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TV Review: New 'Melrose Place' measures up

THE SHOW "Melrose Place"

WHEN|WHERE Tuesday night at 9 on CW/11

REASON TO WATCH The remake, and a good one at that.

CATCHING UP With "Melrose," it's a fool's errand, because so very much happened at 4616 Melrose Place over the seven-season run on Fox that ended 10 years ago in May.

Murder, suicide, insanity (plenty of that), prostitution, revenge, mayhem, an explosion or two . . . what am I missing? This was a companion to equally sudsy "Beverly Hills, 90210," but quickly established its own rowdier identity. In the finale, most memorably, Dr. Peter Burns (Jack Wagner) and Amanda Woodward (Heather Locklear) faked their own deaths and ran off to get married.

WHO'S RETURNING Locklear has reportedly stated her willingness to come back, but in the meantime, you'll see Thomas Calabro, as an older-if-still-not wiser Dr. Michael Mancini, and Josie Bissett - Jane Andrews Mancini - is here, too. Laura Leighton has reprised her role as Sydney Andrews.

WHAT THE PRODUCERS SAY "It's definitely still the most scandalous address in West Hollywood," promises executive producer Todd Slavkin, a longtime "Smallville" showrunner. "Mystery and suspense and intrigue are very much a part of the overall tone of the show," adds Darren Swimmer, who also was a "Smallville" showrunner.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Same address, same pool, and same pervasive evidence that there must be an ancient Indian cemetery under the place. In homage to "Sunset Boulevard," a body is discovered in the pool - with a halo of blood spreading outward - by a mysterious newcomer to the building, Violet Foster (Ashlee Simpson-Wentz). The stiff is none other than Sydney Andrews, who had returned to 4616 to find new friends and start over, this time as landlady. But, in flashback, we learn that she made some enemies - and there is no shortage of suspects.

Could the killer be Tom Cruise lookalike and sous chef Auggie Kirkpatrick (Colin Egglesfield), or tough PR shark Ella Sims (Katie Cassidy), or rich boy/bad boy David Breck (Shaun Sipos), Mancini's estranged son. It couldn't be (could it?) the lovely couple, Jonah (Michael Rady) and Riley (Jessica Lucas). How about Riley's pal, doctor-in-training Lauren Yung (Stephanie Jacobsen)?

BOTTOM LINE There's bad trash and there's good trash; the old "Melrose" was often great trash. Does the newcomer measure up? Absolutely, and then some. This one is stylish, smartly produced and has a very appealing cast. Fans will fall in love all over again.


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