Melrose Place

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Melrose Place
Mroselogo.jpg
Genre Soap opera [1]
Created by Darren Star
Starring
Composer(s)
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons7
No. of episodes226 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Running time44 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor
Release
Original network Fox [3]
Picture format 4:3 SDTV
Audio format
Original releaseJuly 8, 1992 (1992-07-08) 
May 24, 1999 (1999-05-24)
Chronology
Preceded by Beverly Hills, 90210
Followed by

Melrose Place is an American prime time television soap opera that aired on Fox from July 8, 1992 to May 24, 1999, for seven seasons. The show follows the lives of a group of young adults living in an apartment complex called Melrose Place, in West Hollywood, California. The show was created by Darren Star for Fox and executive produced by Aaron Spelling for his company, Spelling Television. It was the second series in the Beverly Hills, 90210 franchise. Season one and season two were broadcast on Wednesday at 9 p.m., after Beverly Hills, 90210 . In 1994, for its third-season premiere, the show moved to Monday at 8 p.m.

Contents

The show had many cast changes during the run. Thomas Calabro was the only cast member to remain on the series throughout its entire run.

The show earned several Golden Globe nominations and placed #51 on Entertainment Weekly 's "New TV Classics" list. [4]

Setting and original premise

The show is set in a small apartment courtyard complex located at 4616 Melrose Place in the city of West Hollywood, California. [5] [n 1] Several young individuals reside in the apartments, each with their own dreams and drives. The original format for the show was to have self-contained stories that conclude in every episode, but when that formula proved unpopular, the producers and writers started developing long-term storylines to evolve during the season. By the second season, the show had adopted a full-on soap opera format.

Cast and characters

Melrose Place's premiere season featured eight main characters: Dr. Michael Mancini (Thomas Calabro), a physician who works at Wilshire Memorial Hospital and changes from a kind, devoted husband in season 1 to a mean, adulterous villain from season 2 on; Jane Mancini (Josie Bissett), his budding fashion designer wife; Billy Campbell (Andrew Shue), a struggling writer adapting to life out of his parents' control; Alison Parker (Courtney Thorne-Smith), [8] a receptionist at D&D Advertising; Jake Hanson (Grant Show), a struggling manual laborer and motorcycle enthusiast; Matt Fielding (Doug Savant), a gay social worker; Rhonda Blair (Vanessa A. Williams), an aerobics instructor; and Sandy Harling (Amy Locane), a Southern belle and struggling actress who moonlights as a waitress at a local bar called Shooters, the group's main hangout. Locane was written off after 13 episodes and replaced by Daphne Zuniga as Jo Reynolds, a photographer running away from her abusive husband. Williams was not brought back for the second season, her character having become engaged to a wealthy restaurant entrepreneur.

Actress Heather Locklear, who in season one had guest starred as Alison's ambitious and merciless boss Amanda Woodward, was promoted to series regular status in the second season after her character bought and moved into the Melrose Place apartment building. Although she was always billed as a "special guest star", Locklear remained with the show for the rest of its run. [9] [10] Guest Laura Leighton, recurring as Jane's trouble-making younger sister Sydney Andrews in the first two seasons, was upgraded to series regular for season three. Marcia Cross, recurring as Dr. Kimberly Shaw in season 1, became a series regular by the end of the second season (though she was not credited in the opening until the start of season four).Janet Carroll appeared in several episodes as Marion Shaw, Kimberly's domineering mother. Beata Pozniak was featured in the second season in 7 episodes as Dr. Katya Petrova Fielding, a doctor with a daughter from a previous marriage who befriends and ultimately marries Matt (for a green card), who becomes an endearing father figure for her child.

Season four saw two new regular characters: Peter Burns (Jack Wagner), the ruthless hospital Chief of Staff introduced in season three; and Brooke Armstrong (Kristin Davis), a young, conniving intern at D&D Advertising also recurring the previous season. Davis's character was subsequently killed off in the middle of the fourth season, while Zuniga left the series at the end of the season. Patrick Muldoon also arrived in the third season as the villainous Richard Hart. Although Muldoon was not billed with the main cast (though he appeared in numerous promotional photos with them), he appeared in most of the fourth season's episodes and is also Melrose Place's longest recurring character (i.e. not in the opening credits) in terms of number of episodes.

