The 30 Best Daytime Soaps of All Time

A list celebrating daytime soap operas from the past and present.
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1.
Guiding Light (1952 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Guiding Light takes place in the fictional Midwestern town of Springfield. In its early years the stories centered on the middle class Bauer family... (60 mins.)
“ Beginning on radio in 1937, the show chronicled the many lives and loves of the Bauers, the Lewis, the Spauldings, the Coopers and their friends and neighbors in Springfield. ” - tbell1826
 
2.
As the World Turns (1956 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Set in the fictional town of Oakdale, this long-running serial focuses on the relationships and difficulties of its inhabitants. (60 mins.)
“ This soap ran from 1956 to 2010 and centered on the Hughes, Stewarts, Snyders, and other residents of Oakdale. ” - tbell1826
 
3.
Another World (1964 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
The continuing story of life in the Midwestern town of Bay City, and the love, loss, trials, and triumph of its residents... (90 mins.)
“ The long-running series about the trials and tribulations of the Matthews, Frame and Cory families in Bay City. ” - tbell1826
 
4.
All My Children (1970 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Set in the fictional East Coast suburb Pine Valley, All My Children is the decades-old, risk-taking soap that centers around Erica Kane and her long line of husbands. (60 mins.)
“ Following the everyday problems of Erica Kane and other residents in the fictional city of Pine Valley, Pennsylvania. ” - tbell1826
 
5.
General Hospital (1963 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Families, friends, enemies and lovers experience life-changing events in the large upstate New York city of Port Charles, which has a busy hospital, upscale hotel, cozy diner and dangerous waterfront frequented by the criminal underworld. (60 mins.)
“ Initially, the action centered on the doctors and nurses at a fictional hospital in Port Charles, New York. Nowadays, it's all about the mob. ” - tbell1826
 
6.
Days of Our Lives (1965 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  
A chronicle of the lives, loves, trials and tribulations of the citizens of the fictional city of Salem. (60 mins.)
“ This soap, set in Salem, begins with this famous introduction: "Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives." ” - tbell1826
 
7.
The Young and the Restless (1973 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  
Set in Genoa City, Y&R is the long-running soap that tells the story of the struggle behind the business- and sex-savvy Abbott and Newman clans. (60 mins.)
“ This number-one-rated soap focused on the ups and downs in Genoa City, Wisconsin. ” - tbell1826
 
8.
The Bold and the Beautiful (1987 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.5/10 X  
The saga of high fashion glamour, honor, romance, passion, and most importantly, family. (30 mins.)
“ The many loves and lives of the always fashionable Forresters and their friends in L.A. ” - tbell1826
 
9.
Dark Shadows (1966 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
The rich Collins family of Collinsport, Maine is tormented by strange occurrences. (30 mins.)
“ Before Edward Cullen, there was Barnabas Collins. ” - tbell1826
 
10.
One Life to Live (1968 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
One Life to Live premiered in 1968, centering on the lives of the citizens of the fictional town of Llanview... (60 mins.)
“ The first socially-relevant soap on television, it centers around the lives of the Lords, Buchanans, Cramers, and other residents of Llanview, Pennsylvania. ” - tbell1826
 
11.
Ryan's Hope (1975 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Set in Riverside on the upper West Side of Manhattan, Ryan's Hope centered mostly on the working class Ryans... (30 mins.)
“ Following the many struggles and triumphs of a close-knit Irish-Catholic family as they run a bar in Manhattan. ” - tbell1826
 
12.
Search for Tomorrow (1951 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
(30 mins.)
“ Set in a fictional town called Henderson, it starred the late Mary Stuart as Joanne "Jo" Gardner. ” - tbell1826
 
13.
The Edge of Night (1956 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
In the fictional city of Monticello, attorney Mike Karr and his colleagues are involved in solving crimes... (30 mins.)
“ The original crime soap set in fictitious Monticello. ” - tbell1826
 
14.
The Doctors (1963 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Dr. Matt Powers is head of Hope Memorial Hospital in the town of Madison, concerning himself with the staff and patients with their attending dramas... (30 mins.)
“ Following the trials and tribulations of a group of doctors at the fictional Hope Memorial Hospital in Madison. ” - tbell1826
 
