The CW’s reboots of 90210 and Melrose Place return from hiatus tonight, and, let me guess: You don’t care. And I don’t blame you. I myself stopped watching 90210 halfway through a first season so tiresome that I was nodding off before the first commercial. And while Melrose Place did delight for several weeks, periods of dullness eventually began to creep in.
But now both shows are better than they’re given credit for, and they have serious potential to be great. Plus, they each boast a cast of characters I’m not ready to say goodbye to. Much to my relief, 90210 has been picked up for a third season, but Melrose Place is teetering on the edge of preemptive cancellation. So here’s my appeal to set your DVRs and get watching.
Melrose: Trashy good fun
I admit that Melrose Place is a harder sell. The first half of the season wasted too much time on a misguided murder mystery, which was wrapped up clumsily in the last episode. But now that we’re done with that nonsense, I’m ready to see the more interesting storylines play out.
Why? Because Melrose Place is trashy good fun. The CW advertises the series as the steamier, skin-heavier alternative to 90210’s bright high school drama. Which is pretty accurate, actually, as this is one attractive cast. Aside from the “dead Sydney in a swimming pool” plot, we’ve gotten some compelling stories: Cutthroat bitch publicist Ella rising to the top, the innocent Riley choosing modeling over teaching, and—of course—Lauren turning tricks to pay for medical school. (Don’t you dare judge her!)
Look, it’s not high art, and Melrose Place still has a lot of growing to do. But given how drastically 90210 improved from one season to the next, I bet Melrose Place will prove its haters wrong—provided it has the chance.