DAN J KROLL
Dan is the founder and head soap guru of Soap Central. His "must see" soap is All My Children, but in order to maintain the site he does watch most of the nine soaps on a regular basis. Dan started Soap Central as part of his personal home page in 1995. A resident of Philadelphia, he does somehow find time to do things that are non-soap-related, including sports, music, and enjoying the great Pennsylvania countryside. Since last year, Dan has appeared in the SOAPnet reality-ish program, Relative Madness, and recently unveiled a new design to the Soap Central web site.
OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
Every year, General Hospital has some sort of blockbuster, special effect laden storyline that is expected to help it win the top honor of the night. While the ABC soap is the most-awarded in this category, their stunt episodes don't always work for them. This year they submitted the episodes inspired by the primetime series, 24. The episodes were all action (and drama) filled and they were done in a way that you were left wondering what would happen next, or in this case how everything would lead up to the explosion at the Metro Court.
Meanwhile, One Life to Live turned to the old tearjerker standby. Their first episode featured the death of Buchanan family patriarch, Asa Buchanan. There are lots of familiar faces returning, lots of grieving... it's great soap opera stuff. The second featured the Prom Night Musical episode. The last time OLTL won the best show honor it was for doing the very same thing: one gritty episode and one atypical episode.
Guiding Light played the "two totally different episodes" card, too. One episode featured Springfield mourning the death of Tammy. Its second episode was a standalone episode that celebrated the show's 70th anniversary. It was a fascinating watch, but I am not sure if it will be lost on the judges who may not watch the show.
Who I'd like to win: One Life to Live
Who should win: One Life to Live
Who will win: General Hospital
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR
Two of this year's Lead Actor nominees submitted clips that were very ... unusual. Anthony Geary's clips had a comedic twist, with a look at what Luke thinks Hell is like. He shares a few scenes with some kid actors, which can either be a big plus or a big minus depending on who is voting. Still, Geary turns in a great performance.
Meanwhile, first-time Thaao Penghlis submitted clips in which his character is dressed up as a clown. Granted, it's a very menacing and scary clown, but it's still a clown nonetheless. The trouble with Penghlis' clip is that he spends the first two minutes silent. He says nothing -- not a word. When he does start to speak, he is downright spooky.
David Canary, a five-time winner, submitted scenes that don't weigh heavily on him pulling double-duty as Adam and Stuart. The scenes are all mostly Adam. In the featured scenes, Adam learned that Krystal cheated on him and the child he thought was his wasn't really his. In the second episode,
Who I'd like to win: Thaao Penghlis
Who should win: David Canary
Who will win: Anthony Geary
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS
While Canary opted not to submit scenes of him playing a double role, Michelle Stafford did just that. Stafford selected scenes that showcased her flipping out as Sheila Carter, who had undergone plastic surgery to look like Phyllis. In the scenes Sheila torments a police officer and plots her revenge on those that have wronged her.
Crystal Chappell, also a previous Emmy winner, submitted scenes in which Olivia spars with Jeffrey O'Neill, a man she accused of date raping her twenty years earlier, over her wedding that never was. Chappell was powerful in the scenes, but she shared the scenes equally with actor Bradley Cole. Not being the only central figure in the scenes could work against her.
Maura West, meanwhile, puts in another powerful performance as her character goes through a checklist of things that need to be done before she dies. She eventually makes a video recording for her children to view after she's dead. Scenes in which a mother plans for her children's care after she dies are always powerful, but the scenes, while poignant, may have been a little too subdued.
Who I'd like to win: Crystal Chappell
Who should win: Michelle Stafford
Who will win: Michelle Stafford
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR
I really like Trent Dawson. I think he puts in great work, both comedic and dramatic. He reminds me a lot of One Life to Live star Tuc Watkins. Both are not quite a typical soap opera character and are often in some very funny predicaments. Right off the bat in his submissions Dawson puts that comedic twist on display. But the award is for drama series and I am concerned that Dawson, while definitely an outstanding performer, didn't really focus on the drama part.
Daniel Cosgrove's addition to the Guiding Light cast has been a big plus for the show. The actor won big in our soapcentral.com Dankies awards and he has also earned critical acclaim. However, the first set of scenes on Cosgrove's Emmy reel were horribly boring. The scenes seemed more like watching someone's home movies rather than a drama series.
Kristoff St. John delivers another stellar performance in the aftermath of Drucilla's death. But the pacing of the scenes is slower than some of the other nominees' scenes. In St. John's best reel submission, his character visits the site of his Drucilla's death and talks to her.
