The Nine Lives of Chloe King (Tuesdays at 9:00 on ABC Family)
Apparently I'm not as smart as I like to think, because I totally didn't understand this show's title until the last few minutes of the pilot. A more observant person with a quicker mind would have realized what the "nine lives" of the title referred to: cats. But not just cats... cat people.
Chloe King is your average fifteen year old. She sneaks out the night before her sixteenth birthday into a club with her two friends, both of whom get nervous and ditch her. But Chloe just wants to be kissed, and won't leave without one. She meets Xavier, who is also lying about his age to be in the club, and they kiss. The next day, on her sixteenth birthday, weird things begin happening: Chole can suddenly hear everything; she develops ugly, long, retractable claws (think Sabretooth in the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie); and she suddenly realizes she's desirable to boys. Enter a creepy assassin who shoves her off a roof.
Chloe wakes up almost immediately, a pool of blood at her head but nary a bruise on her body. She runs away but is confronted by two schoolmates; they inform Chloe that she is part of an ancient race known as the Mai. Essentially they're cat people. They have the agility and senes of a cat, and they also are lucky enough to have those nine lives. I say "lucky" because there are a group of assassins trying to destroy the Mai, of whom Chloe is chosen to be the leader because she has the most lives left.
There are several other twists and plot points introduced in this lightning-paced pilot, including a backstory concerning Chloe's biological father (she is adopted, and has a wonderful relationship with her mother) and a boy she meets while working in a clothing store. By the end of the episode my head was spinning from the speed by which important information was being thrown at me, not to mention the extreme number of twists introduced; it seemed like there was one every 3 minutes, from Chloe potentially being a murderer to the blossoming relationship between Chloe's two best friends. It was all so confusing, it took me several internet searches to get the whole story straight.
Don't get me wrong, this show is shaping up to be a whole lot of fun. Like I said, it's so quickly paced that the episode flew by, and if that pace is kept up then The Nine Lives of Chloe King will, at the very least, make for a great summer time waster. But if the complicated and ultimately silly mythology is developed properly, it could become a succesful genre series along the lines of a tame, less political Buffy. Because when you get down to it, there's not much new here. The basic plot of Chloe discovering she has powers, etc. is a retread of a thousand other stories meant to mirror the complex changes of adolescence. The only truly original aspects are the fact that Chloe is like a cat, and that's also the most ridiculous and polarizing aspect of the pilot. So I suppose this will fair well for summer audiences, especially those too young to appreciate the far superior supernatural summer series True Blood.