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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Kyle XY: The Complete First Season — Declassified (review)

Naked teenager — who is, of course, made-for-TV cute — wakes up in a forest, mysteriously sans memories and belly button, and gets adopted by a nice lady therapist (Marguerite MacIntyre) and her all-American suburban family. Domestic angst ensues. Where it goes from there is all rather predictable in the post-X-Files era: is Kyle (Matt Dallas) an alien visitor? some kind of escaped science experiment? Surely X-Files vet Nicholas Lea, as the enigmatic figure watching, from a discreet distance, Kyle’s blossoming from an 16-year-old infant into a sweetly dorky real teen knows something about it. Gentle satire about the nuttiness of modern American life props up most episodes as Kyle learns about the strange world he finds himself in — this popular ABC Family series, which debuted last summer to gonzo ratings and just kicked off its second season, actually bears a strong resemblance in that regard to the 80s TV adaptation of Starman. My biggest fear, going into this one, was that the ABC Family connection would mean the show would water down or gloss over the genuine concerns of real kids, but it actually deals in a refreshingly frank way with the wide variety of adolescent experiences, from making mistakes about having sex to coming to terms with religious faith. Still, it’s likely to appeal only to teens; there’s not much to keep a more sophisticated audience intrigued, and Kyle’s secret turns out to be pretty guessable right from the get-go. Bonus features include an alternate pilot, an extended season finale, a series secrets, and audio commentaries by Dallas and others. [buy at Amazon]

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MPAA: rated TV-14 DLV

viewed at home on a small screen

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