The fifth season saw the addition of Rob Estes as restaurateur Kyle McBride, Lisa Rinna as his opportunistic wife Taylor, and Brooke Langton as Samantha Reilly, an artist and a new tenant in the apartment complex. Bissett and Cross left the series towards the end of the fifth season; Kelly Rutherford was brought in as Megan Lewis, a prostitute hired by Kimberly Shaw to have an affair with Michael Mancini, and David Charvet played Craig Field, Amanda's new co-worker and later Sydney's boyfriend. The season finale featured the exits of series regulars Thorne-Smith, Show, and Leighton.

The season premiere of season six featured the departure of original cast member Doug Savant while Alyssa Milano (recurring as Michael's sister Jennifer Mancini since season five) was bumped to series regular, with Linden Ashby joining the cast as Dr. Brett Cooper and Jamie Luner as his seductive and rich ex-wife, Lexi Sterling.

Charvet was written out in the middle of season 6, and the beginning of season seven saw the departure of Shue, Langton, Rinna, Milano, and Ashby. The show's seventh season introduced John Haymes Newton as Ryan McBride, Kyle's younger brother, and Rena Sofer as Eve Cleary, a woman from Amanda's past who marries Peter. Sofer was not billed with the main cast. Bissett reprised her role as Jane for the seventh season.

Main cast

This table includes only main cast characters, those who are listed in the intro title sequence.

ActorCharacterSeasons
1234567 (pt. 1)7 (pt. 2)
Josie Bissett Jane Mancini Main 1 Recurring 2 Main
Thomas Calabro Michael Mancini Main
Amy Locane Sandy Harling Main 3
Doug Savant Matt Fielding Main 4
Grant Show Jake Hanson Main
Andrew Shue Billy Campbell Main
Courtney Thorne-Smith Alison Parker Main
Vanessa Williams Rhonda Blair Main
Daphne Zuniga Jo Reynolds Main 6 Main
Heather Locklear Amanda Woodward RecurringMain 7
Laura Leighton Sydney Andrews Guest Recurring Main
Marcia Cross Kimberly Shaw RecurringMain 8
Jack Wagner Peter Burns RecurringMain
Kristin Davis Brooke Armstrong RecurringMain 9
Brooke Langton Samantha Reilly GuestMain 5
Rob Estes Kyle McBride Main
Lisa Rinna Taylor McBride Main 5
Kelly Rutherford Megan Lewis Main 10
David Charvet Craig Field Main 11 12
Alyssa Milano Jennifer Mancini RecurringMain 5
Linden Ashby Brett Cooper Main
Jamie Luner Lexi Sterling Main 13
John Haymes Newton Ryan McBride Main

Notes

  1. ^ In season five, Josie Bissett departs the show after episode 15.
  2. ^ Josie Bissett is added back to the cast from episode 4 onwards.
  3. ^ Amy Locane only appears in the first thirteen episodes.
  4. ^ In season six, Doug Savant departs the show after the first episode.
  5. ^ Andrew Shue, Brooke Langton, Lisa Rinna, Alyssa Milano and Linden Ashby only appear in first seven episodes of the seventh season.
  6. ^ In season one, Daphne Zuniga is added to the cast from episode 15 onwards.
  7. ^ Heather Locklear, though technically a main cast member from the second season onwards, is credited as a "special guest star" for the remainder of the series.
  8. ^ In season five, Marcia Cross departs the show after episode 27.
  9. ^ In season four, Kristin Davis departs the show after episode 22.
  10. ^ Although initially recurring in season five, Kelly Rutherford is added to the opening credits from episode 16 onwards.
  11. ^ Although initially recurring in season five, David Charvet is added to the opening credits from episode 28 onwards.
  12. ^ In season six, David Charvet departs the show after episode 17 of the sixth season.
  13. ^ In season six, Jamie Luner is added to the cast from episode 4 onwards.
  14. ^ John Haymes Newton is added to the cast from episode 8 onwards.

