There’s something appealingly retro about MTV’s latest scripted offering—and not just because Finding Carter bears a striking resemblance to Caroline B. Cooney’s beloved 1990 novel The Face on the Milk Carton. (You may know it better as the inspiration for a TV movie that aired in 1995).
These days, shows for and about teenagers tend to fall into one of two categories: the Ryan Murphy-esque dramedy (high-energy, soaked with pop culture references, alternating wildly between irony and sincerity; see MTV’s own Faking It or Awkward. for examples), or the Gossip Girl-ian glitzy melodrama (think privileged kids who don’t act like actual teenagers, getting into trouble and sleeping with each other; Pretty Little Liars is the current standard bearer). The pilot episode of Finding Carter, though, is neither self-consciously hip nor glamorously soapy; its dialogue is straightforward, its dramatic elements are understated, and its characters are good looking in a low-key way rather than being regulation CW hotties. I’d compare the result to ABC Family’s recent rash of family dramas (Switched at Birth, The Fosters), but they’re a little more after-school-special-y than Carter; more than anything, actually, the new show resembles an early ’00s teen drama, like South of Nowhere or Caitlin’s Way. (The comparison makes sense if you’ve heard of either of those shows, I swear.)
Which is a good thing. Carter‘s relatively down-to-earth tone—plus a strong, grounded performance by Kathryn Prescott—gives the show a sense of authenticity that helps mitigate its sudsier elements. READ FULL STORY