I am a huge fan of the Julia Stiles / Heath Ledger starring vehicle 10 Things I Hate About You. I think there was a few months when it first came out on VHS (yep, VHS), that I watched it every day. So the minute I heard that ABC Family was prepping a TV version that would tell the same story, I was very hesitant to embrace the idea. Obviously, they couldn’t have Heath Ledger, and he’s pretty incomparable, so it was going to be hard to fill the Patrick role convincingly. And Julia Stiles is so perfect as Kat, that I didn’t think it possible to have someone equally as caustic fill the spot.
Then I started hearing things from the network about how great the pilot was. That Larry Miller was staying on as the dad of the girls. That Gil Junger was directing the pilot, and that Gregory Peck’s grandson was playing my dear Patrick, and suddenly, it didn’t seem like such a bad thing to re-do such a classic!
The story is still set in Padua. This time around, Kat and Bianca are the new girls in town, hoping to make an impression on their classmates. And they make quite the impression, with car accidents, foreign language lessons, and a sick obsession with someone’s Facebook page. Lindsey Shaw is just great as Kat (she’s no Julia, but I think she will get there), and she has a very believable chemistry with Ethan Peck’s Patrick.
Is it perfect? No, not really. But it’s off to a good start, and it’s a fun way to pass the time. Word of advice to the new Gabrielle Union playing head cheerleader / nemesis of Bianca? Tone it down a little, and we’ll get along a whole lot better!
Premiere: Tuesday, July 7th on ABC Family 8/7c