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Life Unexpected: Parental Discretion Advised


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#1

ScribblerGuy

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Posted May 21, 2009 @ 12:53 PM

It's as if we never said good-bye to The WB! From a CW press release:

"PARENTAL DISCRETION ADVISED" (New Series)

After spending all of her 15 years bouncing from one foster family to another in Portland, Oregon, Lux (Britt Robertson, "Swingtown") has decided it's time to take control of her life and become an emancipated minor. Her journey through the legal maze leads Lux to her biological father, 30-something Nate "Baze" Bazile (Kristoffer Polaha, "Mad Men"), who owns a bar, lives like an aging frat-boy with two slacker roommates, and is astonished to learn that he has a teenage daughter. Lux is equally astonished when Baze reveals that her mother is Cate Cassidy (Shiri Appleby, "E.R."), a star on the local "Morning Madness" radio show, along with her on-air partner and real-life boyfriend, Ryan Thomas (Kerr Smith, "Eli Stone"). Lux has been listening to Cate's voice on the radio as long as she can remember, so she feels an instant connection with the mom she's never met. Baze takes Lux to meet Cate, who is shocked and saddened to learn that Lux has grown up in foster care, but thrilled to finally meet her beautiful daughter. When a judge decides that Lux isn't ready for emancipation and unexpectedly grants temporary joint custody to Baze and Cate, they agree to try to get past the awkwardness and make a belated attempt to give Lux the family she deserves. PARENTAL DISCRETION ADVISED is produced by Mojo Films in association with CBS Television Studios and Warner Bros. Television with executive producers Liz Tigelaar ("Brothers and Sisters," "What About Brian") and Gary Fleder ("October Road"). Gary Fleder directed the pilot.

What they didn't really explain is that Baze knocked up Cate when they were both in high school, and Cate put the baby up for adoption.

Note: This is slated as a mid-season replacement, so it won't be on the schedule until winter, if ever.

WB connections:
  • Shiri Appleby was a regular (and essentially, the female lead) on Roswell (her character name was Liz Parker), which aired for two seasons on The WB, before switching to UPN.
  • Kerr Smith was a regular on The WB classic Dawson's Creek (he joined the show in its second season).
    Kristoffer Polaha guested on the WB shows Angel and Birds of Prey (and he was in an episode ofRoswell, but when that show was on UPN)
  • Parental Discretion Advised was the name of a Dawson's Creek episode.
  • Liz Tigelaar was the writer for a Dawson's Creek episode.
***
And, I thought this was DOA (link to another post). Pessimistic thinking pays off?

Anyway, the best X meets Y phrase I can come up is "Gilmore Girls meets Juno, 15 years later." As long as the show has a relatively healthy and fun to watch mother-daughter relationship, then I think it has legs. I think the daughter will be a much more mature and stronger in character than Rory. The show is apparently much more middle-class than Gilmore Girls. The wealthy / upper society aspects of that show tended to turn me off, along with its wacky townies.

But, I don't want to see TPTB make Baze and Cate out to be a one-true-pairing. I don't have a problem with them turning a slacker into a responsible father. But, if they go "we should be a real family so let's get married" route, then that'll be a jump the shark moment for me. Because that's a bit too much of a fairy tale. Anyway, the kid is fifteen, and she'll be going off to college in a few years, so it's not like there's some practical or economical need to be married (as if she was a small kid or baby).

Though, if Baze and Cate shared a home where Lux lived (separate bedrooms for everyone), then that could be dramedy gold.

#2

Cornballer

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Posted May 21, 2009 @ 4:32 PM

Read a draft of this when it was called Light Years (is this the worst year ever for pilot scripts leaking or what)? It seems the script has gone through a few minor changes since I read it (Cate's last name now "Cassidy," the setting is Portland rather than Seattle), but the basic premise is the same.

I liked this script a sight better than the other CW stuff I read, and it felt like a throwback to such character-driven shows as Everwood and Gilmore Girls. The premise requires...a couple of leaps in logic, and the inital draft of the pilot resolved a lot of the conflict by the end. That said, there was funny dialogue on most pages, and an emotionally-complex relationship at th heart of the show. It was ABOUT something, as opposed to "pretty people sleep with each other and throw up."

