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Laura Benanti Joins The Cast Of ABC's NASHVILLE For Multi-Episode Arc!

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Looks like Rayna James (Connie Britton) is either going to have a friend for life or a major enemy for one!  That is because news today out of deadline.com has that Laura Benanti has been cast in the role of Sadie Stone, a rising star in the music scene who befriends Rayna!

But as we know with all of the women and men that circle the life of Rayna James … where they start is not where they finish in the world of  country music!

As for Benanti, the talented actress and singer is a Tony Winner having appeared in Into the Woods, Gypsy and Swing, and on television she has starred on NBC’s Go On and The Playboy Club, as well as FX comedy series Starved.

So what do you think will happen when Sadie Stone crosses paths with Rayna James? Will there be a major catfight in Music City?   Weigh-in below!

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Isn’t she also Kevin’s new wife on Nurse Jackie!

Breaking News

Michael Fairman TV Names The Best and Worst In Soaps 2018

As 2018 comes to a close, we take a look back with our annual list of the Best and Worst in Soaps!  

As it does every year, Michael Fairman TV  take this opportunity to pay tribute to the tremendous work of the talented men and women in front of the camera and behind the scenes, whose tireless efforts in the grind of producing and acting in this genre’s format is a feat in of itself.  It is also something to be admired for the sheer volume of material that is churned out day in and day out.

Now, in addition to naming the best moments and performances of the year, there were several not so stellar moments featuring characters, storylines, and more, that get the dubious honor of some of our “Worst’s”.

So with that said; we give you our year-end review.  As you will read, we tried to dissect the calendar year on your favorite daytime dramas through our various categories.  While we know many of you have your own picks and choices, and may disagree, or agree with ours, we encourage you to let us know your thoughts as well.  And most of all, respect everyone’s opinions, as you wish them to respect yours.

Finally, we want to wish our wonderful community here at Michael Fairman TV and soap fans everywhere, a healthy, prosperous, and exciting New Year!   It is all of you with your passion and devotion to the soap genre itself, which make this such a special and unique medium that we all share, squabble, and delight over week after week.

So here we go … the Best and Worst in Soaps … and with that… 2018 out!

Photo: ABC/JPI Studios

BEST SOAP

Days of our Lives

What started in 2017 for half of the year (which earned the show Best Soap last year) continued with Days of our Lives first full-year of stories that aired from head writer, Ron Carlivati.  And with that, it made DAYS the one soap of all that was most consistent, most entertaining, most fun, and most riveting.  Whether it be Stefan O’s arrival in Salem with Madam Vivian, Andre’s murder which split poor Abigail into multiple personalities, Gabi revenge plot against Abigail, Nicole and Eric finally be reunited; only for her to perish in the creepy warehouse explosion, John and Marlena’s nuptials which spiraled into a major story arc with a return from Alison Sweeney, plus the antics of Leo, Hattie, Bonnie, and Sheila, and oh yes, #Cin becoming a soap phenom, DAYS had something for everyone, and delivered the soapy goodness.

Photo: ABC

SOAPMAKER OF THE YEAR

Ron Carlivati – Days of our Lives

Head scribe, Carlivati takes this honor for the fifth time, and his second for DAYS.  No one breaks apart a story and puts all the pieces together like a finely-tuned jigsaw puzzle, and shares with viewers some inside jokes, witty dialog, and bombshell moments.  The fact that Carlivati was an ABC soap guy and has adapted into the world of Salem is to his credit.

BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS

(TIE)

Maura West – Ava Jerome – General Hospital 

From her standalone episode at the beginning of the year where Ava has her scar removed, and gets a new lease on life, it was going to be an interesting journey for Ms. Jerome and how she decides to regain her life.  She falls in love with Griffin, but that goes south through a lot of self-sabotage.  He falls for her daughter, Kiki, and she resents them both.  Kiki is killed by Ryan, posing as “Kevin” who is Ava’s new guy, and through it all, West shines with those gutsy performances and that undeniable star-quality, that keep us always wanting more, and more.

Marci Miller – Abigail Deveraux – Days of our Lives

If any actress had a leading role throughout 2018, it was DAYS’ Marci Miller.  Her Abigail became completely unhinged after murdering Andre.  Miller got to show us the depths of her acting as Abby, Gabby with a “y” and Dr, Laura in a DID storyline.  She drove story for months on end.  Marci made the decision to leave DAYS to pursue roles in film and TV, and we know, and soap fans know, that she has got what it to takes to make it to the big screen.

BEST SINGLE PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A STORYLINE

(Tie)

Mishael Morgan – Hilary says goodbye to her loved ones before she dies – The Young and the Restless

Powerhouse!  That’s all that needs to be said about the final days of story for Mishael Morgan before she made her final exit from Y&R.  After being severely injured in a car crash during an argument with the driver, her nemesis, Lily, Morgan’s Hilary left it out all out on the table in scene after scene.  Those goodbye scenes with Gina Tognoni, Kristoff St. John, Camryn Grimes and her longtime Y&R co-star, Bryton James, were a tour de force.  Morgan went out on her terms.

