Life Unexpected

Life Unexpected Information

Life Unexpected is an American television series that ran for two seasons, from 2010 to 2011.

The show premiered on The CW on Monday, January 18, 2010. The 13-episode first season run ended on April 12, 2010. The series was picked up for a second season, which premiered on September 14, 2010, airing on Tuesdays at 9/8c following One Tree Hill.

The CW declined to order the back 9 episodes for the show's second season, leaving the season's episode count at 13. On December 6, 2010, series creator, Liz Tigelaar made the TV show's cancellation official via Twitter.

On December 3, 2010 Warner Bros. reported that the show's two seasons would be released on DVD as a "Complete Series" set; but, on December 24, 2010 this was changed and the set was renamed "The Complete 1st & 2nd Seasons."


Life Unexpected is produced by Best Day Ever Productions and Mojo Films in association with CBS Television Studios and Warner Bros. Television with executive producers Liz Tigelaar (Brothers and Sisters, What About Brian), Janet Leahy (Boston Legal, Gilmore Girls), and Gary Fleder (October Road). Gary Fleder directed the pilot.

The CW announced the series in January 2009 under the working title of Light Years because the main character Lux's name means Light. According to Tigelaar, the title "tested way too sci-fi" and it was changed to LUX (the name of one of the lead characters) in April. This was quickly changed again into Life Unexpected, but at The CW Upfronts in May, the series was promoted as Parental Discretion Advised. That June, the network reverted to the name Life UneXpected, again highlighting the name of the main character in capital letters. Initial advertising for the series in fall 2009 listed it without the capitalized "X", which became the final version as it appears now.

While the show is set in Portland, Oregon, most of the filming is done in Vancouver, British Columbia. Scenes of Westmonte High are filmed at Sutherland Secondary School in North Vancouver and H. J. Cambie Secondary School in Richmond, British Columbia. The exterior of Baze's bar is located on Granville Island and the Ironworks Building in Vancouver. North Shore Studios, formally Lionsgate, was used as the primary studio for season one while Coast Mountain Film Studios housed the show for the second and final season.


Teenager Lux (Britt Robertson) had been through the foster care system for almost her whole life. Cate Cassidy (Shiri Appleby) had given birth to her while still a teen but gave her up for adoption after being promised by Social Services that the baby would find a wonderful home. Due to her heart problems as a baby, she was not even available for adoption until after the age of three. Most likely because of those issues, Lux was never adopted. On her 16th birthday, she decides that it's time for her to become an emancipated minor, but before that occurs, she has to get signatures from her unknown birth parents. First she encounters former High-School Football Quarterback, Nathaniel "Baze" Bazile (Kristoffer Polaha), her birth father and owner of the Open Bar. He lives a semi-fraternity boy lifestyle above the drinking establishment with two lazy roommates, and sleeps with many women. However, even when he signs the papers, Baze discovers that he is bonding with his newfound daughter, and realizes that she has his eyes. He introduces Lux to her mother Cate, co-host of the "Morning Madness" drive time show at Portland radio station K-100 and Baze's former one-night stand from high school. Lux has been listening to Cate's voice on the radio as long as she can remember, so she feels an instant connection with the mom she's never met. Baze takes Lux to meet Cate, who is shocked and saddened to learn that Lux has grown up in foster care instead of the adoption she believed would take place and is reluctant to commit to her daughter. Eventually, Cate wants to be a part of Lux's life, and she shows that she really does care. When a judge decides that Lux isn't ready for emancipation and unexpectedly grants temporary joint custody to Baze and Cate, they agree to try to get past the awkwardness. Cate, due to her job as a radio host, and the fact that she has a suitable house, is given primary custody of Lux. Ryan Thomas (Kerr Smith), her radio broadcast partner, as well as her fiance, also takes to Lux.

