TV Review: CW's 'Privileged' has rich dramatic potential
September 9, 2008 4:00 AM
Patrick Ecclsine/The CW
JoAnna Garcia as Megan in "Privileged."
By Rob Owen Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
After the low-rated, buzzed-about "Gossip Girl" and the no-preview-copies-of-"90210" debacle, there wasn't much reason to hope The CW's new drama "Privileged" (9 tonight, WPCW) would amount to much. But it turns out to be one of the more pleasant surprises of the new fall season.
Megan Smith (JoAnna Garcia, "Reba") longs to be a writer, but at 23 she ends up tutoring the spoiled granddaughters of cosmetics mogul Laurel Limoges (Anne Archer, "Fatal Attraction"). The girls -- nicer Rose (Lucy Kate Hale, "Bionic Woman") and prickly Sage (Ashley Newbrough, "The Best Years") -- were orphaned at a young age when their mother and father died in a plane crash. Laurel doesn't appear to be a hands-on caretaker.
Enter Megan, who plans to tutor the girls by day and write by night in Palm Beach, Fla., while reconnecting with old friends and family and possibly striking up a romance with the rich trust-fund guy next door, Will (Brian Hallisay).
When: 9 tonight, WPCW.
Starring: JoAnna Garcia and Anne Archer.
While the setting is among the Richie Rich set, "Privileged" is less "Gossip Girl" and more "Gilmore Girls" as Megan strives to put her charges on a positive path with warmth and wit.
"You have to cut the girl some serious orphan slack," she says, defending Sage's bad behavior. "I feel bad for her, I really do, but while I'm feeling bad for her I want to give her a giant wedgie."
"Privileged" is based on the book "How To Teach Filthy Rich Girls" by Zoey Dean and it's brought to life on TV by executive producer Rina Mimoun ("Everwood"), who also worked on "Gilmore Girls." "Privileged" has at least a modicum of that show's good cheer vibe.
Chalk it up to the tone Mimoun sets in the script for tonight's premiere and also to the show's star, Garcia. She brings to mind actress Amy Adams ("Enchanted") in her portrayal of Megan, a winning, intelligent, well-meaning young woman.
There are certainly some missteps -- a child who yells out that he sees Megan's privates when she steps out on her New York apartment's fire escape in a towel is unnecessary, not funny and rips off the slang term "vajayjay" popularized by "Grey's Anatomy" -- but "Privileged" has the potential to be a largely positive, female-skewing series.