Are you ready to be obsessed with a new TV show? One that has heart and warmth and the funny? Then get ready for a little gem called LIFE UNEXPECTED. I’ve been dying to have my fellow TV viewers take a look at this adorable show and share in my obsession since the minute I started watching, way back in September! Having now seen the second and third episodes sent to critics for review, I’m even more smitten with a show that I think you all need to watch. It’s the kind of show you cancel plans for, people!
LIFE UNEXPECTED, which stars Britt Robertson, Shiri Appleby, Kristoffer Polaha, and Kerr Smith, is the story of an adorable orphan named Lux (Robertson) who is seeking emancipation at the age of 15-almost-16 because she’s had it up to here (imagine the up to here hand signal) with foster care. When she realizes that her birth parents never officially signed away their rights, she sets out to meet them, get them to sign, and never see them again. In typical “life is never that easy” fashion, she and her parents Baze and Cate (Polaha and Appleby) end up forming a dysfunctional family and that’s where the real fun begins!
What I loved about the series premiere, and the episodes that follow, is that this show is heart warming and smart, and funny, and fast, and charming, and every other positive adjective you can think to throw at it. In the vein of shows like GILMORE GIRLS, FELICITY, and DAWSON’S CREEK, and to a lesser extent, the heart of PRIVILEGED from last year, the show harkens back to a time when The WB and UPN co-existed; when The WB was producing family drama and teenage drama and college drama with a sense of real life sprinkled in. This show would have fit in so perfectly to my WB obsessed life back then, so it’s a thing of beauty to get to watch it now.
Britt Robertson is perfectly cast as Lux, who has had nothing to do with her time over the years, but dream about something different, while growing up and taking care of herself. Her parents, on the other hand, are still as immature as you can be at 3o-something. Polaha’s Baze owns a bar and lives upstairs, drinking all night long, and sleeping until noon. Appleby’s Cate is a needy radio talk show host, whose persona on the air is a cynical woman not understanding love and family. She dates her co-host Ryan, played to perfection by the all grown up Kerr Smith. Cate isn’t ready for any kind of commitment and she runs at the first sign of anything serious, so a daughter showing up out of nowhere has her in a tizzy! I think too much is going to be made of the “love triangle” between Baze, Ryan, and Cate, and what I can say after watching 3 episodes is that it’s not your typical triangle. Neither Cate nor Ryan wants Baze around really, but Baze is the father of Cate’s child, and there’s a certain connection that they can’t shake.
You know that I’m a big fan of people who can cry well on screen, and I think, honestly, that’s why I related to Shiri Appleby’s character so much. That’s not to say that she spends the time just crying, but she’s so passionate, and so endearing that it makes me wonder why it’s taken so long for her to find the right vehicle to push her into the star-making stratosphere. And my gosh, Kris Polaha is pretty! I mean, that’s not the only reason to love Baze, but wow. He’s cute! He really wants to succeed as a parent, even if he sometimes has trouble not screwing it up. The quick bond he shares with Lux is one of the best parts of the show! And Kerr Smith has really made the change from a young kid on the CREEK to a grown man, really the only voice of reason among a bunch of immature adults, and I just can’t help but smile when he’s on screen!
The main cast is awesome, but the supporting and guest cast is pretty darn cool, too. Baze’s best friends, and Lux’s gang of street urchins bring the funny and the drama, without ever being too over the top on either. In the coming weeks, look for Alex Breckenridge (the movie SHE’S A MAN), Cynthia Stevenson (she was just on GREY’S this past week as the valve transplant woman), Keegan Connor Tracy (FINAL DESTINATION 2 and BATTLESTAR: GALACTICA), and Erinn Karpluk from BEING ERICA to all make memorable turns. And don’t even get me started on the music and the sheer perfection of it all!
Do yourself a favor and watch this show tonight! Sure, it airs against hour 4 of the 24 premiere, and all new episodes of HEROES, 2.5 MEN/THE BIG BANG THEORY, THE BACHELOR, MAKE IT OR BREAK IT, and INTERVENTION, but I promise you, this is the one thing worth watching over all of the others! That’s why they invented TiVo and the internet – so you can catch up on the “less important” shows tomorrow!
LIFE UNEXPECTED airs Mondays at 9PM on The CW, following all new episodes of ONE TREE HILL.