10 Things I Hate About You and Make It or Break It: Volume One (July 19/11)
With entertaining shows like Kyle XY and Melissa & Joey under its belt, ABC Family has certainly lived up to its name as one of the foremost purveyors of affable family-friendly fare. The channel's ongoing efforts at garnering as wide an audience as possible continue with both 10 Things I Hate About You and Make It or Break It, as both series, outwardly geared towards teens, contain more than enough elements to sustain the interest of older viewers.
10 Things I Hate About You is, of course, based on the 1999 film of the same name, with the series essentially employing the movie's basic plot as a springboard for a typical high-school dramedy. Though the show features an impressive ensemble cast, the emphasis is largely placed on the exploits of the Stratford sisters - the rebellious Kat (Lindsey Shaw) and the superficial Bianca (Meaghan Martin).
There's certainly an atmosphere of familiarity to the ten episodes contained within this set, as 10 Things I Hate About You is generally content to trot out the usual tropes that one has come to associate with the genre. This isn't quite as problematic as one might've feared, however, as the show boasts a consistently watchable feel that's perpetuated by the efforts of a uniformly charming cast - with Shaw's engaging work as the series' outsider standing as a clear highlight.
Make It or Break It is, on the other hand, an original piece of work that revolves around the exploits of four aspiring gymnasts: Ayla Kell's Payson Keeler, Josie Loren's Kaylie Cruz, Cassie Scerbo's Lauren Tanner, and Chelsea Hobbs' Emily Kmetko. The series, for the most part, details the protagonists ongoing efforts at training for a pivotal national gymnastics tournament, with the characters' tumultuous personal lives proving a consistent and pervasive detriment to their preparations.
It's a soapy premise that's employed to exceedingly watchable effect by the series' producers, as the program boasts a myriad of compelling subplots that are heightened by the efforts of the familiar faces within the supporting cast - including Candace Cameron Bure, Susan Ward, Peri Gilpin, and Rosa Blasi. It is, as such, not surprising to note that Make It or Break It is often far more entertaining than one might've expected, and it does become awfully difficult not to become wrapped up in the ongoing exploits of these familiar characters.