Hellcats

7 06 2010

Thanks to The CW, I was able to watch a screener of their new series Hellcats.

The series stars Ashley Tisdale (who once guest-starred on Beverly Hills 90210), Aly Michalka and, from the teen drama world, Matt Barr (Ian “Psycho Derek” Banks, One Tree Hill; Keith van der Woodsen, Gossip Girl; Wes, The O.C.) and Robbie Jones (Quentin, One Tree Hill).

The show revolves around Aly’s character, Marti, who loses her college scholarship and decides to try out for the Hellcats, the competitive cheerleading team at Lancer University, since all members receive scholarships.

The screener was only approximately 35 minutes long, so I’m not sure if additional scenes will be added for the premiere or if it will have more commercial breaks than normal. I would guess the former is more likely, as this was probably more of a pilot presentation than a pilot. Still, it was significantly longer than what was shown at The CW Upfront.

Among the things that I liked:

It was refreshing to see a show set in the college world from the start. While the actors aren’t quite college age in real life (though Barr doesn’t look like he’s aged a day since One Tree Hill), it felt like a nice change of pace. How much it’ll actually differ from a high school-focused show, I don’t know. But all the cheerleaders have to live together, which provides a convenience that high school-based shows don’t have.

The soundtrack was fun–I really enjoyed the use of Train’s Hey Soul Sister and Lady Antebellum’s Need You Now–though I’m sure the songs are subject to change. In addition to the typical background songs that all shows have in several scenes, the cheerleading sequences provide another opportunity to play music, but of a diegetic nature. Music aside, at first I felt like these scenes were a waste of time, overkill, fluff and filler. But then I remembered how often One Tree Hill had basketball sequences during several of its seasons and how much I came to enjoy them. Perhaps I would feel the same way here in time.

As I noted in my upfront recap, it seems they are setting up a love triangle with Marti and Barr’s Dan (seriously, they couldn’t pick a different name for a CW character?) and Jones’ Louis. Dan is Marti’s close friend, who just may be harboring some feelings for her, but she and Louis, a member of the Hellcats, are starting to get their flirt on. I am intrigued by the interracial component but also because I’m just a sucker for love triangles.

The Bring It On comparisons are inevitable and the show knows that, smartly incorporating the film into the plot. When Marti needs to prepare for her try out, she breaks out the DVD and soon she’s dancing all around her living room.

Among the things that I didn’t like:

In just 35-ish minutes, they blew through a ton of plot. I understand the need to set up the show, but it felt like they set up the show and resolved so much of it within one episode. I didn’t expect Marti to come up with her game plan–trying out for the team–and make the squad all in one episode. I didn’t expect Marti and Tisdale’s Savannah to go from budding enemies to just buddies so quickly. And I didn’t expect qualifiers, or the first major competitive event, to begin at the end of the episode. It seemed like these things, these conflicts, could’ve been drawn out over a couple of episodes. But you run the risk, then, of taking too long to get going. Still, I don’t see a season’s worth–much less a series’ worth–of creative plotlines here.

Among the things I’m mixed on:

Savannah wasn’t quite what I expected. I anticipated a more obvious mean girl but the pilot seemed to suggest that she isn’t really the enemy or the foil to Marti’s character. Maybe that will change over time.

As many have noted based just on promotional photos, Marti bears some resemblance to Peyton (Hilarie Burton, One Tree Hill), circa seasons one and two. Still, differences abound: Marti’s mom is in her life whereas Peyton’s wasn’t. Marti is joining the cheerleading team when the series starts whereas Peyton was already a member. Marti is single and her closest friend is male whereas Peyton had a boyfriend and her closest friends was female. Marti, scholarship drama aside, doesn’t seem to be all that bummed out about life whereas Peyton’s personality fell largely under the category of “broody.” Marti is book-smart and intends to have a career in law, whereas Peyton was all about the arts. Bottom line: Marti may look like Peyton at first glance, but she is far from a carbon copy. Too early to tell whether that’s good or bad.

The show started and finished with narration from Marti. Not sure if that was just a plot device to get things off the ground or if it will be a regular feature, but I’m not sure if I’m feeling it.

“Not sure” is actually how I feel overall. I don’t really care to watch, don’t really care not to. I’m a firm believer that some worthy shows need some time to get going, but whether I’ll give this one a chance, I don’t know yet.

