Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pilot Screener Review - Life UneXpected

Life UneXpected (script review: Light Years)
Status: Midseason on CW

A couple weeks back, someone asked me to list CW's new fall series in order of my preference. Here we go:

1) The Vampire Diaries
2) The Beautiful Life (though this was only a presentation)
3) Melrose Place

Which is not to say that I loved The Vampire Diaries (see my review here). It is merely the least problematic of the three (though, if you choose to watch tonight, I'd love to get a count of the number of times you laugh when the show isn't asking you to laugh but you do so anyway...)

My love of The Body Politic not withstanding because it, inexplicably, was not picked up and CW is feeling the low-rated wrath of premiering too many carbon copy shows instead of a true original, Life UneXpected is actually my favorite of CW's new series for the 2009-10 season (which, given my complete hatred of the script should shock you)!

I'm happy to say that the cheesiest of lines from the script were thoroughly reworked or just cut altogether, that Brittany Robertson as the (kind of?) titular Lux comes off as sympathetic and strong (and not the near-bitch from the script), that Shiri Appleby is quite magnetic (even if her character, Cate, isn't as fully-formed as I hope she becomes) and has chemistry with both Kerr Smith's Ryan and Kristoffer Polaha (who plays Nate, Lux's father, and is no longer the complete slacker character from the script though still a bit of a man-child).

In short... the core cast works. You care for Lux. You want her to be supported. You don't necessarily want Cate and Nate to get back together because Cate is kind of cute with Ryan (though she is stronger with Nate... mostly because they're allowed to be at odds in the pilot which ramps up the electricity). Gone are several of the unnecessary and cliche plot threads (though expect things to be telegraphed a mile away and for a heavy dose of schmaltz). There's a focus... Lux, and the adults who are going to be a part of her life's relationship to her.

That I didn't hate it made me like it even more... though it's still not something I, personally, would seek out (again, heavy schmaltz and it does still smack of things we've seen before). But the fact that the show isn't about overly sexed 20-somethings in a posh urban setting reminds me of "old school" WB shows (closer to a 7th Heaven / Gilmore Girls amalgamation than resembling, say Dawson's Creek) and gives me a bit of hope for, well, a potential future where the CW isn't just serving up remakes of '90s Fox soaps.