Perhaps BBC America should have saved “Goldplated” until next year, when it’s possible strike-starved TV audiences will be desperate for anything scripted. As is, this family soap is neither trashy nor eventful enough to truly command attention. Although some British press compared the series to “Desperate Housewives,” the first couple of episodes come closer to “Dallas” (and feel about that fresh) or CBS’ foundering “Cane.” Either way, the folks on Wisteria Lane have nothing to fear.
As the show opens, John White (David Schofield) is separated from his wife Beth (Barbara Marten), which is understandable, inasmuch as he’s living with his much-younger girlfriend, with whom he’s had a baby. Whether this was an accident is open to debate, but when John’s pretty g.f. Cassidy (Kelly Harrison) coaches her friend regarding what to look for in order to land a rich guy (watch, shoes, wallet), one suspects a bit of gold-digging was involved.
But there may not be much gold left to dig. John and Beth had built a profitable construction company, allowing them to erect a mansion in a posh suburban community. When we meet them, however, the firm is near financial insolvency as creditors circle. Beth drowns her sorrows boozing at the golf course, while worrying that John’s infant will inherit money that would otherwise go to their equally messed-up trio of grown children.
Created by Jimmy Gardner, “Goldplated” indulges in the fast cars and big homes associated with the good life but initially fails to deliver much oomph in terms of big moments or surprises, delving into a generally nondescript roster of supporting players while tracking John as he struggles to keep his business afloat — and, in theory, find a way to hang onto Cassidy even if the biz fails. Yes, there are pampered neighborhood wives that function as a sort of Greek chorus, but thus far the show plays mostly like a pallid version of “Viva Blackpool,” minus the invigorating musical numbers.
The BBC normally excels in the realm of classy character-driven dramas but has a spottier track record with this sort of popcorn fare that seems to ape more traditional U.S. sudsers. Whatever the cause, the cable net’s latest import provides yet another reminder that all that glitters is not gold.