Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Can Heather Locklear save 'Melrose Place'? - Sepinwall on TV

In today's column, I speculate about the chances that Heather Locklear can bail out the new "Melrose Place" the same way she did the '90s version.

17 comments:

jasctt said...

Who knows and who really cares? But, judging from that pic...DAMN!

RikerDonegal said...

I agree with jasctt...

DAMN!

TL said...

I think the better question for the producers is, what actress in 2009 is what Heather Locklear was in 1993?

Alan Sepinwall said...

That's a good question, TL, but one complicated by the fact that who really knew that the Heather Locklear of 1993 would turn out to be what she became?

Yes, she had been on Dynasty and TJ Hooker, but was a mid-level player at best on the former, and just window dressing on the latter. (And she wasn't even the most popular ABC Heather of that period; Heather Thomas from "The Fall Guy" was the one on all the posters and whatnot.)

People knew her, and they liked her, but she'd already flopped with a sitcom ("Going Places"), and I don't know that anyone expected she would have such a transformative effect on Melrose Place.

Brandy said...

It's all about the it factor but if it was that easy to spot it wouldn't be it.

But I think that failed sitcom is almost a prerequisite. I can't count the number of times I've said, "hey... it's that guy from that show"

My first one, however, was Matthew Perry from Second Chances (I think that's the name of the show... the character dies in the future and then hangs aroud with the kid in the 80s... Or maybe I'm nuts) Who I saw in many many many pilots and eventually thought, "why do they keep trying with this guy" and then Friends.

but it was the second season of Friends before I stopped calling him "The guy from that show with the dead guy and the teenager"

Hyde said...

Nothing against Heather Locklear, but I hope this doesn't work out because I don't want anything to encourage the lazy remaking of old shows that weren't that interesting to begin with.

J said...

As an old Melrose fan, this new incarnation has been odd. Literally building the remake on the corpse of an old cast member and the choice of returning actors (Laura Leighton, Tom Calabro) looked good on paper.

There have been a couple bright spots. Katie Cassidy's Ella is an okay character when she's not being defanged. Ashley Simpson-Wentz' inability to act is captivating.

But the writing's been so, so dull. If Amanda's return means they're bringing bitchiness back to the dialogue, I can only hope the producers are up to that. Otherwise, just bring in Cross for an ep to blow the place up (again).

Craig Ranapia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Craig Ranapia said...

Alan:

Thanks for mentioning Dynasty - because in a funny way, Locklear on original recipe MP was a lot like Joan Collins joining Dynasty at the beginning of season two, after a pretty boring freshman outing.

It wasn't so much the two actresses that "saved" their shows, but that they came on board at the same time that producers realised that if you're going to make a prime-time soap you've got to bring on the nuts, sluts, bitches (of both sexes) and turn the campy, sexy craziness up to eleven. The only unforgivable sin is being boring.

The problem with the 'Melrose Place' re-boot (and the '90210' revival, for that matter) is that it isn't TRASHY and FUN enough to hold my interest to the first commercial break. Locklear alone isn't going to be enough to save this lukewarm mess unless she gets something (and someone) interesting to do.

fgmerchant said...

I actually watched this season of Melrose Place, and having no knowledge of the original, I found the inclusion of old characters quite annoying. It seems only those who were old enough to know the characters were at all excited about them! I hated it so much that I stopped watching!

As far as 90210 trying to do the same thing, they realized their error pretty quickly and abandoned it, and the only complaint I had about the first season was the teen pregnancy plot, which I hated. The show is much better now!

QW said...

I can’t imagine Locklear being able to save the show. And I don’t think she was solely responsible for the original show’s growth. The original started out as a show about a bunch of friendly people who’d get together for BBQs at the pool; it featured stories like, “Billy tries to spice up his life by going bungee jumping but can’t go through with it”, “Alison has trouble letting go of her old car,” “Billy’s prejudiced until he visits South Central.” About the same time they added Locklear, they also radically changed the tone of the show.

I guess I see what you’re saying about Patrick Duffy’s return to Dallas, but Dallas went on for another 135 episodes after he came back! Sure, the ratings weren’t as high as before, but when a show hits seasons 10-14, I don’t think “growth” is usually the goal. The CW would kill for that kind of “failure.”

Jim Treacher said...

Is that her now?

SCIENCE!!!

Anonymous said...

There's um, a couple things about Heather that are different than in 1993, that's for sure...

J said...

They did try to give Amanda some bite, but she came off more cluelessly ruthless than manipulative. Even tried tossing in a lesbian kiss... but every show's doing A Lesbian Kiss. Hilary Duff, Miley Cyrus, Dora the Explorer, everyone's doing The Lesbian Kiss. Snooze.

Anonymous said...

I think the best thing for the show would be to kill off Riley Richmond. Either that, or make her join Lauren in the prostitution business. She's such a good person with strong moral values - that might be good in real life, but in a drama, it's just boring.

Anonymous said...

Heather Locklear was never on Melrose Place...she was always just the "Guest Star" ;)

Gabriel D L said...

Ok, Heather saved the old MP, but with others: Marcia Cross and Laura Leighton. Kimberly (Marcia Cross's character) was so essential as Heathers character. The three girls saved the show and did it the greatest 90's pop culture in TV.
The changes in the plots lines too saved the show. The bitchy lines were great. It's all good with Heather comeback. She's is great and she can do a lot for a show. But I think the new MP needs a new Amanda (maybe one who "fights" with Heather) and a new Kimberly.