Courtesy/CBS

Eileen Davidson – Ashley reveals her revenge plot on Jack and her devastation before she leaves for Paris – The Young and the Restless

Davidson’s final turn as Ashley Abbott (when she made the decision to leave the series), turned out to be some of the best work in Eileen’s daytime career. (And that is saying something!).  Who can forget her showdown with Jack; where she admits she switched the DNA results to make it look like he was not John Abbott’s son.  She revealed her pain and devastation that no one in the family gave her the opportunity she deserved to run Jabot.  Ultimately, Ashley leaves Genoa City and heads to Paris, but not before taking the patents with her.  Standing Ovation for Eileen on this one!

Courtesy/CBS

BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR

Jason Thompson – Billy Abbott – The Young and the Restless 

Yes, we did not want to go down the path of another intervention storyline, or see Billy fall back into his gambling addiction, (thanks Summer!) but it did provide one of the best actors in daytime a chance to showcase the nuances of his portrayal of the very complex Billy Abbott.  Couple that with:  Billy’s relationship with Phyllis going bust, revenge-sex with Summer (then admitting why he did it to both mom and daughter) …  his ongoing turmoil with his brother, Jack, being ousted as CEO by Ashley for her own gain, and then … reconnecting with Victoria in her time of need.   All of this gave a canvas for Mr. Thompson to tap into an emotionally-damaged man who when given the circumstances can fall prey to his demons, while at the same time, being quite the leading man.

“Honorable Mentions” to these great actors for their work:

Peter Bergman – The Young and the Restless

Maurice Benard – General Hospital

Roger Howarth – General Hospital

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

BEST SINGLE PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A STORYLINE 

Chandler Massey – Will gets his memory back – Days of our Lives 

This three-time Daytime Emmy winner got his shining moment and knocked it out of the park in the scenes when Will’s memories come flooding back in the middle of John and Marlena’s wedding.  Running out of the nuptials to the park to try to gain his composure, he can’t.  And finally, Will remembers his love for Sonny, and his entire life.   Massey played the moments so beautifully that if you watch it over again and again, it still feels so raw and real even in the soapiest of circumstance.

Courtesy/CBS

Runner-up:

Joshua Morrow – Nick loses custody of Christian to his father, Victor, and must say goodbye to the child – The Young and the Restless

Now this was a tearjerker … and Y&R long-standing MVP, Joshua Morrow was heartbreaking as Nick had to hand over Christian to his father to raise him.   It was Morrow at his best, and set the stage for the darker side of Nick to emerge.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LONG-RUNNING VETERAN, MALE

Drake Hogestyn – John Black – Days of our Lives

When Marlena was shot at her wedding to John, little did we know the kind of material that would be given to Drake Hogestyn to play.  How heartbreaking was watching this always tough guy breakdown in pieces, as he is scared to death to lose the love of his life.  Every time Drake was on during this story arc, it was a grab-your-hankie moment.  How wonderful to see that at this point in his enduring career, he was given the ball to show what he can do, and he ran with it and scored a touchdown.  Don’t we all love John Black?

Courtesy/CBS

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LONG-RUNNING VETERAN, FEMALE

Beth Maitland – Traci Abbott – The Young and the Restless

As Traci Abbott tried to hold her battling siblings and family together during the struggle for control of the company, and the under-handed tricks perpetrated, Beth Maitland reminded us all why she is a daytime treasure.  She took this material, and made us love the forgotten about Abbott child all the more.

BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE BY A SUPPORTING ACTOR

Max Gail – Mike Corbin – General Hospital

What a revelation Max Gail has been in the role of Mike Corbin.  He has become so popular in the role that viewers can’t wait to see to see Mike on-screen even as he battles the horrific effects of Alzheimer’s.  A great recast in the role (previously played by Ron Hale), Gail should be picking up Emmy gold in 2019. 

Runner-up: 

Jon Lindstrom – Ryan Chamberlain/Kevin Collins – General Hospital 

Jon Lindstrom must be having the acting time of his life – getting to play Ryan posing as Kevin …  meanwhile going on a serial killing spree throughout Port Charles.  Lindstrom is a nuanced, not-over-the-top actor, which makes all of this work!

Photo: JPI Studios

BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE BY A SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Camryn Grimes – Mariah Copeland – The Young and the Restless

Remember when Mariah had to go on GC Buzz and do the broadcast without her co-host, Hilary who just died?  Grimes’ monologue was stirring, as well as her complicated relationship with Tessa, and being a best friend to her mother, Sharon, and ending up with lots of secrets in her midst that she never knows what she should do with.  Grimes lifts up any scene.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE DUO IN A STORYLINE

Kirsten Storms and Michelle Stafford – Nathan’s Death – General Hospital

From the moment Detective Nathan West was killed, the reactions, and the raw emotion displayed by Kirsten Storms (Maxie) as the grieving wife, and Michelle Stafford (Nina) as the grieving sister, took us on a rollercoaster ride that felt so close to home for anyone who has suddenly lost their brother or sister, who was their best friend and someone they looked up to, or their spouse.  From the funeral, to the birth of Nathan and Maxie’s baby, to the kidnapping of Peter August (Henrik Faison) – these two actresses delivered. 

