Amy Sherman-Palladino is at it again. She was the force behind the show "Gilmore Girls" which I thoroughly enjoyed. The writing was sharp, the characters were interesting while flawed and the lead actresses (Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel) could handle the speedy dialogue as well as looking like mother and daughter. They lived in Stars Hollow which was a small town with a quirky cast of characters. Lauren Graham and Scott Patterson had good chemistry and their relationship was one of the foundations of the show.
Now ASP has turned her attention to another small town which is located on the west coast. The town of Paradise has been created and does not even have a movie theater. Michelle (Sutton Foster) moves there after a drunken night and quickie wedding. She quickly runs into her new mother-in-law played by the strong willed Kelly Bishop (who also played Lauren Graham's mother on GG). This is culture shock for Michelle since she was in Las Vegas dancing as a showgirl. Going from a big town to a small one can always cause drama what with the culture shock.
Just like in GG, Mrs. Sherman-Palladino is filling the town with quirky characters such as Truly (Stacey Oristano). I think she may be the Kirk of this series. Several other characters are introduced and they will be fleshed out in later episodes just as it was done in GG.
What I like:
Michelle is likable. She is another tall brunette (like Lauren Graham). This means that ASP tends to have a type she likes. Michelle is flawed in that she is a talented dancer but has no real focus in her life. She knows her mistakes are her own and is very frustrated (like Lorelei was at times). Drinking is a release for her and is how she ends up in Paradise.
Kelly Bishop is back. She did a fantastic job on GG and I think she will here even though the two characters are worlds apart.
The writing is good and characters are quickly fleshed out so none of the major players seems shallow. The dialogue is not as fast paced as with GG. Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel did well with it but to do that again would just mean this show is another version of GG (not that would be a bad thing).
Other people from GG pop in; Rose Abdoo (Gypsy in GG) makes a quick appearance as a new character.
What I did not like:
How the first episode ended. I feel this was too dramatic and cut short potential for some great story lines as Michelle grows as a person. Granted, the ending event will have long running repercussions for the series but I would have liked it to go another way.
The title "Bunheads" apparently is a term referring to ballet dancers. I am not sure if it is derogatory or not but I do wonder if this the title they should have chosen. Remember that the creators of "Cougar Town" regret that name.
I think Truly was a little too much in the first episode. I understand she is who she is but a little less would have made her more accessible and understandable.
Overall I recommend this show. As I stated before, ASP is a good writer who creates interesting characters. I want to see what Michelle does here and how being here will change her life. ASP has experience is writing small towns and making it engaging. I am curious to see where the show goes and that is the best thing a show can do for its audience; make viewers interested in seeing where it goes.