23 November 2012 | crispy_comments
Hooray for Hollywood Heights!
I tuned in to see two childhood favorites, Meredith Salenger (The Journey of Natty Gann) and Megan Follows (Anne of Green Gables) acting on-screen together. And then I found myself pleasantly surprised by the show as a whole.
Hollywood Heights is current but pays homage to Hollywood's history too. There's a nice blend of pretty much every genre... family drama, witty banter like you'd find on Gilmore Girls or classic screwball comedies, romance, backstage musical/songwriter biopic/showbiz rise & fall stories, even crime drama and film noir elements near the end of the series. As a fan of classic movies, I got a kick out of picking up on certain references (to A Star Is Born and Gone With The Wind, among others), which were well-integrated and fun for those who get them, but not out-of-place and confusing for younger viewers.
I admit I've got songs from the show stuck in my head, and I can't stand most of today's popular music. It helps that it doesn't feel like the showrunners are aggressively promoting soundtracks they want to sell, and wallpapering every scene with songs that drown out the dialogue (unlike all those teen shows on The CW or whatever.) There's some interesting insight into the way the music industry works, and modern internet trends/fan reactions vs. the way rock & roll stardom used to be, and I think a lot of it rings true.
Plot aside, I've got to care about the characters to really get emotionally involved in a story. Hollywood Heights impressed me there too. Most of the acting is strong, and the characterization and continuity is better than I've seen on many recent (and more popular but overrated) shows. The actors and writers really know how to make you root for (or hiss and boo at) the characters and get invested in their story lines, which, again, isn't easy to find on current TV, in my experience.
I could go on about how satisfying the show is from a feminist perspective, with a rare emphasis on mother/daughter and female friendship scenes. I was glad they hired actresses based on talent and included a variety of body types other than the anorexic. And I think the show subtly delivers a good message promoting healthy romantic relationships between independent equals, which young girls probably need to see more examples of in their fiction these days.
I'd buy this on DVD, yes, all 80 episodes, as pricey as that may be. Personally, I'm fine with not getting a second season as this one wrapped up nicely. It's so refreshing to have closure in a TV series, instead of leaving us with unresolved cliffhangers. I felt like I was watching a really long movie, with a satisfying ending that rewarded the time & emotions invested in it. Definitely a rarity in TV. When 80 episodes fly by and never feel like a chore to watch, you know they're doing something right.