Grey Damon in THE NINE LIVES OF CHLOE KING - Season 1 - "Redemption" | ©2011 ABC Family/Eric McCandless

Grey Damon in THE NINE LIVES OF CHLOE KING - Season 1 - "Redemption" | ©2011 ABC Family/Eric McCandless

Stars: Skyler Samuels, Amy Peitz, Grey Damon, Grace Phipps, Benjamin Stone, Alyssa Diaz, Ki Hong Lee
Writer: Dan Berendsen based on the novels by Liz Braswell
Director: Chris Grismer
Network: ABC Family, airs Tuesday nights
Original Telecast: June 21, 2011

After a so-so first week, I felt I had to give THE NINE LIVES OF CHLOE KING a second chance. Not all-new shows hit it out of the park with the pilot, so I was hoping that major improvements were in store for this series.

Sadly, no such luck.

While “Redemption” does deal with some of story criticisms I had last week  – such as Chloe (Skyler Samuels) feeling remorseful about killing an innocent person with her kiss, and dealing with the gravity of actually dying –  the show also didn’t really do much with her newfound abilities in a way that could be satisfying on a weekly basis of a TV series (here, she uses them to fight off drug dealers who sell pain killers!)

As “Redemption” begins, we have Chloe running around at night like a cat and protector Alek (Benjamin Stone) always nearby trying to watch her. He’s her protector and holds all the secrets of the cat-like race she belongs to called Mai (although he’s a little too secretive about what those secrets actually are).

Meanwhile, Chloe is still devastated that the first boy she ever kissed – Xavier – died because of her (Mai’s can’t kiss humans, otherwise the results are deadly). She attends his funeral and tries to help Xavier’s former pain-killer addicted brother (Alberto De Diego) find “redemption.” He blames himself for Xavier’s death because he came out to help him curb his pain killer habit. Of course the pain killer thugs are breathing down on him to start popping pills again, and it’s up to Chloe, Alek and her best friends buds Amy (Grace Phipps) and Paul (Ki Hong Lee) to save the day.

The relationship between human Brian (Grey Damon) and Chloe heats up too, even though Alek warns the consequences could be dire. Oh, and Brian’s douchebag dad happens to be a Mai hunter and was the one who actually caused Xavier to die.

I knew that an ABC Family series wasn’t going to commit to making Chloe an indirect killer. In some ways though, by taking that interesting facet away, they’ve effectively neutered the show. That one little thing is what made the show interesting and could have kept it from sliding into a bad teen drama with a slight fantasy element. Oh well.

Even though it’s a coincidence, having Brian’s dad be a Mai-hater is very similar to the TEEN WOLF throughline of newbie werewolf Scott falling in love with a girl whose father is a werewolf hunter. TEEN WOLF has done a nice job of balancing that story, and the addition of that twist to CHLOE KING could definitely add a nice layer of conflict that has been missing up until this point.

Surprisingly, some of the best elements of “Redemption” is the teen angst storylines and the actors, who are growing quite nicely into their roles. Both Samuels and Phipps were a bit overly bubbly in the pilot, yet here, they’ve truly grown into their roles by leaps and bounds. Maybe the weight of the storyline has grounded them a bit – and brought a heavier edge to their emotions and feelings, but they’re both proving to be quite engaging actresses and that goes a long way in keeping people around as a show finds its footing.

Damon is also quite likable as Chloe’s scruffy love interest. It’s a nice pairing as well. Also, Amy Pietz as Chloe’s mom is quite good bringing some real-life mom action to the relationship. Their mom-daughter moments have some truths to it and Pietz takes what could have been a rather clueless parental figure and infused her with some charm and smarts.

So yes, casting is good, some of the characters are interesting, but THE NINE LIVES OF CHLOE KING is going to rise or fall on the basis of its on-going mythology and how it translates into weekly adventures. So far, Chloe is a reluctant hero and just learning about her powers. That’s fine, but fighting off drug dealers, is not the kind of action story you want to see in the second episode of series. It’s a bit lazy and hokey. For CHLOE KING to hope to have a few lives left in it, it needs to strike a balance between teen angst and its hyper-real premise. TEEN WOLF, so far, has done a nice job of it, and of course BUFFY excelled in it.

I really didn’t like “Redemption” all that much – even though I clearly see some potential within the framework of the story to break out and be better than it’s been so far. The characters, actors and mythology are all showing promise – now it just has to find out what it wants to be and fast before it starts losing any viewers who have stuck with it this far.

AGREE? DISAGREE? LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD – COMMENT BELOW!

Click on link: for AX’s review of THE NINE LIVES OF CHLOE KING – Season 1 – “Green Star”

Click on link: for AX’s review of the series premiere of THE NINE LIVES OF CHLOE KING

Click on link: for AX’s review of the series premiere of TEEN WOLF – “Wolf Moon”

Click on link: for AX’s review of TEEN WOLF – “Second Chance At First Line”

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Comments:

  1. I agree overall with your critique, but for some reason there’s something I really like about this show. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I’m intrigued and for some reason I can’t wait for the next episode.

    I actually think it’s kind of interesting that Chloe didn’t actually kill Xavier. If this order of assassins have been following the Mai and killing any humans with whom they’ve had “intimate relations,” then the actual curse might no longer exist at all – they just don’t know about it. And that’s still, debateably, difficult for the main character: either the boy died simply because she kissed him, or he was murdered because she kissed him.

    Not entirely sure why I can look past its flaws, but I find it enjoyable enough.

    Kate
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  3. Vincent Martella Starring in Love Bites on NBC Thursday the 23rd 10 pm.
    Vincent is from 2 Emmy winning shows. Vincent Played Greg on Everybody Hates Chris and is the voice of Phineas on Disney’s Phineas s& Ferb ! Vincent was recently in the feature film Role Models.

    Pass it on!! VERY FUNNY!

    jim
  4. I tried to like Nine Lives but it’s just terrible. I’ve already given up on it. I’m sticking with ABC Family’s other AMAZING show, “Switched at Birth.” It’s so moving and my brother and both my sisters LOVE IT!!!!

    Jacey
  5. Are you ready for an all new Nine Lives of Chloe King tonight? Check out another action packed episode at 9/8c right after Pretty Little Liars!

    ABCFamily
  6. I Love the show! its brilliant and should NOT be cancelled! I feel so passionately about this show there are no words for how much I do not want this show to be cancelled. PLEASE RENEW FOR A NEXT SEASON! The people who think that it’s not good should just not watch it. its that simple. There are lots of other devoted fans who I’m sure feel the same way. SAVE NINE LIVES!!!!<3

    Ceara
  7. I truly love every second of this show The nine lives of Chloe King and I will be very grateful and thankful if the producer will continue in producing many seasons.So fingers crossxxxxxxx

    alfrida
  8. Truely loving this show! Most the time I do not get to watch it at the regular time it comes on. I work 247. But I have my DVR set and watch it when I get home. I have every episode so far and watch each one more than once. It is the only show I watch, since I do not get to watch tv. LOVING IT! WANTS MORE NINE LIVES OF CHOLE KING!!!! thinking about getting the books as well :) :) :) 1-10 rate it 120 :)

    Brooke
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