proper first dance and an on-set photographer, to name a few). Happily, the show offered up a sensational make-good: a belated reception featuring heartfelt family moments, a cake-cutting, a bouquet toss and swoon-worthy photos.
Best Interrupted Wedding I Eli and Lani, DAYS
The crash-and-burn nuptials of Eli and Lani were heartbreaking in all the right ways. Before the ceremony, the bride had good reason for her jitters: She had recently shot and killed Stefan in the line of duty, and his vengeful widow, Gabi, had offered her a deal she couldn’t refuse: Dump Eli at the altar in front of all of his family and friends, or she’d use the handy pacemaker-controlling app on her phone to end Julie’s life. The buildup to the big moment was a perfect mix of joy and misery, as Lani tried her best to go through the motions of a happy bride, doing the something borrowed/something blue spiel with Tamara (Welcome back, Marilyn McCoo!), Maggie, Jennifer and Sarah. Then, during the ceremony, a glum Lani tearfully followed orders. “I can’t do this!” she sobbed and darted back down the aisle. As a blindsided Eli gaped at her, dumbfounded and devastated, a delicious smile of triumph spread across Gabi’s face. This revenge was a dish served very cold.
Worst Triangle I Eric/Sarah/Rex, DAYS
The key ingredient for a successful triangle is for one or both of the duos to be viable. In the case of Eric, Sarah and Rex, neither was. Sarah’s fiancé, Rex Brady, had apparently done a 180 in his 13-year absence from Salem. Now a legit louse, Rex was revealed to have cheated on Sarah with not only his ex, Mimi, with whom he had a child, but Sarah’s sister, Noel. Despite this, Sarah was still on board to be his bride. But while she was supposed to be picking out china patterns, Sarah fell for Rex’s brother, Eric, who, true to his own bad romance past, began to have feelings for his sib’s significant other. Stolen moments, near misses and almost kisses ensued, which made Sarah and Eric seem just as shady as Rex, and Rex seem like a dope for not figuring out what was going on. In what we imagine was supposed to be a fraught moment, Sarah and Rex decided to impulsively marry one day in the hospital chapel, and Eric performed the ceremony. Then, to double down on the “drama”, barely a week into the union, Sarah called Rex “Eric” in bed. The only upside? It brought a merciful end to this torturous trio.
Best Tribute I Neil/Kristoff, Y&R
The entire daytime community — but especially his friends behind and in front of the camera at Y&R — were rocked by the unexpected and untimely passing of daytime icon Kristofff St. John in February. The show’s creative forces channeled their still-fresh grief into an emotional, respectful tribute both to St. John and to his beloved alter ego, Neil Winters, a Genoa City fixture since 1991. In April, Neil died peacefully in his sleep, and word of his death spread in shattering scenes played beautifully by those in his on-screen orbit (Bryton James as Devon and Christel Khalil as Lily were especially powerful, and Jack calling Victor with the news was a nice touch). Neil’s funeral (attended by Shemar Moore’s Malcolm, among other returnees) was likewise raw and riveting. The show then went a step further to honor St. John, acknowledging the enormity of the loss with a fourth wall-breaking memorial episode packed with flashbacks and warm remembrances by co-stars past and present, including supercouple partner Victoria Rowell (ex-Drucilla). Y&R showed sensitivity and heart in its handling of this tragedy.
Biggest Waste Of Talent I The Others, B&B
The incredible drama that the baby Beth reveal provided for B&B involved half its cast, but the downside was that the other half was sidelined for the better part of 2019. For nearly eight months, it was Hope/Liam/Steffy/Zoe/Xander/Thomas, rinse and repeat. On the rare occasion he got screen time, John McCook (Eric) had little to do but dole out advice; Rena Sofer’s Quinn, once a firecracker troublemaker, was reduced to coffee talk with Shauna; the Avants were completely AWOL; Ridge and Brooke only became a factor at the tail end of the story; five-time Emmy winner Heather Tom (Katie) was barely seen; and most stunningly of all, the Spencers took a backseat. Sure, as a half-hour soap, there’s only so much time to tell story and only so many people who can work at once, but the absence of so many talented stars was glaring, indeed. Here’s hoping balance is restored in 2020, and all of our faves get the airtime they should.
Most Entertaining Show I DAYS OF OUR LIVES
A mix of kooky, classic and cutting edge, DAYS continually delivered story twists aimed toward every daytime viewer’s taste. A fan of the offbeat and outlandish? There were the diabolical antics of wacky Vivian and the mad Dr. Rolf; Hope’s transformation into psycho Princess Gina; and Kristen’s return in a mask that made her an exact double for Nicole. Prefer classic soap opera? There was Sarah’s baby daddy drama; Gabi’s emergence as a bona fide soap villainess who found an unlikely romance with baddie Stefan; Lani and Eli’s tumultuous wedding; and supercouple Jack and Jennifer’s long-awaited reunion. Want something totally outside the box? Head Writer Ron Carlivati heard you and went where no soap has ever gone before — flashing every character in town forward in time to the tune of a year. The twists and turns just kept coming in every vein and variety. It was a roller-coaster ride of highs, lows, speed bumps and dramatic drops that kept viewers on the edge of their seats, wondering, “What could possibly be next?”, with the promise of more to come in 2020. Coupled with its bold plots, the soap also continued its trend of bringing old favorites back into the fold when a storyline warranted it. After Claire had a mental breakdown, Brandon Beemer and Martha Madison’s Shawn and Belle returned to support their daughter. When Kate was at death’s door, Bryan R. Dattilo’s Lucas rushed to her bedside. When Ben was sent to prison, his diabolical dad, James Read’s Clyde, turned up as a fellow inmate. Alison Sweeney (Sami), Kate Mansi (Abigail), Billy Flynn (Chad) and others were also moved seamlessly on and off the canvas. The soap also featured characters of all age ranges on the front burner — from beloved vets Julie, Doug, Maggie and Victor to the 20-something set led by Ben and Ciara. Every facet of the show was well thought-out and delivered entertainment to the max.
