Clockwise from left: Rick Rowell/ABC; Howard Wise/jpistudios.com; Rick Rowell/ABC
Death! Deceit! Doppelgangers! It's the year's best in soap operas.
Sean smith/jpistudios.com; Howard Wise/jpistudios.com
Best Soap: The Bold and the Beautiful and General Hospital (tie) Why choose between them when both shows left us in such a sudsational state of bliss? B&B, daytime's most sumptuous serial, took us on location to Abu Dhabi, Paris, Monte Carlo, and Amsterdam for lots of awesome — and watery — action: Hope and Wyatt got hitched at sea, Quinn bitch-shoved Ivy into the river Seine, and Ridge plunged from a helicopter into the Persian Gulf. But the home front was no less riveting, with family warfare and corporate chaos. This is classic soap, done exquisitely. By contrast, GH is soap on crack, an outlandish, unapologetic, feverishly paced experience that is packed with ballsy surprises, in-your-face performances, and superhip humor. And those payoffs! It was so great to see Sonny, that murderous swine, finally get busted. We hate that GH has become way too reliant on unkillable villains and cheap theatrics. (Seriously, enough with the damn masks!) But we don't dare miss an episode.
Best Actor: Anthony Geary, General Hospital No moment this year was more fantastic—or fantastical—than when Luke Spencer, a drooling vegetable held captive in the Miscavige Institute for the criminally crazy, came face-to-face with his evil look-alike, Fluke. Geary's dual performance was pure art—titanic yet delicately, intricately nuanced. He already has a record seven Emmys and seems destined for an eighth. Overkill? No way. It's impossible to throw enough gold at this guy.
Best Actress: Alison Sweeney, Days of Our Lives
Best Actress: Alison Sweeney, Days of Our Lives She quit her gig as fireball Sami Brady after 21 years, but not before reveling in the showcase of a lifetime. Sweeney soared as Sami calmly got revenge against her philandering hubby, then forgave the cad and settled down for the happily ever after, only to find herself a sudden widow. Such star power! The loss of Sweeney has been devastating to Days, maybe even insurmountable.
Best Supporting Actor: Ray Wise, The Young and the Restless We needed a shower after watching him slime through Genoa City as self-help guru Ian Ward — until, that is, the writers inexplicably turned his character into a spineless, toothless, pointless twit. Too bad. Ian could have been one of the great villains in soap history, but we can't blame his downfall on the terrific Wise, who played his role to hell and back.
Best Supporting Actress: Lisa LoCicero, General Hospital As lovesick Olivia Falconeri, she freaked when her man moved a pregnant mob doll into his house, and then she did what any self-respecting jilted gal would: drunk-dialed her pain away by calling the hotline for one of those shameless adopt-a-shelter-dog commercials and tried to rescue them all. The meltdown was sweet, sad, achingly funny, and, like LoCicero herself, simply divine.
Star of the Year: Eileen Davidson She was everywhere. Not only did Davidson do double duty as cosmetics mogul Ashley Abbott on Y&R and whackjob Kristen DiMera on Days — winning an Emmy for the latter — but this world-class beauty also joined The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. How nice to be exploding at age 55! But then, Davidson has never been one to play by the rules of showbiz. She makes her own.