Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Happy Town Premiere Review
New ABC mystery series Happy Town premieres tonight with its pilot episode, "In This Home on Ice". While ABC is hoping for a combo of Lost and Twin Peaks fans, it remains to be seen if this uneven but intriguing series can hold that kind of audience. With a large cast of quirky and mysterious characters, and a continuing storyline of teases and shocks, Happy Town could turn into a decent mid-week guilty pleasure.
The highs? Sam Neill doing a stellar job of being both amusing and creepily sinister, and Lost alum M.C. Gainey making bad dialogue sound good, and hitting all the right scary notes with his sinister personality shifts. Happy Town also boasts a pretty intriguing mystery involving murder, unsolved abductions, the ominous third floor of the local boardinghouse, and possibly-not-all-she-seems newcomer Henley (Lauren German).
The lows? A jarring beginning of violence and Stupid Character Acts, and some corny and lame dialogue. There's also a problem with tone, as some actors seem to be playing up the cheese factor and melodrama, while others are playing it as serious, straight drama. It's not an easy line to straddle, and the success of Happy Town will depend on whether it can get everyone reading from the same script.
Want more detail? You can read my full Happy Town review at AC.
PHOTO: Happy Town pilot, "In This Home on Ice" screencap, c2010 ABC Studios.