Picks and Pans Review: Century City

updated 03/22/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/22/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

CBS (Tuesdays, 9 p.m. ET)

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Futurism is fine, but you don't want to get too far out there.

That seems to be the philosophy of Century City's producers, who originally set the show in 2054, then moved it back to 2030. Either way, the inconsistent legal drama won't be mistaken for Star Trek. Most of the scenes take place in offices and courtrooms (some virtual, some real), so the characters shoot words, not lasers. Business attire and hairstyles aren't much different in 2030, though a few daring men have said farewell to lapels.

Except for the gorgeous, genetically reengineered associate (Kristin Lehman), the law firm features the standard mix: the wise mentor (solid veteran Hector Elizondo), the horny cynic (Eric Schaeffer), the young man with pro bono passion (Horatio Hornblower's loan Gruffudd). The issues are what separates this series from the legal crowd: a human cloning case in the March 16 premiere, an emotional debate over eugenics in the second episode (March 20 at 10 p.m.). The opener even offers a funny subplot involving an 'N Sync-type boy band with scientific ways of staying young. Unfortunately, the second episode is marred by overwrought dialogue and a strident turn by Just Shoot Me's Enrico Colantoni as a lawyer who doesn't know when to shut up.

DRAMA

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