J.J. Abrams, the man behind Lost (which I follow closely), Felicity (which I watched a few episodes of), Alias (which I watched just one episode of), and Mission Impossible III (saw some of it on the plane, didn’t listen to it, and could still guess what was going to happen in some scenes) has a new drama, following a number of people whose lives intersect at various points but who are not a single group.
The conceit may pose problems in the future, but this thing is off to a good start. Despite the fracturedness that comes from following all the different key characters (and lets see if I can identify them all without reviewing the episode – I’m bad at names, but there’s the cop, the widow, the ad exec, the photographer, the driver,Â and Meg; am I forgetting anyone?), this thing feels solid. I actually get a thirtysomething vibe off of it. And no, it’s not for the obvious reasons that it contains ad folks and a photographer. Its the combination of the respect it shows for some of the characters, and the fact that we’re meeting some of them not as something happens, but after something happens. thirtysomething (if I recall correctly) began after the closure of The Michael And Elliot Company, and now they have to rebuild. Here, we hook up with a woman a year after her husband died, and she is now ready to rebuild. And a talented photographer who has gotten past his addictions and is ready to rebuild. (Don’t worry, not everything is starting with a rebuilding. We get to see some tearing down going on, with some bad decisions being made.)
One worrying sign, something that the producers should keep an eye on – the use of African-Americans as the violent criminal.Â It’s good that the production is not all lilly-white, but it would hope in the long run that we’ll see black characters who aren’t on that side of the line (or at least dancing near it), and perhaps see non-black characters who are. But I’ll give the series time to show that.
And if “thirtysomething vibes” sounds good to you, you may want to give the series time too.