I finally got around to watching the new CW series Life Unexpected this weekend, and am in agreement with critics: This show is good.
The show has been compared to Gilmore Girls and Everwood, and has been hailed as the return of the CW/WB to old-school, feel-good shows. It's got the snappy dialogue of Gilmore, the heart of Everwood, and a location we haven't seen in a while--Portland. Yes, that's right, there are other places in this country besides New York and LA! Who would've thunk it?
What I also learned is that Portland has a decent Chinatown. At least, that's what it looks like on the show, since they filmed so many scenes in C-town in the first two episodes, and always in different spots. I went to the Boston C-town recently, and am currently obsessed with what they look like all over the country.
Anyway, back to Life Unexpected. The characters have really weird names, which bothers me only because what kind of a coincidence is THAT? You have the main character, Lux. You have her biological father, Baze (okay, his name is Nate, but he goes by an abbreviation of his last name, which is Bazile). Then you have Lux's boyfriend, Bug. Okay, Bug is homeless and homeless people often have funky names. But still.
I had my doubts about the casting at first, with Shiri Appleby and Kristoffer Polaha as the birth parents and Kerr Smith as Shiri's boyfriend. But they're all great in their roles. Shiri Appleby in particular brings an emotional vulnerability to the role that I was very surprised by. The last time I saw her was as a teenager in Roswell, and that angsty I'm-not-an-alien-but-I'm-in-love-with-one stuff got old after a while. Now she's a mom with a lot of regrets about abandoning her child and leaving her to grow up in horrible foster homes.
And the girl who plays Lux, Britt Robertson, is spunky and cute. Lux is about 10,000 times more mature than her birth parents, which is sad (and the whole point of the show). But she's a strong, tough kid. Also, I waited and waited for the show to explain how two brown-haired parents could give birth to a blond child. My fiancé, being a smarty-pants grad student studying genetics, insisted it was possible.
Me: But how???
Fiance: If the dad had a parent who was blond, or the mom had a parent who was blond, then their daughter could come out blonde.
Yeah, okay. I still think they cast the roles first and then said, "Whoops...the daughter doesn't look like the parents. Oh well." The show did at least acknowledge this, at the very end of episode 2. It's how Lux got her name--because she came out blonde, and her parents had dark hair and...yeah.
If you miss Gilmore and still hold a grudge against the powers that be for canceling Everwood, well, give this show a try. I think you'll like it.