Numerous daytime dramas have come and gone, since the inception of the “love in the afternoon” medium. Sadly, there are only four soap operas left standing: Days of our Lives, General Hospital, The Bold and the Beautiful, and The Young and the Restless.
Top 10 Soap Operas We Miss
And, of the crop that has bit the dust, many still linger in viewers’ minds. Here’s a list of 10 soap operas that we miss most.
1. All My Children
The daytime world just hasn’t been the same without the incorrigible antics of Erica Kane, as portrayed by soap superstar Susan Lucci. She was the heart and soul of All My Children. The Agnes Nixon creation, which debuted in 1970, centered on topical social issues; featuring the first TV character to receive a legal abortion and the first same-sex kiss in American soap history.
2. Guiding Light
Starting out as a radio soap in 1937, Guiding Light ultimately segued to television where it remained until 2009, marking an incredible 72-year run. The middle-class Bauer family, and, decades later, the wealthy Spauldings and the Lewises enthralled fans. But, perhaps, the show’s most recognizable and popular character ever was the irrepressible Reva (Kim Zimmer).
3. Edge of Night
Edge of Night switched up the standard soap format and drew its own unique audience, appealing to viewers who wanted more than strictly love and romance. It was a serialized crime drama that followed the police, district attorneys, and medical examiners, as they cracked cases around the city of Monticello while coping with traditional soap problems like troubled marriages, custody battles, and more.
4. Another World
Created by Irna Phillips, Another World was the first soap to dive into controversial topics like illegal abortion while scripting compelling couples and triangles. Among its most memorable was super ’70s pair, Alice and Steve, who were constantly thwarted by the manipulative Rachel. It was also the first daytime drama to write in character crossovers from other soaps and prompt two spinoffs — namely, Somerset and Texas.
5. Ryan’s Hope
Centered around the Irish-American, close-knit Ryan family, who owned and operated a tavern in New York City, Ryan’s Hope followed the clan’s trials and tribulations. The soap had a hometown feel and featured relatable characters, who gathered around the bar to share their secrets and talk over their problems, Plus, it launched the careers of Kate Mulgrew, Corbin Bensen, and Marg Helgenberger.
6. One Life to Live
Presenting an array of ethnicities from its inception – the wealthy Lords, the working class Woleks, the Irish-Catholic Rileys, and African-American Sadie Gray, One Life to Live represented a real America, exploring topical issues as well as comic situations. Over the years, six-time Daytime Emmy winner Erika Slezak emerged as the show’s most recognizable star, captivating fans with her portrayal of Victoria Lord and her alternate personalities.
7. As The World Turns
Beloved matriarch Nancy Hughes ushered in As the World Turns in 1956 with the simple words, “Good morning, dear.” With that, the soap was off and running, packed with realism and strong characters. Over the years, it introduced consummate villains, like James Stenbeck and John Dixon, as well as revered supercouples, like Betsy and Steve and Holden and Lily, that continually enthralled viewers.
8. Santa Barbara
The tumultuous lives of the filthy rich Capwells, their friends, and foes were introduced with a murder mystery on Santa Barbara’s debut episode. While the soap had a luxe splashy feel from day one, it was ultimately its cerebral characters, like number one son Mason (Lane Davies), and popular supercouples, like Cruz (A Martinez) and Eden (Marcy Walker), that firmly hooked viewers.
Was there a wilder wackier soap ever on daytime than Passions? The James E. Reilly show pushed the envelope at every turn with its outrageous plots and bizarre characters, starting with an ancient witch named Tabitha (Juliet Mills) and her devoted sidekick, doll-turned-boy Timmy (Josh Ryan Evans). It’s no wonder it ignited a cult following.
10. Port Charles
A daytime drama ahead of its time, Port Charles began as a simple spinoff of General Hospital but eventually ended up venturing into the supernatural with angels, werewolves, and even a vampire hunk named Caleb (Michael Easton). The show took bold risks and dared to be different from other soap operas. It geared itself toward a younger audience, promoting 20-something talent to the forefront in key plots.