This fall brings new dramas and comedies, new loves, and new hopes, so here is the rundown on what too watch, and what too avoid this fall. Now, in a world of TV remakes, will one of a group of twenty-somethings in a LA apartment complex work for the CW? Melrose Place is coming back.
the CW Says:
In an elegant Spanish-style apartment complex in the trendy Melrose neighborhood of Los Angeles, the lives and relationships of a diverse group of 20-somethings intertwine to form a close-knit surrogate family. Sydney Andrews (Laura Leighton, the original “Melrose Place”) is the landlady, still beautiful at 40, and a central figure in the lives of all her tenants, especially handsome and rebellious David Breck (Shaun Sipos, “Shark”). Sydney started an affair with David despite her turbulent history with his estranged father, Dr. Michael Mancini (Thomas Calabro, the original “Melrose Place”). Both father and son learned through experience that Sydney was not above using blackmail to control people.
Another tenant, high-powered publicist Ella Simms (Katie Cassidy, “Supernatural”), once considered Sydney her mentor, but their friendship was destroyed by betrayal, and Sydney threatened to evict Ella and ruin her career. Sydney also played a pivotal role in the career of Auggie Kirkpatrick (Colin Egglesfield, “All My Children”). After they met at an AA meeting, she became a supportive friend to Auggie and encouraged his dream to become a chef. He’s now a successful sous chef at the trendy restaurant Coal, but his relationship with Sydney has gone sour since she began drinking again.
The other tenants include Lauren Yung (Stephanie Jacobsen, “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”), a medical student in desperate need of money to pay her student loans, and Jonah Miller (Michael Rady, “Swingtown”), an aspiring filmmaker who has just proposed to his live-in girlfriend Riley Richmond (Jessica Lucas, “Cloverfield”), a first-grade teacher. The newest tenant, wide-eyed 21-year-old Violet Foster (Ashlee Simpson-Wentz, “7th Heaven”), has just arrived in LA and is horrified to find a bloody body floating in the courtyard pool. David is the leading suspect but, as the police are soon to discover, almost everyone living at Melrose Place had a reason to want the deceased out of the way.
An updated version of the popular 1990s series, MELROSE PLACE is from CBS Television Studios with executive producers Todd Slavkin & Darren Swimmer (“Smallville”). Oscar-winner Davis Guggenheim (“An Inconvenient Truth”) is the director and executive producer of the pilot.
The Good: Off the bat, this is not like any other CW show this fall. This is not a wealthy teen drama, a set in a high school, or in a dark town. This is an adult drama! That is why I think I love this new incarnation so much. It is fun and interesting, captivating and grown-up. The story is fun, the writing is modern, and the cast is overall great. Katie Cassidy is by far the best, and maybe the breakout star this fall. She is tough and bitchy as Ella, the LA publicists, and in the first two episodes is the character you root for.
I have seen the first two episodes, and I can say that the second, “Nightingale” is as good and maybe even better than the pilot. But…
The Not So Good: The show central murder of someone I prefer to keep nameless much to the shergrin of other critics, is maybe a little bit cheesy at times, and takes a little bit of a cliched turn in the second episode. Also, the acting is not all that good, thanks in part to Ashlee Simpson-Wentz who just does not cut it as the midwest implant in the complex. The acting does get sort of better in the second episode with the added bonus of a story line for the character but it still makes me cringe just a little. If you were a fan or the original or not, I recommended this hip, LA drama, as a welcome addition to CW lineup and hopefully this show becomes “TV to Talk About.”
Melrose Place premieres on the CW on Tuesdays, September 8th at 9/8c following the new season of 90210.