Monday, September 20, 2004

TV: Heather and the Flame-Haired Youngster

As work permits, I get to catch up with the new TV shows courtesy of videotape. This weekend, the debuts were LAX and Canadian rock half-hour Instant Star.

LAX tries hard. There's more than a few wacko moments that strike one as trying too hard. Especially the complete Serbian crew who gets drunk and then tries to hijack the plane they are supposed to be flying home, but have been prevented from doing so thanks to the usual serendipity. They are stopped when a heroic LAX exec drives her car up against the wheels of the soon-to-depart jet.

The car is driven by an adrenalin-junkie character played with her usual relish by Heather Locklear. From our first sighting of Locklear stumbling out of a car after a night partying to the finish shot where Locklear races through the airport with the ladies' hubba-hubba, Blair Underwood, she is the ONLY thing worth watching intently in this show. Underwood plays unlikable with some relish. He'll obviously have to have a heart of gold. But it doesn't show right now.

Others populate the show, but owe their continuing jobs to Heather. Pretty good job insurance, if you ask me [G].

Instant Star debuted with a double-episode hour after the Canadian Idol final and it felt like a musical Degrassi High spin-off. And that's pretty high praise. Alexz Johnson, she of the strange name-spelling (even her character's name is missing letters- Jude) and Mary Jane Watson-like long, red hair, is a likeable kid too young for the cut-throat world of rock-and-roll music, but out there too much on her own. She has a Lizzie McGuire-like family, replete with mostly antagonistic sibling and two parents too wilfully unaware of what's happening with their darling girl.

What I like about the show is how Kris Turner's Tommy 'Q', the former boy band crooner turned record producer is a little more complex than the usual adult. He's smart enough to squash the inevitable immediate crush Jude develops, but not too nice. He seems to be settling into the role I would envision a producer would fill.

This show is from the folks who have churned out Degrassi material for most of the last two decades. It's almost always quality stuff. Now, if I can only get my neice to watch it ...

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