This week, Reggie shares with you his picks for the best and worst of 2008. Remember that this is a special, two-part season finale. Well, so to speak. Last week, Jennifer took her turn with her picks for the tops and the flops from the year gone by.
As I think back on 2008, I have to say the writers told the stories at such a rapid pace that it was difficult at times to enjoy the story being told. This was the year of recasts; ATWT used to be the show in which the actors stayed in their roles for years and years; it is difficult to invest in these stories with the many new faces in town. However, the production values on this show are always top notch -- it is the execution of the story that is sometimes worth more than what's written.
Characters That We Should Not Have Seen
Ameera - They tried something different by bringing in this character and it did not work too well. Ameera was brought on to cause friction for Luke and Noah, which she did -- though as she became more acquainted with America, she became an awful thorn in everyone's side. This could have worked if she did indeed fall for Casey and allowed Casey a romance after Maddie. Like Sofie and the orange crate girl, we were happy to see her leave when she did.
Dani Andropoulous - She came into town being very pushy and into too much, too soon. She never lived up to her heritage as the daughter of Betsy Stewart. She then was revealed to be involved with the man who she thought was her father when she was younger -- yuck! I found this connection to be too much to stomach and was happy to see her leave just as fast as she arrived.
Janet Ciccone - In the beginning, I thought she was way over the top when she was pursuing Brad at full speed, then she calmed down and we started to see another side to her character. Janet is, for the most part, always honest and direct. She does not pull any punches and is such a match for Carly. I like her interactions with Carly and I hope at some point, the writers will make them friends.
Bad Storyline Moves
Spencer Arrives and Brad is Framed for her Murder - I have watched INTURN for all three seasons and it happened again; they don't know what to do with the winner. The character of Spencer was too good to be true and I originally thought this might be an "All About Eve" story as Spencer wanted to take Katie's place. It was something strange as they never gave this actress a meaty material. I thought she deserved to win INTURN but she was never given anything much to do. Because of the speed of the story, no one cared about the character and the story was just a convoluted mess.
Paul and Meg - How many times can a woman leave a man and the go right back for it to end the same way each time? Paul lies to Meg, she finds out about his deception, she moves back to her family farm; Paul does something to make her think he has changed, she comes back to him then they do again and again. How boring for the viewers to see the same story being told repeatedly? How boring for the actors to try to keep it fresh as they recite the same lines again and again?
Dusty and Josie - Dusty had pretty much forgotten about Jennifer when all of a sudden he remembers his great love for Jennifer. He is steered toward this woman with red hair who has some mysterious connection to Jennifer. Dusty finds out he was set up by Paul and shoots Paul-however, not before falling in love with look-alike Jennifer. This story made Dusty look like a real imbecile.
Story That Never Ends
James Stenbeck -- it is always fun when James is in town as you never know what his true motives are early on. He has hands in all kinds of things so it is wonderful to see Anthony Herrera with Colleen Zenk Pinter; their chemistry is still there and interesting to watch. So is James Stenbeck really dead this time -- I would say 'no' as James will be back when we least expect him and take us on one of his wild rides -- it is so fun to watch.
Character That Will Be Missed
Chris Hughes - Finally, a Chris Hughes that was enjoyable to watch then out of the blue -- he's gone. I believe the show gave Dylan Bruce a raw deal here by writing him off the show when they did. Chris and Alison had some sparks flying and this is a story that could have continued for a while longer.
Characters Never Given a Fair Shot
Sam Hutchins - About this time last year, Sam (Wally Kurth) had just arrived; this is another instance where a character had huge potential and then the writers turned him into this maniac. Here was Carly's chance to be with someone other than Jack and with an actor of his caliber, it could have been a good story.
Mike Kasnoff - Why bring him back and when he gets a story that fits his character then he's gone; he and nuLily had just began a romance that was helping the viewers get used to both of them -- it was working then Mike was gone again.
Craig Montgomery - Jon Lindstrom is an excellent recast; his version of Craig is more like the Hunt Block version of Craig. This time around Craig is making the rounds with most of his family and friends -- like Katie and Carly -- that he stayed away from his last time in Oakdale.
Lily Snyder - I hated to see Martha Byrne leave, however, Noelle Beck is doing a good job of making Lily her own. The character of Lily has been energized in some way that makes her interesting. I would have loved to see Martha Byrne play out the story of Holden cheating with Carly, her best friend.
Casey Hughes - Billy Magnusson has definitely made the role his own; Casey has matured and it shows at times. The romance of Casey and Emily worked great with Billy in the role even though Casey was younger, it did not seem like she was sleeping with a teenager.
In just short of a week, we have new versions of Jade Taylor, Maddie Coleman, Johnny Donovan, and Lucy Montgomery; it's a little too soon to rate them. It is jarring, though, to have this many recasts at one time. I have to wonder how many will still be in Oakdale at the end of 2009.
Storylines That Had Potential then Cut Short
Holden and Carly have an affair - This was rushed through so fast that Lily and Carly have now restarted their friendship. In the old days of Oakdale, this could have easily been a two-year story: the setting up of the connection between Holden and Carly, the affair, and then the fallout. If executed right, this would be a story that people would have been talking about for years.
Lucinda's Cancer Returns - This is another case of a story that was rushed; one day she finds out her cancer has returned, the next day she is in the hospital having a mastectomy, and the next day she is released from the hospital. The other part of this is her marriage to Brian Wheatley; she marries this man before we really got to know him. Does anyone feel the romance here at all?
Barbara's Cancer - It's as if nothing was ever wrong with her. I thought we'd find out more about tongue cancer and see the effects of the disease instead of using her illness to allow psycho Sofie to try to kill her. I was disappointed again with the swiftness and minimal screen time given to this story.
Casey and Emily Romance - Casey and Emily were good together, so the writers switch gears when Dusty comes back and now they are kaput. It would have been interesting to watch these two navigate through trying to sustain a relationship with so much working against them.
Interesting Plot Twist
As a result of Luke being kicked out of school and losing the election, he started to drink again; this has made Luke more interesting than he has been in a very long time. To top it off, his new step-grandfather is attracted to him and kisses him -- this was a daring move for the show. Brian Wheatley marries a woman much older and makes the moves on her gay grandson -- daytime drama. This is a story move that nobody really saw coming and the fallout of this will have a ripple effect. What will Lily or Lucinda do when they find out about this? This is going to be good when the truth comes out. The other thing about this story is that this is the only story that is not being rushed and I think this is what is making it so much more interesting.
Best Actress of the Year
Maura West - the writers can give this woman anything and she makes it work. You felt her attraction to Holden and how upset she was by betraying her best friend. Her true moments this year have been letting Jack go so he can be with Janet. She was mesmerizing in those scenes before and during the wedding as we watched her heart break by finally saying farewell to her romance to Jack for now.
Best Actor of the Year
Jon Hensley - he has played Holden for years and has done it well. However, this year when his halo fell off by sleeping with Carly, we saw a different Holden that we continued to root for. Jon is still the leading man he was years ago and he gives Holden a strength as a father and husband who can make mistakes just like anyone else. He did a great job this year and is creating new magic with Noelle Beck as Lily.
Best Story of the Year
Holden and Carly affair - of all the stories, this one was the best one. It was rushed, however it was the actors that made this one work. I thought early on, how will Carly or Holden be able to come back from this one? We still care about both of them.
Hopes for 2009
Finally, thanks again for all of your feedback throughout the year as I appreciate you taking the time to share how you feel about what is happening in Oakdale. I would also like to wish everyone a happy and healthy 2009 and the hope that Oakdale will continue to be the place we want to visit everyday.
That's all I have for now.