Thursdays at 9 p.m. on Fox
The tagline you'll never see: Grow old, and bored, with "The Breakfast Club."
The basics: It's 1986 and life is bitchin' for six best buddies who just graduated from their suburban New York high school. They're all straight from central casting of any John Hughes film -- from "Sixteen Candles" to "The Breakfast Club." You've got the rich prep (Sean Faris, a dead ringer for a young Tom Cruise); the rich prep's girlfriend (Alexa Davalos), who's equally rich and preppy; the slut who wants to be a model (Amanda Righetti); and the nerd (Dave Annable) who's in love with the slut. They're all on their way to college and nothing's going to stop them, right? Of course something's going to stop them. A drunk driving accident, an unwanted pregnancy and a questionable affair with a former teacher are just some of the dramas that ensue in the pilot episode.
But here's the twist: We also are transported to the present day, via flash-forwards, where we quickly learn that one of the friends has been murdered. Throughout the season, we work our way up to 2006, with each episode representing a new year, to find out who doesn't make it to the 20th high school reunion, and why.
The lowdown: If you graduated from high school in the mid-to-late 1980s, there many be enough pop-culture references and nostalgic music to keep you interested week by week as the characters reach your own age by series end. Otherwise, the show will have to rely on its plot and characters, two weak points, to draw in viewers. Perhaps Fox doesn't have much faith in the series anyway, putting it up against television's No. 1 drama "CSI" on CBS and a still strong but fading "The Apprentice" on NBC.
Reality check: Credit Fox for a wonderful idea. The concept of seeing characters age year-by-year, episode-by-episode is appealing and it may be worth tuning in just to see how the show's makeup and wardrobe departments handle things. But while the series can be commended for its novelty, the weekly plot lines revolving around ho-hum, young adult angst might make you want to skip this reunion.
-- John Maynard