Best Show I BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL
In a year filled with daring storytelling across the dial, Executive Producer/Head Writer Bradley Bell proved that focusing on love stories and family is still the winning combination for compelling drama. After the gripping tale of baby Beth’s “death” dominated the canvas for the first eight months of 2019, the dust settled and Bell wisely moved signature couple Ridge and Brooke front and center as their decades-long love affair imploded due to their warring children. The powerhouse performances from Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke) and Thorsten Kaye (Ridge) brought the realistic exploration of what tests a blended family to emotional life. Then, by tossing temptress Shauna into the mix, the making of a torrid new triangle was born. Forrester/Logan friction was also plentiful in the younger generation. Sure, it was a bold move to kill off the beloved Caroline, but the risk was worth the return, as the aftermath kicked off an umbrella story with Thomas and Hope that is still playing out, and introduced us to Henry Joseph Samiri, an absolute find as Douglas.Wyatt and Sally’s flirty love affair faced its greatest challenge with the return of his first love, Flo, a welcome addition to the canvas along with her mother, Shauna. Meanwhile, Heather Tom had a strong arc when Katie discovered she was in dire need of a kidney and faced an uncertain future. The best kind of old-fashioned soapy goodness was on display as Bill, Will and the Logans rallied around her, and an anonymous donor was found in the 11th hour that turned out to be Storm’s daughter, Flo, who was Public Enemy No. 1 of the clan. Yes, there was some imbalance on the canvas, and many fan faves didn’t get as much meaty material over the course of the year as they should have, but we have to applaud B&B for consistently packing so much filler-free, must-see TV into its tight, half-hour window.
More of what we’ll remember 2019 for — both fondly and not.
Props Of The Year
These inanimate objects practically deserved to be in the credits: Steffy’s laundry, Shauna’s face mask, the Liam/Steffy portrait and Douglas’s stuffed bunny (B&B); Claire’s lighter, Jordan’s cupcakes, Rolf’s diary, Stefano’s portrait, Ted’s necklace and the DiMera chess set (DAYS); Kristina’s pledge, Helena’s portrait, Ryan’s fake hand, Kendra’s jar of poisoned nutritional supplement (GH); and Mia’s earring, Abby’s parka, the forged will pages, Theo’s pocket watch and Billy’s chewing gum (Y&R).
Shout-out to the spiffy new sets on DAYS (Julie’s Place, University Hospital); GH (the Corinthos kitchen and Jax’s beach house); and Y&R (Society, the Grand Phoenix).
Best and Worst Use Of ALL MY CHILDREN Alums
Eva La Rue (ex-Maria) brightened up the Y&R canvas as Celeste Rosales while Michael E. Knight (ex-Tad) has been fun to watch as sleazy attorney Martin Gray on GH — but on the flip side, we wish Vincent Irizarry (ex-David) had gotten to do more as B&B’s Jordan Armstrong.
Best Bonus Content
The DOOL App was fully realized in 2019, adding not one but two terrific digital series — “Chad & Abby in Paris” and “Last Blast Reunion” — that brought back familiar faces from DAYS past like Austin Peck (ex-Austin) and Jay Kenneth Johnson (ex-Philip), plus showed adorable backstage segments like “Who Knew?” with Galen Gering (Rafe), “How Well Do You Know Your Co-Star?”, “Candid Cast” and “Stupid Cupid”.
Best Staff Changes
Watching GH’s Scorpio brothers “ride again” (as Robert put it) at the PCPD (with Robert as DA and Mac as Chief of Detectives) gave us all the feel-goods. We also love that Baldwin brothers Kevin and Michael are back in law-enforcing action at the GCPD on Y&R.
Claire’s turn from a bratty teen who fretted over her social media presence to a bona fide psycho who tried to kill her aunt was a riveting ride on DAYS. Olivia Rose Keegan fully embraced her character’s turn to the dark side, delivering top-notch performances that showed skill and maturity. Claire’s final act — where her plan to burn a trapped Ciara alive went awry — brought her demented run to a stunning, satisfying conclusion, and left us hoping that we’ll see her again in Salem once she’s sprung from Bayview.
