Random TV Watching Thoughts #4

So this post has somewhat of a focus as opposed to the previous 2 “Random TV Watching” posts. Besides the news that everyone is talking about, in regards to Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, and the Tonight Show, there has been news about other actors leaving their respective tv shows.

Earlier this week, it was announced that both Jennie Garth and Rob Estes will no longer be a part of 90210 after the end of this season. Jennie Garth’s departure doesn’t come as much of a surprise. She was never signed on as a series regular and was always billed as a “Special Guest Star.”¬†Garth was really always there for the nostalgia factor and helped to bring in audiences when the show premiered last year. Since then, she was never really fully utilized on the show. Granted, the show is supposed to focus on the kids, but still, we’ve seen before on other teen shows how they can successfully give the adults some kind of storyline and still have the focus be on the kids. And with that, it leads us to Rob Estes also leaving the show. According to an article by Kristin Dos Santos from E! Online, Estes is leaving the show due to a disagreement in compensation with the CW for the presumed 3rd season. She goes on with inside information that the producers were willing to let him leave because they do want to focus more on the main younger cast. So this leaves the question of how are they going to write out Garth and Estes? Garth might be a little easier to write out, but Estes character, Harry Wilson, is the principal of West Bev and the father of 2 of the younger kids, Annie and Dixon. Furthermore, where does this leave Lori Laughlin’s Deb Wilson, as pretty much the sole parental figure left on the show? (Ryan Eggold’s teacher character, Ryan Matthews, is an adult figure but not by much). So 2 seasons into the series and 90210 has let go of 4 “main” castmembers. I suppose we will just have to wait and see what becomes of the show.

Today, it was announced that Rob Lowe is leaving ABC’s Brothers and Sisters at the end of the season as well. Lowe was asked to be released from his contract because he felt that he was being underutilized on the show. In such a big ensemble cast, it is natural that not all castmembers be utilized to the same extent, but I actually thought Lowe was used in a fair manner, in comparison to the rest of the cast. Sure, the main Walker family get more material, but they are at the core of the show. If this was last season, then I could probably understand, but this season, the show has been working well with the relationship between his Robert McCallister and Calista Flockhart’s Kitty Walker.

All these exits got me thinking about castmembers leaving other shows I love/like/watch; this can pertain to public announcements like Garth/Estes/Lowe or surprise exits that no one knows about until we see it happen on screen. Grey’s Anatomy definitely has had a great amount of cast changes over the years. Not that I care that much about the show anymore, but it certainly seems as though Katherine Heigl is on her way out of the show. I certainly remember back in season 3 of The O.C. when they killed off Mischa Barton. The show unfortunately got cancelled the following season and my brother likes to claim that the show died with Barton (I completely disagree – the show was great in its final season, not 1st season great but still pretty good). At the end of last season, we found out that Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton would both not be returning to One Tree Hill. These are just a few examples but it goes to show that castmembers leaving (or getting killed off) are natural in the lifecycle of a tv series. However, it doesn’t make it any less surprising when you hear these announcements.

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90210/Melrose Place Season Premieres

Finally watched the premieres of 90210 and Melrose Place this morning (being Canadian sucks sometimes), and they weren’t bad!

90210 is now being executive produced by Rebecca Rand Kirshner and did she ever make a great change to the show. Well first and foremost, the casting change that everyone knew about since before they even ended last season, was that Dustin Milligan (Ethan) wasn’t coming back. I wasn’t exactly happy about the news back then because for a show that was going into its second season, I didn’t think it was such a great idea for them to be taking out a series regular. But now seeing the season premiere, and seeing the direction they’re going, it was a good decision. Milligan’s character would not have been a good fit for this new revamped 90210.

With that said, they brought in a new character, Teddy, who has a past with Adrianna. Within this one episode, he’s already caused trouble for pretty much all the other characters. My only qualm about this character is really more about the actor playing him. The actor, Trevor Donovan, is 30 years old. While this may have been normal for the original 90210, for this version it’s a little much. The guy’s relatively good looking but he cannot pass off as a 16-17 year old. I thought it was weird enough that we have Michael Steger (Navid), who’s 29 years old but can kinda sorta pass off as a teenager, and have Ryan Eggold, who’s 25 and plays their teacher Ryan Matthews. Overall, it’s just weird.

Other little things about the show? Why did the Wilsons move out of their other house? Technically, it was Tabitha’s (the grandmother played by Jessica Walters) house but just because she went and is now doing a show in Vegas (???), doesn’t mean that their family had to go and get a new house did it? Is it just me or does West Beverly now look like Harbor High from The O.C.? But generally speaking, I do like this new direction that they’re taking the show. It’s definitely wittier and Annie is sort of being put on the back burner, which is a good thing because Shenae Grimes’ acting still kinda bothers me.

Now onto the series premiere of Melrose Place (2.0). I’m kinda young to remember the original so I can’t really compare. I mean I know enough (barely) about the characters on the original and the actors who were on the show, but not enough to make any comparisons. So thinking of it as a stand-alone show, I gotta say it wasn’t a total bomb. Obviously it has been updated to fit in with the times. They’ve got a nice mystery now looming in the background of everything else going on. There really isn’t much to say about it. Of all the young 20-somethings, Katie Cassidy’s Ella is probably the most interesting of all of the characters. The character has great dynamic. The weakest link, as somewhat expected, was Ashlee Simpson-Wentz’s Violet. Not that she had that much to do in the episode but with what she was given, she just seemed really boring as an actor. And just like the 90210 revamp, it’s still great to see the original characters come back and be a part of the new version of their show. (As a complete off-note, I gotta say, it’s a good week for Thomas Calabro. I mean he was back on Greek on Monday’s episode and then he’s obviously back on Melrose 2.0. So yeah, I’d say good week to be him.) So generally speaking, Melrose Place started off well. If it keeps going like this, I’ll continue watching.