10 Best Soap Opera Newcomers of 2014

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baxter

No. 10: Meredith Baxter, The Young and the Restless

Something was missing from Stitch (Sean Carrigan) and Kelly (Cady McClain)'s dysfunctional sibling act on The Young and the Restless. Who better to give the brother and sister some much needed family ties than Meredith Baxter?

As Maureen, Baxter helped humanize Stitch and Kelly for the audience. No wonder they were so screwed up. Their mama killed their daddy and made her own son take the fall! Scenery-chewing Mo also proved a fun drinking buddy for resident Genoa City lush Nikki Newman (Melody Thomas Scott).

robb derringer, gh

No. 9: Robb Derringer, General Hospital

Agent Sloan (Robb Derringer) didn't make his General Hospital debut until late in 2014, but we're already intrigued by the sexy fed. Why is Anna Devane's (Finola Hughes) protégé so hellbent on making her pay for taking the law into her own hands with Faison (Anders Hove)? We hope to find out in 2015.

days, Billy Flynn, Chad DiMera, Days of Our Lives

No. 8: Billy Flynn, Days of Our Lives

The DiMera mansion has a lot of empty rooms these days. Stefano (Joe Mascolo) is living in exile. Kristen (Eileen Davidson) has absconded town with a stolen fetus. EJ (James Scott) is dead and his wife and kids are living it up in Hollywood. It's up to Chad (Billy Flynn) to keep the felonious family name going on Days of Our Lives.

Newcomer Flynn has definitely risen to the occasion—if not yet from the ashes—giving Chad much more bite than he previously exhibited. We particularly love his snarky scenes opposite ex-stepmother Kate Roberts (Lauren Koslow).

scott elrod, yr

No. 7: Scott Elrod, The Young and the Restless

The Young and the Restless has a penchant for introducing sexy, mischievous corporate sharks who turn Genoa City upside down. While Joe Clark (Scott Elrod) has a long way to go before he can even be mumbled about in the same breath as the Great Victor Newman (Eric Braeden), Elrod has helped bring sex and sizzle back to the CBS soap.

We think Avery (Jessica Collins) doth protest too much when she wigs out about her ex-husband kissing her. She should welcome the sexual tension, after spending most of 2014 babysitting her angry, vanilla beau Dylan McAvoy (Steve Burton). We certainly do.

DAYS, James Read

No. 6: James Read, Days of Our Lives

Clyde Weston (James Read) is a positively dreadful, disgusting skeevy character on Days of Our Lives. We can't wait for the drug dealing pedophile to die. That being said, Read plays the hell out of him. In fact, the North and South veteran is the only member of the Poplar Bluff Three who was remotely interesting in 2014.

gh, Hannah Nordberg

No. 5: Hannah Nordberg, General Hospital

Carly's (Laura Wright) tween daughter Josslyn (Hannah Nordberg) is turning out to be quite the chip off the old Spencer block on General Hospital. Suds newcomer Nordberg is spot-on as the Children of the Corn-obsessed offspring of Carly and absentee corporate raider Jasper Jacks (Ingo Rademacher).

Whether speaking for the audience by ragging on Franco (Roger Howarth), or conspiring with Spencer (Nicolas Bechtel), Nordberg managed to steal every scene she was in on GH in 2014. With a huge cast of scene thieves, that was no easy feat.

linds elena tolvar, gh

No. 4: Linda Elena Tolvar, General Hospital

When a GH casting call went out for a Hispanic nurse, we worried Sabrina (Teresa Castillo) was being recast. Fortunately, Rosalie (Linda Elena Tolvar) only has dark hair and olive skin in common with saintly Nurse Santiago.

As the ballsy nurse/partner-in-crime of unstable Nina Clay (Michelle Stafford), Tolvar got to play straight man opposite one of soap opera's best all-time comic villains in 2014. She also displayed a knack for romantic drama in her scenes with the Brothers Corinthos. We're hoping to see a lot more of Tolvar and Rosalie in 2015.

Vinessa Antoine, gh

No. 3: Vinessa Antoine, General Hospital

Shonda Rhimes isn't the only TV showrunner capable of  giving us smart, bad-ass ,black female characters. In 2014, Vinessa Antoine made her debut as undercover DEA Agent Jordan Ashford on General Hospital.

The tough-as-nails beauty infiltrated the Jerome crime family, killed a hit-man, took the fall for Ava's (Maura West) car accident and managed to foil Sonny's (Maurice Benard) enforcer—and Jordan's lover—Shawn Butler (Sean Blakemore) at every turn. Antoine also managed to give a gut-wrenching performance as a mother desperately trying to reconnect with the son who mistakenly believes she's a lowlife cocaine dealer.

What we enjoy most about Antoine' Jordan, however, is the razor-sharp chemistry she shares with Port Charles' top cop Anna Devane (Finola Hughes). Move over, Rizzoli and Isles.

hunk54, yr, matthew atkinson

No. 2: Matthew Atkinson, The Young and the Restless

Not many actors could have survived an introductory story like the one Matthew Atkinson debuted in on CBS Daytime's The Young and the Restless. Austin Travers, the videographer for Avery's (Jessica Collins) web cooking show, was revealed to be her internet stalker. At the story's climax, he took the blonde beauty hostage and accidentally busted a cap in beloved Police Chief Paul Williams (Doug Davidson).

Atkinson proved quite adept at turning shit into sugar, managing to show enough remorse and vulnerability to secure Austin a second chance.  The actor also crackles with chemistry opposite leading ladies Hunter King (Summer) and Camryn Grimes (Mariah). Now if they can just get a decent story in 2015.

ashleigh brewer, bb

No. 1: Ashleigh Brewer, The Bold and the Beautiful

Just when we thought the latest chapter in the saga of Hope Logan (Kim Matula) and brothers Liam (Scott Clifton) and Wyatt Spencer (Darin Brooks) was going to be a wash-rinse-repeat of previous chapters on The Bold and the Beautiful, came quite the welcome surprise from Down Under.

Neighbours star Ashleigh Brewer debuted on The Bold and the Beautiful in 2014 as Ivy Forrester, a glamorous, budding jewelry designer from Australia. Ivy quickly caught Liam's eye, much to Hope's dismay.

Eric's (John McCook) niece from Oz didn't waste any time putting Hope on notice. She was a natural born Forrester and planned to stake her claim to the Hope For The Future front-woman's ex! The beautiful, talented Brewer was just the right dose of foreign class and intrigue for the frothy, 30-minute serial.