Wednesday, March 2, 2016

10 Characters Who Must Remain on 'Days of our Lives'

10 characters Who Must Remain on Days of our Lives
By Molly Scofield
Whenever there is a regime change or a power shift at Days, fans get in a panic. Who will stay? Who will be let go? Campaigns rise up. Someone is always left disappointed. We’ve watched the cycle for decades now. As we enter the last half of the Griffith/Higley era and enter the Higley/Quan era, here is our list of who Days should and must keep.

We’ll start with the vets. Soap opera veterans always seem to be fighting to keep their places on their respective shows. Their fanbases were built decades ago and have stuck by them through the good times and the bad times. Their time in the front and center may be up (though that’s debatable) but they remain vital to the genre. Their foundation is the support necessary for new characters to thrive.

Marlena Evans/Deidre Hall
Until seven years ago, it probably wouldn’t have occurred to anyone that this needed to be said. Deidre Hall has been synonymous with Days for nearly forty years (mark your calendars for her anniversary in June). Marlena’s stories have been a major focus on the show since the 70s. When she is not a primary focus, one of the five children she raised is. She’s led the show well in multiple popular pairings, and she’s supported others as well as she did when her teenage grandson came out of the closet. Her rivalries are legendary (Stefano, Kristen), and her relationships with her children are fueled with drama, love, and conflict. A soap opera needs familiarity. It doesn’t get much more familiar than Deidre Hall as Dr. Marlena Evans.

John Black/Drake Hogestyn
The last decade has been quite the whirlwind for John/Drake Hogestyn fans. He had 20 straight years on Days, then all of a sudden he was gone, he was back, he was gone, he was back. John is the ultimate hero, the ultimate romancer, the ultimate eyebrow raiser, and the ultimate mystery. When he’s lucky enough to play dad, he’s the ultimate father. John has been a lot of things: priest, cop, ISA agent, pawn, Roman. But all the man wants is to be in Salem with his family. He’s had some bumps along the way, but his commitment to family, his bravery, and his belief that love can and will triumph all is the heart and soul of what Days is about. As new heroes come and go, they really should learn from the best.

Steve Johnson/Stephen Nichols
Steve Johnson showed up in Salem a little over 30 years ago, but unlike John and Marlena, his presence hasn’t been continuous. In fact, he was off screen and believed to be dead for 16 years. When he finally returned he barely got two and a half years to make another impression in Salem. Regardless, he and his signature eye patch remain icons of Days. His extended absence only means he has way more story left to tell. He has one of the soapiest backstories you can imagine. He has family connections via his children, siblings, and in-laws. He loves fiercely, dramatically, and intensely. In addition to finally finding his own way in Salem as a not so settled family man, he’s a perfect listening ear and advocate to younger characters who didn’t grow up in the best of circumstances.

Kayla Brady/Mary Beth Evans
This year will mark 30 years since Mary Beth Evans’ debut as Kayla Brady. Much like Steve, Kayla has spent more of that time off screen than onscreen. After her non-exit in 2009, she came back in a recurring capacity where she became a big support to her siblings, nieces, and nephews. That’s all well and good, but now it’d be nice to see her get some of that support. And lest you think all she can do is support, please don’t be fooled. She’s been kidnapped, wrongly convicted of murder, and she even went deaf and mute. Despite Mary Beth lacking a contract and Kayla spending her life knowing she’s not the favorite child of the Brady parents, the youngest sister has managed to become the heir apparent to the Brady matriarch throne…and she’s right where she belongs.

Deimos Kiriakis/Vincent Irizarry
Okay, so he’s not exactly a Days’ vet. But Vincent Irizarry is a soap vet, and now Days has him. Deimos is Victor’s never before mentioned younger brother who wants to make Victor suffer…via his family. With Stefano seemingly dead and no one in Salem being legitimately fearful of Victor for years, Days has been in need of a new big, bad villain, and Deimos can fill that role. Days’ villains are notorious; their crimes nefarious, and their portrayers powerful and charismatic. Not just anyone can follow in Joseph Mascolo and John Aniston’s footsteps, but if we had to place money on who’d be most likely to succeed, our bet would be for Vincent Irizarry.

