Picks and Pans Review: Army Wives

updated 06/16/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/16/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Lifetime June 8, 10 p.m. ET |

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The first season of Army Wives, Lifetime's most successful series to date, ended on an explosive note: An officer, enraged and despondent over the collapse of his marriage, strapped himself to the gills with bombs and detonated in front of his wife and other soldiers' spouses in a local joint called the Hump Bar. Season 2 sifts through the debris as the women, who share an endlessly problematic communal life in an Army post, try to hold on to their families and worry about husbands sent over to Iraq. The first episode builds to a sad revelation that requires a certain sleight of hand—not a necessarily original one, either. But it succeeds, in a corny way, and produces a brief but undeniable emotional surge. That's how the show works, as a tribute to the earnest, the unglam, the unsung yet worthy. With a large ensemble headed by Kim Delaney (as a woman who's tailored her strong personality to being the spouse of the post commander), it's like Lipstick Jungle dressed down and dirtied up.

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