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Life Unexpected

CW, Mondays 9/8 Central

Jan 17, 2010 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Slogging through the CW’s pilots this past summer, the range went from blatantly derivative to gratuitously salacious. And then there was Parental Discretion Advised, now retitled as Life Unexpected. Do not expect another sudsy and scandalous CW staple like Gossip Girl or 90210. But do expect a higher quality program along the lines of Gilmore Girls and Everwood.

Life Unexpected isn’t altogether original. It does, however, do this storyline heart-tuggingly well: the long-lost accidental pregnancy, now discovered 16-years after the fact by both the child and her father. The parents are Cate Cassidy (Roswell‘s Shiri Appleby) and Nathaniel “Baze” Bazile (Mad Men‘s Kristoffer Polaha). Cate is a fast-talking, commitment-phobe, avoiding solidifying her relationship with her radio show co-host, Ryan Thomas (Dawson Creek‘s Kerr Smith). Baze is a slacker who “likes to drink for free” and so turns the building his father gives him into a bar. After the initial shock of meeting the product of their high school Spin Doctors-plus-Zima tryst, both take to their daughterand it is easy to see why. The most winning character is the product of the tryst, Lux, played charmingly by Brittany Robertson (Swingtown). Enchanting, like Juno without the self-righteousness, Lux is resilient without being spiky, wise beyond her years yet sweetly hopeful and naïve. Cate and Baze end up with temporary joint custody of Lux.

The story is multilayered on all sides. These dimensions fit together cunningly, which makes for a show worth tuning into. There are times when it dips into Seventh Heaven saccharine territory, but for the most part, Life Unexpected is smart and likeable. (

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10


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