Take one part "Picket Fences", add a dash of "Twin Peaks", stir in kids who are fluent in "Dawson's" speak, and throw it in a Kevin Williamson blender powered by Weinstein. The result?
The series debut of "Glory Days".
Welcome, kiddies, to the WB's first attempt at a *gasp* suspense series. Mind you, I entered viewing with a severe case of unenthusiastic trepidation. When I first heard of "Glory Days" last spring, my heart was all aflutter at the thought of fresh material from one of my favorite scribes, Kevin Williamson. The show's original premise revolved around a one-hit wonder whose severe case of writer's block rendered him unable to write a follow-up to his best-selling debut novel "Glory Days." It sounded just like something we'd expect from the WB: a "Dawson's Creek"-type show focusing on romantic relationships and light situations.
Enter the squelchers of all things creative, aka Network Executives, and pretty much in came the official Big Rewrite. When all was said and strewn on the cutting room floor, there lay a show that still followed the original premise of runaway novelist who must face his demons upon his homecoming. Only no "Dawson's", no romantic relationships, and no light situations.
Welcome, instead, to Bizzaroland.
Let's review the players (at least the ones I care about so far):
Mike Dolan (Eddie Cahill) The Prodigal Son, who wrote a book using most of his family and close friends as characters, returns. Said loved ones are, of course, less than thrilled with his depiction of them.
Ellie (Poppy Montgomery) Town coroner and a close dead-ringer for Julie Benz (the original female lead) who partially buries dead bodies in her garden to study decomposition rates. Quirky in that sense, yet needs to be flushed out.
Rudy Dunlop (Jay R. Ferguson) Deputy Doug, er, I mean Sheriff Doug, er, I mean Rudy. Mike's former best friend who was falsely characterized as a Card Carrying Friend of Dorothy in Mike's novel, "Glory Days."
Sara Dolan (Amy Stewart) Older, slightly neurotic sister who inherited the editor-in-chief title at the family-owned newspaper when Mr. Dolan died.
Sam Dolan (Emily Vancamp) Little sister who missed her older brother terribly. Her relationship and interactions with Mike remind me of the Claudia/Bailey dynamic on Party of Five.
Zane (Ben Crowley) Sidekick to Sam.
Mitzi Dolan (Frances Fisher) Kind of crazy mom to Mike, Sara, Sam and Mike. Let me just lay this out on the table from Day One: I LOVE HER. How could you not with lines like, "Sara, he's your brother first, jackass second." *snarf*
If you've read my other analyses, you'll know I hold a certain bar to "Party of Five" because of the well-written details and moments from that show. I'm seeing glimmers of PO5 in this show, and that gives me hope. Finally, another series comes along that concentrates on developing characters.
THE CORONER'S REPORT (my high points and low points for the episode):
- Mike and Rudy playing Hardy Boys amused me to no end, though the interrogation of the boy felt forced. - Gee, hmmm, saw a few Miramax and Dimension commercials. Do ya think Harvey and Bob got a cut on ad rates? - Wow, an actual laugh out loud moment when Rudy said, "It's cause I cried when Goose died in Top Gun, isn't it?" in reference to why Mike thought he was gay. - The ferryman's widow is a pretty sharp shooter for a drama queen with a penchant for wearing bad wigs. - Did they take their stock shots from the same bin as Dawson's Creek and ILM mountains into the background? I was this close to hearing "I don't want to wait
" on the opening credits when the camera panned from marina to shore.
So I did it. I made it through the hour, and am actually looking forward to next week's installment. "Grim Ferrytale" (oh, Kevin, clichés should be beneath you by now) pleasantly surprised me. Between all the rewrites, lead character changes, and dire predictions from the trade magazines, I thought this one was DOA. I really, truly thought I was not going to be able to physically sit through the entire episode.
Kudos to you Kevin, for crafting a well-written tale that concentrates on characters, I say, "Welcome back, we missed you." You're not so up the Creek as I thought you'd be.
Kara ScoopMe.com "Glory Days" reviewer