Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

MTV Tries a Series with a Dramatic Plot

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

MTV Tries a Series with a Dramatic Plot

Article excerpt

MTV has come of age with "Dead at 21," its first dramatic series. Sounds gloomy, but the video music channel believes viewers will still hum along.

"Dead," about a 20-year-old trying to unravel a nefarious government plot that threatens his life, won't lack for MTV trademarks, and that includes "wall-to-wall" music, says MTV executive Joe Davola.

"I think the soundtracking is something you wouldn't get in network TV at all," Davola says. "It will be the best soundtrack in television because of our relationship with the record companies. "Music drives the storyline through."

After a preview last Thursday after the "MTV Movie Awards," "Dead" moves to its regular time slot at 9 tonight

The first episode's songs included "Man in the Box" from Alice in Chains; "Creep" by Radiohead; "Sex Type Thing" by Stone Temple Pilots and Nirvana's "Come as You Are."

The look, as well as the sound, is pure MTV: "A lot of hand-held (camera) shots, lots of angles, lot of quick-cutting," says Davola, senior vice president of MTV Productions-MTV Development.

But "Dead at 21" isn't tossing away all convention. There is a plot.

In fact, the series has the ring of TV tradition, invoking elements of "The Fugitive," "Run for Your Life," "The Twilight Zone" and even this season's cult hit, Fox's "The X-Files."

"Dead at 21" stars Jack Noseworthy as Ed, a college student who is in for a shock at his 20th birthday party: He discovers that he's the product of a now-defunct federal experiment.

His parents aren't his parents. His brain is implanted with a microchip intended to boost the brain power of American youth. And at 21, the wild dreams the imperfect chip produces will cause him to self-destruct.

Ed goes on the run when he is framed for murder by a rogue federal agent. The youth has one year to find the scientist, Victor Heisenberg, behind the experiment and save himself.

With the help of new-found friend Maria (Lisa Dean Ryan), he's also fending off the assassination-minded agent.

But the series will venture beyond its central theme, just as another cat-and-mouse drama, "The Fugitive," did in the 1960s. …

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