SoapLand - The Battle Of The Male and Female Characters - The Result

Richard Channing

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We have reached Soapland battle 98 which means there are only two left to go. This one is a double-barrel one as we will vote for our top 5 favourite male characters and top 5 female characters. Not easy to narrow down to 5 of each I know, but that's part of the challenge. And of course feel free to elaborate on why these are your favourites.

So that means two top 5 lists, 5 men and 5 women. Good luck!

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Alexis Colby Carrington

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Men:
JR Ewing - Dallas - I can't think of any other iconic character in any soap ever.
Chase Gioberti - Falcon Crest - A solid character who I loved watching.
Steve Faulkner - Prisoner - pure eye candy, he was sexy.
Paul Robinson -Neighbours - the last link to my favourite family on the show and a character who has pretty much been through it all.
Grant Mitchell - EastEnders - another character I chose simply because I think he's gorgeous, but I did like him as a character, I liked his volatile attitude but vulnerable side, I think he was misunderstood and just wanted to be loved. I think he may have made a good life with Michelle, believe it or not.

Women:
Sue Ellen Ewing - Dallas - absolutely my favourite soap lady ever, what's not to like? The way she was played, the accent, the fights with JR, her alcoholism, her longing for love and affection, she should have stayed with Dusty.
Alexis Colby Carrington Dexter Morrell - Dynasty - a character I loved because of her excessive nature, every outfit, every one liner, every swipe at any female character, her thirst for power - iconic moment - at the top of the stairs at the mansion when she throws Blake and Krystle out.
Joan 'The Freak' Ferguson - Prisoner. I loved her from her very first episode right up until the very end, she was a force of nature, she truly hated the women and showed it, her rivalry with Bea and Rita made of excellent TV.
Helen Daniels - Neighbours. I've seen every episode of this show and Helen Daniels is an iconic soap character and a staple of the first 10 years of neighbours, she was everyone's favourite Gran.
Angie Watts - EastEnders. Another character I absolutely loved, my English Sue Ellen, she was bloody brilliant, every scene she was in was stolen by her and the scenes she shared with Den were always excellent.

Angela Channing and Maggie Gioberti just missed out but they're as iconic as these characters.
 
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Victoriafan3

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1. Pamela Ewing Dallas, kind, loving, beautiful, smart, great laugh, touched my heart, she was the reason I watched the show
2. Stephanie Harper/Tara Welles RTE, see above. She struck a chord with me that’s never left
3. Jilly Stewart RTE, fabulous and funny, not so smart and the total opposite of my top two
4. Donna Krebbs Dallas, grounded, intelligent, warm, friendly, talented
5. Sue Ellen Ewing, fascinating and very entertaining

Very hard to keep that at five but there ya go. The Dynasty women - Sable, Alexis, Dana, Amanda, Fallon - all very watchable too. The men I’m finding trickier as I mostly watched the soaps for the female characters. The women always had better lines and great clothes ;-)

1. Mickey Trotter Dallas, so sweet, very good looking, was lost and found a purpose
2. Tom McMaster RTE, kind, intelligent, never gave up, and exquisitely handsome
3. Bobby Ewing Dallas, because he was the love of Pam’s life and oddly they were the best acted and the most interesting when they were apart as I longed for them to reunite
4. Mark Graison Dallas, because he was runner up, in some ways I thought he was better suited to Pam than Bobby
5. Luke Fuller Dynasty, because I thought he was sweet and cute, though he would’ve reached a whole other league if he’d been paired with Al Corley’s Steven. That really would’ve been wow!
 

Richard Channing

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Men:
JR Ewing - Dallas - I can't think of any other iconic character in any soap ever.
Chase Gioberti - Falcon Crest - A solid character who I loved watching.
Steve Faulkner - Prisoner - pure eye candy, he was sexy.
Paul Robinson -Neighbours - the last link to my favourite family on the show and a character who has pretty much been through it all.
Grant Mitchell - EastEnders - another character I chose simply because I think he's gorgeous, but I did like him as a character, I liked his volatile attitude but vulnerable side, I think he was misunderstood and just wanted to be loved. I think he may have made a good life with Michelle, believe it or not.

