You Be the Critic: 90210 and MELROSE PLACE

Thanks to last nights much-anticipated return of 90210 and MELROSE PLACE the TV Addict finally gets to scratch that itch by typing those four magical words that we’ve been jonsin’ for all summer long, “You Be The Critic.” Which if you’re new to (and by the way, thanks for stopping by) is YOUR opportunity to post away with your take on last night’s television. But before you do, a few random musing if we may.

As advertised, 90210 did in fact offer up a “New Beginning,” cleverly repositioning the series around the trifecta of talent that is Naomi (AnnaLynne McCord), Silver (Jessica Stroup) and Adrianne (Jessica Lowndes, sporting some much needed lush new locks!). Leaving sullen Shenae Grimes’ Annie Mills flying solo towards a dangerous downward path of booze, sex and public humiliation (Which gets much worse next week, just wait!) Just how much fun was last night’s 90210? Put it this way, between the much-improved dialogue (That “woosh” you just heard was the Viki Kristina Barcelona reference flying completely over our head), and the hilariously-wicked-yet-still-likeable Naomi Clark, we barely cared that the new theme song is a massive dud, Navid (Michael Steger) and Dixon (Tristan Wilds) are so boring that we’re praying that their next to join Ethan in Montana, and, try as they may, newcomer tennis hottie Teddy (Trevor Donovan) still looks 35.

As for MELOSE PLACE… Murder! Prostitution! Blackmail! And the delicious Katie Cassidy (”I love love, I just hate monogamy”), what’s not to love? Okay, so Ashlee Simpson Wentz didn’t exactly light up the screen as wide-eyed newcomer Violet Foster, and David’s extra-curricular art-thievery is about as believable as well, Simpson Wentz’s nose. But nonetheless, MELROSE PLACE lived up to its status as the ultimate guilty pleasure. And like all good pilots, has us asking, what’s next?

Your turn.

  • I was the critic on 90210 here: (my live-blog of the premiere)

  • bec

    90210 was great last night. It seems so new and improved over last season. I will be the first to admit I wasn’t a fan of annoying good girl Annie, but I am so excited for her downward spiral this season. Shenae Grimes also seems like she is going to bring it this season, which is good to see. Naomi on the other hand is one of my favorites, but the fact that she still blames Annie for what happened on prom night is ridiculous and don’t even get me started on how disturbing the whole 16 year old having sex with a 40 year old married man storyline was. The actor that plays Teddy looks too old for college, so I don’t know what they were thinking casting him to play a high school junior.

    On the other hand, Melrose Place was mediocre at best and I’m not really sure I’m going to continue to watch it unless it improves. 90210 looked amazing compared to it.

  • Just Jody

    90210 was brutally awful. Did they have actual high school students write that crap?? I’m now checking out of West Bev, UNLESS the old crew is making an appearance. TVA please keep us posted on when the original cast will be visiting!

    As for Melrose, I enjoyed it enough to tune in again next week.

  • Just Jody,

    You really thought it was that bad? I mean Shakespeare it ain’t, but did you not think 90210 was a huge improvement over the last season? I did. Especially the fact that the ‘gang,’ with the exception of Annie of course seem to really like eachother which I thought was the biggest crime of last season. What I loved about the original was that I really believed that Dylan, Brandon and Steve, Donna, Kelly and to a lesser extent Brenda were all best friends forever!

  • Ace

    I only watched 90210 for about 5 minutes last night out of curiousity. I caught the scene where Naomi was attempting to seduce Trevor with her lack of tennis skills. I thought for sure they were going to at least go the college angle with that guy. I’m sorry, but there is NO way he passes for 17. Even 27 is a big stretch.

  • Just Jody

    TVA – I do agree that the changes (the new focus on the hot-chick trio, less Annie) should make for a better show. And you’re quite right that the group dynamic was painfully lacking last season. But that episode was awful. The dialogue was painful throughout, and I ended up FF’ing through a good portion of the episode (dancing & tennis?) and still really didn’t miss anything.

    Dixon & Silver’s convo on the beach was some of the worst writing EVER. The new old guy is just icky, and Naveed running around screaming “I’m going to get laid” was embarrassing. And really, do we need multiple scenes of the three girls walking and looking anorexic?