Courtesy/ABC

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A MALE DUO IN A STORYLINE

Maurice Benard and Max Gail – Alzheimer’s storyline- General Hospital

GH hit a home run with the casting of Max Gail as Mike, who comes back on to the canvas suffering from Alzheimer’s, and that pairs him with his mobster son, who now faces an enemy he can’t bring down – a disease that ultimately strips a person of their dignity and all their memories.   Benard and Gail are perfect scene-mates and have given viewers many emotional beats in this story from both characters vantage points.

Courtesy/NBC

BEST ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE

Eric Martsolf, Martha Madison, Alison Sweeney, Greg Vaughan, Drake Hogestyn – Marlena’s family says goodbye at her hospital bedside – Days of our Lives

Everyone was good in this episode! When all of Marlena’s loved ones and children one-by-one had their turn to tell the good doc how much they loved her:  Brady, Belle, Eric, Sami and of course, love of her life John, it was all great drama and a five-hankie moment.

Courtesy/ABC

BEST VILLAIN 

Chloe Lanier – Nelle Benson – General Hospital

Nelle masterminded: that baby switch, made it look like Carly threw her down the stairs, got Carly committed to Ferncliff, and lies and manipulates any way she can to keep her revenge plots going.  Even from jail, Nelle is causing havoc.  Chloe Lanier is brilliant in this role – another young actress who has a very bright future.

Courtesy/ABC

BEST YOUNGER ACTOR

Garren Stitt – Oscar Nero – General Hospital

We already liked Oscar and Garren Stitt’s understated performances, and even though the brain cancer storyline is plagued with issues, Stitt makes us care for this young man’s struggles; whether it is in young love, in conflict with his parents, or battling impending death.

BEST YOUNGER ACTRESS

Victoria Konefal – Ciara Brady – Days of our Lives

Looks like Victoria Konefal has become the long-awaited embodiment of the young adult version of Bo and Hope’s child that everyone hoped Ciara would be – a fighter, take-no-prisoners young woman, hopelessly in love with a former serial killer!:)

Photo: JPI Studios

BEST SCENE-STEALER MALE

Greg Rikaart – Leo Stark – Days of our Lives

How delish!  Days of our Lives’ gain was Y&R’s loss, and Greg Rikaart gets to play a role he has always wanted to … a gay villain.  Leo is just as much fun for Rikaart to play as it must be for Ron Carlivati to write – the zingers … the outfits … and the hairspray.  Keep it coming!

BEST SCENE-STEALER FEMALE

Judi Evans – Bonnie Lockhart –Days of our Lives 

You can bet if Bonnie Lockhart is in a scene, there will be some snappy dialog!  And because it’s played to the hilt by Judi Evans, you are going to be paying attention!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

CHARACTER WHO DESERVED THE BIGGEST BITCH-SLAP

(TIE) 

Gabi Hernandez – played by Camila Banus- Days of our Lives 

After all her plotting, scheming and betrayals, Abigail punched out her rival!  Camila Banus as “Bad Gabi” was deliciously despicable throughout this story.

Summer Newman- played by Hunter King – The Young and the Restless

Phyllis clocked Summer for going after her man! You go Phyl!

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A RECURRING CHARACTER

Patricia Bethune as Mary Pat on General Hospital

Now this is what we call “playing evil!” From the minute Nurse Mary Pat showed up, you knew Carly was going to have a bumpy ride at Ferncliff.  Bethune was so good that they extended her run; ultimately she was the first victim in the latest Ryan Chamberlain killing spree.  Longtime character actress Patricia Bethune was terrific, and scary in the part.

Photo: Mark Levine/CMT

BEST PERFORMANCE IN PRIMETIME SOAP MALE

Charles Esten – Deacon Claybourne – Nashville

The sixth and final season of Nashville, was a showcase, and rightfully so, for long-running star Charles Esten, as Deacon dealt with the re-emergence of his alcoholic father, trying to be a father to two young girl’s burgeoning music career’s (following his beloved Rayna’s untimely death), while at the same time trying to expose some dirty dealings in the music business.  Esten’s, Deacon Claybourne is one character that will be missed.

BEST PERFORMANCE IN PRIMETIME SOAP FEMALE

Taraji P, Henson – Empire

Don’t cross Mama Lyon!  Taraji P. Henson continues to shine as Cookie Lyon – a woman who loves her man, her children, and will do whatever it takes to get the family business back on top

BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMER IN A PRIMETIME SOAP

Rafael de La Fuente – Dynasty

When the CW reboot of Dynasty revealed that the role originally played by Heather Locklear was now a male version named “Sammy Jo”, no one knew what to expect, but Rafael de La Fuente has made this one saucy dude!

Photo: CMT

BEST TEARJERKER IN A PRIMETIME SOAP

Avery and Juliette reunite in the series finale – Nashville

In one of the most hankie-filled moments of this, or any other soap season, the series finale of Nashville flashed forward, and we see that Avery finally comes to Juliette and tells her he wants to be with her, and their daughter Cadence, and their unborn child.  Javery fans do a happy-dance!

BEST RECAST PRIMETIME SOAP

Nicollette Sheridan – Alexis Carrington – Dynasty

No one can beat Joan Collins as the original Alexis.  However, this re-imagined updated Alexis is as conniving as they come and sexy to boot.  Bravo Nicollette.