Women:
Sue Ellen Ewing - Dallas - absolutely my favourite soap lady ever, what's not to like? The way she was played, the accent, the fights with JR, her alcoholism, her longing for love and affection, she should have stayed with Dusty.
Alexis Colby Carrington Dexter Morrell - Dynasty - a character I loved because of her excessive nature, every outfit, every one liner, every swipe at any female character, her thirst for power - iconic moment - at the top of the stairs at the mansion when she throws Blake and Krystle out.
Joan 'The Freak' Ferguson - Prisoner. I loved her from her very first episode right up until the very end, she was a force of nature, she truly hated the women and showed it, her rivalry with Bea and Rita made of excellent TV.
Helen Daniels - Neighbours. I've seen every episode of this show and Helen Daniels is an iconic soap character and a staple of the first 10 years of neighbours, she was everyone's favourite Gran.
Angie Watts - EastEnders. Another character I absolutely loved, my English Sue Ellen, she was bloody brilliant, every scene she was in was stolen by her and the scenes she shared with Den were always excellent.

Angela Channing and Maggie Gioberti just missed out but they're as iconic as these characters.

Thanks for your list Alexis. You are welcome to leave it as it is, but just so you know we are only including the 80's Prime time soaps in these battles, in case you'd like to edit.
 

Alexis

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Female
1. Alexis Morell Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan - I mean for obvious reasons.
2. Sable Colby - The only character in the Dynasty universe to really rattle Alexis' cage and do it in such a fabulous way.
3. Fallon Carrington - PSM's Fallon was a wonderful, complicated brittle bitch who made sense as Alexis' daughter. Samms was decent in season 9 too though much less bitchy.
4. Pam Ewing - She was the heart of Dallas for me. When she was gone so was my interest in the show.
5. Valene Ewing - If Pam was the heart of Dallas, then Val was the heart of Knots Landing. Always my favourite Knots character and Joan was a phenomenal actress. Severely underrated and often overlooked I think. She was fascinating to watch at every moment. Also @tommie this ones for you.

Male
1. Adam Carrington - He was a shot in the arm to Dynasty season 3 and was always an entertaining and complex character. Thompson played him deliciously.
2. Bobby Ewing - Because Speedos.
3. JR Ewing - An insane sociopath who spoke in a weirdly melodic and unexpected way and smiled too much. Absolutely f**king terrifying.
4. Steven Carrington - But really only Al Corley's version. Coleman's Steven was as big an asshole as Jeff.
5. Miles Colby - Because Speedos.

Honourable mentions...
Katherine Wentworth, she was a perfect over the top campy vixen that was just what Dallas needed. Sue Ellen Ewing, also a great Dallas character but my top three were always going to be Dynasty. Sammy Jo Reece, she was the perfect little trouble maker but I had to add other soaps too!
 
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Willie Oleson

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I'm not going to overthink this:

Male characters:
1. John Ross - DALLAS
2. Miles Colby - THE COLBYS
3. Chase Gioberti - FALCON CREST
4. Gary Ewing - KNOTS LANDING
5. Richard Channing - FALCON CREST

Female characters:
1. Sable Colby - THE COLBYS
2. Karen McKenzie - KNOTS LANDING
3. Sammy Jo Carrington - DYNASTY
4. Judith Ryland - DALLAS
5. Julia Cumson - FALCON CREST
 

Mel O'Drama

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The Men




1. Gary Ewing
Knots Landing/Dallas


Perhaps one of the most nuanced characters in soap. David Ackroyd’s portrayal was well-thought out and sensitive. Ted Shackelford was initially, as David Jacobs put it, more “clenched fist”. He could be frustrating to watch, but in the best possible way. It was fascinating to watch Gary eventually work through his anger, his doubts and his addictions to become someone whose experiences helped him take a different path. Gary grew and broke the cycle in a way that only Knots would allow.




2. Richard Avery
Knots Landing


A talented man full of potential but riddled with self-doubt. Richard gave us some of Knots’s most intense moments of pathos, as well as some smiles and even full hearts in those times when Richard connected with the people he cared about.




