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September is here and that can mean only one thing: new television! Ok, it also means that kids are back in school and the leaves will soon be turning, but there’s nothing like the lure of brand new episodes of your favorite show, or your soon-to-be new favorite show, to dull the pain of a too-quickly-ended summer. This past week was an absolute treat for connoisseurs of cheestastic drama with the long-awaited season premieres of “Glee,” of which the nation had an initial taste after the springtime “American Idol” finale, and “Supernatural,” and the premieres of the reimagined “Melrose Place” and “The Vampire Diaries.”
Melrose Place
Aside from “Glee,” this was the show I was most excited to see. I’ve never been tempted to watch an episode of the new “90210,” but I was more than ready to see what could be done with everyone’s fave mid-90’s nighttime soap. But, to paraphrase the old saying, you can’t go ‘Melrose’ again.
Many media outlets are heralding this sequel/revamp as better than the original, but I think it’s too different of an animal to compare. The original, a spin-off of “Beverly Hills 90210,” started out as an adult drama focusing on the aspirations of struggling twenty-somethings living in the same apartment complex in West Hollywood. It wasn’t until well into its second season that they brought the crazy on and it blossomed into sudsy appointment television by season four. Who can forget Matt’s (“Desperate Housewives'” Doug Savant) controversial gay kiss, or Kimberly (“Desperate Housewives'” Marcia Cross) tearing off her wig to reveal that huge disfiguring scar or, better yet, Kimberly blowing up the complex?
But in this age of instant gratification, the new “Melrose” presents us with ready-made crazy, with characters incorporating different aspects of the old inhabitants: the med student/prostitute, the seemingly bi-curious agent, the overly earnest filmmaker (I like to call him Billy, Jr.), the possibly murderous chef, the rebellious son of privilege, and on and on. Original MP residents Laura Leighton (“Sydney Andrews”) and Thomas Calabro (“Dr. Michael Mancini”) show up the young cast with the minimal screen time they have, but the outstanding Katie Cassidy, as Heather Locklear look-alike Ella Simms, and Michael Rady, as Jonah Miller, may convince me to stop by the complex once again, and not just for nostalgia’s sake.


Glee
I adored the “Glee” pilot and was ready to be overcome with the irrational exuberance of this show about a struggling high school show choir, but came away with a case of melancholy and whiplash.
Story lines proceeded way too fast. Unrequited loves that we had only just been introduced to managed to semi-requite themselves. Crushes between Finn and Rachel, and Will and Emma, are realized way too soon. Where’s the delicious burn, the torturous build up to the first kiss? Producer Ryan Murphy has dragged out numerous plot lines on “Nip/Tuck” for seasons, but dreams are discovered and crushed in mere episodes at McKinley High.
Perhaps it’s unfair to expect the show to deliver the unbridled joy of the pilot’s “Don’t Stop Believing” number every episode, but Rachel’s rendition of Rhianna’s “Take a Bow”after being dissed by Finn is absolutely heart breaking. I’m not giving up on “Glee” though, as next week’s teasers show great promise and I simply can’t get enough of Jane Lynch as the indomitable, and insane, Sue Sylvester, coach of the “Cheerios” cheerleading squad.
The Vampire Diaries
This new show on the CW is “Dawson’s Creek” meets “True Blood” and it’s delicious. Based on the YA series of the same name, with some changes, the series is “Twilight” lite, but in a good way. Yes, we have a hunky brooding vampire (Stefan), an introspective human gal (Elena), the evil vampire (Damon) who, well, also likes humans, and the sticky love triangle they make up, similar to “Twilight’s” setup. But, with Kevin Williamson’s (“Dawson Creek”) deft hand providing dialogue, viewers are never bogged down in the broodiness (I’m talking to you Stephenie Meyer.). The show feels far more grounded in reality than it’s cinematic cousin and less self-important. I’m not saying that you need to give up your “Team Edward” t-shirts, just maybe make a little room for a “Team Stefan” tank top.

Supernatural

The Winchester brothers–ok, really just Sam–ushered in the Apocalypse and now they are trying to figure out a way to stop it, while dodging the dangers of both demons and angels. As sharp and witty as it is scary, “Supernatural” is one of the best shows on television and its season premiere didn’t disappoint. Demon-hunting brothers, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) have always been able to count on each other, but thanks to Sam choosing to believe a demon over his own brother (hence the Apocalypse), the trust is gone, making for an intriguing new dynamic between this dynamic double team.
Just as intriguing is the show’s treatment of spiritual stereotypes, stripping them down to older, but oft forgotten lore. Most of the angels encountered in last and this season are less than heavenly and more Machiavellian; Roma Downey wouldn’t stand a chance. Meanwhile, Bobby, Castiel and Prophet Chuck are back and in perfect form for what may very well be, sob, the last season.
What was your favorite premiere of the week?

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