Can NBC's "Lipstick Jungle" Fly?
Just one month after the launch of ABC's Darren Starr-produced "Cashmere Mafia," Starr's partner on the critically-acclaimed HBO classic "Sex and the City" Candace Bushnell's novel "Lipstick Jungle" will serve as a basis for yet another female-centric Big Apple-set dramedy. But have the viewers had enough?
According to an official press release from NBC, "Lipstick Jungle," which premieres in "ER's" timeslot on Thursday, February 7 after an all-new "Celebrity Apprentice," follows "three high-powered friends as they weather the ups and downs of lives lived at the top of their game."
My main concern with "Cashmere Mafia," which I seemed to have slightly warmed up to in the show's second hour, is that I continue not to see anything new that the series has brought to a format so well-established by the Sarah Jessica Parker-fronted comedy.
I do find the principal female cast very likable, especially Bonnie Sommerville, who is a charming actress with great comic timing. Her Caitlin is fun to watch as she goes into uncharted territory experimenting with her sexuality. But I still miss that special oomph that made "Sex and the City" an unforgettable classic.
Perhaps it is the producers' inability to go that extra mile in their depiction of the women's lives given the stricter standards that the broadcast networks have to adhere to. There are certain situations and language that had played an important role in the HBO series that we will never see or hear on ABC's "Cashmere Mafia."
Although I am not really sure how to pinpoint the missing ingredient, I do realize that, whatever it is, I may never see it as the writers' strike has cut the episode total to 7 and unless the ratings pick up steam, "Cashmere Mafia" will be gone before the end of February sweeps for good.
Which brings me to the show that has yet to premiere. Although "Lipstick Jungle" comes from the creative mind of the same woman who conceived the original "Sex and the City" characters can she really bring anything new to the table? Early descriptions of the series would indicate that to be unlikely.
If "Desperate Housewives," "Lost" and "Grey's Anatomy" have taught us anything in recent years it is that even mass audiences have become more sophisticated and putting on a "Me Too" show just won't work. One needs to reinvent the old formulas and we haven't seen much of that over the past year (ABC's "Pushing Daisies" being one of the most notable exceptions).
For what it's worth, Brooke Shields-fronted "Lipstick Jungle" will have the same shot at becoming the next great hit dramedy as "Cashmere Mafia" - again due to the writers' strike - only 7 out of 13 episodes ordered have been produced. You can catch the pilot episode on February 7 at 10/9c.