Melrose Place

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This article is about the original 1992 TV series. For the 2009 continuation, see Melrose Place (2009 TV series).
Melrose Place
Mroselogo.jpg
Melrose Place title screen
Genre Soap Opera[1]
Created by Darren Star
Starring Josie Bissett
Thomas Calabro
Amy Locane
Doug Savant
Grant Show
Andrew Shue
Courtney Thorne-Smith
Vanessa A. Williams
Daphne Zuniga
Heather Locklear
Laura Leighton
Marcia Cross
Kristin Davis
Jack Wagner
Rob Estes
Brooke Langton
Lisa Rinna
Kelly Rutherford
David Charvet
Linden Ashby
Alyssa Milano
Jamie Luner
John Haymes Newton
Composer(s) Tim Truman
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 7
No. of episodes 226 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Aaron Spelling
E. Duke Vincent
Darren Star
Frank South
Charles Pratt, Jr.
Carol Mendelsohn
Running time 44 minutes
Production company(s) Darren Star Productions
Spelling Television
Distributor CBS Television Distribution
Broadcast
Original channel Fox Network
Picture format 4:3 SDTV
Original run July 8, 1992  – May 24, 1999
Chronology
Preceded by Beverly Hills, 90210
Followed by Models Inc.
90210
Melrose Place (2009)

Melrose Place is an American primetime soap opera that aired on Fox from July 8, 1992 to May 24, 1999, for seven seasons. The show follows the lives of a group of young adults living in a brownstone apartment complex called Melrose Place, in Los Angeles, California. The show was created by Darren Star for Fox and executive produced by Aaron Spelling for his company, Spelling Television. It is the second series in the Beverly Hills, 90210 franchise. Season one and season two were broadcast on Wednesday at 9pm, after Beverly Hills, 90210. In 1994, for its third season premiere, the show moved to Monday at 8pm.

The show had many cast changes during the run. Thomas Calabro was the only original cast member to remain on the series throughout its entire run.

The show earned several Golden Globe nominations and placed #51 on Entertainment Weekly's "New TV Classics" list.[2]

Filming[edit]

Filming for the series took place at a studio in Santa Clarita, California.[3]

Setting and original premise[edit]

The show is set in a small apartment courtyard complex located at 4616 Melrose Place in the city of West Hollywood, California.[4][n 1] Several young individuals reside in the apartments, each with their own dreams and drives. The original format for the show was to have self-contained stories that conclude in every episode, but when that formula proved unpopular the producers and writers started developing long-term storylines to evolve during the season. By the second season, the show had adopted a full-on soap opera format.

Cast and characters[edit]

Melrose Place's premiere season featured eight main characters: Dr. Michael Mancini (Thomas Calabro), a physician who works at Wilshire Memorial Hospital and changes from a kind, devoted husband in Season 1 to a mean, adulterous villain from Season 2 on; Jane Mancini (Josie Bissett), his budding fashion designer wife; Billy Campbell (Andrew Shue), a struggling writer adapting to life out of his parents' control; Alison Parker (Courtney Thorne-Smith),[7] a receptionist at D&D Advertising; Jake Hanson (Grant Show), a struggling manual laborer and motorcycle enthusiast; Matt Fielding (Doug Savant), a social worker who is gay; Rhonda Blair (Vanessa A. Williams), an aerobics instructor; and Sandy Harling (Amy Locane), a Southern belle and struggling actress who moonlights as a waitress at a local bar called Shooters, the group's main hangout. Locane was written off after 13 episodes and replaced by Daphne Zuniga as Jo Reynolds, a photographer running away from her abusive husband. Williams was not brought back for the second season, her character having become engaged to a wealthy restaurant entrepreneur.