A premiere date for Hellcats hasn’t been announced yet but it will air Wednesdays in the fall after America’s Next Top Model.

I have to note, though, that Hellcats won’t be covered extensively on this site since it is not a teen drama. I will continue to include it as I have thus far: when there’s something relevant to Barr or Jones or when there’s some other teen drama connection.

Advertisements




News Roundup: One Tree Hill, Gossip Girl, 90210 and The O.C.

2 04 2010




News Roundup: One Tree Hill, Gossip Girl, 90210 and More

19 01 2010
  • I am not posting ratings for last night’s One Tree Hill until the final numbers are announced. I’ve been told they’re delayed due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
  • The CW sent out a press release–based on the early numbers, which they normally use–saying Life Unexpected’s total viewers was the most for the 9pm timeslot in more than a year. That means it outperformed One Tree Hill last year (from 1/12/09 til the end of the season) and Gossip Girl all of this season.
  • Be sure to check out The CW’s site for all the new One Tree Hill video content this week.
  • Examiner.com has an article on Sophia Bush (Brooke, One Tree Hill) and Austin Nichols (Julian, One Tree Hill)–who are totally together, it seems–attending the The Art of Elysium’s annual gala.
  • The new One Tree Hill Connection podcast features an interview with Lindsey McKeon (Taylor, One Tree Hill). Have you read my interview with her?
  • Ausiello is reporting Billy Baldwin has been cast as father to Serena (Blake Lively, Gossip Girl) and Eric (Connor Paolo, Gossip Girl), ex-husband to Lily (Kelly Rutherford, Gossip Girl). Matt Barr (Ian “Psycho Derek” Banks, One Tree Hill) played the young version of Keith in the 80s flashback episode in season 2. Some are saying Keith isn’t S and E’s father and this E! Online article says its William van der Woodsen but I am just confused by it all.
  • I typically don’t link to sites like this but I was just so stunned by this claim that I can’t ignore it. Radar Online is “exclusively” reporting that Rob Estes (Harry, 90210) has quit the show. Some of their facts are clearly wrong: they say “The next season is set to air in the close future – a date has yet to be released by CW as they gear up to debut their new line-up.” The next season–if there is a next season–wouldn’t typically air til the fall and wouldn’t even be announced for a while longer. I am hoping a mainstream, credible site will quickly confirm or deny their report.
  • The same Radar article also has details on Jennie Garth (Kelly, Beverly Hills 90210) and her exit from the show. These seem to be legit as the quotes are coming from her manager, rather than anonymous sources.
  • Garth is starring in a new webseries, called Garden Party. Garth previously appeared in the webseries The Broadroom.
  • Smokin’ Aces 2, starring Autumn Reeser (Taylor, The O.C.), is out on DVD today. Reeser and I discussed the film in our interview and she discusses it in this new one as well. Reeser also mentions her appearance years ago on Star Trek, which starred Jeri Ryan (Charlotte, The O.C.)
  • TVGuide.com has more on Olivia Wilde (Alex, The O.C.) auctioning her Golden Globes dress for charity.
  • Emmanuelle Chriqui, who played Alex’s ex in two episodes of The O.C. was named the Most Desirable Woman of 2010.




Exclusive: Matt Barr on Going From Psycho Derek to Keith Van Der Woodsen

25 10 2009

Appearing on just one teen drama? Psht. Two? Forget that. If you’re Matt Barr, you have a trifecta going and will settle for nothing less.

Barr is perhaps best-known for playing Ian “Psycho Derek” Banks on One Tree Hill, but has two other teen drama roles under his belt: a young Keith van der Woodsen in Gossip Girl’s 80s flashback episode and Wes, a college student on The O.C.

What could make it even better?  This: Barr couldn’t have been nicer–or funnier–in our interview.  See for yourself below.

TeenDramaWhore: When you were cast on One Tree Hill, were you aware of all the twists in store for your character? Specifically, did you know you weren’t really Peyton’s brother and did you know you were going to go down the ‘stalker’ route?

Matt Barr: I really did go into it pretty blind.  The only information the producers shared with me in the beginning was that Derek had a dark side.  What that meant, I really had no idea.   Little did I know I was going to have time of my life!  I had no clue it would escalate the way it did, and to the degree it did.  I remember, towards the end of that wild character arc, I told creator Mark Schwahn, “Man, you’re really not afraid to go for it!”   Loved every minute of it.

