Boys Before Friends Episode FiveSummary: Zoey is a scholarship student at the exclusive Ellison University. There she meets the F4, a group of guys that rule the school with their money and power.
Number of Episodes: 16
Stars: Suteara Vaughn, Jackie Averia, Erik Thomas, Jason S. Mordeno, Alexia Quinn, Rose Guess, Kevin Markovic
Additional Info: Available on Viki.com and their official site. As of now (2/9 am) it's not yet up on Viki.com.
See my reviews of episodes 1, 2, 3, 4, and the special
Before I start, I want say that I went into the episode with an open mind regarding the new leads, Rose Guess and Kevin Markovic. The special episode really negatively impacted my view of the people involved- the producer specifically and, to some degree, the actors that participated- but the new actors weren't part of the drama.
Now... on to the show.
It's no longer spring break and everyone is back at home. Chloe is opening a clothing store and Zoey is going to work for her. Piper is opening up a mobile cupcake service, too. The F4 minus Oliver, who is chasing Jade in New York, have nothing to do but hang around and try to help out. Each girl gets the help of their respective guy- Noah runs the cash register for Chloe, Chase mixes cupcake batter and listens to Piper talk about her now-ex-boyfriend (of course that was going to happen), and Liam tries to make soup and generally care for a sick Zoey.
So, what did I think of the new actors?
I have to say that I think Rose Guess is the best Zoey so far. It might be a little premature because it's only been one episode, but I liked her immediately. She wasn't as tough as Zoey #1 or as bitchy-sounding as Zoey #2. They obviously had a specific idea of Zoey as she does have a similar look to all the other girls. She was rather awkward at the beginning, especially in the dialogue. Over the course of the episode, she loosened up and sounded as natural as could be expected with some of the dialogue given.
Now, for Kevin Markovic as Liam. Truthfully, I wasn't feeling him. Not because I think he's a bad actor... he's not. In fact, he was better than most of them. I think he just doesn't have the vibe that the character is supposed to have. There was none of that haughty attitude. I didn't dislike him but I don't really think this role suits him. As I watched the episode, I kept thinking that he'd be great as Michael Corinthos on General Hospital.
Up next is the most persistent problem this production has- the sound. What I noticed in this episode is that the biggest problem here are the mics. Their mics suck. Whenever the cast members on screen aren't directly next to the mic they have to raise their voices, making them sound unnatural. If they talk normally in those scenes, they sound like they are mumbling and can't be heard. There is a lot of background noise, as well. I specifically noticed this when they were in Chloe's store. Whenever they were facing the front of the building with the open door, you could hear the traffic in the background. If this is a product of the mic itself or editing afterward, I don't know, but it is a problem. And, again, the background music is so much louder than the dialogue.
One of the most annoying things in the episode, though, was the cell phone calls. We only once had a call where they switched back and forth between the people talking. The other times, we were subjected to the off-screen participant's voice quite obviously coming from somewhere off to the side. It was loud enough to be in the same room but echo-y enough to be coming from a distance.
As for the story itself... where the hell is it going? I get that it's a romance and the story arc tends to be fall in love, overcome the obstacle to their love and get together in the end. It still feels like this show is progressing at a glacial pace. We are about 1/3 through and there has been no hint that anything will try to come between Zoey and Liam. They aren't even together yet. Aubrey's childhood crush on Liam doesn't have an ominous tone at this point unless you take the confessional into account, which I feel was meant to be more of a DVD extra rather than part of the show that we were supposed to see now.
In the end, it was an okay episode. On one hand, I liked the new Zoey and, despite the fact that I feel he doesn't really fit the part, the new Liam. On the other hand, the persistent sound issues and bad story-telling (pacing and dialogue) can make the show hard to watch sometimes. I do feel like I've invested enough time with this show, though, to continue it until the end.