31 October 1999 | bran569341
A great show that could've lasted longer.
In its heyday, Melrose Place was a fun and complex 60-minute roller-coaster ride every week. It started off slow and weak, but began to pick up steam midway through the first season with the addition of Heather Locklear. Though many credit Locklear for the show's success, the real stars of the show were people like Thomas Calabro, Laura Leighton and Marcia Cross, as the Kimberly/Michael/Sydney storyline was the driving force of the show. The show peaked in its second and third seasons, but by season four things began to fall apart. The writing, while always over the top, reached a new level of ludicrousness towards the end of season four and the show made no sense whatsoever (i.e., Evil Billy, Amanda using Billy to keep her job at D&D, and Kimberly's mutiple-personality story which culminated in her attempting to lobotomize Peter ). To its credit, the show realized its mistakes and several behind the scenes changes were made at the end of season four (namely the firing of several writers on the show ). By season five, the show had back down to earth and told more traditional soap stories (i.e. the Billy/Alison/Jake/Jane quadrangle and the Amanda/Peter/Taylor triangle ). New players, including Lisa Rinna, Rob Estes, David Charvet, and Kelly Rutherford were added to the show. The show rebounded, but towards the end of season five things began to fall apart again due to the loss of several veteran cast members. By the end of season five Marcia Cross, Laura Leighton, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Josie Bissett and Grant Show were gone. Especially damaging was the fact that the show had killed its two best characters in Kimberly and Sydney. That's why, for me, the last "real" episode of MP was the fifth season finale on May 19, 1997. Spelling and Co. saw many of these departures coming, but figured the void would be easily filled by the new faces that were brought in in season five. They were sorely mistaken. Season six was a disaster, for the most part. Even more new faces (Linden Ashby and Jamie Luner) were added to the show and another veteran cast member (Doug Savant) was gone after the sixth season premiere. The combination of too many new faces and poor writing irrevocably damaged the show. The show hit rock bottom in early 1998 when FOX announced the show would be pulled after March 30 and return sometime in the summer. It was also announced that the show would be once again retooled and thus several cast members would leave later that season and original cast member Josie Bissett would return. When the show returned in the summer of '98, there was a flicker of hope as several storylines became interesting to watch (i.e. the Kyle/Amanda/Peter triangle, the Billy/Samantha/Jeff/Jennifer quadrangle, and the rekindled Jane/Michael romance). But the fun was short-lived. On September 7, 1998, Billy, Samantha, Jennifer, Coop and Taylor all left L.A. for greener pastures, and on September 14, the "new" Melrose debuted. It was obvious from that episode "The World According to Matt" that no matter how hard TPTB tried, the magic was gone. The show sputtered through its final season, as the addition of Rena Sofer proved to be a failure. The final episode on May 24, 1999 was exactly like the final two seasons of MP: disappointing.