Character Who Changed For The BetterGeneral Hospital’s Hayden. When con artist Hayden fell into a coma last year, no one in town really cared and neither did the viewers other than to think what a waste of Rebecca Budig’s talent. Hayden wasn’t connected to anyone, but she’s come a long way since then and in her recent life or death struggle we did care. The actress and the writers have done such a good job adding layers to her character, building depth, we’ve learned so much about her through her interactions with her withholding mother, with the way she fought for Tracy and Finn’s health, and her grudging sisterhood with Elizabeth. All of these relationships have made her motivations clearer and her heart more apparent without losing any of her snark.
Something Old, Something Blue, Something Borrowed, But Hardly Ever NewThe Bold and The Beautiful. The CEO merry-go-round. The Liam triangle. The Brooke Triangle. The same things happening over and over again, it feels as though B&B plagiarize themselves. One of the great joys of daytime soaps is it rarely repeats, yet one of the sorrows of watching B&B is how often it feels like a repeat. There are plenty of characters on this show, and plenty of territory for each of them that has yet to be explored, so explore it already, quit giving us the same old.
Most Welcome BondsI don’t know which was more enjoyable, tender, and surprisingly believable to watch, Days of Our Lives’ Victor embracing teary Theresa on her way out of town, or Kate, who has notoriously hated all her sons’ love interests, encouraging and helping Adrienne through her cancer treatments. This is what makes for a compelling villain, someone who is capable of nastiness, yet also capable of these human heartfelt moments.
Bad BusinessBusiness storylines can work really well, or they can be total duds, Y&R tended towards the duds this year. I didn’t care about pass key. I would have been happy had I never heard that term. I never even completely understood what pass key was other than some sort of security system that seemingly never worked, coded by a fairly unlikeable and stereotypical hacker girl. Sibling rivalry is a good idea, two brothers battling for control of a youth-oriented cosmetics company, not so much. Cane and Billy know nothing about the industry, and they have no personal stake in Brash and Sassy, every single scene of them marketing and testing comes off as inauthentic. There are other more believable ways to force Billy and Victoria together, after all, they do share children. Wouldn’t Victoria and Abby make for the more natural sibling rivalry fighting over the company? Victor handed Brash and Sassy to Victoria long ago, he’s handed Abby nothing, no one seems to really respect her, it would seem she might have something to prove, oh and they both actually use cosmetics.
Most Potential With The Least PayoffGeneral Hospital had some outstanding moments in dealing with Kristina’s sexuality, expressing her confusion, and reversing the stereotypical way we’d think her parents might respond with Alexis not reacting well, while Sonny was actually pretty cool with it. There were a number of truly great scenes, including some powerful confrontations between sisters Kristina and Molly. Then it all went away. Is Kristina now content and settled in her own skin? I have no idea, and that’s a shame, not only because there are probably some people out there who could benefit from watching a TV character struggle with the same things they are, but also because Lexi Ainsworth is too talented to be stuck on the sidelines. Maybe the issue is the viewers or advertisers aren’t ready for this story, which okay, that’s disappointing, but then at least move on and give this actress something else to do.
Shock ValueWhile unimpressed by The Bold and The Beautiful’s repetitive nature, they do one thing better than most and that’s deliver shocks. When a doctor blackmailed Ridge did you expect a truck to mow the guy down? Quinn may be a certified psychopath, but pushing Deacon off a cliff? This is stuff I never saw coming when otherwise, you see everything coming on B&B, this is B&B at it’s most unpredictable and exciting, basically everything a Liam triangle is not. They need more of this.
Worst VillainsDays was never worse this year than whenever it gave over screen time to Ava, Summer, Clyde, Orpheous, Xander, and depending on the moment, Deimos (I’m on the fence about him, love the actor, don’t think the character is fully conceived yet). Their motivations were murky, as was their endgame, it was just a whole bunch of action-oriented nonsense that I didn’t care about. Putting characters in emotional danger makes for much better drama, just look at Adrienne’s cancer, or Chad and Jennifer’s self-destructive grief over Abby.
Most ImprovedWhile still not everything it could be, the changes behind the scenes at Y&R has brought some very positive changes on-screen. The show is much richer visually, with Katherine’s mansion looking more like itself, so many outdoor scenes, and the houses having dining room tables. You wouldn’t think tables would be an exciting turn of events, yet it really is because it’s conducive to conversation and family, and those are areas where Y&R has really excelled of late, Thanksgiving and Christmas, those were brilliant, character-driven affairs, full of squabbles and warmth, like an invitation into someone’s home. It’s early days for this producing and writing team, with some areas that still need improving, but this is as promising as Y&R has been in a long while.
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