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Inconceivable: Don't Put All Your Ova in This Basket

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There’s been a lot written about the number of spooky, scary dramas on TV this season (For example, Fox debuts the gory cop show Killer Instinct tonight, while Jennifer Love Hewitt sees the dead on CBS’s Ghost Whisperer.) And what’s scarier, to those valuable 30-something female viewers, than a ticking biological clock? That’s the fear NBC hopes to tap into tonight with Inconceivable, a look inside one of those high-priced fertility clinics that we Americans are so familiar with today. At least if we’re as rich as TV executives.

Starring Ming-Na (E.R.) and Angie Harmon (Law & Order), Inconceivable has all the hallmarks of a show designed to give women what TV networks think they like: scads of quirky Ally McBeal-ish humor and plenty of Grey’s Anatomy-esque romantic intrigue. But the show couples this with storylines about the serious questions that technology raises: for instance, a man’s wife dies in Iraq and he makes a perhaps-rash decision to have an embryo, which they had frozen in advance, implanted in a surrogate.

Nip/Tuck pulls off this kind of balance of weighty and fluffy, but Inconceivable is no Nip/Tuck, and it comes off as simply flippant. The show might actually be charming if it were a bit more original and a lot less calculated. As it is, it seems, well, highly artificially conceived.