'Filthy Rich' is the kind of trashy soap that could win loyal converts
Posted September 21, 2020 12:24 p.m. EDT
CNN — "Filthy Rich" is a bit of a Franken-soap, seemingly stitched together from pieces of other series. Yet it works, at least kind of, as a guilty pleasure, unabashedly embracing its trashiness with sly wit and reasonably clever twists. As kickoffs to the broadcast TV season go, Fox could have, and indeed has, done worse.
First, a few obvious comparisons, not only to something like "Dynasty," but more recently HBO's "The Righteous Gemstones," which also dealt with a family of hypocritical televangelists; and Fox's woefully misguided "Almost Family," which hinged on an unlikely sorority of daughters fathered by the same fertility-clinic doctor.
In "Filthy Rich" (not to be confused with Netflix's recent Jeffrey Epstein docuseries), the Reese's peanut butter cup version of that blending involves a Southern family -- wallowing in the trappings of wealth, as they run something called the Sunshine Network -- rudely awakened by the sudden demise of their patriarch (Gerald McRaney), whose will reveals the existence of several children that he sired out of wedlock.
It's a shock to his wife, Margaret Monreaux ("Sex and the City's" Kim Cattrall, oozing honey with her accent), as well as their grown kids, triggering a battle for control of the Sunshine Network. She has a strong right hand in the family attorney (Steve Harris), but faces challenges that include an ambitious minister (Aaron Lazar), who doesn't think Margaret can handle the job.
The new additions to the family, meanwhile, each have their own stories to tell, the most interesting being Ginger (Melia Kreiling), who has been running a successful online-sex enterprise before realizing she might come into some cash the old-fashioned way -- namely, by inheriting it.
Not surprisingly, series creator Tate Taylor ("The Help") and his writing team have to go through some contortions to keep the extended clan together -- why not just take the money and run? -- but the show has a fair amount of fun keeping the audience off balance.
Held over from last spring, the series also has the advantage of being one of the relatively few new broadcast shows, at least for the next few months, which isn't a reality series or an acquisition from a streaming service or outside the US. The show will be paired with one of the former, "L.A.'s Finest," a cop drama starring Jessica Alba and Gabrielle Union originally produced for Spectrum subscribers.
Of course, dynastic battles have a long TV tradition, and nobody will confuse this with something like HBO's "Succession," which also strains the jockeying of an eccentric brood through the filter of a media empire.
"Family is the most valuable thing in the world," Margaret says, as she maneuvers to maintain control of both.
Shows like "Filthy Rich," by contrast, are pretty much a dime a dozen. But if they're executed well, as this one is, they can still be enough fun to win some loyal converts.
"Filth Rich" premieres Sept. 21 at 9 p.m. on Fox.