Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Good, the Bad and the Buffy: The Nine Lives of Chloe King

by Megan S.

The Nine Lives of Chloe King debuted last night on ABC Family.  It's the story of a teenage demi-god who battles both Big Bads and boy trouble in the vein of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Find out if it's worth watching after the jump!

Oh and, lest I forget, spoilers, Sweetie.
You may have noticed we like to focus on the positive here at Stellar Four.  (Well, OK, that is unless we're filled with righteous indignation but, nonetheless, you get my point.)  This is why, about fifteen minutes into Nine Lives, I had all but scrapped my plans to review the show.  It was mediocre, filled with tired dialogue and frenetic energy.  I may or may not have muttered something about losing IQ points as a result of sitting through the first quarter.  But then, against all odds, it got good!

So, here's the rundown: Chloe King is a teenager living in San Francisco.  The girl was adopted from the Ukraine as an infant and she and her single mom know very little about her past, including nothing about her biological family nor the exact circumstances of her immigration.  She and her mother were abandoned by her adopted father ten years ago.  Chloe has two close, lifelong friends but mainly blends into the background at school.  The arrival of her sixteenth birthday marks the appearance of her superpowers.  She has the reflexes of a cat, the capacity to unsheathe claws, eight more lives and, inexplicably, what seems like the power to allure the most attractive young men in the immediate vicinity.  (That last bit might just be the writers giving her the Mary Sue treatment.)  Turns out Chloe is also the Chosen One Uniter, the one meant to save her people (the Mai), demi-gods who are descendants of humans and Egyptian cat goddess Bastet.  While it isn't revealed in the pilot, viewers that played the Nine Paths game will know that the Big Bads in Nine Lives are the Order of Man, a human group hell bent on destroying the Mai and preventing Chloe from achieving her destiny.  They'll kill Chloe as many times as it takes to ensure she finally stays dead.

The BadThe Nine Lives of Chloe King has big shoes to fill.  The show is debuting in a genre that has already seen a number of television series focusing on ass-kicking feminist young women who manage to land as many clever one-liners as they do punches, Buffy the Vampire Slayer being the most notable.  The thing is, Nine Lives isn't as funny or as smart as Buffy was no matter how hard it tried, even when the pilot reached its stride halfway through.

The Good: When Nine Lives finally made it through the uncomfortable back story portion of the pilot, the episode metamorphosized into a fun supernatural young adult show.  We rarely remember that Buffy didn't begin as funny or as smart as Buffy ended up being.  Go back to the very first season and, chances are, you'll be cringing through a good portion of any given episode.  It may not become as groundbreaking or as nuanced as Buffy, but I'm betting The Nine Lives of Chloe King will be one of my favorite shows of the summer.

So, what did you think of the show?
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  1. I'm going to watch it this evening. I saw a promo for this in the theater before X-Men: First Class and had my interest piqued.

  2. I watched the entire 44 minutes. I kept waiting for it to get better.... it didn't.

    I felt like I was watching like the cheap, foreign knock-off of Buffy. Bad acting (especially the random Aussie and the BFF)and bad stunts. I know that Buffy had some cheese moments with the fight scenes, but this felt like Power Rangers cheese.

    While I'm still intrigued about where this is going, if I have to hear Chloe's best friend's (I can't even remember her name...) voice one more time, my head might explode. There was waaaaaay to much squealing.

    But then again, I'm 25 and I think I'm above the target demographic. Maybe actual teenagers might enjoy the ear-splitting screams and the horrible stunt doubles (what was with Alec's stunt double's hair?!?)?

  3. Hm. I gave up right after the horrible monologue where Chloe tells us she wants to be DIFFERENT and her life to be MEANINGFUL and her best friend falls off the bench. Maybe I'll give it another try, though, if you say it gets better. Do you still think it's worth watching, now, after the first few episodes have aired?

  4. Desiree, You know, I'm not sure. I haven't seen this week's episode yet and last week wasn't as good as the ending of the pilot. I might give it one more go before I give up completely.

    Lemme know what you think if you decide to watch it.