Wednesday, September 03, 2008

"90210" : The Pilot...

AnnaLynne McCord is a good actress. Just not on "90210." Photo by The

After all the promos and weeks of waiting, we finally got a peek at "90210." Was it worth the wait? Maybe.

Here's the good: The show is edgier. (In the first 10 minutes, a girl gives a boy's privates a mouth hug in the parking lot), and it deals with today's issues.

The producers were also smart enough to cast Jennie Garth as the guidance counselor of the school to have a tie to the old show and Nat is back as owner of the Peach Pit. (yay!). They also brought Shannen Doherty back as Brenda (note, it's very clear she showed up for the paycheck and nothing else).

Here's the bad: There are way too many contrived situations. For example, one girl has drug habit and needs money. So her rich friend happens to walk away from her purse and the purse contains the money needed.

Dixon is African-American. His family is white. Not ONE character on the show reacted with shock and surprise. No one questioned why this white family has this black child. What is this "Webster?"

The show is disturbing to me because ALL of the actresses are way too skinny. Doesn't anyone eat in "90210"?

The first episode is about the Wilson family from Kansas moving into the ZIP code to take care of their boozy grandma. (Actress Jessica Walter is wonderful in this role). The family, wide-eyed Annie (Shenae Grimes), her adoptive African-American brother Dixon (Tristan Wilds) and parents Harry (Rob Estes) who's the new principal of West Beverly High and wife Debbie (Lori Loughlin) have a hard time adjusting to how people do things in California. At school both Annie and Dixon try to make friends quickly. Annie falls in with spoiled, rich Naomi (AnnaLynne McCord) and quickly learns her friendship comes with a cost. And Naomi's boyfriend Ethan (Dustin Milligan,) who's torn about who he wants to be. Annie also wants to be friends with Silver (Jessica Stroup) a quirky outsider who has a YouTube-like broadcast that most of the school watches. (hmm, shades of "Gossip Girl" here?). And Silver happens to be Kellie Taylor's (Jennie Garth) younger half sister.

In the two-hour premier we have hook ups and break ups, two blasts from the pasts, a baby who was given up for adoption, porn and more.

While the show isn't as sweet and sunny as the original, it might be worth adding to your guilty pleasure list. Some of the actors are a bit green and some have had better roles. For example, AnneLynne McCord set the screen on fire as Eden on "nip/tuck" and here she's barely smouldering. I know you can really go for it on cable but this is just dry and uninspired. She look bored instead of saucy and that's a problem for the hot, rich girl on this show.

Some storylines I'm not invested in yet such as the girl who has a drug problem. She indicates that they can't pay the rent, but she spends $200 on drugs? It doesn't make sense. And finally, this seems like "Gossip Girl" lite. If I were the CW, I'd put this show on after "GG" and they'd have the teen/young adult/female/gay audience locked up.

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