Short-Lived Shows: 'Central Park West'
I'll admit it, I like soap operas. I don't watch a lot of them, unless you count 'Lost' as a soap opera. It has a continuing storyline over many years with many characters, it just happens to include time travel and monsters.
Wait...daytime soaps have had those too.... But I did watch 'Guiding Light' for 30 years and 'Knots Landing' for whatever number of years that show was on -- it was better than 'Dallas' -- and now I've found myself hooked on 'The Young & The Restless' because one day I was too lazy to reach for the remote control after my local noon news was over. That's how addiction happens sometimes.
There was another soap I liked too, back in the 1995. It was called 'Central Park West,' and considering the ratings the show got, I think I'm one of the very few people in the country who can say I watched it and liked it.
'Central Park West,' created by Darren Starr, has the reputation as "that terrible show that only lasted for a short time." I'll concede the latter point. It only lasted for 21 episodes. And it was one of those shows that underwent a massive change later in its run. They got rid of some of the younger people and then brought on veteran stars Raquel Welch and Gerald McRaney, but it was too late. People didn't care enough.
But the first half of the season was ridiculously entertaining. You know how shows like 'Gossip Girl' or 'Melrose Place' can have those over the top scenes that have fans laughing and talking about it the next day? 'Central Park West' had scenes like that in every episode. I don't know if it was planned that way or if it was a quirk of the writing or what, but every episode seemed to have something awful that a character did or some incredible revelation.
The star of the show was Mariel Hemingway, and she was... passable. She played Stephanie Wells, an editor brought in from Seattle to save the New York fashion/lifestyle magazine Communique. Her husband, a writer, was played by Tom Verica, and he was immediately targeted for seduction by the sexy bitch columnist Carrie Fairchild (Madchen Amick) who Hemingway wanted to fire.
Yes, there was a sexy columnist on a TV show named Carrie before 'Sex and the City.' But my favorite character on the show was Ron Leibman's. He was Carrie's stepdad and the publisher of the magazine. He was rich and powerful and would stab you in the back without giving it a second thought, and Leibman really jumped into the role. Imagine Leibman's role on 'Friends' as Rachels' day, only with an incredible revenge streak. Lauren Hutton played his wife.
One cast member I had completely forgotten about was John Barrowman. He played Carrie's brother years before he showed up on 'Doctor Who' and 'Torchwood.'
So you can see from the cast and from the description that this was another show will beautiful people doing terrible things to each other for either love, power, or money. So it wasn't exactly groundbreaking in that way. And I'll even admit that some of the dialogue and acting was bad, but bad in the way that you said to yourself "ha! Can't wait to see what happens next!"
Even if the later episodes weren't as good, they still had some good girl-fightin'.