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.
The fourth and the last essential season of Melrose Place
literally begins with a bang, as a deranged Kimberly detonates the bombs that lay waste to much of the titular apartment building. But this being Melrose Place
, it is hardly the only dramatic upheaval that will shake this addictive prime time soap to its very foundations. Where to begin? Framing this season are two great movie homages. The season opener echoes Silence of the Lambs
with Kimberly (Marcia Cross) channeling Hannibal Lecter. The season finale recreates Carrie
s ultimate shock, a classic "no they dint" cliffhanger in tune with Melrose Place
s increasingly over-the-top aesthetic. In between are episodes ripe with left-turn character developments (Josie Bissetts doormat Jane vows to do a little "stepping" herself to further her career as a fashion designer) and outrageous plot twists (Kimberly somehow beats the rap for her act of domestic terrorism and becomes a radio talk show host--recruited by no less than Dr. Joyce Brothers!--and later, develops a split personality as a really desperate housewife.) But you havent seen anything yet. Allison (Courtney Thorne-Smith), temporarily blinded in the blast, uses her disability to score pity points with Billy (Andrew Shue) while his new wife, the willful, spoiled, and manipulative Brooke (Kristin Davis) burns, especially when Allison marries her father! Matt (Doug Savant), the resident gay character, has a particularly eventful season, what with trying to clear his name after being framed for murder, suing for sexual discrimination, getting a new boyfriend, and becoming a drug addict. Michael (Thomas Calabro), much more evil and vicious in previous seasons, is not really a serious threat, but he does team up with Sydney (Laura Leighton) to Gaslight
Kimberly. Jake (Grant Show), reeling from the death of his rotten brother, is vulnerable to the machinations of Shelly (Hudson Leick), his vengeful sister in law. We havent forgotten Amanda (show savior Heather Locklear), who begins the season uncharacteristically compassionate. Not to worry; she reverts to her bad self after Brooke uncovers a secret from her past and blackmails her. "Kiss the nice Amanda goodbye," she coolly threatens Brooke. "Im back." Which is just the way we love her. This whopping nine-disc set contains no extras, but, really, with all the backstabbings and betrayals, hook-ups and, yes, hauntings, do you really need commentary? --Donald Liebenson