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Daytime Opinion Article


Current Daytime Soaps in Order, by Quality

Looking for a new soap to watch?  Find out which are the best (and worst).  Here are the daytime soaps, listed in order of quality, in my opinion.

#9 Passions--This show uses every possible annoying soap convention.  The characters act stupidly, history is changed without any sense of logic or reason, the characters talk out loud to themselves endlessly and have tons of unnecessary flashbacks, they constantly rehash (tell us what has already happened and who is related to whom), and stories are dragged out until you are ready to scream.  The show has some humor, but it used to have more when they focused more on the supernatural.  It has never really recovered since Timmy died.  They have many great actors on the show, but the directors encourage them to chew the scenery and over-act as much as possible.  They also have many bland, boring people who were probably models before they became actors and have very little talent.  The writers act like the viewers are 12 years old, or stupid.  Except for those people who watch just because they love a particular actor or couple, the only people who still watch this show are probably idiots and people who really like a good laugh (but not the intentional kind).  The show does do integrate minority characters well, since one of its core families is black and one is Latino. 

#8  Days of Our Lives - This show is written by James E. Reilly, the same guy who created and writes Passions. I have no idea why NBC likes him so much.  He wrote this big serial killer story where he killed off tons of favorite characters, most of whom were over 40.  That was bad enough, but then he inexplicably (and most unbelievably) brought them all back to life on an island that is an exact replica of Salem.  Then, to make things even worse, they either stand around and talk endlessly, or they keep falling off cliffs.  The show has totally lost its grasp on reality.  To be fair, the killing off of the actors was probably an idea from the producers, in order to save some money.  They could save all the money from the six months the actors were gone, and then renegotiate their contracts from a position of strength when they wanted them back.  Want to cut your actors' salaries? Make them think they're fired for six months! That will make them come crawling back.  Shame on you, Days!  And by the way, bring in some more non-white characters.

#7  One Life to Live -- This show is a shell of its former self.  It has not been very good since about 1998 when the producers and writers changed.  They fired a bunch of good actors and brought in some new people we hated, among many other things.  The show was very boring for the next three years.  Then they brought in a new EP and brought back a writer who had done good work in the 90's, and at first the show was very exciting and interesting again, and characters we hated were shown the door (and some we didn't hate).  That didn't last for long because the show took a very dark turn.  We suddenly had psychos like Mitch Lawrence brought in and they just stayed far too long.  They victimized heroines Jessica and Natalie to the point where we wonder about the characters' brains.  They ruined their Latino family, the Vegas, by making Antonio into a seething mess and introducing another family, the Santis (perhaps trying to bring mobsters in the way they did on GH).  The Santis were loathsome, unlikable characters played by bad actors.  Even worse, the show has gotten rid of people whose talent they wasted (Linda Dano for instance), or ignored people who are very popular and likable (like Roxy, Viki, and Lindsay).  They focused on boring teens like River and Adriana, and the college kids at the "Love House".  I hear that the show has a new writer, so I hope they can fix this mess!  Most fans fast-forward through most of the show, which is not good.

#6  Guiding Light -- The show has been improving under its new writers and EP, but it's still a bit boring and has made some questionable choices in how it pairs some of its lovers.  They should integrate the older people in the show more, especially Beth, Blake, and Holly.  They don't seem to have many non-white people.  There are many good and interesting actors on the show that do a great job.  The show was so bad up until now, I'm not sure they can get enough viewers to tune in who will be pleased, before it gets canceled. I would hate to see it go, though.

#5 General Hospital -- This has always been my favorite soap, so it saddens me to see how many problems it has and how far down it is on this list.  You've probably heard it all before, but here goes: the show has too much violence and doesn't focus enough on the hospital.  They have made some strides lately in showing the Quartermaines and Cassadines more, and focusing less on the mob, and that is fantastic.  They need to do more of that.   They need to concentrate more on the details of the writing and the show's history so that characters don't act stupid or sacrifice what made them likable in the first place.  I am enjoying the storyline about Carly's father immensely.  Some fans will probably never be happy as long as Sonny and the other mob people are on the show and being shown as good guys, but that's business because Maurice Benard and some of the others are SO popular that GH would be foolish to dump them.  The show is still exciting and that is also a good thing.  We just don't want the excitement to be all about shootings, stabbings, hit-and-runs, etc.  And the show needs to have more non-white characters.

