Amber Heard and Taylor Handley, Hidden Palms
Hot, rich kids with equally attractive parents, a sexy California setting, and a new guy who doesn't quite fit in. Sound familiar? "Of course we're getting all The O.C.
comparisons," says Kevin Williamson
, the creator of the CW's brand-new Hidden Palms
(Wednesdays at 8 pm/ET), who was also the brains behind Dawson's Creek
. "But we were just trying to make something fun and juicy, a guilty pleasure." There's Johnny, who moves to Palm Springs with his mom and her new husband after his dad's suicide and his own brief stint in rehab. He's befriended by slick Cliff and falls for gorgeous Greta, whose former boyfriend supposedly killed himself in what is now Johnny's bedroom. But if you ask science geek Liza, it was more like murder. Hooked yet?
Johnny, "The New Guy" (played by Taylor Handley)
"Johnny's like any kid who gets uprooted from his familiar surroundings and put into a new one," says Handley (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning). "He's had some problems in the past, so he's got a lot of different elements to deal with. He's just trying to find his way."
Greta, "The Heartbreaker" (Amber Heard)
"Greta's the link that connects everyone in the story," says Heard (who played the young Charlize Theron in North Country). "Johnny's a fighter and relates to that sensibility in Greta, but she's more manipulative. She doesn't need anything or anybody. She can fend for herself."
Nikki, "The Party Girl" (Tessa Thompson)
"Nikki has a lot of problems she doesn't want to deal with directly," says Veronica Mars alumna Thompson. "Drinking is her way of escaping. But there's more to her than that. Deep down, she's a kind, open, loyal person, which you wouldn't expect."
Cliff, "The Charmer" (Michael Cassidy)
"Cliff is the kind of guy you want to be friends with," says Cassidy (The O.C.'s Zach during Season 2). "He's comfortable in every social situation. But you definitely can't trust him. You may think you know everything about him, but you don't know anything."
Liza, "The Outsider" (Ellary Porterfield)
Liza's the shy girl next door who crushes on the neighborhood guys. "She's sweet and innocent, but there's something more," says Porterfield, who's still in high school. "She's always lurking — not just hiding — in the shadows."
Let our new Online Video Guide sneak you into the exclusive Hidden Palms.
Send your comments on this feature to firstname.lastname@example.org.