BEST PRIMETIME SOAP

Dynasty 

When the first season of the reboot when off the air in May, all we could think is this is a “soap on steroids”, and it continued to be s into season 2.   With all the soap tropes you can imagine, somehow it works and provides a solid 37 minutes of entertainment (sans commercials)

BEST COUPLE

(Tie)

Ben and Ciara – Days of our Lives 

While they finally found a moment to share their long-awaited first lip lock, soap viewers have been captivated by the young man with a troubled past, and the rich girl from a good upbringing trying to connect against all odds. 

Courtesy/NBC

Sonny and Will – Days of our Lives

We know that they are not truly together at the moment, but there is no question that Sonny and Will are a “power couple” of Days of our Lives and fans root for them to be together.

MOST BOTCHED TRIANGLE

Jason, Sam, Drew – General Hospital

After positioning this love triangle between two brothers who have fallen for the same woman, in circumstances neither of them could have imagined, the triangle really never got off the ground.  Drew seemed to attempt to move on with his life, although deeply in love with Sam, and Sam and Jason kind of danced around each other for months.  Is there a payoff coming?  Will this story be re-ignited?  Will any fan faction be made happy?

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

BEST SHOCKER

Bill Spencer was shot by Taylor – The Bold and the Beautiful

Say what?  After all the twist and turns it was revealed that none other than an unstable mama bear, Taylor Hayes, wanted to avenge her daughter, Steffy, and shot Dollar Bill!  Welcome back Hunter Tylo! 

BEST WEDDING

John and Marlena’s wedding (the one where all hell brook loose) – Days of our Lives

Everyone was gussied up.  Beautiful vows were beginning to be exchanged, and then Sami shows up drugged out of her mind, Kristen is revealed to be posing as Susan, and off we go into high camp and a huge story arc.  Dramatic and fun.

BEST RECAST

Michael Mealor – Kyle Abbott – The Young and the Restless

After a multitude of Kyle Abbotts debuted on Y&R as Jack and Diane’s son, it’s Michael Mealor’s take on the character that is the perfect fit – a chip off the old Abbott block, Mealor’s magnetic performance is one to take notice of.

BEST RECAST FEMALE

Stacy Haiduk – Kirsten DiMera and Susan Banks – Days of our Lives 

No one could ever replace Eileen Davidson as Kristen and Susan on DAYS.   However, when she was not available to return, because of her schedule with Y&R, the show had to recast, and that they did with former Y&R scene-stealer, Stacy Haiduk.  And the hard-working Haiduk put her own spin on the sexy and evil Kristen, and the down-trodden and disturbed Susan, while keeping intact some of Davidson’s signature traits in the role, – “Mean, Mean, Mean!” 

RECAST THAT FIZZLED

Ingo Rademacher as Thorne Forrester – The Bold and the Beautiful

When B&B announced that Winsor Harmon would not be returning to the role of Thorne, and that he would be replaced by GH favorite, Ingo Rademacher, the response was mixed.  With Rademacher, the show was banking on a soapy leading man.  However, somehow the show never wrote much for Thorne, and by year’s end, Rademacher revealed he is leaving the role. 

Courtesy/ABC

BEST GUT-WRENCHER  

Ava sees her dead daughter in a body bag – General Hospital

When viewers witnessed the moment of Ava Jerome coming to the Haunted Star to see for herself that her daughter Kiki was murdered, it provided the backdrop for Maura West to rip our hearts out.  And that she did … when she looked at her daughter in a body bag and shouted, “Lauren Katherine Jerome you open your eyes, and sit up!”  Enough said.

BEST RETURN BY AN ACTOR

Rob Scott Wilson – Days of our Lives

In a wowza return, Rob Scott Wilson triumphantly came back to DAYS with the task of redeeming his serial killer, bad boy, Ben Weston.  Viewers also got to witness a breathtaking performance in the cabin with Ciara, when Ben (off his meds), is losing his grip and seeing visions of his evil father, Clyde, and more.  Wilson is so good at going from mentally unstable to a viable leading man and love interest for Ciara, in one fell swoop. 

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

BEST RETURN BY AN ACTOR IN A LIMITED RUN

Thad Luckinbill – The Young and the Restless

Everyone loved J.T. Hellstrom, and everyone was very excited to have Thad Luckinbill reprising his role.  Little did anyone know, although the rumors were out there, that this version of J.T. was an abuser.  Luckinbill, in scenes with his real-life, ex-wife, Amelia Heinle, was riveting.  It set the stage for a bigger umbrella story – J.T.’s murder.  However, for us, we wish Thad was still stirring things up in Genoa City.  Come back, Thad, if you have time in between producing major motion pictures and acting in other projects!

BEST RETURN BY AN ACTRESS

Kate Mansi – Days of our Lives

After Marci Miller made the decision to not renew her contract it DAYS, Abigail was in the throes of major story.  So what’s a show to do?  Bring back the actress who previously won a Daytime Emmy for the role, Kate Mansi.  In the last few months of 2018, Mansi’s Abigail is back in all its glory.

