NICKELODEON SHOW `ALEX MACK' FEELS RIGHT AT HOME.
Paradise Valley is a clean, master-planned town, where a teen-age girl navigates her way through suburban adolescence with the help of super powers she gained from exposure to a mysterious chemical.
Paradise Valley is also fictional, but its settings are pure Santa Clarita Valley. In Nickelodeon's hit show ``The Secret World of Alex Mack,'' the title character attends high school at what is actually Castaic Middle School. In earlier seasons, Charles Helmers and James Foster elementary schools in Valencia and Saugus played the part of Alex's classrooms.
The children's program, which has completed filming for its third season, airs at 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays on the cable channel. Production has been based in the Santa Clarita Valley since the series started, said Tom Lynch, the show's executive producer and co-creator.
Lynch said he was drawn to filming in Santa Clarita because he was looking for a new community with a structured, uniform style of neighborhoods and architecture. Paradise Valley is supposed to be a town that centers around a chemical plant.
Behind the scenes, the producers have been glad they have received a ``film-friendly'' reception from the local government, school districts and residents. Lynch cited the region's low crime rate, a selling point especially during night and weekend location shoots when many filming locales tend to be deserted.
The cast and crew of ``Alex Mack,'' who also film on soundstages at a local converted warehouse, have used the Santa Clarita Valley as their back lot - shooting at Castaic Lake, in the undeveloped hills, on ranches and on city streets, Lynch said.
``I have shot all over the world,'' Lynch said. Filming in Santa Clarita ``has truly been, consistently, one of the smoothest experiences that I've had,'' he added.
``People enjoy us being there,'' Lynch said, noting that neighborhood kids come out to watch location shoots - but they are respectful, not disruptive. ``We feel that we're really part of the community, and that the community has embraced us,'' he said.
The show will return for production on its fourth season, Lynch said. ``We've actually seen the town grow radically around us,'' he added.