OPINION: DAYS OF OUR LIVES Reboot Day One - Does It Get The Boot?

Today marks an exciting day in soap opera history. A long running continuing story is officially "rebooting" their show in order to gain back their lapsed audience, appeal to long-term loyal fans, begin new stories, and boost ratings. Will it work? Based on today's episode, I'd say they have a great chance.

If the first twenty minutes are any indication, DAYS has committed itself to focusing on beloved veterans. Doug, Julie, Bo, Hope, Victor, Maggie, Adrienne, Justin, Sami and Jennifer, as well as a special dedication to Tom and Alice Horton, were featured front and center (where were Abe and Lexie? We'll get to that in a moment). The unveiling of the new Horton town square was gorgeous, and special kudos go to the hardworking crew who labored day and night to create this stunning vision (on a limited budget). The writing was impeccable, with nods to the Horton legacy, while containing such snappy one liners such as "E.J. dates? I thought he only married women or held them prisoner."

Where it all fell a bit short, for me, was a forced sense of enthusiasm about certain events. Carrie and Austin's return was nice, but were they really A-list celebrities, deserving of the entire town's red carpet treatment, when they left in 2007? If anyone deserves that level of reverence it is Doug and Julie, who are the natural inheritors of Tom & Alice's legacy. They have been under appreciated (yet present) in Salem for decades. Or, even an acknowledgment for the countless lives saved by the legal and medical skills of Abe and Lexie Carter would have made perfect sense. But Carrie and Austin? What exactly have they done?

Also, having Jack skulk around unrecognizable because of a beard seemed strange. Having Will & friends pal around in the corner (looking on the Internet or Grindr or whatever the hell they were doing) was boring. Interrupting the party with yet another Kate/Chloe confrontation was rhetorical.

Nevertheless, the show did a great job of re-establishing certain characters and building suspense. We know Victor is planning a surprise for Maggie, but we don't know what (okay, we know what, but Maggie doesn't). Will is still demonstrating ambivalence around Gabi as his girlfriend. Sami is still inclined to lie to Rafe about a mysterious job. These and other stories set the groundwork for fascinating and complex stories to come.

My advice for the DAYS of the future:

1. Build on existing tensions before creating new ones. There is a lot of bad baggage between Sami and Carrie that hasn't been discussed for awhile. Carrie and Lexie had a falling out prior to Carrie leaving town, resulting in Lexie almost losing her medical license. Sami and Nicole still have a love/hate relationship. John and E.J. have a complicated past as enemies and uncle/nephew. Start with these, branch forward.
2. Don't forget the Carvers! Renee Jones is far too talented and beautiful to wait 39 minutes for one line. It has been a very long time since we have known anything about Abe's personal life. Re-establish the Carvers as the central catalysts they can be.
3. Keep some of the bathwater! The DAYS folks have been very clear about "rebooting" the show. But don't forget the elements that have been working over the past few years. Maggie's central role has only enriched and deepened the textures of every story. Molly Burnett, as Melanie, has more than established herself as a strong heroine who can hold her own with anyone. There are elements of the Jenn/Daniel relationship that are enjoyable and fun. Don't just toss them out because of a resurgence of new creative energy.
4. Hold off on the spoilers. In my opinion, DAYS has been far too revealing of details and plot twists for the next week. Soaps gain more loyalty (and more ratings!) when viewers don't know every thing that is going to happen. If shows like MAD MEN and DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES can prevent key plot points from being leaked, then DAYS can, too.

What do you think, DAYS fans? Does the reboot get an applause or a kick of the "boot"? Take our survey below. And read our live blog of today's reboot here!

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RELATED:
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- WE LOVE SOAPS TV 3.07 On The Set Of DAYS With Drake Hogestyn
- WE LOVE SOAPS TV 3.06 On The Set Of DAYS With Greg Meng
- FLASHBACK: Backstage at DAYS OF OUR LIVES 1974
- FLASHBACK: The Complete Story of DAYS OF OUR LIVES
- THE COMPLETE LIST: 25 Biggest Blunders In Daytime Soap Opera History

Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Therapist in New York City who specializes in treating depression, stress management, anger management, ageism, and grief/loss issues. He is also the author of the popular book "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve," currently available at Amazon.com. For more information about scheduling a Skype consultation or a speaking engagement, please email him at Shouldless@gmail.com.

12 comments:

  1. the most leadenly boring hour of TV I have seen in a while.

