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TELEVISION & RADIO | TELEVISION REVIEW

Staring at an uphill climb

'The Mountain' has a long way to go before it becomes watchable.

September 22, 2004|Paul Brownfield | Times Staff Writer

What do you call a mountain of cheese? The WB calls it, quite simply, "The Mountain," and it premieres tonight. It's about a family-owned mountain resort, and what happens when the patriarch dies (Chad Everett, seen giving a videotaped reading of his will), and leaves the place to the one grandson who doesn't want any part of the operation.

I think this is what "The Mountain" is about; more immediately, it's about slightly rugged white guys with thick, swept-back hair and just the right amount of beard growth -- the sort of men who, in another context, get me to buy things I don't need out of the J. Crew catalog.

One of them is the good son, Will (Anson Mount). Another is David (Oliver Hudson), the aforementioned lone wolf of the clan, who inherits the business and finds himself schlepping back up the mountain (he's been off doing extreme sports or something) and into the bosom of his family.

The literal bosoms of this family belong to Barbara Hershey, who wanders into our living rooms like a dazed victim from some other, better career. Here, she's playing the mother, Gennie Carver. Her hair is some shade of red now.

There is also a sister who is a competitive snowboarder, played by Tara Thompson, and two other lovely ladies, Alana De La Garza as David's ex, who is now with his brother, and Elizabeth Bogush as a member of the rival Dowling family.

"The Mountain," I think, wants to be a little "Melrose Place," a little "Dynasty," a little "The O.C." There are random montages of X-Games behavior. Hey, it's good to have role models. One of the executive producers of "The Mountain," it says, is McG. He did the "Charlie's Angels" features, so you know he cares deeply about character and nuance. "The Mountain" is a mess of bad acting, bad writing and, most important, bad mountain views. The resort is supposed to be in Colorado, but the pilot was shot in Calgary, Banff and Lake Louise, and you can tell.

*

`The Mountain'

Where: The WB

When: 9 tonight

Rating: TV-14 (may be unsuitable for children younger than 14)

Oliver Hudson...David Carver Jr.

Anson Mount...Will Carver

Barbara Hershey...Gennie Carver

Tara Thompson...Shelley Carver

Executive producers, McG, Stephanie Savage, Shaun Cassidy. Director, David Barrett.

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