January 13, 2015

SHOWBUZZDAILY Series Premiere Review: “Eye Candy”


EYE CANDY:  Monday 10PM on MTV – If Nothing Else Is On…

MTV has been on a good run with its scripted programming lately, including strong shows like Finding Carter and Faking It; even the now-canceled Happyland had its bright moments.  The new EYE CANDY, though, is extremely dumb stuff.

The thriller is based on a novel by R.L. Stine, and was developed for TV by Christian Taylor (he’s credited as having co-written the pilot script with Co-Executive Producer Emmy Grinwis, although apparently she wrote an earlier version that was filmed but junked, and he’s responsible for the new script).  The key participant, though, may be non-writing executive producer Jason Blum, whose movies are mostly of the teen-aimed, super-low-budget horror variety, like Ouija, Jessabelle and the Paranormal Activity, Insidious, Sinister and The Purge franchises.  Some of those movies are more fun than others, but none of them are known for the depth of their characterizations or clever plotting, and Eye Candy chases similarly cheap thrills.

The harried heroine is Lindy (Victoria Justice), whose sister was abducted before her eyes 3 years ago, and who now helps search for other lost teens with her super-duper hacking skills.  Her hacking had gotten her arrested, luckily by hunky cop Ben (Daniel Lissing), who put her in an ankle monitor even as he was dating her.  When we meet Lindy after a brief prologue, her parole is ending, and no sooner do her buddies–obligatory sassy African-American Sophia (Kiersey Clemons) and obligatory sassy gay Connor (John Garet Stoker)–put her on a dating app (using the name “Eye Candy”) than she’s being stalked by a techno-genius sociopath who murders women who lie about their physical perfection on dating apps (as well as whatever additional people the show needs for a zing before any commercial break).  The killer–surprise!–may also be linked to the disappearance of Lindy’s sister.

Eye Candy is less distasteful than CBS’s Stalker, which creeps around similar territory, but it’s painfully written, with dialogue that feels like a first draft (instead of a romantic exchange between Lindy and Ben about the stars, the actors would have been better off reciting “Insert romantic dialogue here”).  The plot is the kind of thing that has the villain not only omnipresent (both physically and in his cyber form) but able to drop teasing clues with ridiculous efficiency, and yet for all its supposed state-of-the-art computer sophistication, it’s still the kind of show that accompanies every action by a laptop with the same buzzes and beeps that computers were making in movies 40 years ago.

Justice is convincing enough as a woman who could satisfy her stalker’s insistence on physical flawlessness, but less so as someone who can effortlessly hack into the NYPD’s and every other computer system in seconds.  The supporting cast, which includes Harvey Gullen as another obligatory second banana (the overweight techno-nerd) and Casey Jon Deidrick as yet another smoldering cop, shows no sign of exceeding their cliched roles.

It appears that the serialized nature of Lindy’s story will be filled out by a procedural bent in later episodes, as Lindy starts working with a cyber investigation unit on crimes of the week.  It’s unclear whether this will help or hurt the show, but Eye Candy will need lots of improvement if it’s going to be worth more than a glancing look.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."