Paramount // 1998 // 750 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Tom Becker // July 29th, 2012
"Just no Kimberly...Promise?
Season seven of Melrose Place could have used a little Kimberly of its own.
Last time on Melrose Place: The Final Season, Volume 1...We hunkered down on the edge of our seats and waited for Melrose Place: The Final Season, Volume 2.
The final season of Melrose Place was all about secrets -- unlike, you know, all the other seasons. Anyway, this being the final season, the writers came up with a novel, if silly catalyst: former M-Placer Matt -- the resident gay hunk who, inexplicably, never seemed to have any sex at all -- is coming back for a visit. As luck would have it, he dies in a crash on his way to a reunion party. Poor Matt!
But, as luck further has it, he's left a diary containing "terrible secrets" about all his neighbors. Apparently, the Melrose magpies who can't keep their mouths shut about cheating on their partners and swindling people in business kept a few of their cards close to the vest, sharing them only with the monk-like Matt -- because, in Los Angeles as in the rest of the world, gay men never gossip. Nor do they have sex.
Anyway, we learn that Michael was once a stripper (wouldn't Jane have known this?), that Kyle has a brother (hello, new character!), and that Amanda was involved in a killing, which should come as no surprise, because I think Amanda has actually been involved in a number of killings, but no matter.
The whole journal business is really pretty cheesy, even by Melrose Place standards; if some completely extraneous person or event is mentioned, it means that person is going to show up or that event is going to somehow figure into everyone's life. It's just an expedient bit of shorthand to move things along since, unlike seasons past, this one's the last, and everything needs to be crammed in quickly before time runs out.
The fact is, much as I once enjoyed Melrose Place, the show really had run its course by season seven. On top of that, the characters had become caricatures -- I know, like they weren't already, but the stupid quotient was bubbling over by this point. Logic is out the window, decision-making is horrendous -- if this crowd were teenagers at Camp Crystal Lake, the counselors would murder them; they're that stupid.
All the drama swings between petty squabbling or ridiculous, life-threatening situations; seriously, if one more person tries to murder Amanda Woodward, she should look into getting her name in The Guiness Book of World Records.
People get shot, they recover over night; people get punched square in the face -- no broken bones; the Placers all have scads of money, but no one has caller ID (in 1998), so mysterious phone calls blossom. The delicious irony of the scheming has taken on a decidedly Inspector Clouseau vibe, with klutzy plans and transparent deceptions the order of the day.
Which is not to say that Melrose Place: The Final Season, Volume 2 doesn't contain hours of guilty pleasure; it does, as does any season of Melrose Place. Even though I needed to cruise through these two sets for review, I found myself rewatching much of it, engrossed in the silliness and actually interested in the goings on. Jamie Luner's villainous Lexi kind of grew on me after the annoying Coop was out of the picture, and Heather Locklear's Amanda and Thomas Calabro's Michael had enough nefarious shenanigans to remind us why this hooey was so addictive in the first place.
The one touch that's kind of nice this season is that Kyle owns a jazz club, and despite his constant cries of poverty, the club attracts real talent. This means that we get brief glimpses of Diana Krall, Joe Sample, Sean Lennon and various other musicians doing sets. It's not much, but it's something.
Melrose Place: The Final Season, Volume 2 picks up where Melrose Place: The Final Season, Volume 1 leaves off. The set contains the remaining 17 episodes from the final season. Everything looks and sounds fine, and there are English subtitles and no supplements. Given that this was one-time tentpole TV for Fox, you'd think they might have come up with a retrospective or something, but...
Seven sleazy, silly, sordid seasons, and you know what? If it were still on, we'd still be watching it, even with Botox and Viagra as the Placers' drugs of choice, and the whole thing was retitled Melrose Pacemaker. Even the stupid CW reboot needed to pull in the original cast members just to eke out a full season.
Melrose Place helped make the '90s just a little bit guiltier, and while I wish there was more to this set, at least it's all out there now.
Review content copyright © 2012 Tom Becker; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 750 Minutes
Release Year: 1998
MPAA Rating: Not Rated