It's definitely striking to do a side-by-side comparison between then and now. The dialogue was better, the characterizations was stronger and the interactions were more layered.
Stephanie, for example, was a much more subtle character who operated more like a chess-master than the bulldozer she aged into.
It always bugs when 'outsiders' like Maya and Oliver rhapsodize about how family-values orientated the Forresters are because that's bullshit. The Logans were the loving family unit. It's not for nothing that when poor Caroline was recovering from being sexually assaulted, she lived with the Logans for several weeks. The Forresters were twisted and fucked-up, mainly because of Staphanie's creepiness about her kids. One scene that sticks out for me was her accusing Kristen of 'seducing' Eric. She immediately backed up form her telling choice of words but it was clear that she was jealous of her daughter's closeness to Eric and saw her as competition.