Once again, I find myself in the position of reviewing a show that has, by the time of review, already been cancelled. In the case of Six Degrees, at least, I don't feel too bad about delaying, mostly because it took me months to sort out my opinions on the show.
For starters, the premise of the show is really pretty trite and annoying. Follow a handful of characters and, over time, show how they are all connected because, even in a giant city like New York, this is a small world and we're all neighbors and so on and so forth. Still, you have to figure that after a half season, they'd have pretty much exhausted that premise and we'd just end up with a drama about a variety of people who kind of know each other, but with a somewhat inexplicable title. That's fine with me. I don't need a hook for a show, provided the characters are well-acted and well-written.
And, I guess that's sort of the problem. The acting is really quite excellent. Most of the cast are people who were highly acclaimed for their first high-profile role, then sort of fell off the map a bit (in the case of this cast, they were the much-remarked upon actors from Dying Young, crazy/beautiful,Next Stop, Wonderland, The Sum of All Fears, and Traffic). I'm particularly fond of Hope Davis and will watch her in just about anything, but everyone does a nice job, at least given the material, which is a little subpar. The storylines are rarely original-feeling, to the point that I spent most of the few episodes that aired complaining about the writing.
Then the show went off the air for several months, and I found myself missing it a bit. Sure, quite a lot of that has to do with suddenly losing a weekly opportunity to watch Hope Davis act, but I ended up kind of caring what happened to the characters. I was actually pretty excited (in a very guilty way) to hear that the show was coming back.
When it was back, I was actually able to set aside my complaints about the writing better and just enjoy the performances (though, I should note that I did not stop complaining about the truly bizarre costuming inflicted on the actresses on this show). Of course, given my track record, a whole-hearted endorsement of the show is a certain kiss of death, since Six Degrees only lasted a couple episodes this time before disappearing forever. Ah, well.
Rating: B+ (Will be missed by me, at least)Reviewed by Padgett Arango