Sex and the City is the Velvet Underground of TV shows. Everyone who bought the VU’s first album, it is said, started a band. And sometimes it seems like everyone who saw Sex and the City created a TV show. Take Related, (The WB, Wednesdays, 9 p.m. E.T.), a comedy-drama about four loving, bickering young sisters. Let’s tick off the hallmarks. Set in New York? Check! Constant pseudo-Latin-jazz music to remind us that we’re watching something quirky? Check! Central cast of four women, the magic number for chick comedy-drama? Check! There needs to be a group noun, like "a murder of crows," for a grouping of four actressesâ€”a "Carrie," perhaps. One of them even drinks, I kid you not, Cosmopolitans.
Related was, at least, actually created by a former SATC writer, and despite its seeming calculation, it’s surprisingly appealing. The storylines of the four sibs, ranging from early 30s to college-aged, are pretty rote (having a baby; losing a boyfriend; moving back in with the parents; changing college majors). But it treads this young-woman-self-discovery territory (which The WB did best on Felicity) without either making its sisters too cute or taking them too seriously. In an upcoming episode, the sibs gather to watch Lost-a-Boyfriend-Sis work out her demons tunelessly at a karaoke bar. "I’ve heard Yesterday, All By Myself, Fire and Rain," says one, who’s been watching the performance from the beginning. "Oh, and Who Let the Dogs Out! That one was surprisingly grim!" It’s a little like Gilmore Girls on decaf.
I have a low enough testosterone level as it is, so I’m not sure I could become a regular viewer of this without seeing a hormone therapist, but there would be worse shows to watch with a few sarcastic friends over drinks. Anything but Cosmos.