Premise-and-casting-wise, this might be the Most WB Drama ever, but it was a really sweet script, and I hope the potential is realized in the series.

Question, though -- Appleby and Polaha are both dark-haired (and Appleby has a darker complexion), while Britt Robertson is a fair-skinned blond. She's supposed to be their daughter HOW?

(Also, Appleby is 30 playing 30, while Robertson is...19, according to the IMDb, and playing 15-going-on-16. Well, Lauren Graham wasn't that much older than Alexis Bledel...)

#3

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Posted May 21, 2009 @ 4:49 PM

I wasn't a big fan of the script (or draft) that I read. It felt entirely cliche and Lux was such a brat it was difficult to root for her. The clips I've seen have been fine, but nothing that doesn't make me think that this is the less witty/charming version of Gilmore Girls. I'll give it a couple of eps. I kinda want to like it because it is a potentially interesting and perhaps heart warming premise as long as they don't go over stupid.

I like both her "parents" in other things, so I hope it works out for them. It would be nice to see someone other than Katherine Heigl have a decent career after Roswell. Although I'm not sure how it will fit on the See Dub schedule when the rest of it is either rich teens or fantasy, this is definitely old skool WB but that doesn't exist on that network right now unfortunately. I can see them shipping it off to Fridays and replacing the ANTM repeats where it will probably die a swift death.


Question, though -- Appleby and Polaha are both dark-haired (and Appleby has a darker complexion), while Britt Robertson is a fair-skinned blond. She's supposed to be their daughter HOW?


I thought that, at least make it vaguely plausible that she is related to both of them, but I suppose this is The CW.

Edited by Featherhat, May 21, 2009 @ 4:51 PM.


#4

Cornballer

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Posted May 21, 2009 @ 6:01 PM

Some footage up on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=IyfeDlZY9jk

Huh, played about as I envisioned the script (Lux's abrasiveness seems toned down a bit, which is good). Lots of strummy guitar and piano. Baz's friend ("Math" in the script) looks like Jonah Hill in 10 years. I'd like to see the sentiment toned down, but this wasn't bad and I'd like to see the full episode.

#5

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Posted May 21, 2009 @ 6:45 PM

Huh, played about as I envisioned the script (Lux's abrasiveness seems toned down a bit, which is good). Lots of strummy guitar and piano. Baz's friend ("Math" in the script) looks like Jonah Hill in 10 years. I'd like to see the sentiment toned down, but this wasn't bad and I'd like to see the full episode.

It's way more melodramatic than I expected - all the sappy incidental music doesn't help. The call-in to the radio show sequence worked, it had that "meet cute" quality, but Lux finding Baze needed more humor. Obviously, they have plenty of time to re-edit and even re-shoot some scenes if necessary in order to polish up the show. But, my expectations have definitely fallen a bit.

#6

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Posted May 21, 2009 @ 7:40 PM

Thanks, I'd seen a couple of those scenes but not all of them. To me the clips came aross better than the actual script, a lot of things like the Cate/Baze radio meet came across better in person than on paper IMO.

It did get pretty melodramatic but not nearly as much as I would have though, and they've definitely toned Lux down a bit in person from the 6 minutes we've seen so far, which is a very good thing. A few things could do with tightening up and changing tone but the clips actually helped me see why the hell the CW picked it up.

Oddly enough the one thing that totally did distract me was that she had bright blond hair when both her parents are dark brunette with olive-y skin but I told myself she probably dyed it.

#7

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Posted May 21, 2009 @ 7:53 PM

In cross-referencing the script from the footage, I found they had tightned up a lot of scenes, mostly by condensing long dialogue passages to a few beats. It's an interesting to note -- though pilots probably have more dialogue before actors are cast, to spell out the themes on the page (they also often contain network-unfriendly swearing).

#8

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Posted May 22, 2009 @ 12:45 PM

Question, though -- Appleby and Polaha are both dark-haired (and Appleby has a darker complexion), while Britt Robertson is a fair-skinned blond. She's supposed to be their daughter HOW?

