The First Season, Volume One
10 Things I Hate About You is a well-known feature film from 1999. The movie was a loose, modern day interpretation of "Taming of the Shrew". A single father and his two daughters recently transplanted to a new city. The girls were opposites of each other, one seeking popularity and the other an outspoken independent. The story followed the girls as they tried to integrate into the tough world of high school. Along the way, they developed love interests--despite demanding rules from an overprotective father. This review covers the first ten episodes of a television series of the same name.
The TV show adapts many of the same plotlines and characters from the feature film, but takes some minor deviation. The show begins with a traditional pilot episode, where the characters are introduced. Dr. Walter Stratford (Larry Miller) recently moved his two daughters from Ohio to California. He is a single parent and is very strict about his daughters. Kat (Lindsey Shaw) is the older daughter. She has a rebellious-like attitude and claims no interest in boys. She is very serious and strong-willed. Despite her tough demeanor, she slowly kindles an interest in the school's bad boy Patrick Verona (Ethan Peck). The younger sister Bianca (Meaghan Jette Martin) is the exact opposite. She wants to be a cheerleader, date, and be popular. To that end, she befriends head cheerleader Chastity Church (Dana Davis). She also befriends the nerd Cameron James (Nicholas Braun), who falls madly in love with her. Their relationship is ironic because Bianca believes Cameron is gay.
In the pilot episode, Bianca tries to recover from a popularity-taboo--her sister. Kat makes a point by ramming her car into Chastity's. The situation escalates, as Chastity's father is the superintendent, and the principal makes it clear Chastity gets whatever she wants. As the episodes continue, the sisters deal with their problems and attempt to make the best out of whatever situation. For Bianca, her situations tend to deal with boys and her quest to become popular. For example in "I Want You To Want Me", Bianca becomes the school mascot, but still tries to impress Chastity and make the cheer squad by setting up a fundraiser, which has social repercussions. Kat's issues are focused on her getting out a message. In "Don't Give Up", no one believes Kat can upgrade her old car to use bio-deisel fuel. She shows everyone at school (mainly males) that she, a woman, is capable of doing a "man's job".
In general, 10 Things I Hate About You makes for a decent teenage-oriented comedy/drama. As previously mentioned, the plotlines are very focused on the girls' development as defined by their opposite personalities. The show is very comparable, completely reusing some plotlines/situations and adapting a few others, to the feature film. On that note, if you enjoyed the movie, then the television series should offer a similar experience. However, there are some notable differences in the character portrayals. Cameron's sidekick Michael Bernstein (the neuritic Jewish kid who does weird things to try to be cool) is played by Kyle Kaplan. Kaplan's portrayal of the character is nowhere near as funny as Numb3rs' David Krumholtz. Krumholtz brought a special, comical approach to his character that Kaplan fails to achieve. The character Joey Donner, now played by Chris Zylka, has been dumbed down to a stupid pretty boy. His character was a little devious in the film, but now tends to just take up space.
Overall, the televised version of 10 Things I Hate About You tends to be a typical show that will mostly appeal to a teenage audience. The storylines are, for the most part, nothing new. The characters are also another issue some may take with the show. The main cast has the tendency to come off as whiny, as the issues Bianca and Kat deal with are a little over-the-top. In addition, there are other issues with the cast, such as some of the supporting characters not being as strong as their predecessors in the film. In the end, 10 Things I Hate About You is probably not for you, unless of course you are a thirteen year old (give or take a few years).
1. Pilot: It's a sunny day, and we're in a scruffy old Volvo with independent, outspoken Kat Stratford at the wheel.