As the series progresses, though, Baze becomes more responsible, and works harder to get the bar and the living space above it in shape so that Lux can be able to visit and stay with him. Due to their close bond, Baze, the one that was considered to perhaps be more of a slacker, had proven that when the chips are down, he inevitably comes through for Lux, giving her support and love. Cate, despite her constantly disappointing Lux, still means well. Her radio show is produced by Alice (Erin Karpluk), who often serves as her confidante. Ryan, in some ways jealous and insecure because of Baze's constant presence in his fiancee's life, gets resentful and has physically fought Baze. Ryan, finally fed up with Baze's continual interference, breaks it off with Cate. Eventually though, Ryan and Cate reconnect, and their engagement is back on. He also relents a bit towards Baze after the two have drinks and Baze explains that all he is to Cate is the father of Lux, and nothing else. Baze's bar is owned by his father Jack (Robin Thomas), who considers Baze a disappointment but softens towards him somewhat in later episodes. Lux has several friends from her old life, including best friend Tasha (Ksenia Solo), Lux's boyfriend Bug (Rafi Gavron), and Tasha's boyfriend Gavin (Rhys Williams). She must decide whether she can continue to have her old friends in her life as she attempts new friendships. Sometimes, Bug is known for doing things which brings him in trouble with the law, and that sometimes imperils Lux's life with Baze and Cate. Her case is handled by her social worker, Fern (Lucia Walters). Baze also incurs Cate's wrath when it is discovered that he is sleeping with her sister and Lux's aunt, Abby (Alex Breckenridge). Baze also slept with Ryan's sister Paige (Arielle Kebbel) after a drunk incident in season two. Lux meets a young man at Baze's bar, Eric Daniels (Shaun Sipos), and goes on a date with him, only to find out he is her new teacher. The second season deals with Lux's affair with her teacher, Cate and Ryan's new marriage and their attempts to have a child, and Baze's relationship with his coworker Emma Bradshaw (Emma Caulfield).

Cast and characters

Lux Cassidy is the main protagonist. Catherine "Cate" Cassidy-Thomas is Lux's birth mother and primary caregiver. Nathaniel "Baze" Bazile is Lux's father, who lives above the bar he owns called the Open Bar. Matthew "Math" Rogers is Baze's best friend, who lives with him and Jamie above the bar, he later becomes Lux's English teacher. Ryan Thomas is Cate's former morning drive-time partner on the Morning Madness radio show, as well as her fiance.

  • Lux Cassidy (Britt Robertson)
  • Catherine "Cate" Cassidy (Shiri Appleby)
  • Nathanial "Baze" Bazile (Kristoffer Polaha)
  • Ryan Thomas (Kerr Smith)
  • Matthew "Math" Rogers (Austin Basis)
  • Natasha "Tasha" Siviac (Ksenia Solo)
  • Eric Daniels (Shaun Sipos)
  • Jamie (Reggie Austin)
  • Jones Mager (Austin Butler)
  • Jack Bazile (Robin Thomas)
  • Ellen Bazile (Susan Hogan)
  • Alice (Erin Karpluk)
  • Bobby "Bug" Guthrie (Rafi Gavron)
  • Fern (Lucia Walters)
  • Paige Thomas (Arielle Kebbel)
  • Abby Cassidy (Alexandra Breckenridge)
  • Kelly Campbell (Amy Price-Francis)
  • Laverne Cassidy (Cynthia Stevenson)
Guest stars have included Emma Caulfield (11 episodes as Emma Bradshaw), Sarah McLachlan, Pam Grier, Ben Lee, Rain Perry, Kate Voegele, Bethany Joy Galeotti, Jaime Ray Newman, Krista Allen, Shanica Knowles, Landon Liboiron, Shannon Chan-Kent (3 episodes as Brynn) and Keegan Connor Tracy.


Year Result Award Category Recipient(s)
2010 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Breakout Show Life Unexpected


Main article: List of Life Unexpected episodes

One Tree Hill crossover

In an attempt to improve Life Unexpected's ratings by attracting One Tree Hill viewers, The CW aired a crossover event involving both programs on October 12, 2010. Beginning with One Tree Hill installment "Nobody Taught Us to Quit", Haley James Scott (Bethany Joy Galeotti) and Mia Catalano (Kate Voegele) traveled to Portland (where Life Unexpected is set) to perform at the Sugar Magnolia Music Festival hosted by K-100. Haley and Cate meet in the crossover and are "surprised to learn that they share a similar back story [as] mothers." "Music Faced," the Life Unexpected episode of the crossover, also featured Sarah McLachlan, Ben Lee and Rain Perry whose song "Beautiful Tree" serves as the series' opening theme.

