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TV Preview: "Hidden Palms"

TV Preview: "Hidden Palms"

When I first heard "Hidden Palms," the new CW show that premieres tonight at 8 p.m., described as "Desperate Housewives" crossed with "Dawson's Creek," I figured it would be the perfect breezy, cheesy show for summer.

The good news: "Hidden Palms" is, in fact, a lot like "Desperate" meets "Dawson's." The bad news: It combines the worst parts of those shows, aiming for dark and mysterious but often veering into a poorly written, over-acted mess. Still, there's something weirdly compelling about the show, even if it turns out to be a series I laugh at rather than laugh with.

"Hidden Palms" centers on Johnny (played by Taylor Handley, best known as Oliver from "The OC"), a just-out-of-rehab teen whose family moves to Palm Springs to get a fresh start after Johnny's father's traumatizing suicide. On the outside, it's all plastic surgery and palm trees; on closer inspection, the town is teeming with scandals — chief among them the death of the kid who used to live in Johnny's house. Johnny's introduction to Palm Springs life comes when Cliff (Michael Cassidy, another "The OC" native, Zach), the popped-collar-sporting potential sociopath next door, throws a disembodied plastic hand through Johnny's window. To see where the show can possibly go from there and watch a clip from the first episode,

Shows like this must always have a girl, and in this case, it's Greta (Amber Heard), an inscrutable blonde who runs through the sprinklers on the golf course and says lots of supposedly deep things that actually just sound like nonsense. She and Johnny have a flirtation that mainly involves stealing each other's stuff, and despite Cliff's warnings that Greta is trouble, Johnny's clearly going to fall for her. (Cliff, by the way, kicks puppies, so he's not the most trustworthy adviser anyway.) Add in a few overly rich mothers and a girl who blows up stuff in her chemistry lab, and that's pretty much Palm Springs for ya.

The show comes to us from "Dawson's" creator Kevin Williamson and "My So-Called Life" executive producer Scott Winant, so I suppose it's no surprise that the show is filled with faux-intelligent, "nobody really talks like that!" dialogue. Those earlier shows had better acting than this one, where it feels like the teens are taking all their cues from daytime soaps; in fact, it's almost bad enough to make me wonder if "Hidden Palms" was meant to be a satire of teen shows. Overall, the whole thing feels suspiciously like an '80s movie.

Then again, '80s movies — even the really bad ones — are cult classics for a reason, and I could see "Hidden Palms" developing a following. And, grudgingly, I might be among them; even though the show wasn't the guilty pleasure I was hoping for, it sucked me in just enough that I'm not tuning it out just yet. Check out this clip, then let me know: Will you be watching?

Join The Conversation
gigglesss gigglesss 10 years
i actually liked it.But it seems like its a OC knock-off.haha Nothing will replace the oc lol.
chochocho chochocho 10 years
i thot the show was really bad acting..but for some reason i still kept on watchin it lol
ddene5713 ddene5713 10 years
OH! and did anyone else see the preview for I Know Who Killed Me?? It looks soooo good in comparison to the synopsis!
ddene5713 ddene5713 10 years
I personally liked it. It'll keep me occupied this summer as I wait for the shows to come back for fall.
sweetheart_450 sweetheart_450 10 years
I watched aswell, and will tune in next week. I think it might be my guilty pleasure for the summer.
Lorelei-Spirit Lorelei-Spirit 10 years
I watched and liked it - but I love shows like this. LOL Griffin!
Griffin73 Griffin73 10 years
I should be called Hairy Palms.
SassAndBide SassAndBide 10 years
omg i remember oliver he looks so different as a blonde
sweetheart_450 sweetheart_450 10 years
I'll be tuning in purely because of the OC boys. The clip made the show look worse than I thought it would be though. I guess for me, there's no harm in checking out the pilot and going from there.
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