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Review: 'Cupid' on ABC

March 30, 2009 |  5:05 pm
Cupid As one of an insufficiently large number of fans of Rob Thomas’ romantic dramedy "Cupid," which starred Jeremy Piven and Paula Marshall and aired only 14 episodes before being canceled by ABC in 1999, I greeted with mixed feelings the news of its retooled return. In the whole history of remakes, there have been few that have seemed worth the effort -- the recently concluded "Battlestar Galactica" and Hitchcock's second "The Man Who Knew Too Much" come to mind, and then . . . I'm out.

I prefer "Cupid 1.0" -- bits of which you may find floating around the Web, if you're interested -- but given that many of you will not remember it at all, I won't spend too much time praising the former at the expense of the latter, which begins tonight, also on ABC, upgraded from the original's Saturday-night Siberia to a prime slot after "Dancing With the Stars." I will say, however, that it isn't as good as Thomas' other current show, "Party Down," on Starz, which is calculated to work only on its own terms, while the new "Cupid" is intended to succeed, in a mass way, where its predecessor failed. (Nor is it as good as his "Veronica Mars.") That is the great luxury of lower commercial expectations.

As before, psychiatrist/self-help author Claire (Sarah Paulson, "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip") is given charge of a patient who calls himself Cupid (Bobby Cannavale, "Will & Grace"), but for purposes of getting along in the world introduces himself as Trevor. Trevor's story -- and he's sticking to it -- is that he's been banished to Earth until he unites 100 mortal couples: "They yammered on about relearning my craft and the screwed-up state of love and romance," he says by way of explanation.

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(Photo courtesy ABC)