Hollywood sendup returns to AMC

Critic's Choice: Television

January 07, 2001|By Chris Kaltenbach

Hollywood history is replete with tales of decadence and derangement, luck and inspiration, whimsy and high drama. And these qualities are on prominent display in AMC's wickedly nostalgic series, "The Lot," a weekly journey through the offices and backlots of the mythical Sylver Screen Studios that begins its second season at 10 tonight. What began as a four-part series last year is being expanded to 13 episodes for 2000.

"The Lot" stars Jonathan Frakes ("Star Trek: The Next Generation"), Sara Botsford, Holland Taylor (as gossip maven Letitia Devine), Francois Giroday (as costume designer Fabian) and Linda Cardellini ("Freaks & Geeks") as a starlet who learns hard lessons the hard way.

Half the fun of watching "The Lot" is trying to match the goings-on at Sylver Screen to the real-life Hollywood stars and stories they're patterned after.

In this season's first three episodes, we meet a Jewish studio executive being pressured to make his films more palatable to audiences in Nazi Germany; a talented (and habitually drunk) writer with a sharp tongue and a weakness for handsome men; a faded star of the silent cinema struggling to maintain her dignity and her career; and a conniving film executive who gets a young actor addicted to painkillers, the better to keep him under the studio's control. All have their counterparts in Hollywood lore.

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