This doesn't bother me as it describes my family perfectly (plus my parents having brown eyes while mine are blue).
I thought the clips looked okay but kind of sappy and overdramatic. But I thought the same thing when I saw previews for Everwood and ended up loving it, so I'll probably give this a chance too. It looks like an interesting, if completely illogical, premise. It could work with good writing, otherwise it's just going to be like a million tv movies.

#9

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Posted May 26, 2009 @ 3:08 AM

In a mass of pilot scripts posted online, a production draft of this pilot found its way in. This was 40 pages, as opposed to the 60-page draft I'd read earlier, and is closer to what we see in the clips.

I thought this was interesting, as it's sometimes fun to see how scripts change on their way from idea to final series. So here are some spoilered notes on the changes.

Lux does not appear until the end of the first act when she shows up at Baze's door; she's more of a disruptive presence.

More of Cate and Ryan's scenes take place within the radio show booth.

The character of Jenny, Cate and Ryan's producer, is gone.

Tracey, Baze's girlfriend, only appears in the scene where she meets Lux.

As noted in the clips, Lux is less bratty. She's more receptive to Cate and Baze, and instead of blowing up at them after the hearing, she just disappears while they argue with each other.

Slightly less stuff for Baze's friends Math and Jamie, who are still there.

Most of the scenes now feature more succient dialogue and fewer speeches.

It's made explicit that Cate will adopt Lux.


Overall, this draft felt less wordy, and Lux feels like more of a likeable character, though the overall effect is a bit rushed (six acts plus 40 pages will do that). Again, what will be interesting is if they get a chance to really develop the characters over the course of the series. This was an interesting look at how to tell the same story with 1/3 fewer pages, though I would like to see this have a chance to "breathe" a bit with longer scenes.

#10

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Posted May 29, 2009 @ 2:12 PM

Thanks for that. It seems like they've made some good improvements. The thing I most disliked about the draft I read was the speachifying and Lux being a total brat so sounds decent now.

Although I'm a little worried about it being very rushed. The whole concept of a judge ordering two people who aren't together and who gave the baby up for adoption at birth 15 years ago, to raise the child together etc is kind of weak already. Not to mention everyone being comfortable with this by the end. And it feels like it needs definitely not to rush that. Still, I suppose that is this show's one Gimme. And we'll get to see the issues with this arrangement in future eps.

Just noticed the title card for this on the CW site, they really are going for a Juno vibe, with the same sort of typeface.

#11

Cornballer

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Posted Jun 23, 2009 @ 12:59 PM

It appears they've changed the titled AGAIN...

http://cwtv.com/shows/life-unexpected

This is confusing and frightening to me. How many titles can a show go through?

#12

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Posted Jun 29, 2009 @ 9:51 AM

Brian Ford Sullivan of the futoncritic.com has posted a review of the pilot. (Mild spoilers) He doesn't hate it, though he does think that it "can get a little too saccharine" at times.

What works: Old school WB in the best possible way, "Life" may be both the sappiest and the smartest show to come out the netlet to date. It all begins with the collective awesomeness that is Britt Robertson, Kristoffer Polaha, Shiri Appleby and Kerr Smith.



#13

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Posted Jul 7, 2009 @ 7:57 PM

I watched the whole pilot (one of the few perks of working for a CW affiliate) and really enjoyed it. I loved Gilmore Girls and Everwood and found the show to hit all those quirky, heartstringy tones, though the oddball small-townies that we saw in Stars Hollow and Everwood were not in evidence in the pilot. All the lead actors were really good - funny, sympathetic and well-cast.

The only negative is that I hate the new name; it's heinous and makes no sense. At least the PDA title had a handshake acquaintance with the plot of the show. I wish this show was debuting in the fall; it looks much more promising than The Beautiful Life or even the MP pilot, which I also watched.

#14

Cornballer

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Posted Aug 4, 2009 @ 6:18 PM

Damn, great advance buzz from EW.com:

Life Unexpected: Remember This Show's Name

#15

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Posted Oct 28, 2009 @ 7:48 PM

Here's a recent interview of Shiri Appleby - talks a little bit about how she was cast and it looks like there might be some minor spoilers.

#16

TWoP Barnes

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Posted Oct 28, 2009 @ 9:53 PM

I updated this thread's title. I hope y'all can still find it.