3. Greg Sumner
Knots Landing


One of the most psychologically interesting characters, and certainly one of soap’s most unpredictable. Thanks to Bill Devane, Greg got many of the best lines. You never knew if you were going to get a razor sharp witticism or a soliloquy that came from the depths of his soul. Either way, it was unmissable.




4. Joshua Rush
Knots Landing


Dark, brooding and handsome. As are all the very best devils. He won us over with his apparent naïve simplicity, before drawing us in to the complex emotional turmoil just beneath the surface. Eminently riveting from beginning to end of his brief tenure.




5. Joseph Anders
Dynasty


Another character for whom relative brevity has been helpful to the legend. The motive behind “the impotent voyeur”’s loyalty to his master is a source of fascination to me. His passive-aggressive nastiness towards Krystle created some great tension in the early episodes, as did his somewhat strained relationship with Alexis a little later. His genuine adoration for Fallon and Steven fleshed him out nicely. At least as much as we needed.







Women to follow within 24 hours.
 

Victoriafan3

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1. Pamela Ewing Dallas, kind, loving, beautiful, smart, great laugh, touched my heart, she was the reason I watched the show
2. Stephanie Harper/Tara Welles RTE, see above. She struck a chord with me that’s never left
3. Jilly Stewart RTE, fabulous and funny, not so smart and the total opposite of my top two
4. Donna Krebbs Dallas, grounded, intelligent, warm, friendly, talented
5. Sue Ellen Ewing, fascinating and very entertaining

Very hard to keep that at five but there ya go. The Dynasty women - Sable, Alexis, Dana, Amanda, Fallon - all very watchable too. The men I’m finding trickier as I mostly watched the soaps for the female characters. The women always had better lines and great clothes ;-)

1. Mickey Trotter Dallas, so sweet, very good looking, was lost and found a purpose. I understand to move the plot along they did what they did to Mickey but he was the best man for Lucy and it’s a shame they didn’t keep him around longer with her
2. Tom McMaster RTE, kind, intelligent, never gave up, and exquisitely handsome
3. Bobby Ewing Dallas, because he was the love of Pam’s life and oddly they were the best acted and the most interesting when they were apart as I longed for them to reunite
4. Mark Graison Dallas, because he was runner up, in some ways I thought he was better suited to Pam than Bobby
5. Luke Fuller Dynasty, because I thought he was sweet and cute, though he would’ve reached a whole other league if he’d been paired with Al Corley’s Steven. That really would’ve been wow!
 

Daniel Avery

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The Ladies

1. Laura Avery Sumner, KL.
Even as she was pelted with Soap Opera Problems from all directions, she managed to keep her sense of humor and class.
2. Abby Cunningham Ewing, et.al, KL. Even as she pelted everyone with Soap Opera Problems from all directions, she managed to get away with it all. And without smudging her eye makeup.
3. Emma Channing, FC. Always keeping her mother at arm's length and doing things her way, and possessing the biggest heart in a pretty heartless family.
4. Sable Colby, Colbys/Dynasty. I could not take your eyes off her when she was on screen--would she make me laugh or cry?
5. Angela Channing, FC. Taking delight in making her enemies miserable, all while tossing off witty insults like a pro and rocking the Mamie Eisenhower hairdo.

The Men

1. Gary Ewing, KL. He has the edge in my list mostly because he (eventually) stopped making the same mistakes over and over, unlike most soap characters.
2. Lance Cumson, FC. Because the Speedo.
3. Richard Avery, KL. Because he tried so hard. He really did. (thankfully not for the Speedo)
4. Greg Sumner, KL. Indeed, the Man for the 1980s...warts and all. And of course the Man for Laura.
5. Richard Channing, FC. Not exactly Son of the Year--literally a Son of A B----, twice over! But he did love Maggie, so there's that.
 

Karin Schill

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You know this is really hard. Considering how many great characters there are I wish this would have been a top ten.
 

Sarah

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Mine are all from Dallas:

Women:

1. Sue Ellen Ewing - the Queen of my Universe, most beautiful and captivating lady on the screen. Her rise from the couch to greatness is one of my sole purposes for living. I adore her and her dynamic with JR has kept me hooked since childhood. There aren't enough words in the dictionary to describe how much I love her. Sue Ellen has a heart and a conscience, she is stronger in many ways than JR himself. So many layers and I love every one.