BEST RETURN BY AN ACTRESS IN A LIMITED RUN

Alison Sweeney –Days of our Lives 

Under head writer, Ron Carlivati, Sami Brady DiMera has been more interesting than ever.  Add to that the brilliant performances of Alison Sweeney, and when Sami came back for the Jarlena wedding, and later, found EJ in a warehouse too boot, it provided us with many a great moment.

BEST ‘SO GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN’ CASTING

Joe Lando as Judge MacMullen – The Bold and the Beautiful 

Jake Harrison from One Life to Live … Byron Sully from Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman!  Yes!  In a brilliant piece of casting, B&B brought Joe Lando back to daytime as Ridge’s old friend, and the judge in the custody case of Will Spencer.

Photo: IMDB

MOST DISAPPOINTING RETURN

Janice Lynde and Jaime Lyn Bauer – Leslie and Laurie Brooks – The Young and the Restless

For Y&R 45, the series touted the returns of former leading ladies, Janice Lynde and Jaime Lyn Bauer.  These two delivered so many memorable performances in the early days of the number-one soap.   However, their return really did not befit them.

MOST HEART-TUGGING EXIT

Paul says goodbye to John and leaves Salem – Days of our Lives 

This was a beautiful moment played to perfection by Christopher Sean (Paul) and Drake Hogestyn (John).  When Paul’s relationship with Will combusts, he decides to head to San Francisco right away, and start rehab at a top facility there; so he can walk again.  He tells his dad and brother, Brady his decision.  During his goodbye, Paul tells his dad he is the father he always wanted.  Tears are shed … we grab hankies.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

MOST UPSETTING GOODBYE

Dante exits Port Charles – Dominic Zamprogna 

Dominic Zamprogna gets written off of GH in a hot minute after deciding to leave the show.  In it, Dante never says goodbye to his mother, father, his son, or anyone else in town who knows and loves him. Thank goodness he got a goodbye scene with Emme Rylan’s Lulu.  All too quick a wrap-up!

BEST STANDALONE EPISODE

Halloween episode – Days of our Lives

Princess Gina! A mini-me Andre baby!  Doug and Julie ala “Rosemary’s Baby”! Judith Chapman reprising Angelica Deveraux now known as Satan! Deidre Hall, playing a freaked-out Hattie Adams!  Those were all components of this Carlivati-special installment which crossed “Get Out”, “The Exorcist” and the aforementioned “Baby” for a fright night treat.

Courtesy/ABX

BEST PERFORMANCE IN A STANDALONE EPISODE

Dominic Zamprogna – Sonny-Centric (Maurice Benard’s 25th anniversary) Episode

It was great to see Dom Z. back on GH albeit for one episode.  But, this was special.  In honor of Maurice Benard’s 25th anniversary with the series, GH shed a light on what life would have been like if Sonny had not chosen a life in the mob.  So, they flipped the switch and in it, Dante turns out to be the mafia kingpin.  Great performance … and we loved Kelly Monaco as his trophy wife, Sam.

BEST WRITING

Days of our Lives

DAYS was firing on all cylinders in 2018 with fun limited-run returns, high stakes adventure, blossoming young love, even if its centerpiece is a serial killer, while the Jarlena fans got the wedding they were waiting for.  Abigail’s mental illness provided story for months, and through it all, Ron Carlivati and his team brought humor and ‘wink-wink’ moments to longtime fans of the show.

Photo: ABC

BEST EPISODE and BEST TEARJERKER

Nathan’s funeral – General Hospital

From the moment Detective Nathan West (Ryan Paevey) was added to the list of fallen officers at the PCPD, and commissioner Jordan Ashford announced, “This is the end of the watch call for Detective West,” GH took us on a very special hour dedicated to the men and women in blue.  The emotional impact of this episode still resonates. It featured: the ghost of Georgie coming to be with her sister Maxie in her time of need, Nina’s eulogy that spoke to the man that her brother was, the folding of the flag and it being handed to the officer’s widow, Maxie, and of course, the gravesite moment where Maxie said her final goodbye to her husband leaving behind the blood-soaked sonogram of their unborn child.  This was General Hospital at its best and the best hour of soap in 2018.

BEST STORYLINE

The Abbott Family Drama (The Blood Abbott Clause) – The Young and the Restless

This was soap at its best: riveting family drama, flashbacks to the siblings’ relationship as children, and how it effects their present- day situation.  It was filled with dynamic and memorable performances from Peter Bergman, Eileen Davidson, and Beth Maitland.  It all kicked-off a year before, when Jack blocked Ashley’s opportunity to run Jabot by coming forward with the never-before-heard-of “Blood Abbott” clause that are in the company bylaws that state that only a true Abbott could be CEO, and Ashley is not.  Later, when Ashley gained control of the company, Y&R delivered the biggest swerve of the year!  Ashley has been behind Jack’s search for his bio-dad when it was supposedly revealed by Dina that Jack was not John’s biological son.  It turns out it was all a part of Ashley’s revenge plot against Jack for taking from her what she felt was rightfully hers.   What could have been a boring corporate boardroom drama was instead emotional and enthralling TV.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

MOST SOCIALLY-RELEVANT STORYLINE

Mike’s battle with Alzheimer’s – General Hospital

General Hospital has been doing such a great job with this story; from showing the affects of this disease on the person afflicted with it, and how it affects the family members, who watch their loved one slipping away.  This story provided GH with the best emotional beats to watch in soaps in 2018. 