15.
Sunset Beach (1997 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Having discovered her fianc Tim Truman kissing another woman, Meg Cummings leaves her home in Kansas... (60 mins.)
“ The late-90's cult soap featured a then-unknown Eddie Cibrian as Cole Deschanel. ” - tbell1826
 
16.
Generations (1989 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Soap opera about two families, one black and one white. (30 mins.)
“ The story of two rich families, one black, and the other white, in Chicago. ” - tbell1826
 
17.
Love of Life (1951 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Initially set in fictional Barrowsville, New York, this serial tells the story of extremely disparate... (25 mins.)
“ The long-running soap centered on sisters Vanessa and Meg Dale as they deal with their never-ending troubles in Rosehill, New York. ” - tbell1826
 
18.
Passions (1999 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
In the world of power and money, the wealthy and powerful Crane family rule the town of Harmony from their mansion on Raven Hill... (60 mins.)
“ The craziest of all the soaps, this series focused on the supernatural lives of the many residents of a small New England town called Harmony. ” - tbell1826
 
19.
Port Charles (1997 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Spin-off of "General Hospital" focusing on the professional and personal lives of the first year interns at Port Charles' General Hospital... (30 mins.)
“ The ever-popular GH spin-off. ” - tbell1826
 
20.
Loving (1983 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
"Loving" takes place in the fictional town of Corinth, PA, centering around the lives of the wealthy Alden family... (30 mins.)
“ This show lasted 12 years and chronicled the everyday trials and tribulations of the citizens of Corinth, Pennsylvania, a small, fictitious college town. ” - tbell1826
 
21.
Capitol (1982 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
This daytime serial dramatized the power struggles and personal machinations between two feuding political... (30 mins.)
“ The six-year story of two rival political families in Washington, D.C. ” - tbell1826
 
22.
The Secret Storm (1954 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.4/10 X  
Family secrets and hidden passions are the hallmarks of this dark, moody serial. Set in the fictional community of Woodbridge... (30 mins.)
“ Aired on CBS from 1954 to 1974, it focused on the many lives, loves, and heartbreaks of the Ames family of Woodbridge, New York. ” - tbell1826
 
23.
Somerset (1970 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Somerset debuted as another pedestrian daytime drama, revolving around the powerful conglomerate Delaney... (30 mins.)
“ The first of two AW spin-offs. ” - tbell1826
 
24.
Texas (1980 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Daytime Drama, spun off from "Another World," which followed Iris Carrington from Bay City as she rediscovered Alex Wheeler... (60 mins.)
“ The second AW spin-off. ” - tbell1826
 
25.
The City (1995 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
"The City" picks up where "Loving" left off. After a rash of serial killings, several of Corinth, Pennsylvania's... (30 mins.)
“ This short-lived soap followed many of the characters from "Loving" as they moved to NYC. ” - tbell1826
 
26.
The Brighter Day (1954 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
"Our years are as the falling leaves. We live, we love, we dream, and then we go. But somehow, we keep... (25 mins.)
“ The story of Reverend Dennis and his family. ” - tbell1826
 
27.
Where the Heart Is (1969 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
Set in Northcross, Connecticut, "Where the Heart Is" followed the dysfunctional lives of the Hathaway family and those near them... (25 mins.)
“ The not-so-private lives of the wealthy Hathaway family of Northcross, Connecticut. ” - tbell1826
 
28.
Love Is a Many Splendored Thing (1967 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A sort of sequel to the 1955 movie, "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing" first involved Mia Elliot, a Korean... (30 mins.)
“ This controversial late 60's/early 70's soap takes place in San Francisco. ” - tbell1826
 
29.
From These Roots (1958 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
The fictional New England community of Strathfield was the setting for this remarkably well-written serial... (30 mins.)
“ The story of Liz Fraser, her family, and her friends, who all live in a small New England town called Strathfield. ” - tbell1826
 
30.
Bright Promise (1969 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Trials, tribulations, affairs & heartbreaks of students, faculty & administration of fictitious Bancroft College. (30 mins.)
“ Following the lives of the students and faculty at the fictional Bancroft College. ” - tbell1826