Plot's thin, a rip-off in NBC's `Titans'(BY TERRY JACKSON, Miami Herald)
NBC has for weeks been running promotions that call Titans, the new Aaron Spelling prime-time soap opera that debuts tonight at 8, ``a guilty pleasure.''
The message is that people will become mesmerized by this outrageous sex-and-bad-people drama. It's like that double quarter-pounder with cheese you had for lunch -- people say it's not healthy, you feel guilty for indulging, but it's soooo delicious.
Well, the only people who should feel guilty about Titans are NBC and Spelling for trying to justify this overblown, shopworn piece of television junk as any kind of a pleasure.
In creating Titans, Spelling and co-producers E. Duke Vincent and Charles Pratt Jr. weren't content simply to rip off their own work -- Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place and Dynasty. They also decided to lift an idea or two from other sources, including Top Gun.
Casper Van Dien stars as Chandler Williams, a 26-year-old Navy fighter pilot who is the adopted son of Richard and Gwen Williams (Perry King of Melrose Place and Dallas alum Victoria Principal), divorced billionaires who built an airplane company into a worldwide conglomerate.
Chandler comes home to Beverly Hills to assume a role in the family business, only to find that the woman he had an affair with in Hawaii two months earlier (Yasmine Bleeth from Nash Bridges and Baywatch, as Heather) is about to marry his dad.
Because he can tell dad is so happy with his young bride, Chandler decides he won't tell the old man they now have more in common than a last name.
Heather, of course, is out to take over the world and already is plotting against all the family members, including Chandler's brother Peter -- who himself is plotting against Chandler -- and Gwen, the ex-wife who lives across the street.
The mix gets thicker with Chandler's two sisters, one of whom owns a hip nightclub while the other is an insecure alcoholic who craves daddy's approval; an uncle with designs on Gwen and the family business; a young woman who runs the Williams household and pines for Chandler; and a nephew Gwen takes in to protect him from an abusive upbringing.
Even fans of Melrose Place and 90210, Titans' target audience, should see this drama as cheap pandering. Forget that the dialogue is unbelievable and the acting is barely two-dimensional, there isn't even any attempt at professional polish.
In tonight's opening scene, Chandler and Heather are cavorting in a high-rise hotel familiar to millions of TV watchers as the Waikiki Hilton on Oahu. But the next morning they're at the airport in Maui. The scene where jet jockey Chandler makes a high-speed pass of a military base control tower is a felony steal from Top Gun. And you know how you can tell a car crash is coming? A member of a billionaire family is behind the wheel of a 15-year-old Mercedes.
By the time the hour ends with Chandler walking Heather down the aisle to marry his father, and she whispers bombshell news to him, viewers will definitely feel guilty.
Guilty that they let NBC and Spelling bilk them out of an hour of their lives.