#17

Cornballer

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Posted Oct 28, 2009 @ 10:49 PM

Extended trailer for the first episode.

Looks pretty good!

#18

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Posted Nov 9, 2009 @ 10:57 PM

Premieres January 18th.

Edited by argrow, Nov 9, 2009 @ 10:58 PM.


#19

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Posted Nov 10, 2009 @ 7:17 PM

This show looks adorable, I can't wait.

#20

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Posted Nov 10, 2009 @ 9:36 PM

From EW's PopWatch blog: Our first official plea for 'Life Unexpected'...but there will be more as necessary:

The Juno-meets-Gilmore Girls dramedy — about a preternaturally mature teen named Lux (Britt Robertson) who, to get emancipated from foster care, seeks out her emotionally stunted biological parents (Shiri Appleby and Kristoffer Polaha) — has that heartwarming/witty/real combination that used to be a WB staple, back in the heyday of Lorelai, Rory, Dawson’s Creek, and Everwood.


Variety speculates on the scheduling specifics:

"Life Unexpected," which is already scoring strong notices from TV crix, is set to air on Mondays starting Jan. 18. The C-Dub hasn't yet confirmed the scheduling, but the show is expected to air at 9 p.m.

That's the slot currently held by "Gossip Girl," which will go on hiatus for several weeks, before returning in the spring to finish up its 24-episode order, with 12 originals in a row. Once "Girl" is back, "Life Unexpected" will then shift down to 8 p.m., while "One Tree Hill" takes a break.


And, I finally got why the X in "UneXpected" is capitalized: Life UneXpected -- Lux.

#21

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Posted Nov 12, 2009 @ 1:58 AM

The CW officially confirms the show's scheduling (from a press release found at thefutoncritic.com):

The networks new drama series, Life UneXpected, will premiere Monday, January 18 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET), following the return of original episodes of One Tree Hill that night in the 8:00-9:00 p.m. timeslot.

On March 8, Life UneXpected will move to the 8:00-9:00 p.m. timeslot, followed by the return of original episodes of the pop-culture sensation Gossip Girl from 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET. On April 19, after Life UneXpected has completed its initial 13-episode run, the Monday-night schedule will finish the broadcast season with One Tree Hill at 8:00 p.m. and Gossip Girl at 9:00 p.m.

(emphasis added)

Liz Tigelaar (the show's creator) is on Twitter. This posting is from late October:

some of the cast to portland. one new member of the cast soon on his way to the couve. welcome, austin butler. our jones.

Here's Austin Butler's IMDb profile.

And, there's this earlier tweet as well:

jonesin' for a jones. lux's love triangle.

For #104, there was this casting notice (from spoilertv.com):

[JONES] 17 to young looking 20s to play high school. Brynn's boyfriend, this handsome, athletic, and good-natured jock is the school's popular quarterback. Much to Brynn's annoyance, he takes a shine to Lux -- especially after she offers to throw a party for him and his pals in her dad's super funky and super cool loft.


Other castings: Cynthia Stevenson (Dead Like Me, Men In Trees) as Cate's mother and Ksenia Solo (see respectively, tweet#1 and tweet #2).

Not sure how many episodes any of these actors will be in.

#22

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Posted Nov 12, 2009 @ 2:43 AM

Oh, I'm glad I found this! I heard about this show months ago and I was blindsided to see the title resurface. I'm excited for this and will be there, God willing, in front of the TV on January 18. I'm looking for that WB essence of falling in love with a show. But I won't let my expectations keep me from enjoying this if it's good. I only watch House and Lie to me on Mondays, this will be a perfect way to wash off the seriousness and formality of my Monday night lineup.

#23

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Posted Nov 12, 2009 @ 4:53 AM

And, I finally got why the X in "UneXpected" is capitalized: Life UneXpected -- Lux.


I accept it, but it's still unbelievably obnoxious.

#24

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Posted Nov 12, 2009 @ 6:05 AM

It's a bad title, but a cool sounding show.

It'll be nice to see something a little more organic on the CW. Something that's just about people muddling along rather than upper class bitch-fests (GG), vampires (TVD) or the wish fulfillment overkill of OTH.

Edited by Misty77, Nov 12, 2009 @ 6:08 AM.