I like the direction of Brian Kerwin's scenes. The newcomer, and One Life to Live's only acting nominee, has some very powerful reaction scenes. They feel very believable and I think that may give him the edge.
Who I'd like to win: Trent Dawson
Who should win: Kristoff St. John or Brian Kerwin
Who will win: Kristoff St. John
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS
The Supporting Actress category is typically the most competitive category on the ballot. There is definitely no shortage of talented woman in daytime. This year, I believe that it's a two-way race for the crown.
Kelly Menighan Hensley is my favorite to win. In her first submission, her character is brutally attacked and later seemingly blames herself for being assaulted. In the second, Emily and Dusty get into a verbal altercation over Emily's acting like a "whore."
Gina Tognoni has a very good chance to add another Emmy to her tally. In her first submission reel, Dinah is released from the hospital, but suffering tries to hide the fact that she has suffered some brain damage from Mallet. Her second clips plays off of the first when it is revealed that Dinah is truly not well.
Who I'd like to win: Kelly Menighan Hensley
Who should win: Kelly Menighan Hensley
Who will win: Kelly Menighan Hensley
OUTSTANDING YOUNGER ACTOR
I think that there is a "sentimental" favorite in this category for the first time in a long time. Van Hansis has been playing Luke Snyder, a gay young adult trying to find his place in Oakdale. The past year has focused a lot on whether or not his character should be able to share an on-screen kiss with another male.
Previous winner Tom Pelphrey shows why he's won an Emmy before. His scenes are both powerful and dramatic. And there's a good chance that a sentimental viewer might even have to wipe aware a few tears. In his most powerful reel, Pelphrey's Jonathan is ready and willing to torch the Spaulding mansion. However, his mother, Reva, tries to talk him out of it.
Who I'd like to win: Van Hansis
Who should win: Van Hansis
Who will win: Tom Pelphrey
OUTSTANDING YOUNGER ACTRESS
Emily O'Brien is a first-time nominee, but one of three actresses from The Young and the Restless nominated in this field. With no disrespect to the other two actresses, O'Brien may be the only one truly worthy of a nomination. Both Vail Bloom and Tammin Sursok didn't really have story for much of the year. She plays some of her scenes as a true smartass, which is juicy to watch as a viewer. She is also delusional, which is also fun to watch. There's nothing better than a soap opera villain.
Jennifer Landon is a two-time winner and is going for the threepeat this year. Considering that Landon has left As the World Turns, she probably will not have enough material to earn a nomination in next year's balloting. If she were to win, she'd become only the second performer to ever win three Emmys in a row. Oddly, the other performer, Jennifer Finnigan, won three Younger Actress trophies for her work on The Bold and the Beautiful. Much of Landon's clips are very dark visually. It's very hard to judge clips that are hard to see. Landon is also not the central player in much of her clips, though she definitely shines as the top performer in them. Landon's second scenes feature her in a dual role, which could tip the balance in her favor.
The dark horse is first timer Rachel Melvin of the seldom-nominated Days of our Lives. In some surprisingly powerful scenes, Melvin's character learns that her best friend and the man she wants to be her boyfriend had sex... with her mother. "My grandma Kate has been really down lately," Melvin's Chelsea spits. "Maybe you can pay her one of your feel good visits."
Who I'd like to win: Emily O'Brien
Who should win: Rachel Melvin
Who will win: Rachel Melvin
OUTSTANDING WRITING IN A DRAMA SERIES
Writing, I think, is a hard category to judge based on two clips. Of course, the same can be said of the acting categories as well. Nevertheless, the writing is only as strong as the folks who deliver the words on the screen. And while fans may bad mouth a story for being untrue to the show's history, it may look good to someone who doesn't watch the show.
This year there are five nominees.
General Hospital again relies heavily upon its hostage drama. Their clips, however, would be best served in the Directing Team category.
One Life to Live takes a look at Viki's loss of $10 million and the sudden death of Asa Buchanan. The nuances in the writing (or perhaps the acting) were very strong. And the reaction of the Llanview residents as the word got around that Asa had died was also well written.
The Bold and the Beautiful's clips focused on the rape of Brooke Logan, scenes that should have earned Katherine Kelly Lang a nomination in the Lead Actress field. But Lang was overlooked... again. In the scenes, Brooke's rapist lingers around, noting that "a little rough-housing is a small price to pay for the best sex in the world." The scenes were better served for Lang's acting than for the writing.
Guiding Light deals with the emotional aftermath of Tammy's death. The scenes are powerful and emotional, but the acting is far stronger than the written word.
Who I'd like to win: The Bold and the Beautiful
Who should win: One Life to Live or General Hospital
Who will win: One Life to Live