I’m finding a trend in the new fall series. They just aren’t very good. Words like serviceable, watchable, or i dare i say it, meh, seem more to the point. This is a difficult prospect when you’re like me, and you find yourself with precious little time for meh. Last year I was between projects and somehow found myself able to justify 22 episodes of Gossip Girl but now that I have plates spinning I’m betting most of these are dropped in a month (if that).
The new 90210 is a tale of two Jessicas. Jessica Walter reprising her role as Lucille Bluth and Jessica Stroup. First off I loved Jessica Stroup’s Cady character on CW’s Reaper, so I am predisposed not to like anything that takes her away from returning in that role. That being said, her free spirited turn as Erin Silver (sister of the original’s Kelly) is the best part of this new show, which by teen drama standards, is a total bore. Aside from the BJ which happens not three minutes into the pilot episode (a world record , perhaps?) these kids are incredibly boring people and their escapades, when compared to their New York counterparts on Gossip Girl, are infantile. (He took me out to dinner on his private plane… to San Francisco!) While you would think that the show should be commended for quickly dispatching cliche plot points like “new girl in school” and “middle america bible belt vs. west coast den of sin” they are glossed over with nothing else interesting to replace them. I actually wanted them to drag out the story of the new kids not fitting in at school but that’s over and done with before we’ve even had time to get to know the other characters and they’ve already switched partners/BFFs/hair styles. Everyone of them a dud anyway. Too bad, because it’s heart seems to be in the right place and the dialogue is not exactly cringe inducing.
The other new teen drama from Gilmore Girls and Everwood writer Rina Mimoun fares better. It’s more poor little rich girl porn ripped right out of the Devil Wears Prada. but the dialogue is smooth and the characters, if not original are at least likable and nuanced. JoAnn Garcia plays the lead Megan like a slightly tipsy Kristen Bell, who she bears more than a passing resemblance to. It’s much less a soap opera than other shows on the network, giving the characters a chance to get under each other’s skin in a less literal way than the CW usually affords. By the end I think they made Megan’s family woes and her rock and hard place predicament with the girls intriguing enough that it warrants a second, perhaps third, look. Any show that gives “a shout out to Uncle Ben,” “Spiderman’s uncle, not mine” deserves a chance.
I never watched Alan Ball’s Six Feet Under, though I’ve been told by reliable sources that it’s “right up my alley” (which sounds like a sexual innuendo) Still, I’m in the midst of watching, arguably the greatest Vampire show of all time, Buffy the Vampire Slayer from the beginning and I felt oddly compelled. I mean, it takes place in the deep south which, although covered by Anne Rice in the vampire chronicles, has all sorts of weird potential given the current social climate of the region. That and the central premise that Vampires are out of hiding because of a mass produced synthetic blood just seem really different and cool. It wasn’t. It wasn’t cool at all. It was a slow southern yawn. Perhaps it’s too hot down there to have dramatic/sexual tension. The look of the show is fun and dirty, but if you’re looking for anything to happen. Look elsewhere. Even the kinky sex scenes are lifeless corpses. Anna Paquin makes an OK heroine (despite looking incredibly wrong as a blonde belle) but her counterpart Bill has only one note: brooding. In its defense things looked to be getting a bit more exciting headed into the next episode but man were auxillary characters awful.
I don’t watch Lost. I’m waiting for it to wrap up and then I’ll watch it in one go if I’m still interested. I did like JJ Abrams Mission Impossible: III though, I may have even loved it. For a show that opens with dissolved flesh and jawbones and has a scene where a woman gets into a deprivation tank naked, on LSD to do a mindmeld with her melty fleshed boyfriend, it has very little concept of creepy and scary or sad, or poignant. Is this what TV is now? All big budget bulk with none of the heft? It was worth watching for the acting of the professor (who peed himself when I did -out of hilarity) and there’s a woman with a robot arm who doesn’t look like she should have one. That was really cool. I’ll see if things improve.