No. 10: Vincent Irizarry - All My Children
After portraying the less than stellar character of David Chow on The Young and the Restless, Vincent Irizarry returned to All My Children as David Hayward. Almost immediately he began stirring up trouble as only the devilish doctor can. David Hayward, much like Janet "From Another Planet" Dillon, is one of All My Children's most popular villains, and just like his previous reign of rancor, he is already causing problems for Pine Valley's most upstanding of citizens.
No. 9: Tom Pelphrey - Guiding Light
Whenever word gets out that Tom Pelphrey might be returning to Guiding Light, as Jonathon Randall, we readily begin anticipating his scenes with Kim Zimmer or Marcy Rylan. Pelphrey's return in early 2008 lived up to our expectations as Jonathan reunited Lizzie with their little daughter Sarah, wept with Cassie at Tammy's grave and reminded us of exactly why we love him opposite of Zimmer.
No. 8: Thom Christopher, Phil Carey and Tuc Watkins - One Life to Live
One Life to Live pulled out all the stops in 2008, bringing back a host of big and small names for a variety of storylines and special episodes, but it was Thom Christopher, Phil Carey and Tuc Watkins who made us tune in. Who can forget how the mighty Carlo Hesser, manipulator of many and friend of few, woke up to find himself in bed with another man? How could anyone forget Phil Carey's touching return as Asa Buchanan to share scenes with Erika Slezak during the 40th anniversary? Last but not least there was the tongue-in-cheek return of Tuc Watlkins' David Vickers after the writers strike as a man whose TV show was canceled because of a Writers Strike?
No. 7: Joseph Mascolo - Days of Our Lives
Joseph Mascolo's Stefano DiMera has risen from the ashes countless times to wreak havoc on Salem. Some returns have been better than others, but there is no question that Salem just isn't the same without its dangerous don. Yes, Stefano is a mustache twirling villain, but he's Salem's mustache-twirling villain. As more and more familiar faces take their leave, it is comforting to know that even if he were to disappear for a time, Stefano DiMera will always return.
No. 6: Andrea Evans - One Life to Live
Andrea Evans' return to One Life to Live was bittersweet for many. On one hand the return of such a popular actress to a signature role couldn't help but be appreciated. On the other hand, the story TPTB brought Evans back for was nothing short of disappointing. However, even with daytime's stars aligned against her, Evans did her best to make lemonade out of lemons, giving fans something sweet to savor amidst her swiftly souring storyline.
No. 5: Genie Francis - General Hospital
Genie Francis' return to the role of Laura Spencer had us tuning in to find out how she would take the news that she wasn't actually married to the love of her life, Luke Spencer (Anthony Geary). How would Laura react to discovering that her magical second wedding to Luke was all a farce and that he is actually married Tracy Quartermaine (Jane Elliot)? Unfortunately, TPTB didn't develop the hoped for battle between Laura and Tracy but maybe they can address that, if the Emmy winner were to return in 2009, as rumored.
No. 4: Eileen Davidson, Tricia Cast and Tonya Lee Williams - The Young and the Restless
While most new head writers bring in a slew of newbies the fans could care less about when they come to a new show, Maria Arena Bell set about writing several wrongs when she took over the helm of The Young and the Restless.
Bell smartly brought back the hugely popular Eileen Davidson in her signature role of Ashley Abbott. We're still scratching our heads as to why the brass ever got rid of one of the most beloved stars in the show's history. Thank the Soap Gods Brad Bell kept Davidson in the family by bringing Ashley and Davidson over to The Bold and the Beautiful, where his sister-in-law could quickly pluck her back from once she took over the Bell's flagship soap. Here's to hoping Bell does the same with Heather Tom as the only Victoria Newman, period. Davidson's return wasn't the only reappearance that had fans buzzing this year.
Tonya Lee Williams reprised her role as Ashley's BFF/Soror Dr. Olivia Barber Winters and the phenomenal Tricia Cast made a brief, but mega watt appearance as perennial bad girl Nina Webster Chancellor for the faux funeral of her former stepmother-in-law Katherine. I predict a more permanent return for Cast is at the top of a lot of Y&R fans' Christmas lists this year.
No. 3: Eden Riegel and Tamara Braun - All My Children
What did All My Children do when Alicia Minshew needed a vacation? They called in AMC vet Eden Riegel as Bianca Montgomery and ABC fan favoriteTamara Braun as her new love interest. Sure, Bianca and Reese's storyline has been less than stellar, but that hasn't stopped these two able actresses providing stellar performances opposite of the show's leading actors and actresses. While Frons would have you believe it was the CGI tornadoes that brought in the ratings, we bet it was the legions of fans who support the amazing Riegel and Braun.
No. 2: Tristan Rogers, Finola Hughes, John Reilly and Sharon Wyatt, Antonio Sabato Jr. Kathleen Noone - General Hospital: Night Shift
One of 2008's best soap opera storylines didn't happen during the daytime. It was on General Hospital's vastly superior cable cousin Night Shift where we saw Robert Scorpio (Tristan Rogers)'s brave battle with cancer, which humanized the super spy and reunited him with Anna (Finola Hughes) and their daughter Robin (Kimberly McCullough). This well-written and amazingly-acted story arc also saw a reunion between Scorpio and his old pals Sean Donnelly (John Reilly), Tiffany Hill (Sharon Wyatt) and Luke Spencer (Tony Geary), along with Robert's brother Mac Scorpio (John J. York), all of whom appeared during a dream sequence fans of General Hospital's glory days will remember and cherish for years to come. The fact that this season of General Hospital: Night Shift also boasted 90's GH superstar Antonio Sabato Jr. as Jagger Cates has us praying Lisa de Cazotte, Sri Rao and Company will be back to give us more for season three.
No. 1: Darnell Williams & Debbie Morgan - All My Children
We'd seen Jesse as a ghost and hadn't seen Angie in years, but the return of Darnell Williams and Debbie Morgan was one to remember. How can one forget those memorable scenes of Angie and Jesse at the train station. The look on both actors faces as their characters reunited after decades apart is something few will forget. Though the afterglow of their reunion may have faded, Angie and Jesse remain one of All My Children's most realistic and stable couples even after the discovery of Jesse's second family.