The CW’s new mid-season replacement drama, ‘Life Unexpected,’ which premiered on Monday, January 18, is deservingly receiving positive reviews from critics, including Entertainment Weekly. The series, which features former WB favorites Shiri Appleby (‘Roswell’) and Kerr Smith (‘Dawson’s Creek’), as well as Brittany Robertson and Kristoffer Polaha in the lead roles, chronicles the meeting of teenager Lux with her biological parents after spending all of her life in foster care. Lux hopes to become emancipated, but her mother, radio personality Cate Cassidy, decides to finally commit to commitment and take her in.

With a reported 2.4 million viewers during its premiere, the CW should take a hint that wholesome, feel-good family shows do sometimes strike up a bigger fanbase than flashier, sexier shows. The Ashton Kutcher-produced drama ‘The Beautiful Life,’ which focused on New York City models, was cancelled on September 23 after only two episodes, for example. Plus, even though the CW is labeling the ‘Melrose Place’ reboot of the ’90s fan favorite a hit series, the season high has only been 1.57 million viewers (not including the series premiere, which drew in 2.27 million viewers).

The network may only be keeping ‘Melrose Place’ on the air, and pushed the ‘Life Unexpected’ premiere back, because its other ’90s reboot, ‘90210,’ is currently airing its second season. The CW may not want to admit it made the wrong decision. After all, the ‘Life Unexpected’ pilot was the first ordered for the network’s 2009-10 season, but unfairly, it was the last picked up to become a series, and was put on the back burner for a whole year after its announcement.

‘Life Unexpected,’ which is produced by Mojo Films, in association with CBS Television Studios and Warner Bros. Television, also saw other drama. When it was first announced last January, the name was ‘Light Years,’ but was then changed to ‘LUX.’ It was quickly changed to ‘Life Unexpected,’ but in May, the CW promoted it as ‘Parental Discretion Advised.’ A month later, the network reverted back to ‘Life UneXpected,’ but then changed it again, taking out the capitalized X.

The show is a throwback to past CW and WB family fan favorites, including ‘Gilmore Girls,’ ‘Everwood’ and ‘7th Heaven,’ the longest-running family show in television history. If ‘Life Unexpected’ stays on its current track, it will be the only true teen hit the CW premiered this season, besides ‘The Vampire Diaries.’

Written by: Karen Benardello

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By Karen Benardello

As a graduate of LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic, Karen Benardello serves as ShockYa's Senior Movies & Television Editor. Her duties include interviewing filmmakers and musicians, and scribing movie, television and music reviews and news articles. As a New York City-area based journalist, she's a member of the guilds, New York Film Critics Online and the Women Film Critics Circle.

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