Actress Heather Locklear, who in season one had guest starred as Alison's ambitious and merciless boss Amanda Woodward, was promoted to series regular status in the second season after her character bought and moved into the Melrose Place apartment building. Although she was always billed as a "special guest star", Locklear remained with the show for the rest of its run. Guest Laura Leighton, recurring as Jane's trouble-making younger sister Sydney Andrews in season one, was upgraded to series regular for season two. Marcia Cross, recurring as Dr. Kimberly Shaw in season 1, became a series regular by the end of the second season. Janet Carroll appeared in several episodes as Marion Shaw, Kimberly's domineering mother. Beata Pozniak was featured in Season two in 7 episodes as Dr. Katya Petrova Fielding, a doctor who has a daughter from a previous marriage befriends and ultimately marries a gay man, who becomes an endearing father figure for her child.[8]

Season four saw two new regular characters: Peter Burns (Jack Wagner), the ruthless hospital Chief of Staff introduced in season three; and Brooke Armstrong (Kristin Davis), a young, conniving intern at D&D Advertising also recurring the previous season. Davis's character was subsequently killed off in the middle of the fourth season, while Zuniga left the series at the end of the season. Patrick Muldoon also arrived in the third season as the villainous Richard Hart. Although Muldoon was not billed with the main cast he appeared in most of the fourth season's episodes and is also Melrose Place's longest recurring character (i.e. not in the opening credits) in terms of number of episodes.

The fifth season saw the addition of Rob Estes as restaurateur Kyle McBride, Lisa Rinna as his opportunistic wife Taylor, and Brooke Langton as Samantha Reilly, an artist and a new tenant in the apartment complex. Bissett and Cross left the series towards the end of the fifth season; Kelly Rutherford was brought in as Megan Lewis, a prostitute hired by Kimberly Shaw to have an affair with Michael Mancini, and David Charvet played Craig Field, Amanda's new co-worker and later Sydney's boyfriend. The season finale featured the exits of series regulars Thorne-Smith, Show, and Leighton.

The season premiere of season six featured the departure of original cast member Savant while Alyssa Milano (recurring as Michael's sister Jennifer Mancini since season five) was bumped to series regular, with Linden Ashby joining the cast as Dr. Brett Cooper and Jamie Luner as his seductive and rich ex-wife, Lexi Sterling.

Charvet was written out in the middle of season 6, and the beginning of season seven saw the departure of Shue, Rinna, Langton, Milano, and Ashby. The show's seventh season introduced John Haymes Newton as Ryan McBride, Kyle's younger brother, and Rena Sofer as Eve Cleary, a woman from Amanda's past who marries Peter. Sofer was not billed with the main cast. Bissett reprised her role as Jane for the seventh season.

This table includes only main cast characters, those who are listed in the intro title sequence.

Actor Character Seasons
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Josie Bissett Jane Mancini Main Main
Thomas Calabro Michael Mancini Main
Amy Locane Sandy Harling Main
Doug Savant Matt Fielding Main Recurring
Grant Show Jake Hanson Main
Andrew Shue Billy Campbell Main
Courtney Thorne-Smith Alison Parker Main
Vanessa Williams Rhonda Blair Main
Daphne Zuniga Jo Reynolds Main
Heather Locklear Amanda Woodward Recurring Main
Laura Leighton Sydney Andrews Recurring Main
Marcia Cross Kimberly Shaw Recurring Main
Jack Wagner Peter Burns Recurring Main
Kristin Davis Brooke Armstrong Recurring Main
Brooke Langton Samantha Reilly Recurring Main
Rob Estes Kyle McBride Main
Lisa Rinna Taylor McBride Main
Kelly Rutherford Megan Lewis Main
David Charvet Craig Field Main
Alyssa Milano Jennifer Mancini Recurring Main
Linden Ashby Brett Cooper Main
Jamie Luner Lexi Sterling Main
John Haymes Newton Ryan McBride Main

Reception[edit]

Ratings[edit]

Season U.S. ratings Network Rank
1 1992-93 10.65 million Fox #76
2 1993-94 13.54 million Fox #50
3 1994-95 12.88 million Fox #63
4 1995-96 12.36 million Fox #61
5 1996-97 11.17 million Fox #58
6 1997-98 9.86 million Fox #80
7 1998-99 7.82 million Fox #95

The series debuted on July 8, 1992 and was an instant smash hit, debuting at #19 on the Nielsen ratings with a 10.3/19 share. The series finale was watched by 10.38 million viewers.

