TV Review: ‘Eye Candy’

Victoria Justice, Casey Deidrick, Kiersey Clemons, John Garet Stoker, Harvey Guillen.

Among the burdens of shows associated with MTV is a need to feel youthful and occasionally on the cutting edge. The drama “Eye Candy” falls well short of those marching orders, casting Victoria Justice as a young hacker trying to find her missing sister, and simultaneously hunted by a sadistic predator. Basically, it’s Nancy Drew meets “Stalker” (nearly rivaling that CBS show in terms of grisly killings), and winds up being most notable for Justice graduating from Nickelodeon roles (“Zoey 101,” “Victorious”) to its Viacom sibling. Assuming the studio advocates cradle-to-grave employment, at least she can count on a TV Land gig in her district-attorney years.

Adapted from R.L. Stine’s bestselling novel into a 10-episode series, “Eye Candy” begins on a grim note, as Justice’s Lindy watches her younger sister get snatched right in front of her. Three years later, she’s 21 and still seeking clues, while using her unique “gift” to spot connections online to help others in a similar predicament, via an Internet site titled Never4gottengroup.com.

Still, Lindy isn’t the only one with mad computer skills, and pretty soon she realizes a killer is tracking her movements. Or as she puts it, “What if someone is using virtual to stalk and maybe kill people?”

For starters, you have a serialized drama that — in one of its more disturbing touches — actually lets said stalker, whoever he is, provide some of the narration. “The Internet: God’s gift to psychopaths,” he hisses.

As developed by Christian Taylor, who wrote the premiere with Emmy Grinwis, “Eye Candy” (which derives its name from the sign-on Lindy uses to contact possible suspects through a dating site) is certainly tense, in a “Scream” kind of way. But it’s almost completely derivative — “Veronica Mars” with a high-speed modem. That includes Lindy’s pals (Kiersey Clemons, John Garet Stoker), who spend most of their time prodding her to have a social life.

There’s also something rather cynical in assuming that simply casting younger leads will be enough to reel in viewers in Justice’s demo when she’s wrapped in a package that otherwise wouldn’t look out of place on CBS or TNT — “CSI” for the student-loan crowd.

Justice has obviously grown up, and she has the right surname to headline a crime show. Yet her character seems woefully overmatched in the early stages, perhaps because this is one of those unseen killers who somehow manages to be everywhere at once, as the body count and collateral damage mount.

So while the fact that MTV is delving into crime and thrillers given the genre’s durability might feel like TV 101, “Eye Candy” mostly lives down to its title — reminding us, in TV terms, that nobody gets to be victorious forever.

TV Review: 'Eye Candy'

(Series; MTV, Mon. Jan. 12, 10 p.m.)

Production: Filmed in New York by Jax Media in association with Blumhouse Prods.

Crew: Executive producers, Jason Blum, Christian Taylor, Yvonne Bernard, Beth Elise Hawk; co-executive producers, Tony Hernandez, Emmy Grinwis, Jessica Rhoades; producer, David Bausch; director, Russell Mulcahy; writers, Taylor, Grinwis, based on the book by R.L. Stine; camera, David Daniel; production designer, Sharon Lomofsky; editor, Peter Gvozdas; music supervisor, Laura Webb; music, Dino Meneghin; casting, Christine Kromer, Nancy Nayor. 60 MIN.

Cast: Victoria Justice, Casey Deidrick, Kiersey Clemons, John Garet Stoker, Harvey Guillen.

More TV

  • Tulsi Gabbard, Tom Steyer, Cory Booker,

    Nonsense Ellen DeGeneres Question Derails an Otherwise Substantive Democratic Debate (Column)

    The fourth Democratic debate was dangerously close to being substantive. For almost three (3!) hours, the twelve (12!) candidates onstage tackled questions on foreign policy, reproductive rights, health care, gun control, big tech, and the opioid crisis. While the other debates — and indeed, the entire 2016 presidential campaign — have been marked by meme-able [...]

  • Pictured (l-r): Doug Jones as Lieutenant

    Mipcom Roundup: E4 Buys 'Star Trek: Discovery'; All3Media Sells Drama Package

    In Variety’s fourth Mipcom roundup, E4 buys U.K. linear rights to “Star Trek: Discovery,” All3Media sells drama package to Pickbox Now, African broadcasters buy 800 hours of content from BBC Studios, France’s Serieclub acquires offbeat Norwegian comedy, ZDF and Red Balloon team for young adult book adaptation, and Viacom and Youku partner on kids’ animation. [...]


    SAG-AFTRA Leaders Approve Music Video Agreement for Performers

    SAG-AFTRA’s national board has approved unanimously an agreement with major record labels on a three-year successor contract to their music video agreement. The new agreement is effective retroactively from May 1, 2019, through April 30, 2022. The major labels party to the agreement are Warner Records, Atlantic Records, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, Capitol [...]

  • Darren Star, Canneseries 2020 season 03

    Darren Star Reflects on His Iconic Shows And Teases 'Emily in Paris' at Mipcom

    Darren Star, the creator of “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Melrose Place” and “Sex and the City” who was celebrated at Mipcom on Monday and named patron of the upcoming Canneseries festival, said the iconic TV series he created struck a chord throughout the world because of their relatable characters and cultural grounding. “I never thought of [...]

  • Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren,

    How to Watch the Fourth Democratic Primary Debate

    For the first time since Nancy Pelosi launched the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, the top 12 Democratic primary candidates will take part in a debate. This marks the fourth Democratic primary debate of the 2020 campaign season. The event is co-hosted by CNN and the New York Times and will be held at Otterbein [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content