Fun, fearless, and with a seemingly larger budget than its daytime counterpart, Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem has launched on Peacock. What’s working and what’s missing from the streaming spinoff of the long-running NBC soap? And, more importantly, is it worth the watch? Here’s a critique of the first two episodes of the mini-series.
Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem — The Groundwork
It’s got a classic and lively 1980s/1990s feel to it. There are locations and couples and capers. Charles Shaughnessy is back as superspy Shane Donovan and Lisa Rinna as fellow ISA agent Billie Reed. Newcomer Peter Porte (ex-Ricky Williams, The Young and the Restless) is dashing as the James Bond-like Kyle Graham.
Viewers get to catch up with popular duos, like Carrie Brady Reed (Christie Clark) and Austin Reed (Austin Peck) and Will Horton (Chandler Massey), and Sonny Kiriakis (Zach Tinker). Current favorites like John Black (Drake Hogestyn) and Marlena Evans Black (Deidre Hall), Tony DiMera (Thaao Penghlis) and Anna DiMera (Leann Hunley), Ben Weston (Robert Scott Wilson) and Ciara Brady Weston (Victoria Konefal), Lani Price Grant (Sal Stowers) and Eli Grant (Lamon Archey), as well as others, are along for the adventure and romance, too.
The Plot Thickens
Integrating the various locations – from Zurich to Phoenix to New Orleans to Miami – has worked seamlessly, as the quest to retrieve some stolen gems has taken off. Tying Princess Gina to the heist as the jewel thief was a nice twist. So, too, was bringing Greg Rikaart back as the lovably lecherous Leo Stark, who just happens to have a lead on the missing emerald.
There’s lots of action, too, from thugs robbing Paulina Price (Jackée Harry) at gunpoint to Lani and Eli slipping into police mode and chasing down the culprits. Billie and Kyle’s initial meeting was pretty fiery, too. She tackled him to the ground before learning he was her new ISA partner.
With Beyond Salem focusing so heavily on the missing Alamainia peacock, it would have been nice to have actor Michael Sabatino back in some capacity. After all, he was once front and center as the diabolical Lawrence Alamain and a key figure on Days of our Lives. While the character is dead, the actor could have appeared in a flashback or, perhaps, as another Alamain entirely. An appearance by Louise Sorel as Vivian would have added to the drama, too.
Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem — A Few Questions…
What kind of work is Austin doing, these days, that he can suddenly afford to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a rare sapphire necklace for Carrie? Has he suddenly become a multimillionaire? It would have made more sense for Chad, a super-wealthy DiMera, to bid on the trinket for his estranged wife, Abigail (Marci Miller).
Are fans really supposed to believe that Paulina gave up her palatial Miami estate to move into a tiny apartment in Salem? Or that Paulina hobnobs with Gloria Estefan and Rosie O’Donnell and is pals with Michelle, as in former first lady Michelle Obama, and never mentioned it before?
And what was up with the impromptu tango in the park between Billie and Kyle? It just seemed silly and out of place. But dancing and the other above questions aside, Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem has everything you could hope for in a soap mini-series — love, romance, danger, and drama. All of which makes it totally worth watching,
Days of our Lives (DOOL) airs weekdays on NBC. Check your local listings for airtimes. For more about what’s coming up in Salem, check out all the latest that’s been posted on DAYS spoilers, and for an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.