Heathers was a 1989 black comedy that become a cult phenomenon so you can understand that I was worried when I heard that it was next in line into the film-to-tv conversion machine…
Well the opening was cool, setting up J.D.’s back story gives us a chance to explore areas that were not touched on that much in the film. A most excellent cameo also helps pass the torch from 1989 to this new interpretation.
Then shit goes downhill fast!
Did you know that young people are obsessed with social media? If you did not then you soon will do as you will be reminded about 100 times in the first ten minutes. Grace Victoria Cox carries herself well as Veronica Sawyer but those around, her including the new multi-racial/gender gang of “Heathers” do not. What was once dark and subtle is now day-glo and repetitive – just in case you missed the point the first five times! Plus are we still using 30 years olds as teenagers? Please!
Furthermore the cast are dealing with a script that is so full of unnecessary “social commentary” that it drags Heathers down to a standard that does not even scrape tongue-in-cheek parody. It would seem that in converting Heathers for the modern audience series creator Jason Micallef didn’t bother watching the original and instead watched Mean Girl 2 (not the classic first film) and other films of such ilk and tried way too hard to shock/black comedy us with his “social commentary.”
Any aspects of the original movie’s subtleness is replaced by a sledge hammering of points of view that don’t appear to be aimed at anyone in particular. This mud sticks approach whilst allowing for enough one-liners to launch a t-shirt range (if that ever does happen then the point of Heathers will totally be lost) fails on a massive level to scratch any surface deeper than an American soap opera.
What made the movie of Heathers was the unique relationships between all the characters and all their hidden positive and negative feelings towards each other. Now we get a script that tries so hard to avoid stereotypes that it has created perhaps the worst ones in the history of television but hey look at them, they are so modern!
Verdict: 4/10 – Potential still remains to make this show mean something but it needs a lot of work to shake of the caricature approach that reaches nobody. References fly thick and thin and fail to register and when a joke is funny it is hammered home so much you cringe. Anything this show wants to be has already been done back in 1999 by the TV show Popular; it needs to get back to what the movie did well (darkness) and use your source material to make a great show.