Fiction anthology series have a long and storied history in American TV, but it’s been decades since one could be called a mainstream success. We can talk about our Twilight Zones, our General Electric Theaters, and yes, even our Love, American Styles with regard to their impact, but it’s hard to show their format as a surviving one. Love Bites is clearly an attempt at updating a Love, American Style, with several shorter humorous romance-related tales per episodes. Theupdating isn’t just a matter of increased sexual frankness, although that certainly takes place. To make it different, to give it that continuity that makes people want to see episode after episode, there is a group of continuing characters – sometimes they ar used as central characters, but they will also use them as tertiary characters, making a brief appearance to justify the inclusion of some story featuring guest actors we have never seen before and will likely not see again.
Does it work creatively? Well, the two episodes I’ve seen so far seem to – not some great amusing hit, but watchable TV.
Will it work commercially? Harder to guess. Anthology-with-a-framework isn’t exactly a new concept; after all, one could use that to describe Fantasy Island and, even moreso, The Love Boat… but both of those series were revived in the not-to-distant past, both unsuccessful. But during a summer when there’s little to put on my soon-to-die ReplayTV, I think I’ll keep this one going.