Seasons and episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
1 32July 8, 1992 (1992-07-08)May 26, 1993 (1993-05-26)
2 32September 8, 1993 (1993-09-08)May 18, 1994 (1994-05-18)
3 32September 12, 1994 (1994-09-12)May 22, 1995 (1995-05-22)
4 34September 11, 1995 (1995-09-11)May 20, 1996 (1996-05-20)
5 34September 9, 1996 (1996-09-09)May 19, 1997 (1997-05-19)
6 27September 8, 1997 (1997-09-08)March 30, 1998 (1998-03-30)
7 35July 27, 1998 (1998-07-27)May 24, 1999 (1999-05-24)

Filming

Filming for the series took place at a studio in Santa Clarita, California. [11] Stages were located 30 miles outside of Los Angeles. [12] The scenes filmed outside reveal the original facade of the building at 4616 Greenwood Place in Los Angeles serving as the main backdrop for Melrose Place. [13] The D&D Advertising building is the same complex where the offices of Spelling Entertainment are located on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. [14]

The production was filming two episodes on same time, according to Rolling Stone in 1994. [15] A dozen directors were employed during each season to direct the thirty episodes. Charles Correll is by far the main director of the series with 47 episodes to his credit over the entire production period, far ahead of the 27 episodes directed by Chip Chalmers. [16]

The comedians explained that they had difficulty playing a few situations. The scene in which Kimberly takes off her wig and reveals a huge scar ("The Bitch is Back") was hard to play, according to Marcia Cross: "None of this was learned in a comedy court". [17] In a memorable scene, Amanda discovers her former boss, Bruce, hanging on a rope ("Just Say No"). To director Victoria Hochberg who asked her to approach the corpse, Heather Locklear replied: "Come on! If I saw someone hanged, would I really go near him?". [18]

In 1997, the filming of the sixth season was brought forward by two weeks because of Heather Locklear's pregnancy, which was not included in the story. A body liner was used for around ten shots. [19] The actress also doubled her filming time and her screen time was reduced to finish filming in mid-September 1997. [20] Lisa Rinna (Taylor) was also pregnant during filming at the end of the sixth season. Her pregnancy was integrated into the plot. [21] This was also the case for the pregnancy of Josie Bissett (Jane) during the seventh season. Estes and Bissett welcomed their first child, son Mason True, on July 21, 1999. [22]

Set

Deborah Siegel was the main decorator for the series between 1992 and 1998. Previously, she worked on the series The Colbys . In Melrose Place, "each character has their own business and style," she told Soap Opera Weekly magazine in 1995. She also explains that the residence actually only had two apartments that were continually reorganized for filming. [23]

Nielsen ratings

SeasonRankRatingUS viewers (in millions)
1) 1992–93#948.3511.9
2) 1993–94#5010.2414.8
3) 1994–95#57 [24] 9.6414.1
4) 1995–96#619.3713.2
5) 1996–97#588.4811.8
6) 1997–98#80 [25] 7.479.5
7) 1998–99#95 [26] 6.148.4

Melrose Place debuted on July 8, 1992 at #19 on the Nielsen ratings with a 10.3/19 share and 16 million viewers.[ citation needed ] In December 1993, Meredith Berkman of Entertainment Weekly called the show "arguably the hottest one-hour drama on television." [27] Though ratings dropped slightly over the first season, [28] the addition of Heather Locklear as Amanda is credited for improving ratings and bringing the show from #94 to #50 in the second season. [27]

The series finale was watched by 10.38 million viewers.[ citation needed ]

