rich teens in Beverly Hills
Type of Pilot: teen drama
Similar Shows: Beverly Hills 90210
The Inner Light: "people who are friends but have different ways of looking at things"
Strengths: Strong cast, likeable characters
Weaknesses: There are lots of teen dramas/soaps and there is nothing special about this one. Good and all as it is.
Impressive Characters: All of the characters are fairly blah. The cast sells a show like this.
Impressive Actors: Jessica Walter (as the hard-drinking grandmother) is the best thing about the pilot. Very funny. Rob Estes (as the dad of the family) is very likable. He's better than this. Estes should be playing a cop again. Anyway, he's already played someone in the 90210 universe (Kyle McBride on Melrose Place) so having him here annoys the continuity freak in me(!). Shenae Grimes is good (as the nice girl). She's pretty, but not enough to threaten female viewers, who will - consequently - identify with her and live vicariously through her. At least, I'm sure that's the way the producers want it to happen. Tristan Wilds (as the nice boy) is a male version of Shenae Grimes! Big smile and very likable. He's everykid. Both are fine, but not as good as Dustin Milligan (as the bad boy of the piece) and AnnaLynne McCord (as the bad girl of the piece). Milligan's character isn't much of a bad boy, really. He's cheating on his girlfriend, but he sure seems guilty about it. So even he wins the sympathy of the audience. McCord is beautiful and knows exactly how to play the character of the bitch. She appears to be having fun, but knows not to camp it up. Lori Loughlin (looking like Charisma Carpenter) plays the mum of the family to blah effect.
Less-Than-Impressive Characters: All of the characters are fairly blah. The cast sells a show like this.
Less-Than-Impressive Actors: Jessica Stroup as Silver. Her character's story arc was dreadful, but I totally didn't warm to her on-screen presence either. She doesn't really seem suited to the warm and fuzzy best friend character. She'd be much better as the bad girl, I bet. But they don't need another one, McCord is perfect in the part.
Continuity: Probably slight, in line with the original show which ran for years on the strength of good self-contained stories while the relationships advanced from episode to episode. Meaning you need to watch the episodes in order, but it won't ruin the show if you miss one or two along the way.
Rewatchability: None. It's nice and entertaining and everything, but one viewing is enough.
Other Info: The pilot and second episode aired as a 'movie' to decent ratings. Rob Thomas (of Veronica Mars and Cupid) was involved with this pilot. And it shows.
Four Things I Really Like About This Pilot:
It's exactly like Beverly Hills 90210
Three Things I Really Don't Like About This Pilot:
Jessica Stroup as Silver
Not enough screentime for Jennie Garth as Kelly
The sidekicks are all pretty bland
This was a really good pilot. I'm outside the target demo, but I don't care. If they can tell good stories and make me like the characters I'll watch every episode. I watched this with another guy in my age-bracket who wouldn't normally be interested in shows like this but he loved it too. We both laughed every time Jessica Walter did anything and we were both impressed with the way it all ended: Naomi finding out that her boyfriend had cheated but not making a scene, instead she sucked it up and pretended to enjoy her party. While all the regular character watched and felt bad for her. That, to me, is much more interesting that over-the-top histrionics and "tv behaviour". Fact is, when the pilot was over I liked Naomi a lot, for all her faults.
I liked the show, too.