We Get It, He’s Dead
GH’s Oscar (a character who appeared in fewer than 120 episodes over the entirety of his run) got a special, death-centric episode, a celebration of life that was better-attended than the Nurses’ Ball, a memorial meadow and was talked about ad nauseum after his demise. We hate to speak ill of the fictional dead ... but this amount of mourning is a bit much.
Stars of Tomorrow
Pint-sized performers who packed a punch this year include B&B’s Henry Joseph Samiri (Douglas); GH’s Scarlett Fernandez (Charlotte), Jason David (Aiden) and Jophielle Love (Violet); and Y&R’s Judah Mackey (Connor).
Here’s Your Hat, What’s Your Hurry?
If you blinked, you likely missed the abrupt exits of these players: B&B’s Taylor, Thorne, Reese and Xander; DAYS’s Sheila, Valerie, Tripp, Chloe and Lucas; GH’s Griffin, Margaux, Drew, Kim and Hayden; and Y&R’s Gloria, Kerry, Charlie, Mattie, Ana and Cane.
Most Desperate For A Date
In 2019, Cupid was particularly unkind to B&B’s Carter (again); DAYS’s Rafe, Hope and Kate; GH’s Jax; and Y&R’s Phyllis and Adam.
Topical Stories That
DAYS used Haley’s immigration status as a way to cause plenty of drama for JJ, Jack, Eve, Claire and Tripp, but “Send her back!” protests and ICE interviews did not make for enjoyable viewing. Meanwhile, GH’s ripped-from-the-headlines sex cult story dominated the canvas for much of the year, ending in the whimper of Shiloh’s quick death at Sam’s hands. It proved to be far too ... rapey for most viewers’ liking.
Tied Up With A Bow
In 2019, stories that got pat enders include: Katie and Flo’s recovery from their kidney transplant (B&B); Kristen and Xander making deals to avoid prosecution for impersonating Nicole (her) and Holly’s kidnapping (him), and Leo turning out to not be John’s son (DAYS); Aiden’s bullying and Donna’s spina bifida (GH); and Y&R’s Chloe and Chelsea magically not having any legal woes stemming from their faked death (Chloe) and massive embezzling scheme (Chelsea).
Most Entertaining Duos
The fun combos to watch this year included B&B’s Quinn and Shauna, and Thomas and Vinny; DAYS’s Rolf and Vivian, and Tony and Anna; GH’s Trina and Cameron, Liz and Hayden, and Robert and Finn; Y&R’s Victor and Jack, and Phyllis and Abby.
Unsolved Mysteries, 2019 Edition:
Why did B&B’s Quinn and Wyatt have to leave Vegas in the dead of night, and why haven’t Shauna and Flo ever demanded an explanation for it? Where did Sally live after her split with Wyatt? Are Pam and Charlie ever going to get married? Where is Taylor? ... Does DAYS’s Rex know that Kate was buried alive? Who is David’s dad? ... What is up with the bowl of moss on Sonny’s kitchen island on GH, and who is Stella’s missing relative? And how does Jason always manage to be a mere 5 feet away when someone needs rescuing? ... Where is Y&R’s Noah, and is Christine ever going to work again?
The Name’s The Thing
DAYS pulled at our heartstrings by having Sarah name her baby in honor of the late Mickey Horton; ditto GH, when Sonny and Carly picked the name Donna, a nod to the show’s late head of makeup, Donna Messina.
2019 Words We Never Want To Hear Again
“Custody papers”, “Hydrofluroic acid”, (B&B); “The serum” , “CEO of DiMera” (DAYS); “Dawn of Day”, “Initiation ceremony”, “Memory map”, “Chief Petty Officer”, “Charlie” (GH); “Katherine’s will”, “Just like Hilary”, “Influencers” (Y&R).
Lastly, bravo to these memorable performances:
• B&B’s Heather Tom when Katie viciously chewed out Flo for her role in the baby swap; Thorsten Kaye and Katherine Kelly Lang’s bravura Ridge/Brooke breakup scenes; and Scott Clifton (Liam) and Annika Noelle (Hope) at the climax of the baby swap story.
• DAYS’s Camila Banus for Gabi’s devastation after Stefan’s death; Greg Vaughan when Eric discovered that Nicole was alive; Kassie DePaiva when Jack called it quits with Eve; Chrishell Hartley when Jordan completely unraveled; Suzanne Rogers as Maggie fell off the wagon after decades of sobriety; and Melissa Reeves as Jennifer coped with the fact that Jack was alive, but had no memory of their life together.
• GH’s Maurice Benard as Sonny fought to keep it together when he moved Alzheimer’s-stricken Mike out of the house; Tamara Braun (ex-Kim) and Eden McCoy (Josslyn) in the wake of losing Oscar; William Lipton (Cameron) and Roger Howarth (Franco) in their characters’ final moments together before Franco was memory-mapped; and Genie Francis (Laura) and Maura West (Ava) prior to Ava’s Shadybrook commitment.
•Y&R’s Bryton James (Devon) and Christel Khalil (Lily) mourning Neil; Marla Adams when Dina learned she was being moved to assisted living; the reunion scenes between Kate Linder (Esther) and Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe); and Peter Bergman (Jack) emotionally toasting to his family when celebrating the completion of the Abbott memoirs.