Shawn Brady/Brandon Beemer
The next two on our list have not benefitted from fantastic writing recently. However, there is so much potential because of who they are, that we still believe they can be salvaged by a writing team who truly gets them. Shawn Douglas Brady was the first Brady/Horton baby. He was the first link between the two families that are now Days’ biggest legacies. Shawn was onscreen most of his life, dealing with only a minor case of SORASing as a young teen. His exit in 2008 left a hole in both families. He’s finally back in Salem. Brandon Beemer has even managed to do what we thought was impossible – he’s made Shawn a believable father of a teenaged daughter. With Bo dead, who better to follow in his footsteps than his Sailor Man?

Belle Brady/Martha Madison
We know. We know. The writing for her this time has been less than stellar so far, but there have been some good moments. And Martha Madison absolutely shines in those good moments. Belle is the product of one of the most referenced stories in Days’ history. We watched her grow up literally overnight, graduate from high school, dip her toes in various career paths, get in way over her head in a love triangle, and fight to keep her family together only to turn around and sleep with the man who was trying to destroy them. She returned to Salem last year with an adult career, another notch in her bedpost, and a volatile relationship with a teenaged daughter. John and Marlena’s baby girl has a lot to live up to, and watching her try, fail, and maybe one day succeed should be able to carry this show for years.

Chad DiMera/Billy Flynn
Over the years we’ve seen many DiMeras come and go, but none quite like Chad. He’s desperate to be a part of a family, but he’s just nowhere near as nefarious as the other members of his own. He’s one half of one of the last pairings to really make people stand up and take notice. However, Chad’s relationships aren’t limited to just the romantic. His sibling scenes with Andre, his bromance with Rafe, his doctor/patient scenes with Marlena, and his heart-to-heart with Arianna Grace have all been noteworthy. He’s been a hero, but not an over the top praised one. He’s still working to gain the trust of Salem, and the last few weeks have shown that Salem is still working to gain his trust. He’s not a one-note villain nor is he a one-note hero. He’s still trying to figure out who he is, and we hope that keeps him onscreen for a while.


Theo Carver/Kyler Pettis
Kyler Pettis as Theo has been a bright spot over the last few months. Pettis’ subtle take on Theo’s autism has been a delight. In a few short months, we’ve seen him start a tentative relationship with  his new sister, watched him deal with bullying, and even gotten a glimpse of his complicated relationship with his unbeknownst to him late grandfather. Theo’s devotion to his childhood friend Ciara is very much what we pictured for their future when he accompanied a runaway Ciara in 2011. New teens tend to be a little green and to make viewers nervous. Despite their newbie status, Pettis and Vivian Jovanni have managed to create something special with Theo and Ciara, and we can’t wait to see where they’ll take us next.

Ciara Brady/ Vivian Jovanni
Vivian Jovanni possibly had the hardest job of any of the actors cast or brought back in 2015. Ciara has been the beloved Bope baby. Lauren Boles did what few child actors have managed to do before her: she gave the character her own personality. Plus, she looked like she could legitimately be the child of Peter Reckell and Kristian Alfonso. But Ciara couldn’t stay a child forever. Jovanni’s Ciara was recently catapulted into a very intense and highly controversial story. She seems poised to follow in the footsteps of Days’ heroines before her. She’s surrounded by family, and supported by a friend who has been by her side all along. Heavy teen stories are always a gamble, but we’re ready to see what’s next for Bo and Hope’s daughter.


Abby Deveraux/Kate Mansi and Eric Brady/Greg Vaughan
We couldn’t end this list without a special shout out for these two. Our first 10 are the people currently employed who Days should keep. Unfortunately, we already know Greg Vaughan and Kate Mansi have left Days. Their characters will still be airing through the spring.

Eric will be leaving soon, and we are despondent. He’s only been back in Salem for a few years. Between Jensen Ackles and Greg Vaughan, we’ve only gotten a little over 6 years of Eric Brady. He had a 12-year absence! We watched his twin for 22 years straight. Surely there’s more to Eric’s story than this. It doesn’t hurt that he happens to be really pretty to look at.

Abby is an example of a mistake Days has made again and again. They didn’t truly find her character until her final year on the show. Just as we’ve gotten invested in her character and her love life, she’s on the way out. It seems a shame for her to be exiting Salem so soon after cementing her place outside of her parents’ shadows in the show’s history.

These are the 10 characters who WE think must remain on Days of Our Lives. Who is on your list? Would love to hear your thoughts!

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