Reception

Critical reception

Melrose Place received mixed reviews from critics. As of September 2014, season 1 has a critics' rating of 4.7/10 at Metacritic. [29] One of the critics, Time 's Richard Zoglin, who gave the season a 2.0/10 score, wrote that the soap is "tapping into nothing more than worn plot lines from The Young and the Restless ". [30] Conversely, Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly, gave the first season a B- rating, writing: "Hey, I make fun of Melrose Place — but I'm hypnotized by it. As warm-weather escapism, it takes all the issues facing this country, from unemployment to sexual harassment, and turns them into crises that can be solved in an hour." [31] During the second season, David Wild of Rolling Stone wrote: "After debuting in 1992 with a troubled first season that at times rivaled that of the 1962 New York Mets, Melrose Place made a few key trades. The show acquired a journeywoman heavy hitter in the lovely form of Locklear and wisely swapped bothersome Issues and Morals for infinitely more palatable Sex and Villains, emerging as a big winner, particularly with that attractive twentysomething demographic." [32] The third season received positive reviews from critics: "After a couple lukewarm yet entertaining seasons, Melrose Place exploded in season three with the over-the-top, addictive storylines. Remember the crazy Kimberly-Michael-Sydney drama? And then Kimberly tried to keep Jo's baby! Really, this is daytime-soap-drama, heated up for primetime." [33] In 1997, Mark Harris, who gave the soap's sixth season a D rating, stated: "Although the ever-game, deserves-better Heather Locklear still spits out even the worst lines with snappish authority, and the diabolical-doctor duo of Jack Wagner and Thomas Calabro at least try to look interested, they can't sustain a show that has lost its best asset — a twisted joy in its own trashiness." [34]

Accolades

The series won the People's Choice Award in 1993 for 'Favorite New TV Dramatic Series'. [35]

Heather Locklear was nominated for four Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress in a Television Series – Drama for her role as Amanda Woodward on Melrose Place, in 1993, 1994, 1995, and 1996. Laura Leighton was nominated in 1995 for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series for her role as Sydney Andrews.

In May 1994, at the height of the show's popularity, the female stars, Heather Locklear, Laura Leighton, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Daphne Zuniga and Josie Bissett, were featured on the cover of Rolling Stone . [36] [37]

TV Guide ranked Amanda Woodward at #2 in the short list of "The Biggest TV Bitches", only behind Joan Collins' iconic Alexis Carrington Colby, with whom Locklear co-starred on Dynasty . [38] In Entertainment Weekly, Heather Locklear said about playing her: "Not trying to be a bitch. Just trying to be strong and do what you are supposed to do". [39]

In 2012, Entertainment Weekly reunited Melrose favorites Heather Locklear, Marcia Cross, Laura Leighton, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Josie Bissett, Daphne Zuniga, Andrew Shue, Grant Show and Doug Savant, and they appeared on the cover. [40]

Spin-offs

The original series produced a spin-off series, Models Inc. , which ran for one season in 1994–95. That series focused on a Los Angeles modeling agency run by Hillary Michaels (played by Linda Gray), the mother of Melrose's Amanda Woodward; the show was cancelled after a single season due to low ratings. [41] [42]

A continuation of the series, also called Melrose Place , premiered on September 8, 2009 on The CW Television Network. [43] The new series featured primarily a new cast, although five actors from the original series made appearances: Thomas Calabro, Laura Leighton, Josie Bissett, Daphne Zuniga and Heather Locklear. The revival series suffered from low ratings and negative reviews, and was cancelled in 2010 after one season. [44]

Lawsuit

In 1996, actress Hunter Tylo was cast in Melrose Place and opted to leave daytime soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful to take the role. However, she was fired by Melrose Place producer Aaron Spelling prior to filming any episodes for the series, when she announced she was pregnant. The character she was to play, Taylor McBride, was recast, Lisa Rinna taking the role. Tylo quickly returned to The Bold and the Beautiful. Tylo sued Spelling on grounds of discrimination for being pregnant and won $4.8 million from a Los Angeles jury. Spelling argued that Tylo's pregnancy rendered her unable to play the character, who was supposed to be a sexy seductress. During the trial, Tylo published pictures of herself while pregnant which showed that she retained a slim figure. Prior to trial, during the discovery phase of the litigation, Tylo's lawyers won a partial victory in an interlocutory appeal challenging a lower court's order compelling her to answer a broad range of personal questions. The Court of Appeal established Tylo's right to refuse to answer questions in her deposition about marital problems and psychological treatment, although the Court sustained the portion of the order which compelled her to answer questions about her efforts to become pregnant, her husband's ability or inability to impregnate her, and communications with her agent with respect to her efforts and ability to become pregnant. The case is widely recognized as an important one in establishing the right of privacy in deposition and the right of female actors to continue to work while pregnant. [45] [46]

Unauthorized story

On October 10, 2015, a television movie called The Unauthorized Melrose Place Story was released. It tells the behind-the-scenes making-of story of the show, finishing with the filming of the season three finale. [47]

Home media

CBS Home Entertainment (distributed by Paramount) have released all seasons of Melrose Place on DVD in Region 1.