Honorable Mentions:

Victoria’s Domestic Abuse via J.T. – The Young and the Restless

Franco’s child abuse – General Hospital

WORST STORYLINE

The Mexico Connection – Days of our Lives

In this hard to follow story, or make sense of story: El Fideo made a return, as the action shifted to Mexico.  Theresa had Chloe held hostage for her own escape.  Chloe had to sing opera to the drug lord, and Xander popped up to help Theresa get back to Salem.  Say what … and why?

MOST PREPOSTEROUS PLOT TWIST 

Anna had a child with Faison – General Hospital 

While this story gave us great scenes from the always amazing Finola Hughes to play, the plot point was hard to swallow.  We are to believe that a younger Anna in her WSB days had a child conceived with her arch-enemy number-one, Faison, and never spoke of it, and just gave the baby away.

MOST UNDER-UTILIZED CHARACTER 

(TIE)

Alexis Davis- General Hospital

Alexis wasn’t driving story, or getting back together with Julian in 2018, and her portrayer, Nancy Lee Grahn deserves better!

Kate Roberts – Days of our Lives

While Kate was doing her usual machinations to get ahead in business and offing Vivian for all intent and purposes, wouldn’t it be cool if Kate, who has so many kids and tent poles in Salem, could get a story all her own, and we could see Lauren Koslow shine?

Courtesy/ABC

MOST POLARIZING CHARACTER

Peter August AKA Henrik Faison – General Hospital

We have never seen such different views from the audience for one character.  Many loathe the character of Peter August and want him off the canvas, others like the portrayal by Wes Ramsey, and throughout 2018 as the character had plenty of screen-time.  Fans were one way, or the other, on this one.

MOST ANNOYING CHARACTER

Nate Hastings – The Young and the Restless

We can’t find anything to like right now about Nate.  We get he is an arrogant doctor, full of himself, but we can’t find any qualities that would want to make us want to know the man.  Writers – take the cocky down a notch.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

MOST ANNOYING PLOT POINT 

Dr. Kim Nero (a doctor!) not telling her son he is dying – General Hospital

This has to be the stupidest plot point of 2018.  How would single mother, and doctor, Kim Nero, who has worked so hard to have a great relationship with her son for years, not tell him he was dying from cancer to the brain?  Tamara Braun deserves better than this plot point to have to justify as an actress.

MOST BORING COUPLE

Zoe and Xander, or Emma and Xander – The Bold and the Beautiful

Whether it is Xander with Zoe or Emma, we just don’t get the interest in these characters.  Are we missing something?

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

BIGGEST SOCIAL MEDIA FIRESTORM

(Tie) 

Genie Francis taken off-contract by GH

When fans found out that Genie Francis was quickly written out at GH, all of a sudden, the character dropped out of the mayoral race to go be with her grandson, Spencer in Europe, and in the process left her new husband, Kevin behind.  Something wasn’t right.  Turns out, Genie was off-contract and Twitter lit up giving GH and ABC executives a taste of what was on their minds.   Eventually by year’s end, Francis was back with contract and in major story.  Good going GH fans! 

Dropping Veteran Performers

As newbie characters were attempted to be integrated into the Genoa City tapestry, Y&R, known for some of the best legacy characters in daytime, left fans outraged when its longest running cast-member Doug Davidson and his endearing Paul Williams were nowhere to be found, and was no longer on-contract with the show … not his choice.  Add to that, little to nothing story-wise for Neil Winters, Lauren Fenmore Baldwin, Michael Baldwin, and others.  Even series iconic star, Eric Braeden had a few choice words on Twitter for the misuse, or lack of use, of veterans from the series.  Couple that with what happened to Genie Francis (mentioned above), and soap writers should figure out a way to keep the history of their shows, create stories involving people that aren’t the spring chickens they once were, and shed a light on love, loss, workplace issues and more, featuring beloved characters. 

SADDEST TREND

The real-life deaths of beloved soap opera stars from: DAYS’ Peggy McCay, GH’s Susan Brown, DAYS’ Frank Parker, AMC’s Christopher Lawford, Y&R’s Donnelly Rhodes, and more.

It seemed like every day we went online and read about another well-known soap, or former soap star, passing away.  It will be the quite the “In-Memoriam” segment at the 2019 Daytime Emmy Awards, unfortunately.

BEST PROP

(Tie) 

Nick’s prosthetic J.T. mask – The Young and the Restless 

Gotta give it to Nick Newman for pulling off this fast one; by knowing just how to order and make a prosthetic mask in record time to fool his father and everyone else in Genoa City!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Stephanie’s portrait – The Bold and the Beautiful

We will take Susan Flannery anyway we can get her, and if that means as a voice of her B&B alter-ego, Stephanie Forrester having a “chat” with Brooke on her wedding day, (as the Stephanie self-portrait looks down upon her from the mantle) then that’s TV prop gold for us.

