By Tom Gliatto Alyssa Shelasky Jed Dreben
June 09, 2008 12:00 PM


CBS, June 5, 10 p.m. ET |


It’s the height of the Bicentennial summer, and Tom and Trina Decker (Grant Show, with a porn star’s mustache, and Lana Parrilla) throw a party at their home outside Chicago. There’s dancing on the pool deck out back and, down in what might be the rec room, an orgy. In a bedroom upstairs Trina explains her open marriage to a new neighbor, Susan (Molly Parker), and offers her a quaalude. “It’ll take the edge off,” she tells Susan. Thanks, Welcome Wagon lady!

Edge, one must say, is something this series does not lack. Swingtown, at least in its opening hour, is a smoothly executed, coolly nonjudgmental soap opera about middle-class married life in an era of sexual experimentation. This isn’t a new subject—movies like The Ice Storm already explored it with more bite—but I can’t think of another network series so successful in getting the looks and sounds of an era just right. Anyone who grew up in the decade will have a strange, nostalgic pang when they see that kitchen with avocado accents.