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There’s No Place Like MELROSE PLACE

September 8, 2009 by  

Cautiously optimistic. That’s what I’m feeling about the all new MELROSE PLACE, premiering tonight at 9/8c on The CW. Like many others, I groaned with displeasure last year upon hearing the news that The CW was yet again resurrecting one of my favorite guilty pleasures of yesteryear. As a fan of the original 90210, I wasn’t pleased with fancy new version that launched last year and so it’s fair to say that my expectations for the new MELROSE were decidedly low. All this of course before I ever watched the pilot. But now that I have, as I said before, I’m going with cautiously optimistic.

I think its fair to assume you’re going to see the same trashtastic drama, overindulgence, and bed-hopping that was part of the original MELROSE PLACE – but I didn’t say that was a bad thing. In fact this particular MELROSE PLACE has all those things, but this time around the show is owning it. The producers know what worked with previous version of this show and it seems like they are trying to build off the best of the former MELROSE.

While far from perfect, I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed tonight’s season premiere. While some of the storylines (and actors) were clearly stronger than others, there was just enough to get my attention and leaving me wanting to indulge more in this, the guiltiest of pleasures.

Some of the names have changed but the address has stayed the same. Fans of the original MELROSE will not only see some familiar faces returning, but parallels of characters that comprised the original series. There’s Ella, played by perhaps the show’s strongest actor, Katie Cassidy (Harper’s Island, Supernatural), who is a hot shot Hollywood agent who doesn’t let anyone or anything stand in her way. The stunning looks and blonde hair aren’t the only similarities between Cassidy’s Ella and Heather Locklear’s Amanda.

Michael Rady (Swingtown, Greek) plays Billy Jonah, a sweet up and coming filmmaker who wants nothing more than to do right by his art and by his longtime girlfriend, Riley (Jessica Lucas). After five years together you would think this super-couple would be on the same page. Maybe…maybe not.

Shaun Sippos plays David Breck, but don’t let the last name fool you. The last names might be different but the temperament is all the same. David is the is the son of the infamous Michael Mancini (played by original Melrose Place alum, Thomas Calabaro). In the pilot we find out that the apple doesn’t fall that far from the tree, at least in terms of taste (or lack thereof) in women. It seems David has had a thing going with Ms. Sydney Andrews – the ex-sister in law and former flame of his father.

Yes, Sydney is back. But wait, didn’t she die back in the original series? Yes. But it’s MELROSE PLACE…dead isn’t really dead. Or in this case, it’s easily forgotten. The red headed vixen, played once again by Laura Leighton, is still haunted by the same demons, and as you may have heard, those demons catch up with her very early on in this new season of MELROSE PLACE.

Rounding out the inhabitants of TV’s most famous apartment complex are: Auggie (All My Children’s Collin Egglesfield), a chef who has something to hide. Lauren (Stephanie Jacobson), a med student who might have just found a lucrative side job. Violet (Ashlee Simpson-Wentz),  the newest resident of MELROSE PLACE – her shocking discovery in the pilot episode will bring all of their neighbors together in a way that they probably never expected.

Expect to see more familiar faces popping up around the courtyard.  Josie Bissett, who originated the role of Jane Andrews-Mancini, has signed on for a few episodes.  So has Daphnie Zuniga who played Jo Reynolds.  And rumors are swirling that Grant Show (Jake) and Heather Locklear (Amanda) will also be returning. No word yet on whether former MP’er and current real-life boyfriend of Heather Locklear – Jack Wagner, will reprise his role as Dr. Peter Burns.

I wouldn’t put any money down on Marcia Cross (Dr. Kimberly Shaw) or Doug Savant (Matt Fielding) returning to the show.  I think they are both quite content over on Wisteria Lane. Nor do I think that Kristin Davis (Brooke Armstrong) will be taking a break from hanging with her NYC friends Carrie, Samantha and Miranda to come back and visit her old place. But if Andrew Shue has some time to spare, I’d love to see him back as Billy Campbell.  BilIy was always my favorite. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

I’m not going to write the new MELROSE PLACE off quite yet.  I’m going to give it a shot and see if it’s worth my precious DVR space.  Besides a 2-hour block of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE (8-10pm) and THE GOOD WIFE (10pm), I don’t have much TV going on on Tuesday nights.  Maybe MELROSE PLACE will make the cut.  And believe me, it surprises me just as much as it does you for me to say that.

Are you going to be taking up residence with MELROSE PLACE tonight?  Looking forward to meeting the latest residents?  Hesitant to watch?  Excited to see the show return?  Talk to me.

Filed under #1 featured, Melrose Place


6 Responses to “There’s No Place Like MELROSE PLACE”

  1. Jen on September 8th, 2009 8:07 pm

    Could somebody please rescue Courtney Thorne-Smith from that awful sitcom and send her back to Melrose? That’d be great!

  2. lysie6211 on September 9th, 2009 8:57 am

    I’m not going to write it off either, but they really have a lot of work to do here. Killing Sydney off in the first 10 mins??

    Ugh. Could not STAND the Jonah/Riley couple. God awful recreation of Billy/Allison. It so did not work for me…at all. (I didn’t like either of these actors in their previous shows…both of Michael Rady’s got canceled…hmm shocker.)

    Loved the Ella character. Katie Cassidy really has her pegged and she was awesome.

    David was great too, and I liked the interaction between him and Micheal.

    I might of liked the Violet character if that cardboard portrayal of her wasn’t done by Ashley Simpson. She is so NOT an actress. blah…

    I’ll keep watching for a little while.

  3. Give Me My Remote on September 9th, 2009 11:34 am

    Lysie6211 – Ha ha. I don’t think Michael Rady was responsible for those shows being canceled, but I can see why someone may not like Jonah and Riley. I like them, or at least him, because it’s nice to no have a character so complete corrupt and wretched (I know, give it time…LOL).

    I’m with you. I’m going to keep watching for a little while. The CW sent out the second episode so I’ll try and give it a whirl this weekend.

  4. strunkette on September 9th, 2009 12:09 pm

    Ah, Michael Rady! I LOVED him on Greek. He can do no wrong for me.

    I’m definitely going to stick with it for few more episodes. I don’t think it was as bad as the reviews were saying.

  5. Katie on September 9th, 2009 6:29 pm

    Predictable but has potential. Definitely a guilty pleasure. I thought the final montage was far more interesting then the rest of the show. And for some reason I thought the musical choices with some of the scenes just did not make sense.

  6. Erin on September 10th, 2009 8:42 pm

    Lysie- so agree with you on Riley and jonah. But mostly Riley; she’s sickly adorable in a truly annoying way. The show overall is well on it’s way to becoming my current secret guilty pleasure. I definitely dig Ella.