Television: It's Twentysomething

The creators of Party of Five show what they can do for an encore

The genius of Christopher Keyser and Amy Lippman, the creators of Party of Five, has been to understand the entertainment value of emotional pain. The show is about a family of five orphans and it features enough heavy talk and tragedy to sustain an A.A. chapter. As presented by Keyser and Lippman, though, the relentless suffering is positively enjoyable. That is so partly because Party of Five offers the guilty pleasure of watching other people's troubles, but the show is much finer than any soap. When the competence of Julia (played by Neve Campbell with sensuous innocence and gravity) wounds her...

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