The Long Road to “Paradise Falls”


According to here!, there

will be plenty of drama when they hook up despite Cate’s reservations. Cate

herself has apparently moved to Paradise Falls to get away from distractions

and focus on her work, though Trish’s advances prove too enticing. Of course,

Cate’s ex-girlfriend Julie (Kerry Lai Fatt) comes back into the picture,

complicating everything.

If that doesn’t sound

soapy enough for you, another lesbian character, Lynnie Jordan (Amanda Brugel)

will reportedly be making a big splash this season as well. Lynnie married a

man under false pretenses (she caved in to family pressure and thought that her

husband-to-be was also gay). She’s seeking a divorce while she pursues a new

love interest.

Kerry Lai Fatt (left) and Amanda Brugel

Paradise Falls is an interesting parallel to Dante’s Cove, another queer soap airing on here! that started with

a focus on gay men and evolved to include more prominent lesbian characters.

Though queer women have always been a big part of Paradise Falls, the promotional materials for Season 3 highlight

the fact that characters of all sexual orientations will receive equal time — a

nice, if subtle, sign of progress.

Viewers who enjoy soaps

(especially queer soaps) will love Paradise

, but those who don’t care for the genre certainly won’t be converted.

While the acting is largely decent and the production values quite good for

this type of production, the show is certainly cheesy and melodramatic.

It also has a flair for

the supernatural; previous seasons have dipped into witchcraft and the occult,

with a few unsolved murders still haunting the placid-looking town.

Speaking of melodrama,

some performers fare better than others with the campy story lines. Victoria

Snow does admirably with some of the worst lines in the show, playing the “love

to hate her” homophobe with about as much gusto as can be expected.

Art Hindle is excellent

as the smarmy mayor (and Nick’s father figure), giving Nick the usual terrible

wedding night advice and handing out campaign buttons at the ceremony. Best is

Michelle Latimer, who gives Trish the right mix of edge and vulnerability. It’ll

be very interesting to see what McGeachie brings to the table with Cate. If her

work as Tonya is any indication, viewers are in for a treat.

Left to right: Fatt, McGeachie and Latimer

The production values are

quite good — the show is beautifully shot and nicely put together, making it a

step up from usual soap opera fare. Likewise, the series’ tendency toward “risky”

subject matter (read: queer characters and story lines) and realistic love

scenes elevate what would otherwise be a rather forgettable affair. In fact, it’s

almost surprising that the show was featured on a fairly mainstream national

channel for its first two seasons.

But the bottom line

remains: A love of cheesy, over-the-top drama is necessary to enjoy this kind

of show. If you’re the type of viewer who enjoys sex, intrigue and drama with a

little murder on the side, you’ll be right at home in Paradise Falls. Everyone else should proceed with caution.

The third season of Paradise

begins this Friday, April 11, 2008, on the here! Network.

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