While not as consistently "fun" as "BEVERLY HILLS 90210", "MELROSE PLACE" was an extremely successful spin-off. Although, this certainly was even less predictable than as with the case of its predecessor. The series starts off looking as if characters from both series will co-mingle, as Kelly(Jennie Garth) even appears early on. But, she's never heard from again, and the show tries to focus on its main characters, all "20-somethings" contending with their career aspirations, boyfriends, girlfriends, cheating, and more, and much of it taking place in and around the apartment complex they all live within on "MELROSE PLACE". It's obvious within the first two episodes, the series needed serious re-tooling, and little got better, until after 20 episodes, "HEATHER LOCKLEAR" joined the cast to save the day. It's kind of nostalgic to see her credited as a guest star?!?
The series improved greatly and within the first season, several characters are excised. While Amy Locane isn't hard to look at, her acting here is absolutely dreadful. She demonstrates none of the power she exhibited so well in the overlooked feature film, "CARRIED AWAY". Her expulsion is one of the best things the producers ever did for the series, topped only by their hiring of Locklear.
The series is targeted towards a slightly more "mature" crowd than "BEVERLY HILLS 90210" and this offers as many disadvantages as advantages. "BEVERLY HILLS 90210", while overly simplifying many important issues, had a light-heartedness about it, almost completely missing here in "MELROSE PLACE". Characters take themselves much too seriously and whereas when Ian Ziering did this crap in "BH 90210" is was embarrassing but fun, here it's often just embarrassing. That being said, "MELROSE PLACE", at least in the first season, consistently improves as the show moves on and there are more than enough fun episodes to get new viewers addicted.
PARAMOUNT has provided a solid transfer. While the image still suffers at times from artifacting, as did "BH 90210: COMPLETE FIRST SEASON", it's not as intrusive here. Colors tend to be more vibrant and blacks and grays are generally deep, offering impressive detail in darker scenes. While still not a stellar presentation, it's fine and worthy of addition to any collection.
PARAMOUNT has provided a DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO mix. Separation is limited, used mostly to boost the film's score, but there are a few effects thrown in at times. Dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion.
PARAMOUNT didn't include as many extras as they have for "BH 90210: Complete First Season". It's a shame there are no commentaries to be found. However, there are some featurettes.