Jenny is a regular Soap Central recapper for The Young and the Restless and Revenge, and a former recapper for All My Children. Her love of soaps began with her introduction to AMC in the late 70s, but it quickly expanded to include all daytime dramas. Through good years and bad, she has been a dedicated fan of all four remaining network shows since the mid-80s and diligently followed the Prospect Park reboots to the very end. She is proud to be back on the expert panel for another chance to predict the year's Emmy winners.
If I had to judge the year in its entirety, there would be no way I'd vote for B&B because of its constant recycling of the story of young women falling in love with Liam, taking Wyatt as second choice (ultimately leading to him proposing in a ridiculously short timeframe), and said woman deciding she wants Liam, after all. B&B wisely chose to ignore that drivel when choosing Emmy submissions in the show category, so it stands a chance.
I had expected DAYS to choose two episodes full of fan favorites and high drama from its 50th anniversary. This was true of one of them, but I wished they'd selected one of the tearjerkers related to Bo's death as the other. The episode with Hope torturing Dr. Malcolm and Abigail trying to escape Ben was certainly dramatic, but I wouldn't consider it the "best of the best" of the year, and I think it will hurt DAYS' chances to win.
As a fan, I enjoyed Adam's true identity being exposed, but "back from the dead" and doppelgänger stories are so cliché that I think the content might be a turnoff.
I am sure Anthony Geary is widely expected to add another Emmy to his vast collection, and he delivered his usual stellar performance in which he plays Luke as well as his abusive father. I found myself far less impressed with this reel than last year's "Luke vs. Fluke" scenes, perhaps because the drunken abuser character had far fewer layers.
Justin Hartley's scenes cemented his place as Adam, and they were huge to move the story along on the show, but I didn't find them to be especially Emmy-worthy. Christian LeBlanc is the kind of actor who can be charismatic reading a phone book, but watching his reel just made me angry that Y&R didn't focus a lot more effort on telling Michael's cancer story, since I think he easily could have taken the gold if he'd had more meaty material. Kristoff St. John had some really good stuff last year with Neil being blind, regaining his sight but pretending to be blind, and being betrayed by his wife and son, so I guess I expected his reel to stand out more.
Finola Hughes was my pick in the supporting category last year (she didn't win), and I think the same fate might befall her this year, even though she is arguably the best actress among the nominees. She makes very subtle choices that make the viewer forget she's acting, and that's a good thing, but subtlety doesn't always get the judges' attention.
Maura West can never be ruled out as a winner, but I would have liked her reel a lot more if it hadn't included scenes of her as Denise. It usually seems that playing a dual role increases a nominee's chances of winning, but in this case, I found myself cringing at the "fake accent and bad dye job" (as Silas said in one of the scenes submitted). I was very happy that Mary Beth Evans was finally recognized this year, but one of the episodes she submitted was lighter fare, and that usually doesn't win Emmys. I wasn't particularly impressed by Tracey Bregman's reel. While she's a beautiful woman, I find it difficult to appreciate someone's ability to act when their face doesn't move. I also don't think she belongs in the lead category.
I was certain that Jacob Young would be nominated for the scene where Rick accepted Maya's big reveal that she was transgender (watching it again really made me wonder why Karla Mosley wasn't also among this year's nominees). The very soapy scene preceding it -- in which Rick fired a gun to disrupt Ridge and Caroline's makeout session -- just seemed to detract from the rest of the reel.
It's apparent how Sean Blakemore has found success beyond daytime. Some of the early scenes in his reel were distractingly short and choppy, but I enjoyed his work. Steve Burton's reel wasn't especially memorable to me, and it seemed to consist more of everyday scenes than Emmy-worthy material. Dominic Zamprogna's scenes seemed repetitive and caused me to lose attention, but he does anger very well.
I'm happy that Peggy McCay submitted herself in the appropriate category this year, for as fabulous as she is, Caroline hasn't been a lead role for some time. She displayed a nice mix of fear (who couldn't sympathize with a senior citizen possibly facing that she was dying?), feistiness (I couldn't help but cheer when Caroline defied doctor's orders to return to Hope's wedding site), and joy when she saw her long-lost son Bo for the first time in years. She's a definite contender.
Lauralee Bell's nomination came as a surprise to me, not because she didn't do a good job, but because she had so little time on-screen last year that I'd almost forgotten that Christine had been in any scenes outside the courtroom. I found that my attention was more on Doug Davidson in the reel. I miss seeing Jessica Collins on Y&R, but much of her reel was angry sarcasm, and it just didn't scream Emmy to me. Melissa Reeves's submission was a great confrontation scene, but it displayed anger and little else.
Bryan Craig was my top pick for this category even before pre-noms were revealed, and the two episodes he selected were the same ones I would have chosen for him. These scenes were written to win an Emmy, and Craig had a lot going on in them, between playing drunk and showing the anger and fear of the possibility that Morgan might have bipolar disorder. Kudos to scene partners Maurice Benard and Laura Wright for effectively supporting Craig while letting him shine.
I have always adored Nicolas Bechtel's portrayal of precocious Spencer, and he held his own with vets Maurice Benard and Tyler Christopher. I didn't care for the scenes with "love of his life" Emma and romantic rival Cameron when the characters are still in grade school, but Bechtel shows talent beyond his years when partnered with most other actors his age.
Max Ehrich is a talented actor, but he had very little to do in Genoa City last year, and his reel didn't showcase what he is capable of. The first set of scenes revolved mostly around other characters (and also made me relive one of Y&R's worst storylines last year, so that did no favors to win my vote). I was more impressed when I re-watched Pierson Fodé's scenes the second time around than I was the first time I saw them, and Fodé and Thorsten Kaye played off one another very well. Tequan Richmond had an excellent reel -- my only complaint is that T.J. was already in tears from the start, so it seemed like I'd missed something.
The Emmy panel has shown a lot of love to Hunter Haley King in the past, and she could very well three-peat this year. She has won with submissions that I thought were less strong in the past, and this year, I wouldn't be surprised if the episode she submitted was specifically written to win her another trophy. King's grief and anger seemed raw and real, and the more subdued performances of her scene partners allowed her to stand out.
I was very happy to see that first-time nominee Reign Edwards received a nod, and her reel really worked for her. The scenes easily could have been overacted, but Edwards chose to play them more subdued, and it was very effective. I remember watching True O'Brien's scene of Paige at her birthday party when it first aired. My boyfriend happened to walk into the room, and he commented, "Wow, she's pissed." I explained to him that the actress had seemed really, really green when she'd started on DAYS, but she'd come a long way. I'm not surprised that she ended up with a nomination for that scene, but I was a little perplexed by the lack of actual tears. I've seen few actors play wild-eyed rage as well as Ashlyn Pearce did in her scenes, and the flashbacks to more relatable moments in Aly's life helped to show that she developed a multi-layered character. Her reel was well-acted and definitely soapy, but I think voters will go with something they can relate better to.
I totally bought Dee Wallace's run as sister to Luke and Bobbie, and she was the first person to enter my mind about who would be nominated in this category. She did a fine job (at first I thought her performance might have been too understated, but Patricia was very weak and dying, so it actually made sense). My only concern is that there were many other performers in her reel, and the action centered on others much of the time.
Adam Leadbeater did a good job taunting Hope while she tortured him, but Kristian Alfonso owned the scene. As a big fan of Frank Runyeon from his ATWT and Santa Barbara days, I was thrilled when he popped up (even in a very limited capacity) on Y&R. The stand-alone episode just didn't seem to work well when spliced together with only Runyeon's scenes, and most of the attention was focused on Melody Thomas Scott, so I just don't see him being a winner.