But what a difference a month can make! DAYS is back to being can't-miss appointment watching for over a month now. It is classically telling dramatic stories without the pretense or interest of trying to pretend it is a prime time series. Here is why new and old fans of the show don't want to miss one "day."
5. Hope behind bars. I for one, took no enjoyment in watching Hope sleepwalk through the entire summer. The aftermath, however, has been brutal, and I mean that in the best possible way We have seen Hope overcome death, kidnappings, face switchings, two plane crashes, and a plethora of other disasters. Never before have we seen her defeated and depressed. I'm not sure where this story is going, but seeing a new and unexpected side to Hope's character is compelling for me, and is giving Kristian Alfonso an opportunity to show new sides to her acting.
3. A new spin on the classic "Whodunnit." Okay, I have been vocal about my disinterest with the Chloe/paternity story. Did any one for a second doubt that Philip would be the father? Up until recently the show played out the who's-the-daddy scenario by the numbers. But suddenly, it has taken an unexpected turn. Someone switched the paternity results to make it look like Daniel is the father, not Philip. Whodunnit? Everyone has been a suspect, and the story has now drawn in unexpected players such as Melanie, Nathan, Stephanie (showing her Johnson side), Nicole, Carly, and even Kayla! A good soap uses an unlikely event to cast a dramatic ripple onto the entire canvas. Slowly but surely, Chloe's uterus is becoming an issue for half of Salem, and this has changed the course of this otherwise formulaic story.
2. "Viggie" are front and center. The quiet, intimate, and funny scenes between Maggie and Victor are becoming more frequent, and more intense. On a recent episode, the two sat down and maturely communicated that they have feelings for one another, though Maggie is unprepared to act on them. Suzanne Rogers and John Aniston have incredible chemistry, and seeing them play off each other is a treat for any long term DAYS fan. Seeing these veteran characters get a second chance at romance creates inspiration and hope for the audience, exactly what a good soap delivers.
1. Vivian's karma. I can tell you that after 39 years of soap watching it is pretty hard to surprise me. But when a drunken Brady Black discovered Vivian's plan to trap Maggie in the sarcophagus, and turned the tables by throwing her in there, I was shocked! I did not see this turn coming, especially not between Brady and Vivian. With this twist the writers have given Eric Martsolf and Louise Sorel the chance to display new acting skills they have never shown before, and have given the long term viewers of DAYS a tasty lesson in karma. Vivian cruelly buried Carly alive seventeen years ago, and now must suffer the same fate. When a show honors history this closely, and utilizes this history to expose new sides of current characters, it is a winning combination that leads us to want to tune in everyday!
My few quibbles:
3. Get a new restaurant. Keep in mind, I do love the Brady Pub. But would Stefano and Kate realistically hang out there? Wouldn't it be more fun if they went to Chez Rouge and annoyed Maggie instead?
2. Bring back the Carvers. How many times must Renee Jones steal a scene to demonstrate that she is a strong and capable talent deserving of her own story? She did not miss one emotional beat during Lexie's decent into "evil" during the 2000-2002 baby switch story. She still has it, and deserves to show it.
1. Inconsistencies. Isn't it strange how Hope and Sami can wander around Salem at night committing crimes without being spotted, while Chloe can't have one conversation about her baby without someone overhearing? This inconsistency is a bit disconcerting at times in terms of plot development.
What do you think? Is DAYS a must see event for you now? What do you think must happen to get viewers back?
Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist seeing individuals, couples, and families in New York City at Mental Health Counseling & Marriage And Family Therapy Of New York. He is also the author of "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve."