Since The CW was created from the ashes of UPN and The WB I haven't been too impressed with their newest series. Gossip Girl started out strong, but the 10 episodes on myDVR say I'm not into it any more. The exception to the rule is Vampire Diaries which I highly enjoy. So to say I wasn't expecting a whole lot when I sat down to watch the first 3 episode of Life Unexpected is an understatement. In fact I wasn't sure if I would watch anything past the pilot.
But I was unexpectedly surprised at just how much I liked it. With Life Unexpected The CW has brought back something it's old shows, such as Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars, had, something that has been missing from it's new shows: Heart. And Life Unexpected has heart in spades. There's a reason that many reviewers are comparing the show to Gilmore Girls, because it has the same feeling to it. It's about family and how much they can love and hate each other all at the same time.
The series follows what could be called a Modern Family, two thirtysomethings, Cate (Shiri Appleby) and 'Baze' (Kristoffer Pohlaha), are placed in charge of the daughter, Lux (Brittany Robertson), who they put up for adoption in high school after a one night stand. At the time of birth Cate thought her daughter would be placed in a good home, but instead she's been in and out of foster homes for her whole life.
I know the idea seems preposterous, but the writers have come up with a clever way to get them together. Lux, tired of the foster program, has filed for emancipation, but needs the signature of her parents. When both her parents show up to court, the judge places her in their custody instead of setting her free.
The heart of the series comes from Cate and Baze who clearly love this child, even though they've never met her. And it's their love for her that really makes the series work. Of course it doesn't hurt that theres some romantic tension between the two as well.
The series has something else that the old WB shows had, Dawson Creek's Kerr Smith and Roswell's Shiri Appleby and both do a great job playing the hosts of a local morning radio show, who are also secretly in love. The rest of the cast does a great job as well, especially the young Robertson on whose shoulders most of the series land on. Had she not been as convincing as she is, the series would have been a complete failure. As it is, the series works because of her.
After the pilot, my wife and I quickly watched the other two episode The CW sent over and we enjoyed all three. The second and third episodes keep up the quality set forth in the first episode and also add a lot of potential conflict to the plot. For my family this is one new series that will be making a place on our DVR.
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