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Make It or Break It (2009)
Has A Lot of Potential
Maybe it's just because it's summer, and I'm feeling seriously deprived of network TV, but I'm kind of digging this show.
Make It or Break It is about a bunch of Olympic-level gymnasts and the drama that goes on behind the scenes on their way to Nationals. Yeah, it's on ABC family. And yeah, it's full of clichés. But it is well done and promises a lot of addictive teen soap action.
Biggest Weakness: The characters in this show are really one note: Lauren (Cassie Scerbo), the villain of the piece, is an ambitious and manipulative brat who will (and does) betray her friends to get ahead in the competition. Emily Kmetko (Chelsea Hobbs) is a plucky scholarship student who is torn between her dream and wanting a normal life. Payson (Ayla Kell) is completely focused. And Kaylie (Josie Loren) is clueless.
That said, all the lead actresses play their parts well. The performances from the cast of parents and paramours are solid also.
It's hard to get really excited about this show- nothing truly awesome or awful about it. The show is fun and has some pretty great moments (The gas station scene at the end of Episode 2 had me laughing out loud.), but it doesn't take enough chances to separate it from the rest of the tween-dramedy pack. B+
10 Things I Hate About You (2009)
Really Good, but Something's Missing
10 Things I Hate About You is a show that teeters on the precipice of being really funny, but doesn't quite make it. Lindsey Shaw, who plays the main character Kat, is fantastic in the part, playing an unapologetically smart and politically-minded teen, who tries hard not to care about the popularity contests of high school. In contrast, her sister Bianca (Meaghan Jette Martin) is obsessed with becoming popular.
The problem is their paranoid father (Larry Miller) won't let Bianca date until Kat does. And Kat has no intention of dating. Until she meets the "mysterious" Patrick Verona (Ethan Peck, grandson of Gregory Peck). In the movie, a geek with a crush on Bianca pays Verona to date Kat, so he can date Bianca, but that hasn't happened yet. The show doesn't try to copy the plot lines and characters of the movie, and I think the show is the better for it.
This show has a lot of things going for it: Lindsey Shaw was a pleasant surprise (since I wasn't all that impressed with her on Aliens in America), and the chemistry between her and Ethan Peck is great. And every episode is full of great quips.
It's a little surreal, which I think works both for and against it. Meaghan Jette Martin and Dana Davis, who plays the mean girl villain of the piece, both go at their roles with over-the-top panache that makes the show fun to watch. But the over-the-topness is really annoying in the case of the nerds, especially Michael (Kyle Kaplan). They're a little too pathetic and clueless for my taste.
But overall, this is a really good sitcom. Lindsey Shaw is a star. A-
For more reviews and thoughts on TV in general go to http://randomrantstv.blogspot.com/