The series has also been released on DVD in Region 2 and 4 by Paramount Home Entertainment.

Due to music licensing issues, most of the original music has been replaced on these DVD releases. Starting with the first season, some episodes are edited from their original broadcast versions.

The series is rated  M  in Australia and  M  in New Zealand for its sex scenes and offensive language.

DVD NameNo. of
episodes
Release datesSpecial features
Region 1 (USA)Region 2 (Scandinavia)Region 2 (UK)Region 4 (Australia)
The First Season32November 7, 2006November 13, 2006November 13, 2006November 1, 2006Season 1 episode recaps
Behind the scenes featurette
Mini featurettes
Cast Interviews
The Second Season32May 1, 2007April 1, 2007March 13, 2007May 3, 2007Audio Commentary by Series Creator Darren Star
Melrose Place: Meet The Neighbours
Melrose Place: Complex Relationships
Melrose Place: The Best of the Worst
The Third Season32November 13, 2007December 2, 2007May 18, 2009April 9, 2008Melrose Place: According to Jake
Melrose Place: Seven Minutes in Hell
Everything You Need To Know About Melrose Place Season 3
The Fourth Season34April 15, 2008March 11, 2009March 22, 2010April 2, 2009None
The Fifth Season (Volume One)19February 10, 2009N/AN/AN/ANone
The Fifth Season (Volume Two)15November 24, 2009N/AN/AN/ANone
The Sixth Season (Volume One)13May 3, 2011N/AN/AN/ANone
The Sixth Season (Volume Two)14July 19, 2011N/AN/AN/ANone
The Sixth Season27N/AN/AN/A6 February 2019None
The Seventh Season (Volume One)18July 31, 2012N/AN/AN/ANone
The Seventh Season (Volume Two)17July 31, 2012N/AN/AN/ANone
The Seventh Season35N/AN/AN/A6 March 2019None
Melrose Place (Seasons 1–3)96N/AN/AN/A3 April 2019Season 1 Episode Recaps

Behind the scenes Featurette (season 1)

Mini featurettes (season 1)

Cast Interviews (season 1)

Audio Commentary by Series Creator Darren Star (season 2)

Melrose Place: Meet The Neighbours (season 2)

Melrose Place: Complex Relationship (season 2)

Melrose Place: The Best of the Worst (season 2)

Melrose Place: According to Jake (season 3)

Melrose Place: Seven Minutes in Hell (season 3)

Everything You Need To Know About Melrose Place (season 3)

Melrose Place (Seasons 4–7)130N/AN/AN/A5 June 2019None

GALA Committee

A group of artists and Melrose Place producers formed the GALA Committee, headed by artist Mel Chin, in order to bring artworks out of galleries and into primetime television. GALA artists designed artworks that were used as props by Melrose Place characters in the fourth and fifth seasons, often with hidden political messages:

Chin compared the works to viruses, symbiotic and invisible. The project was called In the Name of the Place, as part of the "Uncommon Sense" art show at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Los Angeles, California in 1997. A portion of the fifth season was filmed at the Geffen Contemporary where the project was displayed. The artwork was also shown at the 1997 Kwangju Biennale in Kwangju, Korea and at Grand Arts in Kansas City, Missouri in 1998. Sotheby's Auction house auctioned almost fifty of these artworks for charity.

Notes

  1. In the Beverly Hills, 90210 second-season episode "Mexican Standoff", which served as the backdoor pilot of Melrose Place, Dylan McKay asks Jake Hanson, "So where you livin' these days, man?" To which Jake replies, "Ah, it's a little place off Melrose [Avenue], nothing special." [6] The real street named Melrose Place is in fact located northeast of the intersection of Melrose Avenue and La Cienega Boulevard; however, it features only shops, salons, boutiques and restaurants, and no apartment complexes. [7]

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