L.A. Times checks out pilot for 'Memphis' TV show 'Hellcats'

Hot on the heels of the set-but-not-shot-in-Memphis TV cop show "Memphis Beat" comes the set-but-not-shot-in-Memphis TV cheerleader drama "Hellcats," coming soon to the CW network. The Los Angeles Times takes a look at the pilot and concludes that "It's OK." And here's a synopsis, for those catching up:

"Hellcats" uses the backdrop of a football program at a Memphis university to tell the coming-of-age-story of two young women who are committed to the cheerleading squad to realize their dreams. Marti Perkins is a pre-law student with a soul-sucking mother who loses her scholarship and realizes her only chance of staying in school is to try out for the cheerleading squad to get another scholarship.  Her new roommate is Savannah Monroe, the peppy captain of the squad who is also using cheerleading as a steppingstone.

Much like "Memphis Beat," "Hellcats" certainly doesn't appear to be an immersion into the Memphis experience, the way "Treme" is to New Orleans or "The Wire" was to Baltimore. The trailer video (see below) says fictional Lancer University, with its classical buildings and lush green campus, is in "the heart of Downtown Memphis." John Beifuss had some fun with this a couple of months ago:

The CW press release describes Memphis as being in "the deep South," and reports that the fictional Lancer is home to "a powerhouse college football program," which suggests the series might appeal to Memphis sports fans on several levels of fantasy.

"Hellcats" appears to be typical guilty-pleasure CW trash, good for some catty dialogue and shots of scantily clad twentysomethings playing teenagers, but that's about all. The show premiers at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 8.


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Deputy Online News Editor Mark Richens takes you through all the news about Memphis from sources outside the Mid-South.