August 20, 2001 12:00 PM

Showtime (Sundays, 10:45 p.m. ET)

“Why do we keep having the same conversation over and over again?” Beth (Nina Garbiras) asks Joe (Bruno Campos). My question is a little different: Why do they keep having depressingly similar conversations in 1993, 2001 and 2008?

This tiresome drama series, which premiered late last month, jumps from past to present to future in following the lives of five New York City friends: Joe, a lawyer-politician consumed with work; Josh (David Julian Hirsh), a randy real estate heir turned restaurateur; ambivalent Beth, who marries Joe and then Josh; Athena (Michelle Hurd), a temperamental actress, singer and druggie; and Gregory (Garret Dillahunt), a writer—and later therapist—who has an affair with Athena before coming out of the closet. Even if you can take the bad dialogue (“I am not just a set of ovaries! I have feelings!” Athena cries), it’s hard to make yourself care about Joe and Beth’s love-hate scenes of 1993 and 2001 when you already know the status of their relationship in 2008. Once you’ve got the back story, why go back for more? These characters aren’t that deep.

Bottom Line: Not a giant leap for mankind

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