I haven't exactly been overwhelmed by the quality of the CW, save for "Supernatural." So when the network started promoting the new series "Life Unexpected" (CW, 9 p.m.) as one of the best new dramas of the season, I thought it might be a lot of hype.
Then I watched the pilot, which airs tonight, And you know? This was quite a solid little show. It may not be the best new show of the season, but it's a cut above most of the rest of the network's lineup.
The series revolves around a pair of 30-somethings (Kristoffer Poloha and Shiri Appleby) who had a one-night stand 16 years ago in high school. They've gone on to their separate lives -- he a bar-owner, she a morning radio DJ with her boyfriend (Kerr Smith) -- when one day, the daughter of that one night stand (Britt Robertson, in a breakout role) shows up, seeking their signatures so she can be emancipated and get out of the foster care system.
Needless to say, none of them are prepared for what happens next, when the court forces the parents to be her caretakers. It's not the ideal situation, but the series is about making it work.
The show has its share of charm and is reminiscent of earliers series like "Gilmore Girls."
Will the series make it in the long run? It's hard to tell. It's certainly not typical of the average CW series, so the average viewer of "Gossip Girl" or "90210" may not be enamored. But it's nice to see the CW aiming for higher quality these days.
MONDAY'S BEST BETS: "Life Unexpected" follows a new "One Tree Hill" as the CW becomes the last network to return to its regular lineup."
"24" (Fox, 8 p.m.) is two hours tonight, following up yesterday's two-hour premiere.
"Chuck" (NBC, 8 p.m.) follows up last week's great cliffhanger as Chuck (Zachary Levi) and the team must rescue Capt. Awesome (Ryan McPartlin) from guest star Angie Harmon. Every "Chuck" fan I know was shocked by the cliffhanger, thinking Awesome had bought it. I think NBC could have easily squeezed out the drama for an entire week had they not shown him in the previews for the following week. Oh well. It's followed by a new "Heroes" at 9 p.m.
CBS is all-new with its comedy lineup, followed by "CSI: Miami" at 10 p.m. "Castle" (ABC, 10 p.m.) delves into the murder of Beckett's (Stana Katic) mother, following a new "Bachelor."
On cable, ABC Family airs new episodes of "Secret Life of An American Teenager" and "Make It Or Break It."