TX:In the meantime, the young cast and 8 p.m. Saturday weekly timeslot mark “Malibu Shores” as intended to skew even younger than “Beverly Hills, 90120,” if slightly older than “Saved by the Bell.”
TX: TX:Filmed in Los Angeles by Spelling Television. Executive producers, Aaron Spelling, E. Duke Vincent; co-executive producers, John Marsh, Jeff Lurie; producer, Joe Wallenstein; co-producer, Kathleen Rowell; coordinating producer, Cheryl R. Stein; director, Christopher Leitch; script, Meg Richman, Rowell; Bright and vivacious Chloe and her surly, rebellious and troubled brother Josh (Greg Vaughan) are teenage progeny of high-powered and glamorous attorney Suki Walker (Michelle Phillips), whose husband, an alcoholic surgeon, has moved to Colorado. Vidpic/pilot begins with a fire in the home of the Walkers’ neighbors, photographer Marc Delacort (Ian Ogilvy) and his surly, rebellious and troubled son, Teddy (Christian Campbell).
Story flashes back to meeting between Chloe and surly, rebellious and troubled Zack (Tony Lucca), who had come to Malibu from the Valley with some friends; they wind up crashing a lavish birthday party hosted by Ashley (Charisma Carpenter), social queen of the Malibu high school.
When Zack tells his friends that the girl he’s been talking to is from Malibu , they caution him to “Forget it; she’s out of your class.” If Malibu is Valhalla in this show’s vision, “the Valley” is Tobacco Road.
Josh and Teddy are best friends; when Chloe takes up with Zack, Josh starts acting protective of his younger sister, and Teddy — who’s been eyeing her since they were tots — gets jealous. The two lads attack Zack shortly before the Delacorte house is burned down, leading to a mystery that’s wrapped up by show’s end.
Subplot deals with Chloe’s less-than-socially adapt friend, Nina (Katie Wright), attempting to be accepted by Ashley and her snobbish friends — who humiliate her mercilessly, leading her into Big Trouble that sort of fizzles out of focus.
The tacked-on ending assures that rich, spoiled Malibu kids and low-class Valleyites will be forced to commingle in future episodes.
Another character to watch out for is feisty Kacey (Tia Texada), who’s none too pleased to have been dropped by former b.f. Zack.
Show is clearly ludicrous if played very straight under Christopher Leitch’s direction. Not as bizarre as Spelling’s earlier trip to the beach, “2000 Malibu Road,” and a lot of fun, “Malibu Shores” might work in old Saturday night “JAG” slot.
Some characters’ casual attitude toward teen sex might raise eyebrows, but kids their age won’t be surprised. And members of family values groups may be quick to point out that Nina wouldn’t be in the trouble she gets into if she had visible parents.
Malibu Shores (Sat. (9), 8-10 p.m., NBC)
Camera, Robert L. Primes; editor, John Duffy; production designer, Patricia Van Ryker; sound, Barry Thomas; music, Starr Parodi, Jeff Eden Fair; casting, Robin Lippin.
Cast: Keri Russell, Tony Lucca, Christian Campbell, Katie Wright, Greg Vaughan, Tia Texada, Charisma Carpenter, Jacob Vargas, Randy Spelling, Walter Jones, Susan Ward, Essence Atkins, Lee Garlington, Debbie James, Ernie Lively, Ian Ogilvy, Michelle Phillips, David Wagner, Dawn Radenbaugh, Shana Muldoon, Julia Vera, Matthew Blansett, Madison Mason, Rick Johnson, Kimberly Scott, David Crowley, Anne Tremko, Mark Costello. Asociological study in the guise of a nighttime soap opera, Aaron Spelling's "Malibu Shores" examines two conflicting modern-age societies separated by the Santa Monica Mountains. It's "Romeo and Juliet" in Southern California: "Zack lives in the (San Fernando) Valley, and I live in Malibu," explains 16-year-old Chloe (Keri Russell). "There's only 18 miles between (our homes), but in reality, they're worlds apart."
Two-hour premiere was reportedly filmed as a stand-alone TV movie, with the last scene reshot when NBC bought the premise as a series. As a result, the perspective may change as time passes.