New 90210 Hits It's Stride; McCord Proves Weak Link
SPOILER ALERT: The CW's 90210 finally earned its spot as Appointment TV for this soap fan tonight as it girl Naomi (AnnaLynne McCord) was busted for drug possession and several couples heated up. Sure its been fun catching up with old friends like Brenda (Shannen Doherty) and Kelly (Jennie Garth), but until tonight's episode I was wondering if the 2.0 teens would actually prove intereresting enough for me to invest in for a full season, not to mention 10 as I did with the original Peach Pit crew.
Not surprisingly it isn't the actors The CW heavily-hyped, Shenae Grimes (Annie) or McCord, formerly of Nip/Tuck, as Naomi who are proving to be the teen soap's break outs. Those distinctions go to Tristan Wilds as Annie's adopted brother Dixon and Jessica Stroup as the brilliant Silver. How awesome is it that Kelly and David (Brian Austin Green)'s kid sister from the parent show is fast proving to be the show's anchor, a lesson both daytime and primetime could learn from–honor your history. The CW was banking on Grimes and McCord as their Gen Next front women when all they had to do was pick up a script from the original.
Stroup's natural chemistry with the phenomenal Wilds, who first tasted fame on HBO's The Wire and can be seen in The Secret Lives of Bees premiering Oct. 17, is the most realistic and fun teen romance I've seen on television since a girl named Summer fell for a boy named Cohen.
Dustin Milligan as sensitive, rich boy jock, with puppy dog eyes Ethan, is also turning out to be a good investment for the struggling netlet, especially now that he has been mercifully extracted from the orbit of the scenery-chewing McCord, by far the show's weakest link. Too bad it couldn't have been Naomi who OD'd instead of the far more interesting and relevant Adriana (Jessica Lowndes). I guess we'll have to tune in next week to see if theater goddess Adriana meets the same fate as David's geeky blonde friend from the1990 version.
Milligan also managed to help Grimes—who was much better on Degrassi: The Next Generation— take her performances down a thousand. She appeared much more relaxed and realistic during tonight's episode which saw the budding couple serving as parents of faux baby (Uh cliched much?)
Tonight's episode even managed to throw in a rare surprise in the day of Internet spoiler gurus like Michael Ausiello and our own lovely Regan. Who would have guessed the bratty new student who is obviously crushing on scruffy school teacher Ryan (Ryan Matthews) is actually an undercover narc? In tonight's episode she is working with principal Harry Dixon (Rob Estes) to ferret out West Bev's resident drug pusher. How Nancy Reagan of them! I totally got a Silk Stalkings (the sexy USA procedural that launched Estes's career) vibe from the storyline. Good job CW, I'm finally hooked.