Titans Article #28

'Titans': deliciously bad TV

(From Boston Globe Online)

By Renee Graham, Globe Staff, 10/10/2000

In ''Titans,'' NBC's new soapy drama, the acting is lousy, the script is riddled with cliches, and everything is played so broadly and over-the-top it's like watching burlesque.

I think I love this show.

Premiering last Wednesday, ''Titans'' arrived as that rarest of creatures, the kind of television show that is so magnificently bad it's deliciously good. It's the brainchild of Aaron Spelling, who, for more than three decades, has created some of the best bad TV in history - ''Charlie's Angels'' in the 1970s, ''Dynasty'' in the 1980s, and ''Beverly Hills 90210'' in the 1990s.

But Spelling has outdone himself with ''Titans,'' the best new comedy of the 2000 fall season. With such stars as Yasmine Bleeth, Casper Van Dien, Perry King, and Victoria Principal a bonanza of bad actors - Spelling has assembled a perfect cast of pearly teeth, beautiful skin, fabulous hair, and all the emotional depth of a bowl of bean sprouts.

''Titans'' is the story of the hideously rich Williams family of Beverly Hills, headed by dopey patriarch Richard (King), who somehow made cazillions in the aviation biz. He's got two sons, wooden-headed Chandler, and tart-tongued Peter (Van Dien and John Barrowman, whose career somehow survived that CBS debacle of a few seasons back, ''Central Park West''), who make Cain and Abel look like the Osmonds; two daughters, angelic Laurie and slutty Jenny, (Josie Davis and Elizabeth Bogush); the obligatory ex-wife Gwen (Principal), who just happens to live in the mansion across the street; and the trophy fiancee, Heather (Bleeth), who is, of course, as evil and scheming as the days are long. Oh, then there's Richard's brother, Jack (Jack Wagner), who not only wants to take over the family business, but wants to make his former sister-in-law Gwen his future wife.

Got all that?

Things got off to a rousing start when Navy man Chandler returns home, only to discover that Heather - his stepmom in waiting - is the very same woman he was having a lusty, acrobatic tryst with in Hawaii. And from that moment on, the deceptions came fast and furious, and, like that accident on the side of the road, there was just no turning away.

Television has produced some very memorable dramas in recent years, such as HBO's ''The Sopranos'' and NBC's ''The West Wing.'' Both award-winning shows are smartly written, acted to pieces, and resonate long after their episodes have concluded. But ''Titans'' has no aspirations of Emmy glory, or notions of greatness. It's not trying to change the world, and comes with no pretensions or ideas in its empty, pretty little head except to be a wickedly guilty pleasure. It's that artificially colored, artificially flavored snack with no nutritional value and way too many calories that you eat anyway, simply because it tastes good.

With ''Titans,'' we learn yet again that the rich are different from you and me - they're a lot dumber, and more entertaining.

Other random thoughts:

If not for Jakob Dylan, the strangely beautiful son of Bob, could anyone really tell the difference between his band, the Wallflowers, and any of those other faceless, interchangeable adult contemporary groups like Vertical Horizon, Semisonic, or Nine Days? Frankly, I think these bland-as-dirt bands are far more toxic than anything produced by boy-band impresario Lou Pearlman.

And speaking of boy bands, if anyone thinks the failure of 98 Degrees to debut in the top slot with the release of their latest album, ''Revelation'' - it was predicted to sell as many as 750,000, but sold ''only'' 276,000 - means the revolution of cute singing boys is screeching to a halt, don't write those obituaries just yet. 98 Degrees, one of those boy group also-rans, have never pulled the numbers of 'N Sync, the current kings of teen pop. And besides, the whole MTV-generated mess has already lasted far longer than anyone would have thought a few years ago. With a new Backstreet Boys album due next month, we'll be up to our elbows in sugary harmonies and precision choreography well into 2001.

After much retooling and reshooting, NBC's ''The Michael Richards Show,'' is now set to premiere Oct. 24. The one thing they probably should have changed is the title - does the name Michael Richards ring that many bells with viewers? I don't think so. If they want to lure an audience, perhaps they should call the program what it is - ''The-Guy-Who-Played-Kramer-on-`Seinfeld.'''