Dan is the founder of soapcentral.com and the host of the weekly soap opera entertainment radio show, Soap Central Live. His "must see" soap was All My Children, but his work on soapcentral.com has given him an appreciation for all of the soaps; he watches each soap on a regular basis. Dan started soapcentral.com as part of his personal home page in 1995. Dan has appeared as an extra on As the World Turns and as a soap expert on the SOAPnet reality-ish program, Relative Madness.
Note from Dan: It seems that if I pick someone to win, it's the Emmy kiss of death. It's hard to know what voters look for when they cast their Emmy ballots. So I've opted to pick who I think the Emmy voters will select, and then I offer my own rankings that reflect how I would have voted.
▸ Skip ahead to Dan's picks for Drama Series
▸ Skip ahead to Dan's picks for Lead and Actress
▸ Skip ahead to Dan's picks for Supporting Actor and Actress
▸ Skip ahead to Dan's picks for Younger Actor and Actress
▸ Skip ahead to Dan's picks for Writing and Directing Teams
2012: 3 for 8
2011: 3 for 8
2010: 2 for 8
2009: 3 for 8
2008: 5 for 8
2007: 2 for 8
2006: 5 for 8
2005: 3 for 8
2004: 0 for 8
2003: 2 for 8
2002: 2 for 8
2001: 1 for 8
Someone needs to check an ID. I feel like Bryton James has been nominated in the Younger Actor category for as long as soapcentral.com has been online. This reel placed second on my list, but there are little things that could have made this a contender. I don't think that there was ample backstory in the reel to allow voters to understand the procedure Devon was going through and why it was necessary. In the very beginning of the clip, everyone was engaged in conversation, and I am sure that some viewers were not aware that Devon had lost his hearing. I really liked the one-on-one conversation between Devon and Lily, and I thought that added to the genuineness of the clip.
There was a bit of confusion regarding Max Ehrich's clip. The episode aired on January 1, 2013, which is outside the window of eligibility. The episode was to have aired December 31, but a preemption pushed everything back a day. There was no favoritism shown: every soap signed off on an agreement that said they were okay with using that clip (and every other soap was likewise given the option to use an episode from January 1).
Freddie Smith's reel was sweet. It's a typical boy likes girl, girl isn't ready to like guy story. Except it's boy likes boy. The story was quite simple and didn't have a great deal of fanfare, which I think is exactly what needed to happen here. Sonny liking Will is no different than anyone else who has ever had an unrequited love. Bryan Dattilo and Smith played off each other nicely.
Chandler Massey's reel was the only one that showed real, raw emotion to me. As Will told his grandmother that he'd kissed another guy, you could see that Will was bracing for the world to crash down around him. Deidre Hall turned in more fine acting; she and Massey are absolutely magical together, and I would offer that they are one of the best on-screen pairings in all of soapdom. I also think that the cliffhanger nature of the clip also would have left voters wondering what happened next, something that I think has a positive effect on voting.
Who I'd like to win: Chandler Massey
Who voters will pick: Chandler Massey
The final rankings: Chandler Massey, Bryton James, Max Ehrich, Freddie Smith
There is a little bit of whimsy in Hunter King's reel. Why is she rummaging through a storage unit? Eventually, viewers get the full story -- just as Summer is going into full teenage angst mode. Normally, that's a turn-off to me. But I am a sucker for a happy ending. After Summer rails against her mother and says that she wants to go far away where no one knows her family (Michelle Stafford popping in on someone else's reel! Are you keeping count?), she breaks down and confesses that she could never leave her family because she loves them.
Lindsey Morgan took a lot of heat from fans during her short tenure on GH. I'm not an actor, and I certainly don't have an Emmy nomination (or any nomination for that matter), so who am I to judge? I have to say that Morgan's best work didn't air in 2012 -- it came in early 2013 when Trey was taken off of life support. I will be interested to see if she submits her name next year because she certainly deserves a nod for that work. But about the scenes that did give her the nomination… Kristina displayed every emotion an actor could ask for. She was spoiled rich girl, mobster's feisty kid, and scared poopless hostage. Richard Steinmetz was a great foe for Morgan, and the reel was very watchable.
