Sunday, February 14, 2010

90210: How To Slowly But Surely Make A Mildly Interesting Teen Drama

Gosh it feels like forever since I last blogged (isn't that the biggest blogging cliche ever? Oh what a great start we're off to). I want to say that I've been uber busy with my schedule of working for Style Nation/IMTV, doing yoga/dance/acting classes (I'm improving my mind), other writer-y things and DJing but another reason I have not blogged is because of this boxset:

That's right.  That's RIGHT.

In my defense I won this boxset courtesy of the lovely Teen Today and decided to give it a go. I'd seen a bit of the show on TV but never really given it a chance. I'd heard mixed reports but the general consensus was that it got better as it went on. With that in mind I decided to tuck in.

Eh I won't even try and admit that the first 12 or so episodes aren't quite dull. There are a pile of characters, many of whom are totally undefined and uninteresting. And the appearance of older characters may make tickle the fancy of nostalgia fiends but it makes the younger characters even more dull.

The basic plot follows earnest youngesters Annie and Dixon as they move from Kansas to Beverly Hills when their Dad takes the principal job at West Beverly High (his old alma matter). Plenty of ridiculous scenarios abound as the good kids get sucked into the not so safe world of big bad Beverly Hills. Well not really. Unlike say, Gossip Girl which wears its decadence like a badge of honour, 90210 feels oddly neutered in this respect. For example, there's an odd moment in the first episode where one of the main characters obviously gets a blow job from a random girl, an attempt to shock but one dealt with in such an awkward way that it just feels stupid. This uneven tone makes the first half of the season an uneasy watch.

There is a glimmer in all those initial episodes though. Anna Lyne McCord as bad girl Naomi (above) is clearly in a different show to the rest of them. She gets the soapy/campy relish that this show needs and is happy to ham it up big time. She also makes Naomi both a power bitch and a loyal friend, a trick that doesn't always work on teen dramas. She also has a knack for picking the hottest guys on the show which makes her ten times more interesting than the rather drippy Annie, the show's inane lead character (below).

Around episode 12 it finally starts to pick up with some character development thrown around and a sense that things are finally coming together. I'm on episode 17 now and genuinely starting to enjoy the cocktail of ridiculous plots, break ups and make ups and the enjoyable feel of a teen drama doing what it does best: having fun. 

I'm well aware that with a new season of Lost, a stockpile of boxsets to watch (including Damages Season 1 & 2 which I'm excited by) and a load of other things to catch up on I should be watching something with more weight. But sometimes you can't beat a good teen drama or watching one slowly come together. All that and I'm loving the theme song. Those opening chords, beautiful!

90210 Season 1 is available on DVD now and the second season airs on E4 Tuesdays. Despite my initial reservations it's well worth a look, there is plenty of good teen drama fun to be had with this one.

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