Critical reception

Life Unexpected scored a 69 out of 100 on Metacritic. The series has garnered mostly positive feedback, with many reviews favorably comparing the show to the critically acclaimed series Gilmore Girls and Everwood. Maureen Ryan, from the Chicago Tribune, stated that the show "recall[s] the good things about shows like Gilmore Girls and Everwood," and similarly, Hank Stuever from The Washington Post called it "a pleasant mix of a little Juno hipitude and a lot of Everwood glow." Furthermore, the Chicago Tribune review called Life Unexpected a program "that parents and their older kids could enjoy together without feeling condescended to," and The Boston Globe's Matthew Gilbert states that "the show works, in its own hokey, feel-good, alt-soundtrack way."

Show writer Liz Tigelaar (who has also worked on Brothers & Sisters, American Dreams, and Once and Again), has received much praise. A review in the Los Angeles Times called Tigelaar's writing smart and insightful. Similarly, Randee Dawn, from The Hollywood Reporter stated that Tigelaar "has a delicate, spot-on feel for dialogue." The Futon Critic's Brian Ford Sullivan singled out writer Liz Tigelaar and director Gary Fleder for adeptly exploring Lux's perceived lack of love in her life.

On a negative note, a review in the Chicago Sun Times by Paige Wiser called the show "somewhat predictable" and The Post's Stuever adds that Life Unexpected "burns off its most interesting plot twist [...] in the first 20 minutes."

U.S. Nielsen ratings

Season Timeslot (ET) # Ep. Original Airing Rank Viewers
(in millions)
Season Premiere Season Finale TV Season
1 Monday 9:00PM
Monday 8:00PM
13 2009"2010 #136 2.01 The CW
2 Tuesday 9:00PM 13 2010"2011 #140 1.50

International distribution

Country Network Premiere Date Title Life Unexpected
Happy TV
April 6, 2010 (AXN)
October, 2010 (Happy TV) and November 28, 2011 (rerun)
Neo?ekivani ?ivot
April 6, 2010 (AXN)
February, 2012 (TV IN)
Neo?ekivani ?ivot
AXN April 6, 2010 Neo?ekivani ?ivot
Nepri?akovano ?ivljenje
??????"????"??"?? ?? ????"??
Derült égb"?l család
???? ??????"???
Zm"?na je ?ivot
[[People+Arts|LIV]] April 12, 2010 Life Unexpected
Telecorporación Salvadoreña TBA
YTV Canada (September 2010)
[[Canal+|Canal+ Family]] November 7, 2010
Rai 2 October 2, 2010
RT"? Two August 2011
Canal 11 TBA
sixx January 4, 2011
DR HD 2011
TV 2 Bliss October 2010
Dizimax June 2010
Hallmark Channel Asia June 17, 2010
Hallmark Channel Philippines
Velvet September 2010
HOT3 April 22, 2010 "???? "???? ??"????
AXN April 24, 2010 Via?? Nea?teptat?
April 12, 2010
February, 2012
Nieoczekiwana szansa
Druga szansa
Fox Life August 11, 2010 Vida Inesperada
E4 September 19, 2010, Season 2 Daily from Thursday 27th January 2011 15.25 Life Unexpected
RT"? Two July 2011 Life Unexpected
Kanal 11 April 7, 2011 Elu keerdkäigud
SET (Russia) May 4, 2011 -???? ??????????????
JOJ May 8, 2011 Zmena je ?ivot
Network Ten November 5, 2011 Life Unexpected
Nelonen January 8, 2012 Outo, uusi elämä
Skai TV May 2012 Life Unexpected

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