The shows below this are all ones I consider to be top-notch, very good soaps that anyone should watch!

#4  All My Children -- A lot of viewers may not agree with me on this choice.  I am really enjoying the show this past year.  It is Must See TV for me.  Any fan should remember back to how bad the show was two years ago and then tell me it's not better now.  It has really come a long way.  It was a really tedious mess that had a bunch of useless, boring characters and didn't focus on fan favorites, including the show's star, Erica.  Now most of the veterans are used.  The newer characters are tied to the vets so they are not by themselves so much and we care about them more.  I have really enjoyed the baby switch storyline because it's been fascinating and has involved so many of the show's characters.  I love how they have given such great story to Erica, Bianca, and Kendall, as well as many others. I am enjoying the relationship between Ryan and Greenlee.  There is room for improvement, sure.  They need to use even more of the vets (they should not have let Marcy Walker go!).  Sometimes the show is too "talky" and I fast-forward through these long-winded scenes.  They have made Kendall act too crazy.  They need to give Bianca back her love (and sex) life, whether she's paired with Maggie or someone else.  They need to figure out what they want to do with the black characters on the show, and some other people like Simone and Brooke.  But basically, the show is really good.

#3 As The World Turns -- This show is very interesting to watch.  There is always something going on, the dialogue is crisp and fun, and the actors give great performances.  The only bad actor on the show has really improved a lot.  The show occasionally introduces a clunker story, like this recent one about the search for the keys, but otherwise it does a great job.  They use all of the characters, from every generation.  I may not always agree with how they treat some of the actors but there is no question that generally, the decisions the producers and writers make are good ones.  The only reason this show is not on the top of the list is because I do not watch it every day and I have only watched it for the past few years (so I can't tell you about whether it's true to its history).  I have heard a lot of complaints from regular viewers who don't like some of the changes in the show.  So I can't tell you whether the griping is valid or just the usual fan complaints.  All I know is, compared to the the other 5 shows I've talked about above, ATWT is doing great and the fans should be happy with that.  It's been my experience that if you have only watched a show briefly, you are more likely to like it then if you are a long-time viewer because you remember older storylines that may contradict current ones, or were better than current ones, or were even duplicates of current ones.  Also, the show did have some great black characters but got rid of half of them, so that's not a good sign.

#2 Bold and The Beautiful -- I must say that #3 and #4 are probably actually tied.  Sometimes the writers at B&B do some very creepy things, like pair up people who used to be brother and sister, or put a 20-something woman with a 17-year-old people.  Sometimes they introduce new characters too fast, like the Marones, while ignoring their core family, the Forresters.  However, they have been really good about recognizing their mistakes and switching gears very fast to fix them.  Day to day, the show is interesting to watch and that's what counts.  The dialogue is good and the characters solid.  It is not always the most exciting show, but sometimes it can be.  Since it's a half hour, it's easy to watch.  They do pack a lot into that half hour, which they have to because they have a large cast.  They use characters of all ages, which is nice and how it should be on soaps.  Some long-time viewers may gripe about how often they have Ridge and Brooke marry, but they are also popular with many fans.  For a show that exists in Los Angeles, it's pretty lily-white.  They did a good thing by introducing the Ramirez family, but they need to be more than just tokens.  My only other complaint about the show is that they often cast these wonderful actors and then don't seem to know what to do with them, so they end up writing them out (like Brian Gaskill).

#1  The Young and The Restless -- There is a reason this show has been number one in the ratings for so long!!  It has well-developed, three-dimensional characters that don't suddenly change how they act for no good reason.  They rarely recast the actors; heck, they rarely even lose actors, compared to other soaps, because they treat them so well.  They integrate black and white characters, as well as characters of all ages, better than any other show.  They actually have interesting black people that are neither saints nor drug dealers, which is something you rarely see on TV.  They have long-term, well-paced stories that they clearly think out ahead of time and follow through to an exciting conclusion.  Interesting and unexpected things happen that make you go, "Oh, wow!"  The dialogue is snappy and fun.  They use the show's history well and often bring back characters from 10 or more years ago and make them interesting and vital again. The show has always been a bit slower-paced than other soaps, but I think they have to do that in order to show character development and build the stories.  I have watched the show off and on since 1986, and right now it's the best it's ever been.

Page updated 12/27/11

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