Viewers can look back longingly to the cerebral glow of “Love Boat” or “Fantasy Island” once they’ve visited “Eden,” USA’s continuing night soaper centered at a fictional tropic isle resort. The intro telefilm flashes flesh, looseness and teeth, with bikini-shedding babes, licentious studs and opportunities galore, all of which should pay the freight.
Playboy TV has been airing uncut episodes of “Eden” on a monthly basis since last November; USA will telecast its programs on a Monday-Thursday sked for six consecutive weeks starting Monday, and will wind up the 26-chapter marathon before Playboy ends its run.
Show is set in a gorgeous oceanside setting, the luxurious resort owned by young widow Eve Sinclair (Barbara Alyn Woods) and her brother-in-law Josh (Steve Chase), who longs for her.
But Eve dreams about her latehubby Grant (Jeff Griggs), who pays her connubial fantasy visits when she gets too keyed up.
L.A. divorcee Randi (Darcy DeMoss) becomes the resort’s fitness director, but she can’t stay vertical when her ex shows up. Jack Armstrong’s cast as the pool lifeguard B.D. Thomas, who’s punished because he connects with two dames who are pals.
Central story in opener concerns a married, weak-spined husband (Christoph M. Ohrt) whose mistress (Diana Barton) won’t let him return to his wife (Elizabeth Lambert). It’s not deep.
Under Victor Lobl’s flat direction the yarns drone on featuring the five regulars — Woods, Chase, DeMoss, Armstrong and Griggs — plus guest stars.
Every four episodes will see new characters turn up to display what the folks behind the production consider lust, intrigue, misery and merrymaking.
The cast is young and able-bodied, though some seem to have little acting experience. Dialogue is painful (“For gawd’s sake, Andrea, it’s my anniversary. Don’t you have any decency?”), and holds little intentional humor. Plotlines are cliches, morality inconsequential.
Daniel Yarussi’s camerawork is workmanlike, Robert Gordon and Rick Westover’s editing satisfactory, while Patrick Gleeson’s score often resounds with the sentiments of cocktail-hour piano tinkering.
Designer George Costello outdoes himself with everything from a crystal apple paperweight to octagonal-shaped champagne flutes.
Program’s dazzling background — Las Hadas resort, Manzanillo, Mexico — is the best feature about “Eden.”
Like the original, it’s better off without the people.