June 17, 1985 12:00 PM

For a long time, afternoon soap operas have gotten even less respect than Rodney Danger-field. They’ve always been mega-profitable, but they’ve also been criticized for being too sexy, too slow, humorless, mindless, repetitive, exploitive, unimaginative—a cheap excuse to showcase beautiful bodies and faces that reflect little acting ability. Perhaps, but the true followers—and there are millions of daily addicts in homes, hospitals, boardrooms, college dorms and offices—love the programs anyway. Quite simply, soaps afford a great opportunity to see people in more miserable circumstances than the viewer’s own. Despite a ratings-rich and critically successful prime-time schedule, NBC’s daytime shows are a mess. Looking to get hooked on a soap? You’ll find the best soaps are on the other two networks, and the following three are the most consistent and entertaining:

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