Saturday, July 25, 2009

TV: ABC Family's 2 Newest Shows

ABC Family continues to confound me with what it puts on the air, having given up on both The Middleman and Kyle XY over the last 15 months or so. The latest hour the network is showing is 10 Things I Hate About You and Ruby and the Rockits. Neither's terrible. Neither makes me glad time was cleared to air them.

10 Things I Hate About You got off to the earlier start. The only holdover from the movie that birthed the concept is Larry Miller, who reprises his role as the overly-protective father of high schoolers Kat and Bianca. Kat (Kate from The Taming of the Shrew, in effect) is a feminist gone overboard, while Bianca is forbidden to date until Kat does, by fatherly dictate. Since Kat's never going to date, this puts the younger sister on the sideline until ... like, forever. Father's parting words upon leaving for school, "Don't get pregnant!"

Of course, in the movie, Kat (Julia Stiles) eventually crumbles before the sexiness that was Heath Ledger, allowing Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) to start dating, albeit dating the class geek played by Joseph Gordon-Leavitt. Amongst other things, Oleynik and Gordon-Leavitt were basically the same size.

In the TV show, Kat's played by Lindsay Shaw. Shaw's not quite in Stiles' class as an actress, but she does well enough. Ethan Peck has to fill Ledger's shoes, and that ain't happenin'. He's trying hard, but Ledger's smile is what made him. So far, Peck's not smiling much. But the real problem is the pairing of the new Bianca (Meaghan Martin) with the twice-as-tall Nicholas Braun, who's Cameron isn't geeky so much as awkward. Doesn't work.

The first episode did end with the same song as the movie, which had Letters To Cleo covering Cheap Trick's I Want You to Want Me. Teeny-gal band KSM does the cover this time. Still prefer Letters to Cleo, who also covered Nick Lowe's Cruel To Be Kind in the movie. Wonder who'll end up doing it in the movie.

Not curious enough to continue watching the show, but still curious.

This week's Ruby and The Rockits debut was Cassidy overkill with a shot of My Two Dads deja vu. The Cassidys are all over this half-hour. Shaun's the producer while David and Patrick star as a former hit rock duo act called The Rockits. David Gallagher's still touring on 20-year old fame, while Patrick's a married father of two boys, who owns an auto dealership. The two are estranged until a cleaving force (cleave being the only word in the English language that is its own antonym. But I digress) appears.

David has a long-lost daughter, played by Alexa Vega of Spy Kids fame. But here's the deja vu part. They've made Vega into a visual clone of Staci Keanan, who played the young daughter of Greg Evigan and Paul Reiser in My Two Dads. Uncannily alike. I know, I saw the My Two Dads pilot about a month ago. And even some of the dialog seems to have made a transition between the two shows. Not a lot, but the fighting men and the young girls' response, dialog-wise, is eerily similar.

While the first episode only reunites the Rockit duo, it's going to be a family band before too long. Vega does have a solo singing career and David Cassidy is a long-time rocker. So singing won't be an issue. It might even be fun to see if anything hits the charts from this latter day Partridge Family progeny. But I don't think I'll spend much time waiting for good music.

ABC will probably cancel it if it's any good.

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