By People Staff
Updated September 12, 2005 12:00 PM
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FOX (Thursdays, 9 p.m. ET)

DRAMA

So, when do we learn the identity of the dead person? By the end of the first hour of this new series, a conceptually striking drama with much time flashing back and forth, we know (1) a funeral is taking place in the present day, following the violent death of one member of a group of childhood friends; (2) back in 1986, when the clique graduated from high school, one boy unjustly wound up in prison; and (3) we’re now going to inch forward from ’86, year by year, watching them mature and presumably become embittered and hostile, because that s what adults do. But as the episode ends, with the death under investigation, a detective (Six Feet Under‘s Mathew St. Patrick) never lets us know who’s been killed. He talks only of “the deceased.” It’s slightly annoying. Imagine Twin Peaks‘ Laura Palmer being referred to as “she who is wrapped in plastic.”

Otherwise, the show could be compelling, especially if the cast pulls off two decades’ worth of aging. In the opener, the juxtaposition of young Carla (Chyler Leigh), the awkwardly pretty daughter of the town pharmacist, and the grown-up version, hard and slickly styled, is intriguing.