Archive for days of our lives

Five Days of My Life… Starting Today!

Posted in What I'm Watching with tags on December 22, 2008 by Jeff

days_of_our_livesDays of Our Lives is this week’s soap as I approach the halfway mark of my “return to daytime” experiment.  I will watch all five episodes of Days of Our Lives this week (even on Christmas).  It will mark the first time I’ve watched the show on a regular basis since 1998.  I’ll give a full report over the weekend. Just for the record, All My Children and The Bold and the Beautiful are still on my “must watch” list. As the World Turns didn’t make the list.

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When I Watched… “Days of Our Lives”

Posted in When I Watched with tags , , on November 26, 2008 by Jeff

days1My favorite soaps have mostly been on CBS or ABC, with the exceptions of Another World and Santa Barbara.  I had never sampled Days of Our Lives until 1982 when Days received a lot of publicity after”the Salem Strangler” killed heroine Dr. Marlena Evans, played by Deidre Hall.  I saw a story about fans picketing the Days studio on Entertainment Tonight, and made a point to watch the soap to see what all the fuss was about.  Of course, Marlena wasn’t the real victim, it was her twin sister, but the show was well plotted and I enjoyed the strangler mystery.  Soon after that, the Tony DiMera/Renee Dumonde/Anna Brady storyline took off.  Renee’s murder kept me hooked until Bo Brady and Hope Williams became the show’s new super couple.  During most of the early to mid eighties, Days succeeded by blending action and romance. The focus was on super couples, and their wild adventures.

By the end of the eighties, the show got lazy.  Super couples became a cookie-cutout formula, and the show became very predictable.  I stopped watching every day but kept up with what was happening.  In the early 1990’s head writer James E. Reilly came on board and spiced things up.  He carefully blended new characters with existing tent pole characters, brought back favorite characters from the past, and then added his own blend of wacky humor.  The result was a resounding success.  Heroine Carly was buried alive, Marlena was possessed by the devil, Eileen Davidson played five characters simultaneously, and viewers were hooked.  For the first time in years, I was watching Days every day.  Alas, when you go over the top it’s hard to stay there.  Not unlike Dark Shadows, which started off unique and ended in a mis-mash, Days lost it’s footing while trying to stay at the height of campy soap drama.  The result was a convoluted mess that I could not follow. I stopped watching in 1998.

After James E. Reilly left, each new writer tried to imitate his campy story lines, and none succeeded.  A few writers tried to return Days to more serious story lines and the show improved during those periods.  James Reilly returned to write the show again in 2003, and ratings soared when another stalker haunted Salem, this time killing off beloved characters such as Maggie Horton, Caroline Brady, and even Alice Horton. The killer was none other than Marlena. Then the story went off the deep end. It was revealed that no one had been killed, everyone was on an island that looked exactly like Salem, and Tony DiMera was behind it all.  Fans were confused and angry. Ratings went back to where they had been before the storyline began.

On December 22, I’m going to watch Days of Our Lives again for a full week.  I’ve heard all about the firings of Deidre Hall and Drake Hogestyn.  I’ve heard the show probably won’t be renewed after it’s new 18 month cycle. That said, I’m still going to give it a try.  And I’ll let you know what I think!