BEST BRAWL

Victor and J.T. sending Victor down a flight of stairs – The Young and the Restless

Great fight choreography, and two actors adept at the physical can make for one awesome soap brawl.  This time it was not two ladies, it was two titan male characters who despise each other.  The outcome: Victor’s now memorable visual of falling backward down a flight of stairs, as J.T did nothing to help him.

So, after reviewing our picks, which do you agree with?  Which do you disagree with? What are your thoughts on the Best and Worst in Soaps of 2018?  Were you happy to see some of your favorites receiving our year-end honors?  What category and winner would you add?  Share your thoughts in the comment below!  

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Breaking News

NASHVILLE’s Chris Carmack Joins New Season Of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

From country western singing sensation to the new orthopedic surgeon dubbed “Ortho God” at Grey Sloan Memorial, Chris Carmack is joining the cast of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy.

On Nashville ,which concluded its six season run, Carmack played Will Lexington, but on Grey’s Anatomy he will recur as a new orthopedic surgeon who will cross paths with some of the series main characters. More details of the character are being kept under-wraps including his name.

‘Grey’s’ 15th season kicks-off on September 27th at 8PMEST with a two-hour episode.

Upon the reveal of the casting news, Carmack took to his Twitter account to share his response to a tweet from Shondaland, who welcomed him to the show with: “Thank you! Can’t wait to scrub in!

Then, the official ABC Grey’a Anatomy twitter account welcomed him to the show, in which Carmack responded: “Honored to be a part of this! Thank you!”

EW.com and Hollywood Reporter first broke the casting news

So, glad to hear Chris will be back on primetime in a new role? Comment below,

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Nashville

NASHVILLE Series Finale Goes Out On A High Note In An Emotional Farewell

After six seasons (four on ABC and two on CMT), Nashville ended its run with a sentimental, heart-tugging wrap-up in its final episode last night.  Like any great soap opera, it’s all about those wonderfully rich characters that the audience has come to fall in love with; whether they be the good guys, the bad, or somewhere in between.  What was touching about the finale is that many characters lives ended on a happy note, or came full-circle.

Through creator Callie Khouri’s vision for six seasons, we came to love and care about Deacon, Avery, Juliette, Will and so many others, and of course, Rayna James.  And on the final installment, Connie Britton did make one final appearance as the late Rayna with her longtime music city scene partner, Charles Esten, that so many Nashies were hoping for before the final curtain came down.

So here’s what happened and where it all ended up, as we now imagine what these characters lives will be like, unless as now rumored, Khouri puts together a Nashville 2.0 spinoff.

Photo: Mark Levine/CMT

Maddie (Lennon Stella) and Twig (Dylan Arnold) are in the recording studio.  He wants to be her everything.  She feels pressured.  In a conversation with Scarlett (Claire Bowen), she reveals she is just trying to get over her bust up with Jonah and doesn’t know if she can be in a relationship right now.  Later at this advice from Scarlett: “The only thing you need to do is honor what you’re feeling at the moment,” Maddie sits down with Twig and breaks the news over coffee!  “You need someone who can put you at the center of their universe,” says Maddie.  “What if I said I would take you as you are?” Twig replies.  To which Maddie lowers the boom, “I would say you deserve so much more.” Twig is devastated.  Maddie is emancipated.

Then we come to Maddie’s sister, Daphne (Maisy Stella).  It’s the finals of Nashville’s Next Country Star.  Daphne has got her work cut out for her, because of sexy frontrunner Jenny Lee.  Brad (Jeff Nordling) has set Daphne up to lose by giving her a song that is far from her comfort song to perform.  She flips it on him when it is time for her to go live. Daphne does her rendition of the tune with her guitar, stripped-down and soulful.  The crowd goes wild.   However in the end, Jenny Lee is named the winner.  Backstage, Daphne cries in Deacon’s (Charles Esten) arms, but then … Ilse (Daphne’s coach on Nashville’s Next Country Star) is making goo-goo eyes at Deacon, and asks him if he would like to write with her when he comes home from his tour?  Scarlett, Daphne, and Maddie look on and notice the spark. Could this be Deacon’s true new love interest?

Photo: Mark Levine/CMT

Gunnar (Sam Palladio) and Avery (Jonathan Jackson) play pool and in a nice touch which harkens back to six-years-ago on the series. Gunnar says, “You were a total tool,” recalling that Avery was a snotty, bad dude when he first came to town.  Will (Chris Carmack) and Gunnar want to get The Last Highways together, if they can just convince Avery to put the past behind him and move forward.  Apparently, all is well, and they put the band back up on its feet.

Now, we come to the #MeToo socially relevant topic of the day, part of the last episode, where we finally learn Alannah’s (Rainee Blake) plan to nail Brad as the womanizing, power abuser, egotistical bastard he is, and how he uses his company and his status in the biz to lure woman to do “favors” for him.  In her hotel room after her performance, Brad calls and says there is a par-tay going down in his room with lots of people and to join them.  She heads over to find him alone and lascivious.  When he tries to plant a wet lip-lock on her, she slaps him.  He fires back: “The man helps the woman and the woman helps the man,” and that Alannah violated their “implicit contract.”  And that means of course, she will never work again in this town.

