Flashback TV Show Of The Day: Melrose Place

So it's a slow news day on this cold Saturday morning in New York City. I decided while watching the old classic Aaron Spelling soap opera/drama Melrose Place earlier that "Melrose Place" itself would be a great thing to bring attention to today.

Melrose Place is an American primetime soap opera that ran between 1992 and 1999, created by Darren Star for the FOX network and executive produced by the late Aaron Spelling. A spinoff from Beverly Hills 90210, though not featuring any permanent cast members crossing over, Melrose Place is set in a small apartment courtyard complex in the West Hollywood district of Los Angeles, where several young individuals reside, each with their own dreams and drives. The show's popularity led to a rash of similar nighttime serials about sexy, powerful women, such as Models, Inc. on Fox and Savannah on the WB (now the CW), which were short-lived.

Like its 90210, the show struggled in its first season with low ratings. However, with the arrival of more interesting characters and over-the-top storylines, ratings increased. The show was cancelled after its seventh season. In 2004, the network SOAPnet began repeating the series. Seasons 1 through 3 are currently available on DVD, and the fourth season is set to arrive on April 15, 2008.

Melrose Place's blend of melodrama, black humor, unapologetic sexuality, and shocking moments have helped the show remain relevant and popular in the years since the show went off the air. Besides launching numerous careers (most notably, Marcia Cross, Doug Savant, Kristin Davis and Alyssa Milano later landed starring roles on Desperate Housewives, Sex and the City and Charmed respectively), the show helped resuscitate the careers of Courtney Thorne-Smith and Heather Locklear.

The formula of sex and over-the-top storylines led Aaron Spelling to revamp 90210 as an over-the-top soap opera-style show when Melrose Place overshadowed 90210 in popularity in the mid-1990s.

The show also has become the standard bearer for shocking storyline twists in the prime time drama genre, with classic moments such as character Kimberly Shaw (played by Marcia Cross of "Desperate Housewives") pulling off a wig while looking into a mirror, revealing that she was bald and had scars on her head from brain surgery in the final seconds of an episode.

Melrose Place airs with two episodes in a row Monday-Friday at 11am and 12pm and Saturday Mornings at 6am and 7am (Eastern Time; U.S.) on SOAPnet cable network. Check your local listings.