×
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

  • Charles D. King, Producer'Sorry to Bother

    Charles King's Macro Signs First-Look Deal at Warner Bros. Pictures

    Charles D. King’s media company Macro has entered a first-look deal with Warner Bros. Pictures Group to develop and package feature films. Warners Bros. will have the option to co-finance the projects from the producer of “Mudbound,” who will retain international rights to all films under the deal. “This expertise, combined with WarnerMedia and AT&T’s [...]

  • Kristine Belson Sony Animation

    How Kristine Belson Turned Up the Heat at Sony’s Sleepy Animation Shop

    “There are mimosas upstairs,” a staffer reminds Sony Pictures Animation president Kristine Belson on a recent Friday in her sunny and serene office, just a brisk walk from the studio lot in Culver City, Calif. Belson waves off the offer. “Not today,” she responds politely. She cites a packed schedule of home entertainment meetings, as [...]

  • Dean DeBlois'How to Train Your Dragon:

    How Dean DeBlois Broke New Ground in Sequel Strategy for 'Dragon' Trilogy

    As with practically every North American kid of his generation, Dean DeBlois had his mind blown by the original “Star Wars” trilogy. DeBlois — who was born in the tiny town of Aylmer, Quebec, where “Hollywood seemed so, so far away” — had just turned 7 when the first “Star Wars” movie opened in summer [...]

  • Dean DeBlois Chris Sanders Mulan Disney

    For 'How to Train Your Dragon's' Dean DeBlois, Animated Features Were His Destiny

    “How to Train Your Dragon” director Dean DeBlois grew up wanting to be a comic-book artist. After meandering his way through fine-arts classes at Sheridan College for a year, however, he managed to get into the school’s summer animation program, where he found his calling. “Animation had everything I love about comic books — you [...]

  • er prize during the cesar producers

    'Sink or Swim' Producer Alain Attal Wins Toscan du Plantier Prize

    Alain Attal, whose Paris-based company is behind Gilles Lellouche’s “Sink or Swim” and Jeanne Herry’s “In Safe Hands,” won the Toscan du Plantier Award, Gaul’s equivalent to the PGA’s Darryl F. Zanuck award, at a Paris ceremony on Feb. 18. Attal, the founder of Tresor Films, was named France’s best producer of 2018 at the [...]

  • FilmNation logo

    FilmNation Promotes Ashley Fox, Brad Zimmerman to SVP of Production (EXCLUSIVE)

    FilmNation Entertainment, the independent studio behind “Arrival” and “Room,” has promoted Ashley Fox and Brad Zimmerman to senior VPs of production. The pair will source and develop material that can be transformed into movies and will oversee film productions on behalf of the company. They will continue to report to Ben Browning, FilmNation’s president of [...]

  • Chinese artist Ai Weiwei poses after

    Chinese Artist Ai Weiwei Accuses 'I Love You, Berlin' Producers of Censorship

    The executive producer of anthology film “Berlin, I Love You” is engaged in a war of words with Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, whose contribution to the movie was left on the cutting-room floor. Ai contends that the segment he shot for “Berlin, I Love You” was axed by the producers for political reasons, out [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content