A nighttime soap opera about the lives, careers, trials and tribulations of a group of young people living in an apartment building in the trendy neighborhood of Melrose Place. The show was a spin off of Beverly Hills 90210 and starred Heather Locklear as the scheming Amanda Woodward, head of her own advertising agency and owner of the apartment building.
"Monumental personal problems." That's D&D Advertising executive Amanda's (Heather Locklear) sarcastic term. She's referring to Alison (Courtney Thorne-Smith), but in Melrose Place
's essential third season, everyone's got 'em. Michael (Thomas Calabro) suffers amnesia from his near-fatal hit and run (Michael's actually a sweet guy when he has amnesia, and the defeated look on wife Sydney's face when she realizes that Michael the scum is back is priceless). Jane's (Josie Bissett) business partner (Andrew Williams) stalks Sydney (Laura Leighton) and bilks Jane out of her savings. Sydney is ultimately framed for trying to run down Michael and is later kidnapped twice--TWICE--once by a charismatic cult leader (Ramy Zada from Dark Justice
; and when will that "It's Too Hot to Sleep" cult classic be released on DVD?). Alison wrestles with exposing her father (the great Monte Markham), a pillar of the community, as a child molester, and later sinks into alcoholism. Jake (Grant Show) becomes the target in an elaborate revenge plot and later is pitted against his resentful half brother (Dan Cortese). Jo's (Daphne Zuniga) baby is kidnapped twice--TWICE--and it's only eight weeks old! Kimberly (a magnificent Marcia Cross), well, space doesn't permit all the manipulations, double-crosses, and betrayals she perpetrates before finally going crazy. And Amanda meets her cunning and ruthless match in Dr. Peter Burns (Jack Wagner), the new hospital chief of staff, who, as he so bluntly tells Michael, doesn't play games and takes no crap. And we haven't even mentioned Brooke (Kristin Davis) as the scheming, spoiled rich girl who comes between sap Billy (Andrew Shue) and Alison.
Yes, season 3 is really something, as acknowledged that year by the classic show about nothing, Seinfeld, in the season 6 episode "The Beard," in which Jerry is forced to admit that Melrose Place is his secret guilty pleasure ("Oh that Michael," he rants, "I hate him, he's just so smug."). Season 3 is grand, over-the-top fun, a real disc-grabber (the DVD equivalent of a page-turner). Longtime viewers will appreciate the affectionate skewering the show receives from comedians John Aboud and Michael Colton in a bonus feature that presents an overview of the season (they're right; the name of Jake's boat, Pretty Lady, is the lamest ever). Those who turn up their nose at Melrose Place are encouraged to give season 3 a look. To paraphrase the apocalyptic season finale's famous last words: "It's not what you think
it's better!" --Donald Liebenson