MVP is the CBC's (latest?) hockey series and I had the chance to watch the pilot episode before the series premiere Friday January 11, 2008 at 9:00 PM. MVP is more prime time titillating soap opera than a hockey series and better than a lot of Canadian programming though it shares some of its flaws to a lesser degree.
MVP got in the news before its air date because the NHL was curious about a storyline involving a Maple Leafs player (something about a Leaf actually winning something perhaps?). This is pretty good soap opera fare but MVP does telegraph its punches. You know a character is the good guy because he signs something for the car jockey at the party; the bad guy is the player who doesn't. The gold key the team captain gives his daughter is mysterious because the music and camera shot say so.
The MVP season opener is also the beginning of the season party for the fictional Mustangs hockey team -whose team color and logo kind of look like the third Flames jersey. The party introduces most of the key characters and most of the important story lines. Mustangs team captain Adam McBride dies; the Mustangs owner robs the captain's widow; the widow finds herself out on the street with her rather promiscuous daughter.
Like in many Canadian shows some moments in MVP are a bit much and over scripted. I am especially thinking of the funeral scene where the players treat the jersey on McBride's coffin as if it was a flag and present it to his daughter or the scene where a six year old girl gives future Mustang star (and English Canadian TV requisite Native character) Trevor Lemonde a bunch of wild flowers for some unexplained reason. Fortunately, the acting in this CBC hockey series is better than in most Canadian TV fare. The music is pretty cool too based on the soundtrack CD.
Future MVP story lines will include a romance between the new Mustangs captain and a virginal (i.e. degree in romantic poetry (really!) and daycare teacher) woman, McBride's widow and daughter trying to get back on their feet, lots of shenanigans involving the players, two women after the same guy, a Russian player, the Russian mob, and a kidnapping. I must not forget the titillation which is basically women in their bras and panties and the guys in the locker room walking around in towels.
I did find it strange though that MVP, being a hockey soap opera, had not a single hockey scene in the pilot. Saw puck bunnies, some suggested pucking, pecs, but no puck.