×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Higher Ground

Who knew that the life of at-risk teens at an "emotional growth" school could be so photogenic? The creators of Fox Family's new original drama "Higher Ground" have come up with a new spin on the old yarns about troubled youth and their concerned counselors. It's like putting the attractive cast of "Dawson's Creek" in a pristine woodsy setting and giving them all a lot of baggage and traumas.

With:
Peter Scarbrow ........Joe Lando Sophie Becker ...... Anne Marie Loder Sheriff Curtis Swann ....Sean Campbell Frank Markasian ....... Jim Byrnes Scott Barringer....Hayden Christensen Shelby Merrick....... A.J. Cook Juliette Waybourne....Meghan Ory Ezra Friedkin........Kyles Downes With: Deborah Odell, Kandyse McClure, Jorge Vargas, Dmitry Chepovetsky, Sarah Wong, Benita Ha, Jewel Staite.

Who knew that the life of at-risk teens at an “emotional growth” school could be so photogenic? The creators of Fox Family’s new original drama “Higher Ground” have come up with a new spin on the old yarns about troubled youth and their concerned counselors. It’s like putting the attractive cast of “Dawson’s Creek” in a pristine woodsy setting and giving them all a lot of baggage and traumas. They may be hooked on speed, but all they need is love. Really.

Exec produced by Michael Braverman (“Chicago Hope”) and Douglas Schwartz (“Baywatch”), series pilot introduces auds to Mount Horizon’s headmaster Peter Scarbrow, a recovering addict, who loves climbing treacherous mountains — a painfully obvious metaphor for his approach to helping his students.

The wilderness school is also seen through the eyes of new student Scott Barringer (Hayden Christensen), an athletic, pouting fellow whose life has turned into hell because of a family secret and a bad drug habit. Needless to say, the caring headmaster feels his pain and will go out of his way to exorcise the golden boy’s demons in the show’s first outing.

The other members of the multicultural student body suffer from one-note personalities. By the time we get to know the blonde bad girl, the sensitive ex-gangbanger, the bulimic beauty and the lovestruck nerd, older viewers may find themselves flashing back to “The Breakfast Club.” Maybe Molly Ringwald can do a guest spot in a future episode as a visiting counselor or somebody’s abusive mother.

The role of headmaster, however, fits actor Joe Lando like a glove. Newly shorn of the locks he used to sport on “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” thesp is pretty comfortable in his scenes with the younger cast members. It’s a given that the producers will hook him up sooner or later with one of his comely female colleagues, Sophie (Anne Marie Loder) or Hannah (Deborah Odell).

Despite opener’s well-meaning, predictable storyline, show may prove to be popular with its target audience. The high-energy music and smoothly edited sequences are reminiscent of MTV’s signature shows “The Real World” and “Road Rules,” and the towering pines and rippling rivers of the show’s Vancouver-area locations are definitely a feast for the eyes.

One question, however, remains after screening the first episode: What’s up with the kids’ immaculately arranged, super clean sleeping quarters? Who’s the maid — Martha Stewart?

Higher Ground

Fox Family Channel; Friday Jan. 14, 9 p.m.

Production: Filmed in Vancouver, B.C., by Lions Gate Television, Crescent Entertainment and Paramount TV. Executive producers, Frank Giustra, Harold Tichenor, Matt Hastings, Michael Braverman, Doug Schwartz; co-executive producer, Joe Lando; producer, George Horie; director, David Straiton; writer, Michael Braverman.

Crew: Editor, Daria Ellerman; music, Ferocious Fish; art director, Liz Goldwyn; costume designer, Crystine Booth; music supervisor, Matthew B. Safran. 60 MIN.

With: Peter Scarbrow ........Joe Lando Sophie Becker ...... Anne Marie Loder Sheriff Curtis Swann ....Sean Campbell Frank Markasian ....... Jim Byrnes Scott Barringer....Hayden Christensen Shelby Merrick....... A.J. Cook Juliette Waybourne....Meghan Ory Ezra Friedkin........Kyles Downes With: Deborah Odell, Kandyse McClure, Jorge Vargas, Dmitry Chepovetsky, Sarah Wong, Benita Ha, Jewel Staite.Casting, Corrine Clark, Wendy O'Brien; production designer, Jillian Scott; director of photography, Tony Westman; editor, Daria Ellerman; music, Ferocious Fish; art director, Liz Goldwyn; costume designer, Crystine Booth; music supervisor, Matthew B. Safran. 60 MIN.

More Film

  • Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in

    Film Review: 'Vice'

    From Richard Nixon to Ronald Reagan to Donald Trump, the leaders of right-wing Republican politics have tended to be fire-breathers (or, in the case of Reagan, a saber rattler who could make snake oil taste like honey). But Dick Cheney broke that mold. Speaking in soft terse corporate tones, with the precision squint of someone [...]

  • Armie Hammer and Felicity Jones'On the

    Why Armie Hammer Cooked for the Cast of 'On the Basis of Sex'

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg returned to her hometown on Sunday for the New York premiere of “On the Basis of Sex,” a biopic starring Felicity Jones tells the Supreme Court justice’s origin story. The 85-year-old Brooklynite received a standing ovation when she entered the Walter Reade Theater — a testament to the Notorious RBG’s rock-star status. Ginsburg [...]

  • Paul McCartney, Emma Stone Take Aim

    Paul McCartney, Emma Stone Take Aim at Bullying With 'Who Cares' Short

    Paul McCartney and Emma Stone get surreal for a good cause in the short film inspired by McCartney’s new anti-bullying song “Who Cares,” which held its premiere Sunday night at Beverly Hills’ Fine Arts Theater. In the short directed by Brantley Guitierrez (a longtime McCartney tour photographer) and choreographer Ryan Heffington, the music legend and [...]

  • Black Panther Production Design

    Netflix Isn't Killing Movie Theaters, Study Shows

    Netflix isn’t killing movie theaters. At least, that’s the take-away from a new study conducted by EY’s Quantitative Economics and Statistics group, which finds that people who go to movies in theaters more frequently also consume more streaming content. That flies in the face of the “conventional wisdom” of box office sages, who grimly ascribe [...]

  • 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' Weaves Inclusive

    The Secret Power of 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' Is Inclusion

    In a year that gave us films like “Black Panther” and “Crazy Rich Asians,” this weekend’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” delivers one more home run for underrepresented groups in media in 2018. An animated film that takes advantage of Sony’s piece of the Marvel pie, “Spider-Verse” not only puts a mixed-race, middle-class teenager in the [...]

  • Jeff BridgesJeff Bridges, who stars in

    Jeff Bridges to Receive Cecil B. DeMille Award at 2019 Golden Globes

    The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has announced that Jeff Bridges will receive the Cecil B. DeMille award at the 76th Golden Globes on Jan. 6, 2019. Bridges has starred in films like “The Big Lebowski,” “Crazy Heart,” “True Grit,” and “The Fabulous Baker Boys.” “The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is delighted to bestow the 2019 [...]

  • Charlotte Rampling Euphoria

    Berlin Film Festival: Charlotte Rampling to Receive Honorary Golden Bear

    Oscar-nominated actress Charlotte Rampling, whose career has spanned more than 100 film and television roles, will be honored with a special Golden Bear at the upcoming Berlin Film Festival. The fest will also pay homage to Rampling by screening a selection of her work, including Sidney Lumet’s “The Verdict” (1982), Francois Ozon’s “Swimming Pool” (2003) [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content