Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Written Review: Picket Fences

From the beginning of the first episode of Picket Fences one thing was extremely clear: This show was made in the 90’s for a 90’s audience. The opening titles alone made me remember the days of my youth watching things like 7th Heaven and Boy Meets World.
One of the problems I had with the show (or at least the episodes I saw of it) were some of the issues which were supposed to create tension in the series were a bit contrite. I remember the very first episode when the female character met her favorite musical artist and some of the dramatic tension was built on the fact that the musical artist would be playing at a bar and that the female lead didn’t know if she’d be able to go. While this might have seemed like a weighty issue back in the 90’s it isn’t quite relevant to us now. This is the age of the indie artist. I’ve been to more concerts in bars than I have been in actual venues. So while I’m sure the story held some dramatic chutzpah for its time, it doesn’t hold much water in our modern mind. Also, a lot of the acting had that 90’s cheesy over-dramatics that I’ve always hated about shows in that era.
Creative aspects aside, the show was very well made for its time. The sets were impressive and most of the costuming was dead on. The music was, once again, very 90’s (especially the opening theme). When I was looking up information for this show I’ve noticed that it has quite the cult following, is quite highly rated, and won several Emmy’s and Golden Globes when it aired. I am assuming that most of the problems which I had with the series initially probably dissipate later on.
While I can’t say that I adored Picket Fences I could see that there was a lot of potential in the series. The cast was strong and the idea of a community centered television show has always worked out well (Smallville, 7th Heaven, Arrested Development, to just name a few). So, while I won’t be personally recommending the show to any of my friends, I won’t critically condemn the show either.

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