Thursday, September 10, 2009

TV Review: 90210

At this time last year, I thought the CW’s remake of 90210 was one of the worst shows on television. The characters were flat. The storylines were clichéd. The acting was atrocious. Look at how far we’ve come. 90210 has gone from one of TV’s biggest disappointments to a must-watch show. If the show’s season premiere is any indication, TV audiences are in for a wild ride this year. Without giving away the plot, the first forty two minutes of 90210 featured sex, alcohol, infidelity, teenage motherhood, lying, stealing, inappropriate texting, and sexting (sex texting). Talk about drama, no?

Well, the most noticeable difference is the dialogue and the acting. The characters on the show seem to pop off the screen more because their lines are filled with wit and life and the performers are much more seasoned. AnnaLynn McCord is particularly devilish as Naomi, the bad girl you hate and love at the same time. She’s manipulative, conniving, horny, and takes particular joy in telling one lady that women over fifty shouldn’t show off their arms. However, she’s emotionally vulnerable and is very human. Glee, take note. Ms. McCord, please come to the podium to accept your award for most improved performance.

It also seems like the show has repositioned Naomi, Silver (Jessica Stroup), and Adrianna (Jessica Lowndes) as the alpha females. Given that Adrianna was the most interesting character last season, Naomi has developed—character wise, not boobie wise—a great deal, and Silver is no longer crazy, I think this is a wise move…especially since Shenae Grimes is the most insufferable actress on the show and her character, Annie, is currently miserable. The dynamic between those three ladies is really great and their banter is particularly enjoyable. Unfortunately, this is 90210. In the pilot, Adrianna claims that she doesn’t want any more drama in her life. In this zip code, drama in unavoidable. We’ll see how this happy trio holds up because it looks like the seeds of future strife were deftly sown in the pilot. I’m oddly proud of that last sentence.

As always, the show’s biggest downfall is its tendency towards the same plot lines. Naomi and Annie are friends. Then they’re fighting. Back and forth. I suspect it’s only a matter of time before they’re buddies again. To pontificate upon that, the show does seem on the predictable side. Newcomer Teddy is Adrianna’s ex-boyfriend but Naomi likes him. Drama. I’m going to predict now that he’s more interested in the third member of their trifecta. Mark my words now. Although thematically there’s a sense of familiarity, the other improvements make the show exciting and somewhat fresh.

So, if you wrote off 90210 after last year, I don’t blame you. It was craptastic. However, I think that zip code is worth one more trip.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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