July 05, 2004 12:00 PM

WB (Tuesdays, 9 p.m. ET)

Lori Loughlin, the Full House alum who co-created this bland sand-and-surf family show, is the principal reason for tuning in. As Ava Gregory, a thirtysomething fashion designer sharing a California beach rental with three single friends, she exudes tawny, wholesome, shampoo-ad sexiness. Plus, she’s good with children, as she proved in the June 1 pilot, when Ava’s traumatized young niece and two nephews from Kansas, orphaned after their parents were killed in an accident, came to live with her and her pals. Ava is a fount of empathy and wisdom. That, as much as lazy writing, may explain why this party of three happily adjusted to life without Mom and Dad by episode’s end. In the three subsequent ones I’ve seen, 16-year-old Bradin (Jesse McCartney) develops a crush on his surfing instructor, while kid sister Nikki (Kay Panabaker) falls for a cute teen neighbor. The grown-ups? They mostly just fawn and fret over the orphans, though in the June 22 episode Ava and housemate Johnny (Shawn Christian), her former beau, seemed to be rekindling their romance, while another roomie had a steamy brief encounter with her ex. Summerlandcould use some more of that adult sizzle.


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