Filling the Gossip Girl gap: Life Unexpected

For all you teen show lovers out there, March is a long time away. But here’s a look at a new drama series about to hit US screens that could well fill the gaping gap left by Gossip Girl’s absence.

Life Unexpected


Life Unexpected premieres next week on The CW. For the uninitiated, that is the network behind such greats as Gossip Girl, 90210, America’s Next Top Model and One Tree Hill. Should be a guaranteed success then? Well no, because they also spawned the less successful (cancelled after a few episodes) The Beautiful Life, so it’s hit and miss.

Happily, based on the previews I’ve seen, Life Unexpected, which you can check out snippets of below, looks like it will fall firmly in the hit category. According to the reputable TeenDramaWhore, the premise is based around:

“15-year-old Lux […] a young girl who is seeking emancipation after spending her life being bounced around foster homes. Since she was never adopted, she needs the signature of her birth parents and sets out to find them. She does (in seemingly record time, mind you) and both are understandably shocked.  All three are then thrown for a loop when the judge, instead of granting emancipation, makes Lux’s parents temporary co-guardians.”


Plenty of dramatic potential. As Entertainment Weekly describe it, the show is “Gilmore Girls-esque and Everwood-y, with a pinch of Juno”. High praise.

But storyline aside, it’s the actors involved who are causing such anticipation (Google blogs gives 8,180,869 hits in a search for the show) .

Why? Because they aren’t exactly new to teenage soap success.


Shiri Appleby

Appleby: no alien to teen TV

Playing the young mum, Cate, fifteen years a later a local radio celebrity, is Shiri Appleby. If the name is unfamiliar, you might remember her from a certain aliens-in-high school series called ‘Roswell’, which never quite did for little green men what Twilight has done for bloodsuckers. 

Still, as girl next door Liz, Appelby lasted three seasons as a teen starlet (starring alongside future Knocked Up actress Katherine Heigl) and later appeared in the video for Gavin DeGraw’s excellent single: ‘I don’t wanna be’. Conforming to the grand teen show tradition of featuring multiple generations who all look the same age, Appleby looks about the same age as her supposed daughter in Life Unexpected.

Kerr Smith

Cate’s boyfriend (necessary for the love triangle set to form between her, him and Lux’s dad) is played by Kerr Smith, perhaps better known as ‘the hot gay one from Dawson’s Creek*. In the heyday of the creek, Jack was the gay best friend every girl wished she could have, a good listener, wise and sweet, and fairly easy on the eye (lest we forget, despite not being his type both Joey AND Jen had flings with him). When he and Doug ended up together, it was a moment of TV perfection.

Jack's back: Kerr Smith stars

Since then, Kerr has brought his charms to Charmed and CSI but hasn’t replicated his youthful (actually not very – he was in his 20s when he played Jack) stardom. But he looks set to have a very permanent role on Life Unexpected…

Kristopher Pohala

…complicating the life of baby-daddy and overgrown teen Nate. With Pohala, you may be forgiven for going ‘who’? What do you mean, you DON’T recognise him from the really-really awful, so awful it makes Sunset Beach look like Oscar material, awful series North Shore? OBVIOUSLY, you were a huge fan.

So some old, and not-so-old faces behind the scenes. Either way, think Life Unexpected is going to be the next big thing. With Gossip Girl still on hiatus, let’s hope it is.

The show starts on Monday January 18th.

*sidepoint: creator Liz Tigelaar actually interned on the Dawson’s Creek set. Take that, #thingsilearnedonworkexperience

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