Stories that need improvement on Days of Our Lives

Jill Johnson/JPI

The soap could stand to lay off a few classic tropes and send up a flare for missing characters. 

Taking much of the cast away for a week to feature them on Beyond Salem really drove home how uninspiring some of the current stories are on Days of Our Lives. While action and adventure was popping off on the limited series, the mother ship struggled to enthrall viewers. But, because we want Days of Our Lives to do just that, we have a few ideas about how to turn the show around — five of them, in fact.

5. Tap Into the Mind of a Serial Killer

Beyond Salem Shane (Not Drew) Ben

Ben and Ciara have undeniable chemistry, and we love that he’s so devoted to his bride — but that can’t be his sole purpose. Should Ciara leave town again, that will leave Ben with nothing to do — especially if she doesn’t need saving. The storm rolling into New Orleans suggests he, and Ciara, could become embroiled in the revisiting of the promising possession storyline. That would be ideal; however, he still needs a purpose beyond, to paraphrase executive producer Ken Corday, lovingly staring at Ciara over coffee.

As Beyond Salem reminded us, Days of Our Lives is often at its best when going on adventures. So, maybe Shane could reluctantly tap Ben to help track down a serial killer. As a reformed one himself, Ben could offer the ISA insight into how they think during a manhunt, while grappling with the fact that he killed Shane’s granddaughter. It could lead to a new career path for him while maybe bringing Eli, Lani, Belle, Shawn, Will and Sonny — perhaps even Belinda Chinashop — along for the ride.

4. Fire Jake

Jake tries to explains to a furious Gabi on Days of Our Lives

More: Jake’s secrets come out, Marlena levitates in Days fall promo

No, we don’t mean fire Brandon Barash. As if! We’re referring to firing the actual character, Jake DiMera, from Titan. If Days of Our Lives wanted Barash to play a CEO who is in love with Gabi, they never should have killed off Stefan. Jake is a blue-collar guy. A mechanic. A former Mob guy. He doesn’t really fit in the corporate world. Playing Jake and Gabi as opposites could hold more appeal as Jake leans into his shadier skills while trying to balance Gabi’s more polished life. Heck, she could even get pulled into his world as she builds her own empire instead of inexplicably trying to sabotage Philip so she can steal his.

3. Keep Your Puns, Doppelgangers and Redemptions

Justin and Bonnie dine at Julie's Place on Days of Our Lives

More: Could Bonnie really be Adrienne?

Similarly, it’s understandable that the NBC soap wanted to keep Judi Evans to capitalize on her chemistry with Wally Kurth. But if they wanted her to remain a good girl paired with Justin, they should have resurrected (or not killed in the first place) her original character, Adrienne, instead of trying to redeem Bonnie. There are enough reformed villains running around Salem, thank you very much.

Not to mention, Bonnie and Justin are on a storyline island, and introducing the brand-new, over-the-top, unlikeable Calista Flockhart didn’t do them any favors. Adding Xander to the mix seemed like a good idea, but he merely had a cameo in the plot. Including Steve and Kayla helps, but Steve should be their foil, not the defender of the woman who once stole his sister’s life. And where have Justin and Adrienne’s children been during all of this? Surely they have thoughts on their father falling in love with their mother’s doppelganger.

Bonnie needs to interact with more of Salem so viewers can get a sense of who she is without Justin. It would also help to see some of this love Justin and Bonnie claim they share instead of just being told about it.

2. Ditch the Love Triangles

Chloe annoyed as Brady and Philip fight on Days of Our Lives

More: Fans weigh in on Nicole’s love life

That sounds like sacrilege for a soap opera, but Philip/Chloe/Brady and Ava/Rafe/Nicole just aren’t working. Instead of reminding viewers of the romance that once made Phloe and Broe must-see, viewers have been treated to a man-child war between the Kiriakis men over Chloe, who should leave both of them in the dust. Likewise, the Ava/Rafe/Nicole triangle is a snoozefest… especially considering the ladies should be channeling the bad girls they used to be to get what they want.

Maybe combining the two stories could turn things around. Ava and Philip could team up again to plot against their rivals, leading the two to form a love union of their own. Nicole could also find herself drawn to Brady once again, or even EJ, stoking Rafe’s jealousy. That could lead to him going to uncharacteristic extremes to prevent them from reuniting, throwing more gasoline on Ava’s jealous fire. Unless, of course, that involves Rafe getting advice from Duke. Then just scrap the whole thing.

1. Send Out the Search Parties

Lucas and Sami have emotional conversation on Days of Our Lives

More: What turmoil awaits Chad and Abby?

Days of Our Lives has a large cast, and we’re not advocating for anyone to lose their jobs. However, the episodes in which most characters’ storylines are told are so few and far between, it’s hard to get invested.

After months of her being off the canvas, Abby finally reunited with Chad. That was Monday. They weren’t seen again until Friday. No one seems to miss Sami, not even Lucas, who finally reappeared weeks after the love of his life was kidnapped. What he should have been doing was ramping up his rivalry with EJ. The Johnny/Chanel/Allie/Tripp quadrangle could be must-see, but again, once a week does not give the audience enough time to get attached.

Meanwhile, Kate just resurfaced after being gone forever, Steve and Kayla are used solely as sounding boards for other characters, and Shawn and Belle have been shipped off to Johannesburg. We love that Days of Our Lives likes to keep their vets around, but we’d really like to spend more time with them. A good umbrella story could fix that. Hopefully, the possession storyline will be just what we’re looking for.

What do you think is working and not working on Days of Our Lives right now? Sound off below and then look through our photo gallery of the craziest storylines in Salem history. Get your free daily soap-opera fix for Days of Our Lives — and all of the other daytime dramas — delivered straight to your email inbox by signing up for Soaps.com’s newsletter.