TDW: How did you channel all the craziness you had to display?

Barr: Ha Ha.  Good question.  You know, truth is we all have this instinctual dark side to us.  I’m not saying it’s evil; it’s just this raw survival technique that, when placed in extreme circumstances, or faced with desperate measures, we are all capable of some pretty crazy things.   Ha ha. I remember when I was like 6 years old, it was my birthday, and as my mom brought my birthday cake to the table, my little brother jumped up and blew out all my candles.   I was so mad; I screamed and said something like, “I’m going to kill you, Luke!” Needless to say, I didn’t kill my brother that day.  He’s now 22, and bigger and stronger than me.  But you could say as I tapped into that angry craziness of Derek, it all started with my little bro.  I guess you just have to reach down inside yourself and pull it out.   Thanks, bro.

TDW: What goes in to coordinating fight scenes like the ones you had on the show? You had ones with Chad Michael Murray (Lucas), Hilarie Burton (Peyton) and Sophia Bush (Brooke). Is it different to do them with female costars versus the males?

Barr: So much coordination!  But I have a blast with that suff.  Although I did feel the pressure at times. I remember the stunt crew and the producers saying, “Please don’t injure or kill the stars of our show!” So we practiced plenty.  Funny story, though: at one point in a fight sequence, Sophia jumps on my back hitting me and I’m supposed to slam her into the wall [ed. note: Episode 4.16,  You Call It Madness, But I Call It Love].  Well, during filming, I’m trying to be extra fragile with Soph; I’m really acting here.  But Sophia was really selling it, because she was just beating the living crap out of me.  She’s so physical and athletic. So finally on one take, I got really into it, and slammed Sophia into that wall.  We fell down, and as I was checking to see it if I had accidentally killed Sophia, the director runs over and says, “Looked great guys.  So real!  Yeah, do it like that. OK, let’s go again.”    Sophia and I laughed.  We were pretty bruised by the end of the day.

TDW: Everyone always talks about the “tattoo” of Peyton you had on your back. How long did it take to apply?

Barr: You ready for this……like 2 mins.  It’s basically like the ones you get out of a pack of bubblegum.  Just stick it on, wet it, and peel it off. Well, a really big one of those.  Does that ruin the magic?

TDW: Are you recognized often as “Psycho Derek”?

Barr: All the time.  It blows my mind.  One Tree Hill fans are most loyal, hardcore fans on the planet.  They’re great.

TDW: I don’t know if this is too ‘out there’ but has the “Psycho Derek” rep affected your–let’s say–romantic life at all?

Barr: Ha ha.  Now that’s a question!  Lets just say the the whole “is that tattoo real” debate has come in handy a few times.

TDW: Are you still in touch with the cast?

Barr: I am.  Love those guys and gals.  They really made me feel like part of the family during my time on the show.  Lee Norris [Mouth] really took me under his wing.  Showed me the One Tree Hill ropes.  He’s probably the most genuine guy you’ll ever meet.   In fact, I owe him a call. (Note to self: call Lee back.)

TDW: You’ve actually guest-starred on 3 teen dramas: The O.C. (Episode 3.22, The College Try), One Tree Hill (seven episodes in season 4) and Gossip Girl (Episode 2.24, Valley Girls).  Any interest in joining one of them, or a similar show, for the long-term?

Barr: Well we actually shot the GG episode as a spin-off pilot.  Had the network picked up the series, it had the potential to be long-term. But yeah, if the right opportunity presents itself, I’ll jump at it.

TDW: Everyone expected your GG episode to lead to the spin-off.  Alas, that’s not happening.  Do you know what they had in store for your character and the show, had it been picked up?

Barr: Van Der Woodsen was going to be introduced as a relatively trivial character, but there was more substance to him than we perceived.  I was looking forward to going back to the 80’s.    My experience in the 80’s pretty much consisted of Ninja Turtle underwear, and threatening to kill my younger brother.

TDW: Any chance we’ll see more of you via flashbacks? Or any chance Ian will come back to Tree Hill to taunt Brooke?

Barr: Hey, this is Hollywood.  There’s always the possibility!  There’s worse things in life than taunting Sophia Bush!

TDW: You also starred in the serial killer mystery show, Harper’s Island, which was one of the “it” shows this past spring/summer. What was it like working on a show where you have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen in future episodes?

