Status: Premiering Tuesday, September 8th @ 9pm on CW
I must admit... I did enjoy the original Melrose Place. So know that going into this review. There will always be a place in my heart for primetime soap that lets itself play on the ridiculousness and not give a damn.
I also live very close to the actual Melrose Place (the street in West Hollywood, not the location) and so, every day, am bombarded with about 10 billboards per block reminding me that Tuesday is the New Hump Day (blech), Menage a Tues (um...?) and that Tuesdays are a Bitch (YES! THAT'S A GOOD SLOGAN TOTALLY IN SPIRIT WITH MELROSE PLACE!)
The oversaturation may annoy me.
But not as much as this pilot did.
The new Melrose Place, outside of Katie Cassidy's star turn as resident bitchtress and "tri-sexual" Ella Simms, is a collection of utterly stupefying schlock. There are no characters. Oh, for sure, there is attempt at character given through ethnicity, hair color and job description (the Naive New Red Head in Town, the Dark-Haired Chef with a Secret, the Sandy Blond Guy with Daddy Issues, the Vaguely Hipster-ish Filmmaker, the Asian Medical Student). But these are not characters. These are merely cardboard cutouts moved through locations to the backing music of every Top 40 song you are already sick of from Spring/Summer 2009. Oh, sure there's the shock of "Huh, Sydney isn't dead?" and the mystery of "Oh, Sydney is dead because she shows up dead in the MP pool at the end of the first act in a Sunset Boulevard homage that The L Word also failed at doing adequately" but, given everything else... do we really expect this mystery to play out satisfyingly? Isn't it a little too soon after Lily Kane's death to be attempting a poolside homicide mystery arc?
Then there's Sandy Blond Guy with Daddy Issues who is apparently Michael's son even though he's in his mid-20s.
And let's not forget the "okay, I'll be a hooker to pay my med school tuition" girl.
And Hipster Filmmaker is given an opportunity to blackmail some producer into buying his ("award winning") student film because, as the videographer at the guy's daughter's birthday party, he caught the producer having an extramarital affair (seriously, dude... keep it in your pants). So there's an attempt at a "do I do the moral thing and not advance my career" moment of questioning... which he tells the girl who hasn't yet decided, after 5 years of dating, whether she will say yes to him asking her to marry him that he went through with the blackmail.
The plots, such as they are, don't mingle. Every character seems to be in their separate world and overwarm misguided plotlines. The characters who are supposed to have chemistry together (say, the two lovebirds finally tying the know).
Nothing makes sense. No one acts like people. No one even acts in a remotely rational way (not to say that people ever, let alone always, do). And they aren't entertaining (or that sexy) while doing it. Especially Ashlee Simpson, who desperately needs acting lessons.
Aside from Katie Cassidy. She's a keeper.