Days of Our Lives has been making steady gains this past year, and now, they’ve taken a big jump – literally – into the future! Now is a fantastic time to get on the train to Salem, and here are five reasons why.
- Love in the Afternoon
Forget ABC – Days is where it’s at when it comes to romance on daytime TV. There are pairings for everyone here. Whether it’s of the dysfunctional variety (Brady & Kristen), bad boy/good girl (Ben & Ciara, Sarah & Xander), or long-suffering soulmates (Jack & Jennifer, Eric & Nicole), romance is a-popping in Salem. There’s a good generational divide with romance: you get Sonny & Will as well as the iconic John & Marlena. And with a few exceptions, there’s not a lot of forced romance going on – chemistry leads the pairings, and mostly magic is happening onscreen.
With almost 55 years worth of history to draw from, Days is not afraid to bust it all out and go for broke. Whether revisiting Vivian Alamain’s tendency to bury her foes alive, mining Victor Kiriakis’ past with recently-deceased Caroline Brady, or showing flashbacks from 25 years ago with the original actors still on the screen remembering them, Days loves to use its past to build on something new. Milestones are acknowledged and celebrated, and even with a reduced budget from the heyday of soaps, Days does its best to make big deal events, well, big deals.
- Soapy Goodness
Head writer Ron Carlivati is unafraid of bring the high soap camp when it’s called for, and his style of writing is right in the Days wheelhouse. On a soap where the matriarch of the show was literally possessed by the devil at one time, Carlivati and his incredibly talented writing staff weave these stories intricately with your typical soap staples with humor and real humanity. While you may see a couple of repeats if you’ve followed his writing elsewhere, Carlivati seems to have found a true home at Days for his style, and the cast seem enthusiastic and completely engaged in bringing the stories to life.
The chemistry factor is straight-up fire at Days. And I’m not just referring to romantic chemistry. Days seems to excel at spreading stories around the canvas so that many characters are involved and spark off of one another in almost any type of scene. Everyone gets their turn on Days, and they maneuver the realities of soap contract guarantees into story arguably better than any other soap out there right now. Vets are constantly interacting with younger characters. The integrity of historical stories is properly maintained, and generational transitions happen in an organic way that makes you more likely to care about the SORASd character that was last seen as a precocious child. And because there are so many legacy characters onscreen interacting with them, brand new characters fit better into stories and aren’t shoved down people’s throats without deference to the characters you already know and love.
- True-To-Life Personalities
The characters on Days are layered, gray and murky to where they feel REAL. Sarah Horton, for example, is the biggest of hot messes. She cannot make any good judgments when it comes to men, but we love her for it anyway. Gabi Hernandez lives from revenge option to revenge option, but when you balance how hurt she’s been emotionally leading into things, you can ALMOST see why she makes her choices. Kristen DiMera should be labeled an outright villainess (and really is one), but you know she truly does love Brady, even if she’s ready to level the entire world to get him. Days is brilliant at making their bad guys so vulnerable that you can see the potential for redemption. I mean, can you name any other soap opera that has two literal serial killers walking around town in heroic roles? And we buy it because of the intricate characterizations and the actors showing those soft sides.
I’m not here to say Days is perfect by any means. There have been some big misses on their part (see the never-ending Stefan and Abigail story that ate last year or anything related to Haley and JJ), and because of the gargantuan gap from filming to airtime, it’s hard for them to course-correct stories that aren’t landing. [NOTE: This gap will soon be closed a little bit as the studio goes dark for a while soon, but it’s still problematic filming even more than a month out when it comes to story correction.] But for the most part, Days is really good soap, arguably the best one on air. Go give it a whirl.