Reviews2/14/2009 2:00 AM Eastern
(Nickelodeon, Monday, Feb. 16, 8:30 p.m.)
Nickelodeon takes its shot at the teen-targeted musical movie genre with its newest made-for-TV flick, Spectacular.
The movie stars Smallville’s Nolan Gerard Funk as Nikko, a wanna-be rock star whose personal ambitions get him kicked out of his homegrown rock band. Needing quick cash to make a demo tape for a big-time music producer, Nikko reluctantly joins a “show choir” group dubbed Spectacular, led by annoyingly preppy and perky Courtney (Tammin Sursok) with the promise of a $5,000 prize if the group wins a national championship.
After the rock 'n’ roll-driven Nikko is unable to adjust to the strict, choreographed moves of the show choir, he entices the rest of the Spectacular group to dance to a different, more contemporary and spontaneous beat, much to Courtney’s chagrin.
Courtney eventually comes around to the group’s new moves, but after the record producer offers Nikko a chance to make a demo tape, he is confronted with a choice of performing with Spectacular at the national championships or fulfilling his dreams of becoming a rock star.
As with many of these teen-targeted movies, the plot is predictable and the dialogue is not very strong or unique. But teens will tap their toes to the numerous musical performances.
High School Musical it is not, but Spectacular will undoubtedly find its own tween/teen audience. — R. Thomas Umstead
(BBC America, Friday, Feb. 20, 8 p.m. ET/PT)
Sex. Deception. Love. Consequences. All things you associate with the word “mistresses” — as in “affairs” — play out in this British melodrama starring four top U.K. actresses: Sarah Parish (Viva Blackpool), Sharon Small (The Inspector Lynley Mysteries), Orla Brady (Shark) and Shelley Conn (Innocence).
It’s a cut above pulp fiction by the quality of acting and truth of emotions. All kinds of dalliances are explored among these four 30-something pals.
Katie (Parish), a doctor, had an affair with a terminally ill patient and many repercussions ensue. Trudi (Small, who’s especially good), a 9/11 widow whose husband’s body was never found, has trouble moving on until she meets a single dad (The Office’s Patrick Baladi). Siobhan (Brady), an ambitious lawyer, strays with a colleague when her marriage turns rocky. Jessica (Conn), an event organizer, plays the field until meeting the right (or is it wrong?) person when she least expects to.
The plot turns in expected and unexpected ways over the six one-hour episodes that make up season one. (Season two, coming soon to U.K. viewers, will follow immediately.) The sleek production (in Bristol, England) had enough humor and pathos to keep me hooked. — Kent Gibbons