    I’ll be in the Guidance Office waiting for Ms. Taylor!

  • Alison

    I thought 90210 was A LOT better than last season. I really enjoyed it and it felt like a totally different show. I thought Melrose Place was ok but it definitely needs improvement.

  • Nick

    I liked both, and was pleasantly surprised at the high production values. Neither show felt like it was done “on the cheap.” The storylines kept my interest (although I tend to side with TVA regarding Navid, Dixon & Teddy). We’ve gotta have a LOT more Matt Lanter on screen…and fast. He is the male lead and eye-candy of this show, no one else. As long as the producers are clear on that point.

  • I actually liked both but in the end I preferred 90210 over Melrose Place, 90210 is making me like Annie even more than last season only because I’m starting to feel pitty for her…as for Melrose Place it was kind of hard to understand what the heck is all going on…I only kept watching because that one blonde girl on there played Ruby on Supernatural and I love Supernatural for any given reason….at all…lol

  • Tim

    I watched the CW last night. I abandoned 90210 after half a year but I choose to check it out. It was much better than last season. Much better, but there’s no core family or group of friends for me. The Wilson’s don’t do it.
    As for “Melrose” it was what I expected. I didn’t have high expectations with this and it made me curious enough to wanna see it again. lol That said, two of the female leads need to be recast. Riley and Dr.Young are boring cliche’s. Ashlee didn’t have much to do but I’m guessing she’s Sydney’s bastard child. lol And when she goes nuts, that’s when the fun begins. lol Hey, the only way is up or 90210 1st year down. lol

  • Amy

    90210: I couldn’t last longer than 10 mins of the series premiere so I can’t comment on last night’s episode
    Melrose Place: Very campy. Not amazing but I already set the DVR to record the next episode

  • Michael

    While it may be true that 90210 went in a new direction last night it was the completely wrong direction! So the unnecessary credits change is useless (I liked the old ones) and Silver, Naomi, and Adrianna were repositioned as the centerpiece, and I even found myself kind of into Annie’s storyline, but the show has even less heart than last season! To me heart was what was missing and the writing last night removed any left in the show along with any realism in characters other than Annie. I found myself struggling to get through the hour and couldn’t really enjoy myself. Maybe is just me reacting to the changes but I would much rather have the last season take on the show.

    Melrose place on the other hand was a great premiere. The final montage totally worked and I have a few favorites already (Lauren, Ella, Jonah) but the show does have some major tonal issues to sort out. Oh yeah and that ridiculous sky effect! With a bit of tinkering this could become a true guilty pleasure soap!

  • John

    90210 wasn’t just bad, it was awful. It redefined crap for me, and was infinitely worse than last season, when at least it wasn’t so offensively bad. Trevor Donovan does look 35, which is actually a horrible problem since many of the other actors (Grimes, Stroup, even Steger) can totally pass for high schoolers. Heck, Donovan is older than Ryan Eggold, who plays the teacher! Also, Naomi dating a 35-year-old man isn’t scandalous, it’s creepy.

    What makes the writing truly terrible is that none of it makes sense. Dixon started to think Annie was going to admit she slept with Liam, and rather than correct him like a freaking actual person would do, she yells at him and keeps her secret for the sake of this terrible plot. Quite frankly, there was no redeeming quality, and the “new” new 90210 is quite possibly the single worst show on TV.

  • BHcolin

    Okay what I loved about the original 90210 was that at it’s core it was always about friendship and family.
    So yes I like that Naomi, Adrianna and Silver are friends, that’s good – but why would Silver drop Annie. So Annie called the cops on the party, no sweat off her back. That seemed off to me, they seemed like closer friends than that.
    Ethan being gone. Lost opportunity. All he needed was a better story – and he actually looks like he could be in High School. They could of continued the Silver, Dixon, Ethan triangle. I also liked the guys when they had the bachelor party for Navid. Ethan and Liam as friends could of been the new Dylan and Brandon or Brandon and Steve.Ethan could have been moved away from Annie’s story lines, not to Montana.
    Grandma Mills gone, is a loss, she was good comic relief and a good actress. New house, I guess budget cuts huh.
    Kelly not in an episode until like episode 4. UMMMMMM Kelly and Silver bring heart to the show. They are the family I tune in for week after week.

