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`SIX DEGREES' OF CONFUSION.

Byline: - David Kronke

In New York, it is said, there are 8 million stories in the naked city. ``Six Degrees'' wishes to amend that notion: There are only six.

``Six Degrees'' is an admittedly ambitious series that seeks to connect disparate souls with one another through means both spiritual and banal. Though the most recent edit of the premiere cleans up some of the show's pseudo-mysticism, there's still a whiff of lunatic coincidence uniting the show's main characters, something that feels more like contrivance than kismet.

Who are all these people?

Though it may be nearly impossible to fully connect these characters in the show's tightly constricted Moebius strip, let us try: Carlos (Jay Hernandez) is a public defender who's sweet on Mae (Erika Christensen), who's on the lam from, well, somebody, but he's lately palling around with Damian (Dorian Missick), whose violent past's social debts are forcing him to track down Mae.

Mae has been hired as newly widowed Laura's (Hope Davis) nanny; Laura has recently befriended Whitney (Bridget Moynahan), who is about to probably marry the wrong guy, but never mind that -- she has recently hired desiccated photographer Steven (Campbell Scott) to work for her after he, in fact, snapped devastating candids of Laura.

Got that? No? Well, it scarcely seems to matter, as most of the show is metaphysical horse manure.

Don't get me wrong: Performances far exceed what you might expect for a show dependent upon such contrivances. And the show's notion -- that each of us is this close to connecting to that special someone who might turn our sorry life around -- is intriguing, perhaps inspiring, one worth inspecting.

Will it play in ... Keokuk?

But as presented here, ``Six Degrees'' is bald melodrama disguised by vaguely decent dialogue championing convoluted narrative expediencies that would have trouble passing muster in a show set in Keokuk, Iowa.

``You go through your struggles, your daily life, and you think you're alone -- but you're not,'' one character protests. But the faux spiritualism of ``Six Degrees'' endeavors to delude viewers that the answer to all their questions may be just around the corner, rather than encouraging them to search further in earnest.

SIX DEGREES - Two stars

What: Disparate souls collide in New York City.

Where: ABC (Channel 7).

When: 10 tonight.

In a nutshell: Contrived. At best.

CAPTION(S):

photo

Photo:

(color) Jay Hernandez is a New York City public defender with a crush on Erika Christensen in ``Six Degrees,'' premiering at 10 tonight on ABC.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 21, 2006
Words:415
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