1989 SOD                                                                                                   




ALL MY CHILDREN is definitely out of its slump.  In two years, it graduated from Most Improved Show to Best Show.

At its best this year, ALL MY CHILDREN gave its large cast ample opportunity to grow, integrating their new and veteran members in stories that were mostly compelling.  Characterizations were well-rounded and several actors had the opportunity to display their talents.

Preeminent among these stories was the triangle (see Most Intriguing Story) between Adam (David Canary), Dixie (Cady McClain) and Brooke (Julia Barr).  A spectacular climax, when Brooke confronted Adam, was followed by this most corrupt plot -- to have Dixie committed to a mental hospital in order to gain custody of their son.  Cady McClain's performance when she was led to the hospital was heartbreaking and Canary revealed Adam as a monster.  He makes James Mitchell's Palmer look like a grade-school prankster.

This year also saw the maturation of Pine Valley's number-one rogue, Tad Martin.  Tad's own adoption compelled him to obsess over the fate of Dixie's baby.  Michael E. Knight showed unexpected depth and sensitivity in his concern for Dixie, while displaying his more familiar wily charm with Susan Pratt (Barbara Montgomery).
 She had a passionate romance with AMC veteran Richard Shoberg (Tom) that gave the actor his best story in years.  This weilding of new and familiar characters continued with the show's most entertaining couple, Nico (Maurice Benard) and Cecily (Rosa Nevin), whose story involved meddling Pheobe and moderate Langley (Ruth Warrick and Louis Edmonds).

Granted, there were times when the show seemed to lose its nerve or tell a bad story -- where was the show's history of tackling social issues when it copped out on the romance of Cliff and Angie (Peter Bergman and Debbie Morgan) for a last minute, tedious reconciliation; the summer love story of David and Melanie (Trent Bushey and Paige Turco) was one of the all-time corny flops (see Most Boring Couple), and the show's insistence on writing Jeremy (Jean LeClerc) as an action-adventure type is blind fantasy -- but overall, AMC was solid viewing.

The show continued to serve up timely, message-oriented stories with the drunk-driving death of Laura Cudahy and the subsequent exploration of organ donation and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.  The death of AIDS victim Cindy Parker (Ellen Wheeler) was followed by a contribution by her Pine Valley friends to the AIDS quilt that travels the United States.  Entertaining and illuminating, AMC was in top form.