Critical reception[edit]

Melrose Place received mixed to negative reviews from critics. As of September 2014, season 1 has a critics rating of 4.7/10 at Metacritic.[9] One of the critics, Time's Richard Zoglin, who gave the season a 2.0/10 score, wrote that the soap is "tapping into nothing more than worn plot lines from The Young and the Restless".[10] Conversely, Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly, who gave Melrose Place a D rating, wrote: "Hey, I make fun of Melrose Place — but I'm hypnotized by it. As warm-weather escapism, it takes all the issues facing this country, from unemployment to sexual harassment, and turns them into crises that can be solved in an hour."[11] In 1997, Mark Harris, who also gave the soap a D rating, stated: "Although the ever-game, deserves-better Heather Locklear still spits out even the worst lines with snappish authority, and the diabolical-doctor duo of Jack Wagner and Thomas Calabro at least try to look interested, they can't sustain a show that has lost its best asset — a twisted joy in its own trashiness."[12]

Accolades[edit]

The series won the People's Choice Award in 1993 for 'Favorite New TV Dramatic Series'.[13]

Heather Locklear was nominated for four Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress in a Television Series – Drama for her role as Amanda Woodward on Melrose Place, in 1993, 1994, 1995, and 1996.[14] Laura Leighton was nominated in 1995 for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series for her role as Sydney Andrews.[15]

In May 1994, at the height of the show's popularity, the female stars, Heather Locklear, Laura Leighton, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Daphne Zuniga and Josie Bissett, were featured on the cover of Rolling Stone.

Seasons and episodes[edit]

Spin-off[edit]

The original series produced a spin off series, titled: Models Inc., which ran for one season from 1994-1995. The series focused on a Los Angeles modeling agency run by Hillary Michaels (played by Linda Gray), the mother of Melrose's Amanda Woodward.[16] An updated version of the series, also called Melrose Place, premiered on September 8, 2009 on The CW Television Network.[17] The series was subject to severe criticism for its bad storylines, unlikeable characters, and suffered from low ratings causing it to be cancelled in May 2010 after one season. However, five actors from the original MP reprise their characters on the sequel: Thomas Calabro, Laura Leighton, Josie Bissett, Daphne Zuniga and Heather Locklear. They have a mini reunion (without Leighton) in episode sixteen ("Santa Fe").[18]

Home media[edit]

CBS Home Entertainment (distributed by Paramount) have released all seasons of Melrose Place on DVD in Region 1.

The series has also been released on DVD in Region 2 and 4 by Paramount Home Entertainment.

Due to music licensing issues, most of the original music has been replaced on these DVD releases. Starting with Season 1, some episodes are edited from their original broadcast versions.

The series is rated  M  in Australia and  M  in New Zealand for its sex scenes and offensive language.

DVD Name Ep # Release dates Special features
Region 1 Region 2 (Scandinavia) Region 2 (UK) Region 4
The First Season 32 November 7, 2006 November 13, 2006 November 13, 2006 November 1, 2006 Season 1 episode recaps
Behind the scenes featurette
Mini featurettes
Cast Interviews
The Second Season 32 May 1, 2007 April 1, 2007 March 13, 2007 May 3, 2007 Audio Commentary by Series Creator Darren Star
Melrose Place: Meet The Neighbours
Melrose Place: Complex Relationships
Melrose Place: The Best of the Worst
The Third Season 32 November 13, 2007 December 2, 2007 May 18, 2009 April 9, 2008 Melrose Place: According to Jake
Melrose Place: Seven Minutes in Hell
Everything You Need To Know About Melrose Place Season 3
The Fourth Season 34 April 15, 2008 March 11, 2009 March 22, 2010 April 2, 2009 None
The Fifth Season (Volume One) 19 February 10, 2009 N/A N/A N/A None
The Fifth Season (Volume Two) 15 November 24, 2009 N/A N/A N/A None
The Sixth Season (Volume One) 13 May 3, 2011 N/A N/A N/A None
The Sixth Season (Volume Two) 14 July 19, 2011 N/A N/A N/A None
The Seventh Season (Volume One) 18 July 31, 2012 N/A N/A N/A None
The Seventh Season (Volume Two) 17 July 31, 2012 N/A N/A N/A None

On April 1, 2011, all seven seasons of the show were made available to view on Netflix's subscription internet streaming service.

