Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Review - Mistresses


ABC seems determined to be the leader in sexy, scandalous TV:  it was home to the Desperate Housewives, is bringing back Revenge and Scandal this fall and has now premiered its latest sultry series, Mistresses.

Based on the UK series of the same name, Mistresses features a quartet of beautiful women, all friends, who are each on their own roads of self-discovery which are paved with sex, relationship woes, more sex, secrets, affairs and ... yep, more sex.



Alyssa Milano (Charmed), stars as Savannah "Savi" Davis, a "savvy" lawyer on the fast track to partner in her firm who is also trying to get pregnant with her hot Aussie husband (Brett Tucker, Spartacus: War of the Damned).  But when they find out he's practically infertile, it puts a strain on their relationship.  There's also a very flirty colleague of hers, Dominic (Jason George, Grey's Anatomy), who tempts Savi to play with adulterous fire.

Savi's younger sister Joss (Jes Macallan) is REALLY into sex ... at the office, at the homes she's showing (she's a real estate agent), pretty much anywhere.  But she is not at all interested in a committed relationship.  Too bad her boss, who she is indeed sleeping with, wants more ...

Their friend April Malloy (Rochelle Aytes, Work It, Detroit 1-8-7), a widow and single mother to 10-year-old Lucy (Corinne Massiah), is just starting to dip her toe back into the dating pool.  The rub?  She's getting mysterious calls from an unknown person ... and she's convinced it's her late husband on the other end of the line.  Too bad it isn't, based on what she learns later.

Then there's Karen Rhodes (Yunjin Kim, Lost), a therapist who recently had an affair with her married patient Tom (John Schneider, Smallville).  Thing is, Tom was also terminally ill, and after his death, his widow Elizabeth (Penelope Ann Miller, Men of a Certain Age) seeks comfort from Karen, causing major guilt.  Worse, Elizabeth's son Sam (Erik Stocklin, First Day) learned of the affair before his father died and asks Karen to help him determine who it was with ... of course not knowing just how close he is to her.

Now, you can't help but make comparisons to another sexy show about a female foursome: the far superior Sex and the City.  Granted, that was more of a sitcom and Mistresses is a drama, so there was far more humor, but the frank and open conversations between the women of SATC (Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon) about their sex lives and relationships were scores more believable than in this show, and far more entertaining.


Mistresses is more hot mess than hot.  No question the show is trying to push the envelope with its sex scenes - they manage to show a great deal while still keeping it network-safe.  But it's just not sexy or enticing.  The acting is incredibly stilted, even with veterans like Milano and Kim.  The latter is so incredibly miscast in the role and she seems to be forcing every line, every emotion.  Kim was terrific on Lost and I was so excited to hear she was returning to TV, but man, this is NOT the role for her. 

As for the character of Joss, yeah, we get it, she loves sex.  So did SATC's Samantha (Cattrall). But right now there is not much depth to her, even though I'm sure more will be revealed as the series continues (case in point, temptation from a lesbian who is house-shopping with her girlfriend).  But I kinda don't care.  In fact, I don't really care about any of the characters.  The pacing of the pilot was off for me throughout.  A lot was set up, of course, but having just watched the pilot for Scandal - brilliant, BTW - which gave you so much info yet kept you glued to the screen and story from minute one, I couldn't help but be let down by this one. 

The preview for the rest of the season boasts the words betrayal, temptation, seduction, secrets, deception and the tag "Even when they're coming apart, they stick together" (seriously?), but I'm not at all tempted or seduced or excited in any way.  And I wanted to be.  I was hoping this could be my new Desperate Housewives, a show I thoroughly enjoyed for the most part (yeah, it got kinda silly sometimes ... okay, a lot, but I was always entertained), but it's not.  (ABC did match it up well, though, with The Bachelorette as its lead-in).

Lifetime has another show about sexy women coming up - Devious Maids.  Maybe I'll get my summer hot TV fix there.

Bottom Line:  Don't bother having an affair with these Mistresses.  Instead, go for bingefests of Scandal and Sex and the City.

Mistresses airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on ABC.

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