Lifetime’s The Unauthorized Melrose Place Story Had A Weird Definition Of Drama

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Lifetime s The Unauthorized Melrose Place Story Had a Weird Definition of Drama Lifetime movie The Unauthorized Melrose Place Story jpg

Last night Lifetime aired The Unauthorized Melrose Place Story. I had even fewer expectations for this one than I did for the 90210 movie, because I know next to nothing about Melrose Place, besides the scene where Marcia Cross takes her wig off. After being pleasantly surprised by 90210, however, I was at least hoping that this movie would deliver the same drama. And it kind of did, just not in the way I was expecting.

By that I mean the drama was mostly between the network and the producers, and among the producers themselves, concerning the direction of the show. The most interesting of those plotlines was the fight to include a gay character. Doug Savant (Joseph John Coleman), who played Matt, was invested in portraying his character in an honest and equal manner. At one point Matt kisses another man, but the network cuts it at the last minute, which angers Doug. Ironically, he’s probably the cast member with the most drama, and it’s not even with any of the other actors.

It was interesting to see that behind-the-scenes conflict, which shows how far television has come, but let’s be real here — I was tuning in for cat fights and hot messes, not network disagreements. And yet the cast actually got along swimmingly, if this movie is anything to go by. At one point Heather Locklear (Ciara Hanna) struts onto the set for the first time and asks, “Did somebody order a bitch?” I got excited thinking she was going to be the Shannen Doherty of this story, but it turns out “bitch” just referred to her character, and she was actually very nice to all her cast mates.

There’s even a moment where five of the women in the cast pose for a Rolling Stone cover, but two of them get shafted and put behind a fold because they’re not represented by the same manager as the other three. You might expect this to be the perfect fodder for drama, and it is… sort of. Instead of causing a fight within the cast, Laura Leighton (Chelsea Hobbs), one of the three on the cover, calls her manager to scold her, because the cast is like a family and they should be treated equally, and blah blah blah why aren’t you pushing each other into the pool?

I guess I was also supposed to be really invested in the relationship between executive producer Aaron Spelling (Dan Castellaneta) and the show’s creator Darren Star (Adam Korson), because when Darren moved to New York the movie treated it like a breakup. Then at the end there was a dramatic onscreen note telling us they never worked together again. I didn’t realize I was supposed to be shipping Daaron, but apparently I was.

While the drama was lacking, at least in the ways I was expecting, I did appreciate that the movie at least had a sense of humor about itself, in much the same way as the 90210 Story did. Much of the cheesiness felt intentional, and it was actually really funny at times, I won’t lie. The montage of the writers coming up with crazier and crazier storylines was probably my favorite part of the whole movie, and the cast’s suggestions for where to take their characters (murder, split personalities, etc.) were amusing. And I especially liked that little Sex and the City (also created by Darren Star) tease at the end. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I hope that means an Unauthorized SATC Story is in our future. Fingers crossed!

(Photo: Lifetime)