Originally created 09/21/04

'The Mountain' snows viewers with its scenery



NEW YORK - You'll find more moguls on "The Mountain" than along its ski runs.

There's reluctant mogul David Carver, a motocross roustabout who, much to his shock, is named sole heir of the family ski resort when his grandfather dies in an avalanche.

"You never listened to nobody, never cared what people thought, just went your own way, earned your own path," says the wily patriarch from beyond the grave on his videotaped will.

"I don't want this, a huge corporation, all this responsibility," protests David (Oliver Hudson). "That's not me."

Also, of course, there's the betrayed mogul, Will (Anson Mount), who is David's older brother and ran the resort for his grandfather. He never dreamed that he would get cut out.

And there's the big, bad mogul Cowlin Dowling (Mitch Pileggi), a cutthroat tycoon who will stop at nothing - certainly not the Carver family's refusals to sell - to add Boundary Mountain to his holdings.

As a soapy take on business a la "Dallas" or "Dynasty," this WB drama is somewhat of a bunny slope. The Carver family is, at heart, a close and loving bunch, down to teenage sister Shelly (Tara Thompson), a champion snowboarder. Gennie, the mom (Barbara Hershey) is devoted to her children and her charity foundation.

Meanwhile, the villains are insufficiently hissable. Even Dowling's sexy Harvard-grad daughter (Elizabeth Bogush), who is dispatched to seduce David into selling out, falls for him.

And despite the fact that the actors are uniformly attractive, "The Mountain" can never be a flesh parade on the order of "Baywatch" or even the current "North Shore" for the simple reason that, when there's snow on the ground, people mostly stay covered up.

Judging from the premiere (Wednesday at 9 p.m. EDT), "The Mountain" is mostly a family drama about likable fitness freaks. Much of the hour is given over to glorious footage of winter-sports prowess amid beautiful scenery.

Maybe it's too healthy for its own good.

On the Net:

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