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August 1, 2014

'Hellcats' Premiere Review

by Maureen Ryan, posted Sep 8th 2010 12:00PM
What it is: An energetic CW show about energetic cheerleaders.

When it airs:
'Hellcats' debuts 9PM ET Wednesday on the CW.

'Hellcats' is exactly what you'd expect a CW show about cheerleaders to be. That is not necessarily a bad thing.

Yes, 'Hellcats' is a 'Glee' copycat, with cheerleading routines instead of power ballads and pop hits.

For all its formulaic predictability, though, this show has an acerbic self-awareness that may defuse the cynicism you may bring to it. It's a snarky, escapist soap that doesn't take itself too seriously, which is only appropriate given that one of the show's main goals appears to be displaying the abs of its buff young cast.

Aly Michalka plays Marti Perkins, a pre-law student who, it will not surprise you to learn, suddenly needs to nab a cheerleading scholarship in order to stay in school. How fortunate that the squad is having tryouts and that she has some gymnastics training! Whoever would have seen that coming?

It's a relief to learn that Marti is not a particular fan of pep, perkiness or team spirit in any of its manifestations. Thus she naturally comes into repeated contact with cheerleader Savannah Monroe ('High School Musical's' Ashley Tisdale), the university's spunkiest, peppiest straight arrow.

'Hellcats' will not change the face of television as we know it, but the execution of the core concept is knowing and competent, and this show understands its limitations and wisely stays inside those narrow parameters. If you've ever gotten sucked into those real-world cheerleading competitions on TV or any kind of 'disparate team takes it to Nationals' film or show, you could do worse than the spirited, sarcastic 'Hellcats.'

Watch it if you loved: 'Glee,' 'Bring It On,' 'Cheerleader Nation.' (Fun fact: I watched every episode of that last show, a Lifetime reality series that aired in 2006.)

Be aware that: Aly Michalka is not exactly a master thespian. But energy, a good way with a putdown and great abs are what this role needs, and she has those to spare.

Follow @MoRyan on Twitter.

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sarah

If you're going to live vicariously and waste away in front of the TV, at least watch something better than a cheerleading show. Jesus H!

September 08 2010 at 7:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ash

I'll be watching it for Gale Harold!

September 08 2010 at 4:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kristi

This show wouldn't have even landed in my jam-packed fall tv line-up, however since it's one of the first to premiere (a whole week before most others), I'm planning to give it, what I call, a one-episode trial. I have low expectations, but considering I had low expectations for both The Vampire Diaries and Life Unexpected last season (all on the CW), I'm willing to see if they can turn me into a watcher once again.

September 08 2010 at 1:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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