October 11, 2011

TV: Reed Between the Lines (BET, Tue 10)

Here we have a serviceable, though not very exciting, family comedy that is very clearly and deliberately in the mold of The Cosby Show. Mom and Dad are New York professionals Alex and Carla Reed (he's a college professor, she's a psychiatrist) with three adorable kids (boy/girl twins in early teens and a cute little girl). Their house is even laid out almost exactly like the Huxtables' -- door, stairs, sofa, kitchen all in the same place.

The resemblance is only emphasized by the casting of Malcolm Jamal-Warner as the father. He co-stars opposite Tracee Ellis Reed, and they have a similar warm chemistry to that of Cosby and Phylicia Rashad, albeit at a much lower level of skill.

And "lower level" is, I'm afraid, the dominant phrase for the show. It's all perfectly competent; Reed and Jamal-Warner are likable enough; the kids are cute. But if you're going to so obviously invite comparison to The Cosby Show, a classic of its type, then perfectly competent isn't going to cut it.

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