TV Review: 'Men in Trees' needs deeper roots
Share with others:
Jeff Petry, ABC
Anne Heche, left, and Seana Kofoed find themselves in an Alaskan town full of available men in "Men in Trees."
By Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
If you loved "Northern Exposure," you might like ABC's "Men in Trees" (10 tonight). Or you might be annoyed that it's a rip-off. Either way, "Men in Trees" is an inferior imitation, but a harmless one.
When: 10 tonight, ABC.
Starring: Anne Heche.
Anne Heche stars as Marin Frist, a relationship coach and best-selling author who discovers her fiance has cheated on her while she's en route to a small Alaska town for a speaking engagement. (The show's title refers to a sign Marin sees beneath working tree trimmers in Alaska.)
There she discovers a town full of guys who are looking for love, including a crusty pilot (John Amos), a lovable, lanky-haired doofus (Derek Richardson), and a strong but silent guy (James Tupper), who seems destined to become Marin's love interest.
"The odds are good, but the goods are odd," warns Sara (Suleka Mathew) about the chances of finding love with one of the townsmen. Sara is one of two dark-haired women in the town who look too much alike in the pilot. (The first time I watched, I thought they were the same person.)
Heche is a likable TV star, but the "Men in Trees" pilot, written by Jenny Bicks ("Sex and the City"), is a mere wisp of a show, so lighter than air that it threatens to float away at any moment.
Bicks introduces characters with varying degrees of success, but mostly they're sketched rather than drawn with much definition. Hopefully that will change in future episodes, when the show airs in its regular time slot, 9 p.m. Friday, beginning later this week.
Heche's sunny performance is the best thing about "Men in Trees." She even essays a deft knack for physical comedy in a scene with a raccoon.
But the whole fish-out-of-water-in-Alaska conceit was covered by "Northern Exposure," which also had the benefit of more clearly defined, original characters, even at its outset.
First Published September 12, 2006 12:00 am