Jacqueline Macinnes Wood's reel is a bit slow at times -- but if the voters hang in and pay attention, I think they'll see some really nice work. This was also one of the rare times that a nominee sang -- yes sang -- in an Emmy reel. The reason that I put this ahead of Alderson's is because I thought Wood and Clifton had a glow about them -- and it may very well have been that this was shot on-location. There was also the opportunity for more of those little Emmy nuances that voters seem to love in Wood's reel.
Nothing would make me happier than to see my Philly girl, Kristen Alderson, win. And I think she has a great chance -- but I can only pick one person, and I think Wood has a slight edge.
Who I'd like to win: Kristen Alderson
Who voters will pick: Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (or Kristen Alderson)
The final rankings: Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, Kristen Alderson, Hunter Haley King, Lindsey Morgan
General Hospital selected an episode right after its big drama, on-location action thriller. The episode started with the townspeople believing that their time was just about up. With nothing to lose, people said all the things they'd always wanted to say. By the end of the episode, a cure had been found for the pathogen that was threatening their doomsday. There was a definite storyline throughout the entire episode, but I don't know that any of the writing, per se, stood out as a "wow" moment. I saw the episode when it first aired, and it held up nicely the second time around, but for voters watching just this single episode, they might have lost out on some of the emotional impact that was set up through prior episodes.
One Life to Live submitted its second-to-last episode, the episode that featured the farewell to the fictional soap Fraternity Row. The episode was obviously very tongue-in-cheek, since the fictional story was a mirror image of what was going on for One Life to Live in real life. There was a definite feel-good moment, which also appeared in All My Children's reels last year. AMC, of course, didn't win any awards. I think Viki's speech about why soap operas are important and what they mean to fans was a stellar piece of writing, and I would think that it would resonate with every voter. However, I don't know if some of the campiness and fun-poking of other bits and pieces might turn off a voter.
The Young and the Restless offered Victor's sham of a memorial service. There was a lot of witty, snarky dialogue that I enjoyed. According to former head writer Maria Arena Bell, the episode was intended to have a comedic element -- so I don't feel so bad for laughing. But, the Daytime Emmys are loathe to reward comedy. This is, after all, Writing in a Drama Series.
Who I'd like to win: One Life to Live
Who voters will pick: The Bold and the Beautiful
The final rankings: The Bold and the Beautiful, One Life to Live, General Hospital, The Young and the Restless
I feel that it will take a soap opera miracle for The Young and the Restless to win in this category. Y&R's episode was compelling storytelling, but that's not what this category is about. Visually, Y&R has to compete with two soaps that did location shoots, two that featured explosions, and lots of incredible drama. Y&R scored big points from me for its creepy use of a music box tune and slow-motion video. It perfectly set up Ricky's shooting, but I don't think it required the technical skill that shooting on location might have required.
The Bold and the Beautiful's submission was visually stunning, but that's almost always the case for B&B. In its reel, B&B chose episodes that featured Liam and Hope's wedding in Puglia, Italy. Every scene, every moment was visually spectacular. The choice of music was like ear candy, if there is such a thing. The story probably wasn't as compelling to voters who were unfamiliar with the characters and their backstory, but that is not supposed to be a consideration. Another knock that might hurt B&B is that there were a lot of scenic shots. As beautiful as they were, I don't know if those images being interspersed will be seen as "filler."
Days of our Lives must have blown its entire budget with its huge DAYSaster story. The episode aired just before the Olympic break, so that means that they might have been able to use ten days' expenses for that one show. And it was incredibly well done. There were explosions, people dangling from the rafters, and lots of life-changing moments.
General Hospital went full-blown action movie with its reel. While Port Charles residents were fearing death from a toxin put into their water supply, Sonny, Shawn, Dante, and the gang were trying to track down the one person who had the cure for what ailed everyone. As was the case with the DAYS reel, it looked like it cost a lot of money. While the episode didn't have the intensity of, say, a Die Hard movie, it didn't have what critics would say was a "cheesy soap" feel to it.
I honestly have no idea who will win this category, but this would be a perfect time for a tie. I feel that DAYS had some of the most complicated moments to choreograph (the explosion and its direct aftermath), but I think that General Hospital had a higher quantity of tasks to direct. It's a crapshoot as to what voters will zero in on, but I feel both shows deserve recognition.
Who voters will pick: General Hospital
The final rankings: Days of our Lives, General Hospital, The Bold and the Beautiful, The Young and the Restless