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Melrose Place pilot review

Melrose Place, Katie Cassidy, Colin Egglesfield, Jessica Lucas, Michael Rady, Ashlee Simpson-Wentz, Thomas Calabro, Laura Leighton

Melrose Place

soap opera set in an apartment complex

Type of Pilot: soap opera; murder mystery

Similar Shows: Melrose Place I, Models Inc., any other prime-time soap

The Inner Light: your neighbours are crazy/dangerous/lustful, etc.

Strengths: A murder-mystery can be a compelling hook, if done right, and by the time the closing credits came up there was a part of me that would like to stick with it to see who the murderer is.
I liked many of the cast and could watch them again.
I even liked some of the characters and would be interested in knowing what would happen to them next.

Weaknesses: There were times when I was bored. Once it got going the old show was never boring. And the opening ten minutes or so (before the credits) were truly awful. David calling all the gang because Sydney needed them? What was all that about? And then there was the godawful video montage that Jonah showed his girlfriend.

Impressive Characters: Sydney and Michael are awesome. That's a given. Of the new bunch...
I like Ella. Not when she's being a bitch. That's not totally convinving, it's more of a desperate attempt to recreate Amanda for the new show and it takes me right out of the show. But I liked the fact that she appears to have a crush on the only nice person in the cast. The one person you would expect her to have total disdain for. I liked that aspect of the character. And they would be a fun couple if they ever get together.
Lauren, as a character, is nothing special but her storyline is very Melrose Place. When I was watching that story unfold I felt like I was watch the old show. And that's a good thing.
David, too, had a strong storyline for the duration of the episode but the revelation at the very end took him very much into classic MP territory, and it would be fun to watch that play out.

Impressive Actors: Katie Cassidy did a fine job of making her character likable (like when we sussed that she had a crush on Jonah) and a so-so job making her character a bitch. I don't know, I just didn't buy it all. But I still liked Cassidy.
Great to see Stephanie Jacobsen. She had a pretty good role, too, and came across really well. She very well suited to MP.
Michael Rady was great, even if some of the writing (for his character) was awful. A character who is this naive and nice is very hard to like, in the world of Melrose, but Rady almost made it work. It'll be more fun, however, when his character starts giving in to temptation. I hope. If the pilot had ended with him deciding to blackmail that movie guy I would have a lot more impressed and more interested in watching the rest of the series.
Shaun Sipos was a lot of fun, too. His character was well written and interesting (particular in his final scene) and he's one of the strengths of the new show.
That's the cast, then there was the Special Guests...
It was great to see Laura Leighton as Sydney once more. She was a bit more subdued than I remember, but some of her one-liners were terrific.
Same goes for Thomas Calabro. Not quite as much fun as I remember him being, but still great to see him back.

Less-Than-Impressive Characters: Violet and Auggie were non-entities in this pilot. Neither had very many scenes but Auggie, at least, had a scene at the end that made him interesting. No such luck for Violet.
Riley had loads and loads of scenes, but she was boring as frak. I've no interest in knowing what happens to her next.
Jonah (the nice guy) was a total drip. If he had opted to follow the blackmail route, at the end of the story, it would have much more interesting and I would have liked the character. Also: it would have been a more-Melrose Place kind of thing to happen.

Less-Than-Impressive Actors: Colin Egglesfield wasn't given much to do. Three scenes? In which is just looked brooding and stuff. However, the last scene gives the impression that he might be getting some worthwhile scenes in upcoming episodes...
Jessica Lucas was pretty, but little else. Hard to guage her acting, really, since the script gave her nothing much to do. And her character is kinda hateful.
Same goes for Ashlee Simpson-Wentz, who had very few scenes and played all of them in a monotone fashion.

Continuity: Lots. Of course. It's a soap.

Rewatchability: Not really. It wasn't so much fun that I would want to see it again.

Other Info: Sequel to (continuation of) the FOX series Melrose Place which was a lot of fun when it got going.

Three Things I Really Like About This Pilot:

Shaun Sipos

Michael Rady

Thomas Calabro

Three Things I Really Don't Like About This Pilot:

The identity of the murder victim.

Ashlee Simpson-Wentz

That god-awful video montage that Jonah made for Riley was painful to watch. Truly painful.

Miscellaneous Comments:

Not completely awful. Not as much fun as Original MP, but I did end up liking some of the new characters and if I have a free hour next week I'll watch episode two.

Which is the problem. There are lots of very good shows on TV, and not enough time to make room for the Average ones. I liked 90210 last season. I even stuck with it for several weeks. But, as the season wore on, and more and more very good shows came on it just got pushed further and further down the viewing list, until I was hopelessly behind and had no real intention of jumping back in.

I'd like to like Melrose. It would be great to have a show to watch like the '90s version, where plot twists were crazy and the show chewed up storylines at a furious pace. And the women were hot. And dangerous. My favourite kind of women. There wasn't much in the pilot to convince me that this Melrose will be like that Melrose. Of course, you can't indicate those things in a pilot. The pace and style of this show will only become apparent after three or four episodes.

So, is this pilot good enough to keep me around for those three or four episodes?

Sure, if I have a free hour ever week...


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