2. Miss Ellie Ewing Farlow - the lady who was at the heart of the Ewings as played by Barbara Bel Geddes only. No one messes with Ellie. No one.

3. Lucy Ewing - little Lucy gets a hard time, but I've always loved her and thought her a vital part of the Ewing family.

4. Donna Krebbs Dowling - Feisty and determined Donna, afraid of nothing and no one and a strong woman in her own right.

5. Wasn't sure about this one, but I have to cast a vote for Pamela Barnes Ewing - although not her greatest fan, I can't deny Pam's importance to the show, especially in her earlier years. I loved many of her scenes with JR and with Cliff (and of course Bobby and Christopher).


Men:

1. None other than JR Ewing himself, for all his faults, I truly believe he has feelings buried deep down in there somewhere and his feelings for Sue Ellen and their chemistry together - ok see above. He is a legend, a powerhouse, but beneath all that lies that lost little boy. And he makes me go weak when he has his Stetson on. One dimensional he ain't.

2. Cliff Barnes - loved Cliff - made me laugh, made me cry. I'm a Ewing through and through but I did have a lot of time for Cliff and often cheered for him.

3. Bobby Ewing - a man who reminded me so much of my Daddy when I was a kid, a good heart and a comfort. Always loved to see Bobby and always felt safe when I did.

4. Jock Ewing - I found Jock's character hugely intimidating, but hugely entertaining and just loved his gruffness.

5. Clayton Farlow - In contrast to Jock, I always thought Clayton was a fabulous gentleman who took no crap from anyone. I'd certainly have wanted him around in my life if the Ewing universe was real (which it is, in my head).
 

Sarah

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You know this is really hard. Considering how many great characters there are I wish this would have been a top ten.

*Warning - James is not allowed in the poll, warning, James is not allowed in the poll.... this message will self destruct in 5 seconds....*

:D
 

Ome

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Men (though as you read down you will see that its the men)


1. Gary Ewing (because I liked him the best)
2. Cliff Barnes (because I liked him the best after Gary)
3. Greg Sumner
4. JR Ewing
5. Richard Channing

Women (again, as you read down you will see that its the women)

1. Val Ewing (thanks to the best soap story of the 80s with her twins)
2. Sable (only second because she didn't have a twins storyline, had that happened, she could have been my number one)
3. Sue Ellen
4. Julia Cumson
5. Alexis
 

Mel O'Drama

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The Women




1. Valene Ewing
Knots Landing/Dallas


A character who’d been through a lifetime of heartache before she even appeared onscreen. Her history hung over the early episodes of Dallas like a dark shadow, reminding several of the Ewings of their sins. Joan Van Ark hit the ground running with her very first appearance on Dallas. And that was only the beginning. Joan’s portrayal of someone for whom loss has impacted severely on who she is was just wonderful. Even the most prosaic moment could be filled with an almost tangible unspoken regret. These themes were cleverly explored on Knots in numerous ways with varying degrees of subtlety. And it was all great stuff.





2. Lilimae Clements
Knots Landing


Lilimae’s child-woman quality brought out great colours in other characters. Naturally, the sometimes fractious relationship with Valene was great fun to watch. And every scene she shared with Gary, too, was a winner. And then there was that relationship with Chip. She could crack me up and then break my heart. And it’s Julie Harris!!





3. Sable Colby
The Colbys/Dynasty

As with most of my other choices, Stephanie Beacham's stage background shines through, making far more of the character than a Hollywood actress could. With Sable, it wasn't about what she said (nor even what she did), but about the substance behind the glamour and the frankly silly name. She could pull off set pieces (like another of my choices, she was given a memorably gusty shotgun scene early on), and she knew exactly how to pitch more camp moments such as the furious clashes with her sister-in-law (and, later on, her cousin). But there were also beautifully subtle readings that showed us who was underneath the furs and jewels. The lengthy "divorce papers" scene is the finest ten minutes in The Colbys' run for me. And moments like this elevated the series and character into something far more special than you'd expect.





