Third-episode verdict: Hidden Palms

The Carusometer for Hidden Palms3 Minor Caruso

Hidden Palms is another show, like Traveler, that’s been sitting in the back catalogue for nearly a year, waiting for the right moment to be thrown out onto our televisions when no one’s going to be watching. There’s no second season coming so it’s just a question of whether all the episodes can escape before the ratings drop to single-digit values and it’s pulled.

As I remarked when I reviewed the pilot all that time ago, it’s not a great show, despite coming from the pen of Kevin Williamson, the man behind Dawson’s Creek. It bears all his hallmarks, with stupidly hot, troubled teenagers having ridiculous conversations and flirting away platonically and for God’s sake just have sex already will you? Just get it over with and save us all the bother of watching you procrastinate for seven seasons.

Since the pilot, there have been a few alterations and I’m not sure if some of the more interesting parts were purged before the series even started, since I didn’t tune in for episode one. But the slightly kinky sex, the Eva Longoria-look alike, Kristin Davis and transvestism have all gone. Instead, we just have a lot of parties and sitting around by a swimming pool while the sun beats down.

There’s also a ‘mystery’ that seems to be the replacement ‘hidden’ part of the show: what happened to Eddie, the guy who used to live in the house in which our new Dawson now resides. Did he kill himself? Who’s instant messaging* everyone claiming to be Eddie then? And what is Eddie’s ex, the hot girl Dawson’s after now, hiding?

It’s not much of a mystery, but it’s about the one thing to keep you watching in an otherwise tedious show. It’s not awful and its exploration of teenage alcoholism and suicide isn’t something that pops up on television much these days. But it’s just not that engrossing. If you like watching hot teenagers** in swimming costumes, you could probably use it as a screensaver, but other than that, let’s just leave it to sit out in the sun and die.

The Medium is Not Enough declares that Hidden Palms scores a three or “Minor Caruso” on The Carusometer. A Minor Caruso corresponds to “a show in which David Caurso might guest star on the condition that all the female characters, no matter what the age difference, will have crushes on him because ‘they want men, not boys’. Despite the extreme temperatures, he will also insist on wearing a black suit because ‘real men can take the heat’. Mattresses will need to be positioned around the set to catch him when he passes out.”

* Except everyone keeps saying “emailing”. Even I know that wired-in teenagers know the difference between texting, IM, and emails. How can you be down with the kids and not know that, guys?

** It’s US TV: all the teenagers are played by people in their early to mid twenties, just to make teenagers feel really bad about their body images and wonder why they don’t look like that.


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

    View all posts