Television Review: Life Unexpected, "Pilot"
by R.J. Carter
Published: January 15, 2010
It's been almost 15 years since My So-Called Life called it quits, and in the long drought-like duration there's been very little to fill the void it left behind.
Which is why the fans of that show should pay particular attention to the newest offering from Liz Tigelaar and the CW Network. Life Unexpected is the tale of Lux (Swingtown's Brittany Robertson), a girl who's been bounced from one bad foster home to another since the day she was born. On the cusp of turning sixteen (meaning, ironically, she was "birthed" about the time MSCL got the kibosh), she seeks legal emancipation status, for which she only needs the signature of her natural parents.
The problem with that isn't finding them; the problem is that they're less mature than she is. Nathan "Baze" Bazile (Kristoffer Polaha, North Shore) is still something of a fratboy, living above the bar he operates in an atmosphere of drinking and partying. Cate Cassidy (Shiri Appleby, Roswell, "Everything You Want") is half of a morning radio program where her persona as an unlucky-in-love, self-sabotager of relationships is a bit too close to her real-world status, as she persistently pushes away romantic advances.
Both are shocked when Lux walks into their lives; Cate never thought she'd see her again, and Baze was completely unaware that Lux was out there (having assumed Cate had "taken care of" the pregnancy). Fortunately for Lux, she doesn't need them -- or, at least, that's what she thinks. And while they never had reason to entertain the notion before, it could just be that Baze and Cate need her as well.
Life Unexpected looks to be CW's gritty yet light-hearted answer to The Secret Life of the American Teenager, with a potentially broader appeal. The dangerous news is that it's going up against some pretty stiff ratings competition in FOX's big action series, 24. But Life Unexpected has some high impact explosions all its own, and deserves to be given a serious look.
Life Unexpected debuts Monday, January 18, 2010, 9|8C on the CW.