GALA Committee[edit]

A group of artists and Melrose Place producers formed the GALA Committee, headed by artist Mel Chin, in order to bring artworks out of galleries and into primetime television. GALA artists designed artworks that were used as props by Melrose Place characters in the fourth and fifth seasons, often with hidden political messages:

  • When Alison is pregnant, her quilt is decorated with the molecular structure of RU-486.
  • A bag of Chinese take-out food is emblazoned with two opposing ideograms translated from Chinese as "Human Rights" and "Turmoil"; both terms were used by the Chinese government to justify a restriction on student protesters of June 4, 1989.
  • Bottles behind the counter at Shooters bar are decorated with ads and documents chronicling the history of alcohol.
  • As Alison quits D&D Advertising, a framed ad in the background features a bombed-out building. The damage to the structure is in the shape of a liquor bottle, and the words "Total Proof" appear on the poster.

Chin compared the works to viruses, symbiotic and invisible. The project was called "In the Name of the Place", as part of the "Uncommon Sense" art show at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Los Angeles, California in 1997. A portion of the Fifth Season was filmed at the Geffen Contemporary where the project was displayed. The artwork was also shown at the 1997 Kwangju Biennale in Kwangju, Korea and at Grand Arts in Kansas City, Missouri in 1998. Sotheby's Auction house auctioned almost fifty of these artworks for charity.

Related shows[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In the Beverly Hills, 90210 second-season episode "Mexican Standoff", which served as the backdoor pilot of Melrose Place, Dylan McKay asks Jake Hanson, "So where you livin' these days, man?" To which Jake replies, "Ah, it's a little place off Melrose [Avenue], nothing special."[5] The real street named Melrose Place is in fact located north-east of the intersection of Melrose Avenue and La Cienega Boulevard; however, it features only shops, salons, boutiques and restaurants, and no apartment complexes.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wulff, Jennifer. "Melrose Place: Where Are They Now? - Melrose Place, Soaps We Loved, Where Are They Now?, Andrew Shue, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Doug Savant, Josie Bissett, Laura Leighton, Marcia Cross, Rob Estes, Thomas Calabro, Vanessa Williams". People.com. Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  2. ^ "The New Classics: TV". Entertainment Weekly. June 18, 2007. Retrieved February 5, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Filming locations for Melrose Place". IMDB.com. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  4. ^ Wild, David (1995). "Introduction by Aaron Spelling". The Official Melrose Place Companion. Harper Perennial/Spelling Television. p. vi. ISBN 978-0-06-095147-4. 
  5. ^ Wild, David (1995). p. 5.
  6. ^ Google Maps (2011). Melrose Place, West Hollywood, CA (Map). http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Melrose+Place,+West+Hollywood,+CA&aq=&sll=34.083628,-118.375143&sspn=0.002888,0.004823&g=Melrose+Ave,+West+Hollywood,+California&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Melrose+Pl,+West+Hollywood,+California&ll=34.083339,-118.374767&spn=0.002888,0.006866&z=18. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
  7. ^ "Courtney Thorne-Smith". TV Guide. Retrieved June 23, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Janet Carroll – Filmography by TV series". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  9. ^ "Melrose Place (1992) - Season 1 Reviews - Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  10. ^ Zoglin, Richard (20 July 1992). "Revenge of The Androids". Time. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  11. ^ Tucker, Ken (7 August 1992). "TV Show Review: 'Melrose Place' Review | TV Reviews and News | EW.com". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  12. ^ Harris, Mark (14 November 1997). "TV Review: 'Beverly Hills 90210'; 'Melrose Place' Review | TV Reviews and News | EW.com". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  13. ^ "People's Choice Awards: Fan Favorites in Movies, Music & TV". People's Choice Awards. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  14. ^ "Heather Lockyear Awards". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  15. ^ "Laura Leighton Awards". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  16. ^ "Models Inc.". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  17. ^ Stransky, Tanner (May 21, 2009). "EW Hollywood Insider: The CW announces fall schedule: Melrose Place paired with 90210". HollywoodInsider.ew.com. Retrieved July 11, 2009. 
  18. ^ "Melrose Place Reunion". YouTube. April 1, 2010. Retrieved 2012-02-10. 

External links[edit]