DRAMA SERIES "The L.A. Complex"
WHEN | WHERE Premieres Tuesday night at 9 (again Wednesday at 8 p.m.) on CW/11
Hollywood? In TV, music, comedy or dance? Then here's your cautionary tale.
WHAT IT'S ABOUT Six just-legal show-biz wannabes intersect by living in one Deluxe suites motel that isn't (deluxe), clawing around town for their big break. One, hot Aussie dude Connor (Jonathan Patrick Moore), is actually movin' on up in a TV pilot ("I haven't even done a guest spot, and now I'm a lead"). Another, struggling comic Nick (Joe Dinicol), just got dissed off the stage at open-mic night by two pros (guests Paul F. Tompkins, Mary Lynn Rajskub).
And then there's beat-boy wannabe Tariq (Benjamin Charles Watson), busy cleaning up after nasty rappers, and hopeful dancer Alicia (Chelan Simmons), about whose day job (uh, night job) nothing is clean.
Actually, one-time TV series regular Raquel (Jewel Staite, "Firefly") isn't just-legal; she's regularly told she's too old because she isn't fresh off the boat. Younger actress Abby (Cassie Steele, "DeGrassi") is, though; too bad she doesn't have any money or work papers.
Hot parties around the pool, intoxicated sex, smashed windshields, morning-after pills -- what's not to like?
MY SAY Give the Canadians credit. ("The L.A. Complex" was produced by, and imported from, our northern friends at CTV/MuchMusic.) See how their title, unlike "Melrose Place," has a cleverly pointed double-meaning. (You gotta have some mental complex to stay in this dumpy motel complex!)
The show has that same sneaky depth. The leads are pretty without being "pretty," refreshingly down-to-earth likable, and able to flesh out their youthful stereotypes with this weird thing called personality. So give the Canadians yet more credit.
Mostly, give them some viewership, even if you're not in the demo. "The L.A. Complex" doesn't restrict itself to youth or show business. It's about defining yourself, working toward your goals, making crucial choices, and coping with whatever comes your way, even if it's success.
Other prime-time Canadian imports
Canadian shows have been seen here for decades, but only recently have prime-time network imports proliferated.
1960s -- "The Littlest Hobo" (syndication)
1980s -- "Maniac Mansion" (Family Channel), "SCTV" (NBC late night)
1990s -- "Due South" (CBS prime-time), "Forever Knight" and "Tropical Heat" (CBS late-night)
2000 -- Lexx (Sci Fi)
2005 -- "Slings and Arrows" (Sundance)
2007 -- "Blood Ties" (Lifetime)
2008 -- "Flashpoint" (CBS), "Sanctuary" (Syfy)
2011 -- "Combat Hospital" (ABC)
2012 -- "Lost Girl" (Syfy)
Also from Canada Kids shows ("Anne of Green Gables," "You Can't Do That on Television," "Degrassi") and crazy comedy ("Kids in the Hall," "Kenny vs. Spenny"). Public TV has aired drama ("Murdoch Mysteries") and humor ("Red Green," "The Newsroom").