'Hellcats' Review: It's Already Been Broughten
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Hellcats, the CW's new cheerleading drama premiering tonight at 9pm, is not another Bring It On. Sire, the show owes a lot to the success of the cheerleading movie franchise, but Hellcats isn't just a carbon copy of the Kirsten Dunst film.
Instead, it's a carbon copy of One Tree Hill.
This isn't necessarily a bad, but anyone who remembers the first season of OTH will suffer a serious case of deja vu while watching Hellcats.
In the new drama, Aly Michalka plays Marti, a poor college student from the wrong side of the tracks whose only hope for financial aid is a cheerleading scholarship. No, seriously, that's the actual premise of the show. Against her principles, she joins the Hellcats, an elite cheerleading squad led by Savannah (High School Musical's Ashley Tisdale).
To fully understand the One Tree Hill comparison, all you need to realize is that Marti is blonde (like Chad Michael Murray's Lucas) and Savannah is brunette (like James Lafferty's Nathan). While they're not sisters, the two butt heads immediately and their dispute, much like the feuding brothers at the start of One Tree Hill, drives all the drama.
However, the comparisons are not merely cosmetic. Marti has a platonic best friend of the opposite gender (played by Matt Barr, who actually guest starred on One Tree Hill). If history teaches us anything, it seems inevitable that Marti's best guy friend will fall in love with her rival on the squad.
The pilot even features a hazing ritual where Marti's towel and clothes are stolen while she's taking a shower, forcing her to improvise to cover herself. Fans of One Tree Hill may remember the exact same thing happening to Lucas.
I don't mean to belabor the comparison, but it needs to be addressed. Hellcats is, for the most part, inoffensive and fun in the same way One Tree Hill was when it started. The show is full of college melodrama and comedy. It's nothing new, nor is it trying to be.
Hellcats is just refreshing in the same way as watching any of the four straight-to-DVD Bring It On sequels. It's familiar on every level but still enjoyable. If you're looking for a new CW show that feels exactly like an old CW show, this one's for you.
(Image courtesy of the CW)