Barr: It was such a unique experience.  We, the actors, as we read the scripts from week to week, really experienced the show “in the moment.” Just like the audience does. Made it exciting and scary.  We had no clue who was going to live or die week to week.  I think it served us as actors, because just like our characters, we were living moment to moment, fighting for survival.

TDW: You also recently starred in Pedro, the made-for-TV film about a former Real World cast member who died of AIDS.  Was that just another acting project for you or did it have a special meaning/impact?

Barr: It was both.  I play this character named Puck.  One of the most colorful characters you’ll ever meet.  An actor’s dream.  I really wanted this part.  But also, Pedro Zamora’s story is important.   Even as the antagonist, I wanted to help tell the story of this real-life hero.

TDW: What projects are you working on now?

Barr: I’m heading to San Francisco in a couple days to work on this new show Trauma, for NBC.  [Ed. note: The episode will now air Nov. 2]  But I’ve also been producing a movie called Twelve Mighty Orphans, based on the book by Jim Dent.  I optioned the film rights a year ago.  A true story, it’s a Depression-era story set in an orphanage in Texas and this visionary coach/math teacher genius comes there and creates this football program, and inspires a sense of pride and excellence.   Similar to Seabiscuit, and Jim Braddock, this team of underdog orphans goes on to dominate high school football during the 1930s, and in the process, inspires an entire nation that was looking for heroes.   It’s the greatest human interest story I’ve ever read.  It’s going to make a fantastic movie.

TDW: Lastly, are you on Twitter or any other social networking site, such as Facebook or MySpace?

Barr: I’m not.  I’m a face-to-face kind of guy.

Come back next Sunday for another exclusive interview.

Complete TDW Interview Index





News Roundup: One Tree Hill, Gossip Girl, The O.C. and 90210

20 07 2009
  • One of the special features from the upcoming One Tree Hill season 6 DVD has found its way on to YouTube.
  • Hilarie Burton (Peyton, One Tree Hill) posted a new vlog on the SoGoPro site.
  • The One Tree Hill Podcast has an interview with Matt Barr (Psycho Derek, OTH; Keith van der Woodsen, Gossip Girl).
  • Victoria (Daphne Zuniga, One Tree Hill) and Georgina (Michelle Trachtenberg, Gossip Girl) are up for The Bitch is Back award in the Sourcies.
  • According to the above link, neither Leyton or Blair & Chuck won in the Finally! It’s About Time category.
  • PEOPLE.com has a story on how Chace Crawford (Nate, Gossip Girl) celebrated his birthday.
  • Leighton Meester (Blair, Gossip Girl) and Cam Gigandet (Volchok, The O.C.) were interviewed on the set of The Roommate.
  • Due to Mischa Barton’s (Marissa, The O.C.) personal issues, The Beautiful Life is making a “contingency plan.”
  • The July 28 issue of Soap Opera Digest features a Beverly Hills 90210 trivia question: who donned a mermaid outfit for a costume party?  It’s a pretty easy one for old-school fans but note that it wasn’t just a costume party–it was Halloween.
  • Tori Spelling (Donna, Beverly Hills 90210) discussed misconceptions about her life on the Today Show this morning.  She’ll be co-hosting the last hour tomorrow and Wednesday as well.
  • Jennie Garth (Kelly, Beverly Hills 90210) will be back on 90210 next season for “multiple episodes,” according to Ausiello.
  • John Schneider has been cast as Liam’s (Matt Lanter, 90210) step-father.  Fun fact: Apparently Schneider got awfully close with AnnaLynne McCord (Naomi, 90210) on Nip/Tuck.
  • Korbi posted photos from McCord’s birthday celebration.




Spoiler: Ask Keck

10 04 2009

RELEVANT QUESTIONS–DON’T READ IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW!!!

Q: One of my favorite shows is Gossip Girl. I pretty much know the whole cast, so what can you tell me that I don’t know?” —Ashley Tisdale

A: Well, Ashley, I don’t think you know new cast member Matt Barr. He appears May 11 in the Lily-centric spin-off episode as young Keith van der Woodsen, who may wind up being Serena’s father. “Wait and see,” says Gossip executive producer Stephanie Savage. But she reveals that we’ll finally meet Serena and Eric’s father in Season 3, and Matt says the show will be introducing an all grown-up version of Keith. So you do the math. A casting call will be going out for an actor who resembles a more mature Matt. I’m thinking Matthew Modine.








%d bloggers like this: