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Life Unexpected Seasons 1 and 2 DVD Review

“Life Unexpected” is unexpectedly better than it has any right to be.

The premise: Tired of jumping around from foster home to foster home, a now teenage girl named Lux seeks emancipation. In order for that to happen, however, Lux has to get signatures from her birth parents. Enter Nate and Cate. Both of them are former high school lovers that are living their own separate lives. Cate is a radio DJ while Nate (who didn’t even know about Lux) runs a bar. Once Lux approaches the two about emancipation, however, they both decide they want to be involved in Lux’s life. They get their chance when a judge denies emancipation and instead awards joint custody to both Cate and Nate. From there on out, all three of their lives are forever changed. Episode plots include Nate and Cate adjusting to Lux in their lives, Lux’s introduction to their friends, family, clashes with Bazile and Ryan, Lux’s high school drama, Lux’s high school events (like dances), Lux’s issues with her life, Nate and Cate work drama, a “One Tree Hill” crossover, subplots involving friends of Nate and Cate, obligatory holidays gone wrong, and family bonding. Seasons 1 and 2 consist of 26 episodes total.

By all accounts, “Life Unexpected” should not work as it’s generally a schmaltzy/weepy primetime soap opera filled with formulaic episodes and heavy handed dialogue. And yet, even with all of its problems, the show is somehow watchable. This is generally due in part to actress Britt Robertson who plays the character Lux. Not only is she a scene stealer, but she’s also a very charming, personable actress who essentially carries the show. I definitely think she has a real future in television and perhaps film. I was also happy to see Emma Caulfield (of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer) getting some work here. She’s an underrated actress who doesn’t get enough parts in my opinion.

Performances aside, the show flows pretty well. Even with all the “been there, done that” plots, there’s a real sense of plot and character development in the show which is a rarity. Anytime a show actually moves forward, it’s a big plus since so many shows go through the motions and or never change.  

Summary: For a primetime soap, “Life Unexpected” is certainly better than the usual fare. While not something I would tune in for on a daily basis, the show is generally quite likeable. Recommended if you dig this genre of television series.


The episode transfers look sharp here in widescreen. As for the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track, there’s not much going on here audio wise. This is very much a dialogue driven series with some music here and there.

* “Life In Portland: The Making Of Life Unexpected”- The executive producer/creator and cast members talk about the series, the inspiration for the show, characters,
* “Lux, Cate, Baze, Ryan And Math: The Casting Of Life Unexpected”- The title says it all.
* A 4 minute gag reel.

May 11, 2011 - Posted by | DVD review | , ,

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