A killer idea gets a decent treatment in the premiere of “Live Through This,” MTV’s first hourlong drama series, featuring the children of a band not unlike Fleetwood Mac or Heart, who have been brought back into each other’s lives thanks to a reunion tour.
Chase Rooney (Tom Lock), the son of the self-absorbed Keith (David Nerman), has made the reunion of 1980s tastemakers the Jackson Decker Band his first job since graduating from Stanford. He succeeds in bringing back the whole unit, even singer Annie Baker (Jennifer Dale) who has battled alcoholism and stage fright, yet managed to maintain a steady solo career.
Most important to Chase, however, is the return to his life of Baker’s daughter and his former g.f. Lu (Sarah Manninen). Sparks are re-ignited before the end of the series premiere. Subplot involves the 18-year-old troublemaker Olivia Rooney (Jessica Welch) who enlists Darby Parsons (Jane McGregor) as a reluctant sidekick.
Episode one concerns only the reunion and a free concert that proves to the band that their songs have not lost their luster over the last decade. Cinematically, there’s real promise in this mixture of dealing with coming-of-age and aging issues on the road as one half (the kids) is told not to live like the other half (the band) lived.
Series has a thirteen-episode commitment from MTV, and the first show ends on a cliffhanger.
Acting and directing are yeoman-like across the board, with no one character taking over the operation. Kudos to writers George Huang and Bernard Lechowick, who keep the action spread out among the principals, yet allow each to get in his or her two cents, though Manninen gets a spotlight turn just a few drips shy of sappy.
Director of photography Bert Tougas gives the show a consistency and character that veers away from MTV’s nonfiction programs. Simon Webb’s editing gives the hour a nice flow yet, despite its unique look, production standards could use some elevating.
Original music is guaranteed in every episode, and it appears the tunesmiths have a handle on a plausible Heart-Fleetwood Mac-Scandal hybrid.