So, the daughter (Lux: stupidest name in the world) is pretty vile and it falls into way too many traditional TV traps (having the characters fall back into bed together, that obnoxious “snarky sarcastic thing” that someone clearly thinks makes the characters sound clever, childish adult characters, etc…) but Life Unexpected is not unexpectedly charming.
The show’s principal virtue is its engaging cast. My TV favourite Kristoffer Polaha has finally landed himself a role that shows off his incredibly charm to its full extent. Who knows, with such a strong opening, Life Unexpected may be a rare Polaha vehicle to make it to a second season (previous beloved-but-cancelled gems include Miss Guided and Valentine). The other male anchor of the series is Kerr Smith, someone who earned my love in Dawson’s Creek and kept it through stints on Justice and Eli Stone. As the fiancee of the mother character, Smith plays the master of the witty banter and the true grown up among the grown ups of the series. Shiri Appleby is acceptable as Cate, the sudden mother and Brittany Robertson will hopefully grow to be unoffensive as Lux.
The pacing is very Gilmore girls and the tone is a little too forcibly current but sometimes those 2 combine for an excellent effect. The bond between Baze and daughter Lux is really well defined already just with simple scenes like them watching YouTube videos and the relationship between Cate and her fiancee/radio co-host Ryan is centered on comfortable banter. Baze’s friends’ distinct and likable presences shows promise for an excellent supporting cast and the premise allows for easy plot development.
All in all, though it’s plagued with flaws, I expect Life Unexpected to hit a chord with a young audience that feels left out of the loop with shows like Gossip Girl and Vampire Diaries as the principle teen-oriented fare. I think it just might shape up to be something I look forward to for years to come.