4. Alexis Carrington
Dynasty

Benefitting from perhaps the most memorable character entrance in soapdom, Alexis brought instant intrigue, threat and fun to the series. And it was all to the good. Even when the intrigue and threat levels lowered somewhat, Alexis never stopped being fun.





5. Miss Ellie Ewing
Dallas


The First Lady of Soap herself could do a lot with very little (which is just as well considering some of the writing). And when she was given a lot, she was terrifyingly good. I especially loved her friendships with Pam, Donna, and Mavis. Her courtship with Clayton, too, was enjoyable. Ellie almost took third place, but since I don't cherry pick seasons with these things, the head-switching business and diminishing returns with later seasons (including a forgettable exit from the series) had to knock her down.
 

Mel O'Drama

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Adam Carrington - He was a shot in the arm to Dynasty season 3 and was always an entertaining and complex character.
Miles Colby - Because Speedos.
Laura Avery Sumner, KL. Even as she was pelted with Soap Opera Problems from all directions, she managed to keep her sense of humor and class.
Abby Cunningham Ewing, et.al, KL. Even as she pelted everyone with Soap Opera Problems from all directions, she managed to get away with it all. And without smudging her eye makeup.
Donna Krebbs Dallas, grounded, intelligent, warm, friendly, talented
Clayton Farlow - In contrast to Jock, I always thought Clayton was a fabulous gentleman who took no crap from anyone
Cliff Barnes - loved Cliff - made me laugh, made me cry.


All of these were under consideration for my Top Fives, and for similar reasons.


Richard Channing - FALCON CREST
Angela Channing, FC.

Not having watched it yet, I feel guilty about not including FC characters in my lists. Especially since I've loved the actors in other roles.
 

James from London

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1. John Ross Ewing, New DALLAS - He could be as gasp-inducingly wicked as his daddy, he could be devastatingly vulnerable; often, thrillingly, he was both at the same time.



2. Greg Sumner, KNOTS - A character so complex, so multi-faceted, so unpredictable, he was almost too good for Soap Land.

3. Joshua Rush, KNOTS - Innocent, evil, heartbreaking, horrifying. Sad, bad, mad. Always compelling.



4. Richard Avery, KNOTS - Flawed, funny and frighteningly relatable. Arguably the most recognisably 'real' character in Soap Land.

5. Gary Ewing, DALLAS/KNOTS - The most three-dimensional Ewing, he's the rare TV character to mature and evolve (in his case, from black sheep to Everyman) without becoming a blandly generic nice guy in the process.



1. Abby Lots-of-Husbands, KNOTS - I'm still not quite sure how she did it: Every other Soap Land baddie we were expected to root for, from Alexis Colby to Richard Channing to JR, was driven by some deep down dysfunctional need for approval or revenge. Conventional soap wisdom dictates that Abby, a character completely unfettered by the past (that unfortunate Michael York interlude notwithstanding) with no inner demons to exorcise should, therefore, be less complex, less interesting, yet she was constantly fascinating, constantly surprising and just a total blast to watch.

2. Lilimae Clements, KNOTS - Such a joyous presence, she lit up every scene, every line of dialogue, but the shadow of her sad and shameful past was never far from the surface.

3. Laura Avery, KNOTS - As funny, flawed and relatable as her first husband, as complex and unpredictable as her second (well, almost). Yet there was something unique about her too; something edgy and squirmy that prevented her from completely fitting into the gushy, glossy, glitzy world of soap. But this just made her more fascinating.



4. Sue Ellen Ewing-Ewing, DALLAS - Those eyes, that mouth, that station wagon. What a bitch, what a drunk, what a hopeless mess, what a ballsy survivor. It took New DALLAS to realise she could be all those things simultaneously and how explosive it could be.

5. Paige Matheson, KNOTS - You never knew who she was gonna be from week to week: snooty princess, plucky Nancy Drew heroine, executive sex fantasy, working girl underdog, star-crossed lover, scheming bitch, vulnerable daughter. Not so much an Everywoman as an Everything Woman.

 

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