So we’re three episodes into Being Erica aka "Quantum Leap for girls", in which plucky, unlucky-in-life Erica gets sent back in time to fix all the parts of her life that went wrong as part of some extreme therapy. Time then for the normally extremely manly Carusometer to set its shades of justice to pink and pass verdict.
On the whole, the show’s been very good so far. Maybe a little lightweight in places, but enjoyable, fun, female-friendly without being male-unfriendly. It’s been typically Canadian-smart, with Erica (MA Lit) and best pal discussing Tolstoy and Dostoevsky while playing Wii Sports, for example. And while there’s been a certain element of predictability, with Erica finding that if you try fixing one part of your life, another tends to get broken in return, it has been cleverer than that for the most part.
Doctor Tom, the mysterious therapist whose office can appear behind any door, who can send Erica ‘leaping’ back into her past body without so much as a bye-your-leave, and who seems somehow privy to every conversation she ever has and everything she’s ever done, is by turns irritating and interesting. We’re not exactly sure how he does everything he does – and he’s becoming more and more Satanic by the episode – and his habit of not saying anything other than quotes by famous writers became very irritating by the second episode, but his mystery is another reason for watching, even if it looks like we’re not going to get any answers any time soon.
Erica isn’t quite as interesting, but rather than being a stereotypical helpless chick lit heroine, certainly through therapy is becoming stronger and turns out to have had an edgier side than Bella Bloom on The Ex-List, for example. She’s more adult and in one sense of that word, there’s a good deal more naughtiness going on in her past that you might have guessed. But in another sense of the word, it’s interesting to see how simple maturity makes her behave differently and more strongly than she did when she was a teenager, surely every 30something’s belief – if they knew then what they knew now… The fact she’s smart, both intellectually and emotionally, is also a plus, and she feels far more of a three-dimensional character than many shows have given us. And Erin Karpluk is really very good.
No two episodes have really been the same, and the time travel aspect of the show is less important that you might have thought it would have been, with more of the show dedicated to Erica’s present day situation than what led her to it. There’s an interesting romantic sub-plot developing, Erica’s on the up and her family and friend’s are improving.
One to watch, if you like fun but smart female-oriented dramas with just a hint of fantasy – or thought Peggy Sue Got Married should have been turned into a less depressing TV series.
Given this is being distributed by BBC Worldwide, it should be in the UK at some point, too, and SOAPnet in the US has already picked it up as well.
Carusometer rating: 1
Prediction: Will run for at least two seasons, minimum.