Picks and Pans Review: Inconceivable

UPDATED 10/03/2005 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 10/03/2005 at 01:00 AM EDT

NBC (Fridays, 10 p.m. ET)

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Jonathan Cake, the British actor who creased his brow so sternly in this summer's Empire, is back, still creasing the brow but also drawing up the corners of his mouth to smile. It's progress. He plays Dr. Malcolm Bowers, a fertility specialist and committed playboy. He resembles Nip/Tuck's Dr. Christian Troy, only skilled in a field of even more troubling intimacy. The new partner in his clinic is beautiful Nora Campbell (Angie Harmon, whose stare isn't much softer than Cake's, although the smile has flirty warmth). She turns up at the end of the first episode, brought in to perform a procedure so advanced it's not yet legal. Inconceivable is a competent soap built on issues like surrogacy, gay parents—presumably any topic that can be threaded into the spiral of DNA. Does it deliver excitement? So far, no.

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