Review | Hellcats

Credit: Jack Rowand / The CW

Air Date: Wednesday 9/8

Us Rating: ** 1/2

Ten years after Bring It On, the cheerleading-is-entertainment aftershocks remain. The latest example: this slick new series, set at a fictional college in Tennessee. Meet Marti (Disney Channel vet Aly Michalka), a hard-edged law student who reluctantly tries out for a coveted spot on the school's nationally ranked squad so she can grab scholarship money. (Conveniently, the well-chiseled Marti used to be a gymnast.)

After making the cut, Marti quickly realizes that difficult tumbling passes are the least of her problems. Seems the captain (an underutilized Ashley Tisdale) is an uptight perfectionist; a threatened teammate (Heather Hemmens) goes to extreme lengths to humiliate her; and the squad's scholarship program could be cut from the school. Plenty of winning elements abound, including Marti's impressive audition and the raw relationship with her wayward mom (Gail O'Grady). Still, for a show about cheerleading, where's all the spirit? If the surgeons on Grey's Anatomy can find humor in their hectic lives, then so can this ultraearnest bunch. Otherwise, it's going to be a quick fall to the bottom of the TV pyramid. (CW, 9 P.M.)