    I know they want to sway away from the old cast, which means no Brenda and no Donna. Now I think they need to reanalyze that. I agree that the Donna episodes didn’t turn out perfect. But I like pieces, Kelly and Donna talking about Donna’s relationship with David, Donna interacting with Silver worked. The biggest problems was the goofball moments and the simple fact that she opened up a store in LA and wasn’t heard from again. Now the Brenda stuff worked. And she easily could be worked in as the Drama Coach (but with Adrianna now quitting acting I guess not). But she added to the show in a good way. Okay, so I just need to get over htey aren’t coming back – but utilize Kelly, please. Kelly and Silver’s chemistry works. They whole cast can’t be without supervision.

    My problems are Dixon. Like at the beach party last year when he told Silver he loved her and she didn’t – he just got pis-ed. Now mind you all of the relationships she’s seen have never worked out- her parents, her sisters even her friendships (with Naomi at that point) that alone could make it hard for her to profess her love to a boy, but he just got mad. Same with this episode and his sister he just got pis-y with her.
    Use Ty more. He is an interesting character that never has gotten enough to do.
    Teddy, ummmm just too old.
    The need to get Liam in the Navid, Dixon mix.
    I’m willing to see where the Annie story goes, next week looks good.
    They guy Naomi is hooking up with is like 40/45 – where does it seem like a good idea. Couldn’t of been someone in their twenties — oh geez it could of been Teddy had they not made him a high school student.

    I loved the original so much I’ll stick around to see if it can get that heart, but then they need to make a core group of friends (who like each other) and work out from there with relationships added.
    So to go on and on.

    on last 90210 thing. TVA I agree you did feel like that Dylan, Brandon, Steve, Kelly , Donna , Brenda and David were all best friends. They had moments of realness. Whether it was a joke between Steve and Brandon or even the finger snap in the opening credits (with Kelly and Donna) they were friends. You need that core group to pull off a revamped 90210, you just do

    Melrose, hmmm. I expected more. I was surprised at Sydney’s death, didn’t see that coming. I think it has potential. I like that she’ll be used in flashbacks. I liked Ella. I’m interested to see where it goes. Some problems, but it’s the first episode so hopefully they can be fixed.
    But ummm who is David’s mom. Michael said she died. In the flashback with Sydney he said it was 11 years since the accident. So he had this kid like what 7-10 years before he moved into the complex with Jane? Time wise it didn’t make sense to me

  • Nick

    Dear BHColin: Cliff’s Notes version, please.

    Also, for all the whiners wanting “last” season’s feel or the “core” family appeal…are you SERIOUS? Last season was not good. And when the core family had “family bowling night,” my head was spinning.

    This is a soap, folks. No one nowadays wants to watch non-drama (aka, boring storylines and family bonding). It’s sensationalized fiction. Deal with it, and have some fun. Why tear everything down? Geez, how do some of you cope with everyday life?

  • R.

    I thought 90210 was awful, I was bored throughout the whole show like I was through the entire first season and I thought they were trying to hard to make it like Gossip Girl, which is not smart since it should have it’s own identity. Also again, there’s no group dynamic among the cast, it feels like they don’t even know each other, if someone has a story line, they’ll only do scenes with only one actor.

    Melrose Place on the other hand – OMFG, it was so awesome. It exceeded my expectations, I thought I would be disappointed like I was with 90210 and it blew me away, really smart to hire an Oscar winning director to direct the show. Even Jessica Simpson, who is usually an AWFUL actress, was not as bad as I thought she was gonna be, but that was due to smart editing, they focused more on the Chinese girl, who was brilliant in her role as was Thomas Calabro, Laura Leighton, Shaun Sipos was also great, they were all on point and sharp with their acting, and this comes from an actor who has studied and performed in theatre my entire life (me). I’m VERY nitpicky when it comes to seeing acting mistakes, I can’t even watch Ghost Whisperer because of the atrocity that is Jamie Kennedy, but Melrose? Just brilliant, brilliant acting, brilliant cinematography, music, 10 stars.

  • R.

    Oops I meant Ashlee Simpson, hehe.