Monday, September 19, 2011
Debuting on Monday 9/19 at 10pm, NBC brings in the second Mad Men-era-inspired series with The Playboy Club, an evocation of ring-a-ding Chicago of the early 1960s where Hugh Hefner started his first gentleman's key club. Produced by Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind, 24, and so many more), The Playboy Club offers up a seductive mix of adventure, intrigue, beautiful ladies, and the delights of a vanished era, long gone with the tides of social and political change. You can expect a bevy of gorgeous and talented ladies in the cast -- Amber Heard (Zombieland, Pineapple Express), acclaimed theatrical actress Laura Benanti, Canadian actress Leah Renee, Naturi Naughton (Notorious, and part of the singing group 3LW), and Jenna Dewan Tatum (Set Up, Step Up). The male leads are also impressive -- Eddie Cibrian (Third Watch, CSI: Miami) and David Krumholz (Numb3rs, Ray), along with Wes Ramsey (The Guiding Light, Charmed).
As with the stewardesses of ABC's Pan Am, the alluring sexual mystique inherent in the Bunnies fuels the The Playboy Club, but for a start the series will have to be lots peppier than Mad Men to succeed on a broadcast network. It's got some tough competition in the 10pm from ABC's Castle and CBS' successful Hawaii 5-0 reboot returning from last season. What audience isn't being served there already? And wouldn't you really rather see a show about Hugh Hefner's empire on a pay cable outlet? Yes, I realize that Playboy Bunnies weren't anywhere close to call girls, but even the intellectual climate necessary to adequately portray Hefner's monumental achievement doesn't seem like network TV country. Good luck to The Playboy Club, though, because it will no doubt look gorgeous while it lasts.
At 9pm, the CW offers up a distaff, soap opera version of Doc Hollywood in Hart of Dixie, the story of a beautiful and privileged NYC med school graduate who ends up practicing in rural Alabama and learning the meaning of life. This is a romance novel for young women come to life, and as that fits in perfectly to CW's target demo and strength. Rachel Bilson (The O.C.) stars as Dr. Zoe Hart, along with Scott Porter (Friday Night Lights), model-turned-actress Jamie King, Wilson Bethel (The Young and the Restless), and Cress Williams (Friday Night Lights). This show is a good companion piece to its lead-in show Gossip Girl, and I think we can rest assured it won't be the last series to use Southern stereotypes to make a point.
Next Up: Pt. 3, Tuesday, coming tomorrow morning!