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  2. I wasn't aware of this -- is there anywhere I could watch this 'reboot'? I obviously missed it the first time around.

    Interestingly, some of my friends were asking if Days was ending too, because it seemed they were wrapping up storylines. I found that odd, since I didn't hear they were going anywhere. Now it makes more sense.

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  3. Hi RcktMan Rick - DAYS has been extended at least through 2013, so it isn't going anywhere. You can still catch today's show on SoapNet tonight, and starting tomorrow at NBC.com, Hulu.com, or IMDB.com.

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  4. I'm an optimistic, geez it's the first day and excited to hear longer dialogue inter-mixing with family and friends...sigh..the story begins. Starting with John's insider trading (whatever its called, the mystery around the Horton's home, and all kinds of romance is happening in Salem..so ready to some romance on a soap opera. New connections being made, passing of torch w\Stefano to EJ, Will's story starting, I'm here for this ride. Looking good in whole production and the new Horton Square, I believe its called balance.

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  5. I just got done watching it on SoapNet and had mixed feelings. The set, indeed, is absolutely gorgeous. But something felt really off. I felt bad for Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth Hayes who barely had any lines whatsoever on today's episode. That's an insult to both who carried the show for so many years.

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  6. I was not too impressed.

    There was a few things I enjoyed- Justin/Adrienne, Jack, Victor/Maggie and Doug/Julie.

    The rest of it I was bored and annoyed with the rest of the characters/couples.

    The Carrie/Austin stuff was just lame. I don't understand why they are back in Salem.

    And I don't like John/Marlena on any levels so their return irks me more than anything. I'm not in the mood for the John/Marlena hour.

    I'm sad to see Chloe go. :(

    I'm more irked and annoyed that my favorites- Justin/Adrienne are about to be shoved on the shelf and ignored with these new writers.

    I will watch this week knowing that Justin/Adrienne will be on, but after that I'm done with DAYS, until they get their act together and give Justin and Adrienne a story.

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  7. I loved the reboot! It's the start of new stories and the show's been refreshed with new sets and wardrobe. I'm hopeful about the show now. Can't wait to see what direction they take the characters.
    Jack was snarking on Dan -twice! Hope to get more of that Jack. Should be fun. John and Marlena making a grand entrance-they looked great.
    I watch for the whole cast not just one specific couple or actor.

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  8. I couldn't agree more with the assessment that Carrie and Austin DO NOT deserve the red carpet treatment they got today. Um, no! And Austin looks like he's 15 years older than Carrie.

    It was also beyond stupid that no one was able to catch a glimpse of Jack in today's episode. I don't care if he has a beard, he doesn't look THAT different!

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  9. I love Days of our Lives regardless of who's writing or which characters are on the canvas. It's an old friend who's always there even though there were many years when I just didn't tune in because I was busy and really was watching very little TV at the time. That being said and I know lots of fans will disagree, but I think Dena Higley's writing was superior compared to the last few week's writing but too it's way too premature to fully judge. My first reaction though in the new writing is very simplistic and sparse so much so that I feel as though the show is in slow motion. I feel for the actors; Suzanne Rogers has had to punctuate her dialogue with laughter and/or sighs just to give it some substance. I think the character, Maggie repeated "What's going on? and What are you up to?" innumerable times. Ms. Higley's writing on the other hand had some depth to it and drew upon vocabulary beyond the 6th grade comprehension level. I think where Ms. Higley went wrong was the whole Robo-Rafe storyline; had she spun off on Rafe's past, his former fiance, and her sister, perhaps that it would have made for a more interesting and ratings grabbing storyline. However, in sum, I do think it is way too premature for me to judge the new writers. They're just getting started and we all need to give them a chance to tell their stories.

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  10. Not impressed... The "new" story lines don't intrigue me. Maybe too much damage has been done. Days has a rep for BIG build ups and even BIGGER let downs.I guess its a "time will tell" kinda situation but I cant promise to continue watching that long. I feel like an idiot every time I buy into it only for it to flop. I don't think I can stick around this time. Time for Days and I to break up...

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  11. I've been watching days almost since the beginning and am thrilled to see John/Marlena return. Would love to see more with Doug/Julie who are also major players for us Old folks! The younger crowd haven't seen the fine work they gave us in the past

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  12. Love, love Days. I'm really glad to have John/Marlena back. I hope they stay. Would love to see the reemergence of Doug/Julie storylines. These couples are part of the heart and soul of this saga that feels like family to me. Been watching since almost the beginning of the show.

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