#25

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Posted Nov 12, 2009 @ 5:16 PM

ScribblerGuy, thanks so much for all the links, including the interview with Shiri Appleby posted on the previous page. Just when I thought I couldn't love her any more. I was already excited for this show after reading early reviews and knowing that Shiri and Kristoffer Polaha (Miss Guided) were starring in it... but Dianne Farr and Cynthia Stevenson? Awesome!

#26

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Posted Nov 12, 2009 @ 6:42 PM

Apparently I'm a sucker for anything described as having a Gilmore Girls influence (see Privileged), so I'm totally in for this. I wasn't wild about Shiri Appleby in the few Roswell eps that I saw (or maybe that was just her character), but judging by the preview she's a lot better here.

And by the way, the old-school WB kids are now old enough to have teenage kids? I'm officially old.

#27

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Posted Nov 14, 2009 @ 5:31 PM

Here's some insightful older articles that haven't been posted yet.

From the Show Tracker blog at the LA Times TCA press tour: 'Life Unexpected' brings back memories of the WB

The cast and producers talked up the series' relatively restrained drama and truer-to-life characters (as opposed to the network's more elevated fare). "I learned probably the basics of good television and good storytelling from Bill Cosby, and he said, 'You start with the truth and go from there,' " Leahy said. "These characters are all very truthful."

"That's the biggest thing that excites me, how flawed these characters are," Tigelaar added. "How flawed and how real they are. Just the idea of being disappointing is something we want to explore. It’s one thing to be disappointed, but to know you’re disappointing."


From NewToTV.com: Life UneXpected creator discusses new show (some mildly spoilerly details). Some interesting points:
-The show's creator, Liz Tigleaar, was in foster care as a baby and then adopted.
-The reason why Portland was chosen as the setting.

but Portland, we felt it was kind of crunchier, grittier about it. The director wanted the show to have a little more of an indie feel. That kind of Juno way. It felt like Portland had a great vibe.”

And, at the end, there's a quote that touches on the Cate-Baze (Lux's bio parents) relationship, that I felt was too much information -- it's something I would have rather discovered by watching versus being told flat out.

***
AnnaRose:

I was already excited for this show after reading early reviews and knowing that Shiri and Kristoffer Polaha (Miss Guided) were starring in it... but Dianne Farr and Cynthia Stevenson? Awesome!

Where did you see Diane Farr's name? I know she is currently listed on the IMDb* page for this project, but I'm fairly sure that's a mistake (two characters named Cate, Farr was cast on NBC's Parenthood, but dropped out due to a 10 episode gig on HBO's Californication -- crashdown.com link - A Roswell fan site). There is this article which lists Farr as being in the pilot (crashdown.com), but I'm not sure where the author got the info.

*IMDb is based on user-submitted information, similar to Wikipedia, so it's easy for wrong information to be added to the site.

#28

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Posted Nov 16, 2009 @ 12:49 AM

It looks we'll be getting two chances to watch LUX for the first several weeks. From a recent tweet by Liz Tigelaar:

we are going to re-air the first 6 eps on wednesdays at 8pm!

It's a good sign that they're giving the show an extra opportunity to gain viewers. Though, I remember them doing similar quick repeats for Veronica Mars during season 2 or 3, but that didn't seem to help in growing VM's viewership.

#29

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Posted Dec 1, 2009 @ 8:18 PM

There's a new trailer available, complete with the January 18th premiere date. It's 2 minutes long and seems to be an abridged version of the featurette, but with a new song and graphics. Here's the official YouTube link to the trailer.

And, according to Liz Tigelaar's Twitter account, there was a LUX promo during yesterday's Gossip Girl, which I'm guessing was the above trailer, as some sort of special preview (since it is two minutes in length).

The featurette and trailer seem much less sappy than the upfront pilot excerpts that were originally released -- which is a good thing and helps to raise my expectations back up.

#30

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Posted Dec 1, 2009 @ 11:11 PM

I'm really looking forward to this. It looks like it strikes a nice balance between being quirky and clever and real, genuine feeling. I was not a Roswell viewer so I can't speak for Shiri Appleby (although I think she looks quite good), but I really liked the guy who plays Baze on MissGuided, and I'm also liking the slightly grittier setting.