A few days later, Brad gets the shock of his life when in walks to his office at Shiny New Records, Deacon, Alannah and Zach (Cameron Scoggins)! The trio announces their plans to purchase his company for $15 million dollars. He laughs them off, but our smart gal, Alannah recorded the whole incident in the hotel room and has his voice on tape, which she happily plays it back for him. Then, to add an exclamation point on the proceedings, getting off the elevator are countless women who have all been harassed by Brad including his on-again off-again wife, Jessie (Kaitlin Doubleday), who adds, “And I want full custody of Jake (their son), too!”

Photo: Mark Levine/CMT

How do we wrap up the other greatest and tortured love story of Nashville, with two of our favorite actors, who got their starts on the soaps, and who made Javery a couple to root for through the good and the bad?  Of course, we are talking about Jonathan Jackson and Hayden Panettiere.  Now together in one piece, and grounded from her experiences with the cult, and with a new lease on life, Juliette has sold her house for a farm 30 minutes outside of Nashville.  Avery knows there is something he is not telling her.  Avery finds Juliette’s savior and bestie. Hallie (Rhiannon Giddens) at the recording studio and when prompted she tells him that Juliette is pregnant with his kid, again!  Next scene, Avery confronts Juliette.  She admits it’s true, and she was going to tell him but did not want to trap him, because she loves him and wants to be with him, but only if he wants her too and, “Not because you feel like you need to save me or that you’re worried about me. But because you’re worried about yourself without me.”   Duly-noted by Avery, but he exits.

Photo: Mark Levine/CMT

And then we get to the crescendo of the finale, as Juliette sings on her keyboard alongside her stilettos, the moving boxes, et al.  While the emotion of the song plays out, the show intercuts the action and brings us to a flash-forward in time.  This was done effectively on the series finale of One Life to Live and Guiding Light, among others soaps, that have to say their goodbyes.  In Nashville time it’s a “few months later” and we see how everyone’s life is shaping up:  Daphne has signed her first record contract!  Will is hand in hand with a boyfriend and it’s Zach.  Jessie has full custody of her son and they are eating popcorn and watching a scary movie together.  Maddie moved into her own place.  Alannah’s career is taking off opening for The Lumineers.  The Last Highways hold an album release party, with … of course, screaming fangurls!

Then it’s time to grab the hankies … we see Juliette with baby bump hanging out on her farm with Cadence on the swing set, and walking towards her is Avery with a large suitcase. He begins with, “Juliette, I need you.  And I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” He adds, “And if you would ….” she cuts him off.  “Yes,” she says. They embrace and kiss as Cadence yells, “Daddy!”  And there you have it … Javery is together at last!

Photo: Mark Levine/CMT

The show’s last season largely centered around Deacon.  And in the last installment, it is Rayna who comes to him when he must make the decision whether to embrace his father who is longing to make peace with his son, or hold on to old grudges.  As Deacon’s career has taken off again as he is now headlining his own tour, Gideon (Ronny Cox) has come to see his son perform and comes backstage to see him, which takes Deacon aback.   He goes to his dressing room where in a ghost/ flashback experience, he recalls Rayna on their wedding night. “Is this real?” he whispers,  Deacon is worried that after all the mistakes and regrets that kept them apart for so long, and caused them so much pain, that things can’t work themselves out.  But the wise Rayna says. “Sometimes somebody gets into your bloodstream. It doesn’t matter how much we’ve failed each other.  We must choose each other.  And I choose you exactly the way you are. And I’m going to love you forever… and ever and ever.”

Photo: Mark Levine/CMT

Deacon is in tears, but it’s time to hit the stage.  Now, feeling reassured that he should give his father a chance (thanks to Rayna from the great beyond), he realized that forgiving his father would not make him weak or less than, but would strengthen his family.  Deacon tells the audience he wants to bring someone special up on-stage with him, his dad, Gideon Claybourne.  From the audience, Gideon is shocked and honored.  Gideon straps on a guitar and Deacon begins to play and then whispers to his dad, “Do you know this song?” To which Gideon, replied, “Son, I know all your songs.” Hankies!

Photo: Mark Levine/CMT

And then came the final note after six years of songs, and so much drama.  As Deacon and Gideon begin to perform the song, “A Life That’s Good”, all the characters begin to walk out on stage and join them singing in unison, but we soon realize the show has broken the fourth wall, and now we are watching the true swan song with the cast past and present, the crew, the executive producers, Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz, and at the center of it all, Callie Khouri who says, “I want to thank the city of Nashville.”  She adds “The beautiful people of Nashville. The incredible cast and crew — the family that we’ve made.  And may we all have a life that’s good.  And that’s a wrap.”  What a touching and honest way to say goodbye.

So, how would you grade the series finale of Nashville? What did you think of how things were left for your favorite characters? What was your favorite moment in the last episode? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. But first check out the heartfelt thanks from the cast of Nashville in the video below, followed by three of the heart-tugging scenes from the finale.

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Video du Jour

GH icon Genie Francis chats with Michael Fairman about her return to the soap as Laura after being taken off-contract earlier this year. Leave A Comment

The Michael Channel

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Power Performance

Kate Mansi as Abigail

Days of our Lives

Airdate:12-24-2018

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