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Scott D. Pierce
Scott D. Pierce writes about television for the Salt Lake Tribune. Vice president of the Television Critics Associationn, he's covered TV in Utah since 1990.

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BUNHEADS - "Pilot" - A former ballerina turned Vegas showgirl decides to take a gamble on a new marriage and a fresh start in Paradise in the series premiere of ABC Family's original drama "Bunheads," airing Monday, June 11th (9:00 - 10:00 PM ET/PT). (ABC FAMILY/RANDY HOLMES) ALAN RUCK, SUTTON FOSTER, KELLY BISHOP
Review: Promising "Bunheads" is reminiscent of "Gilmore Girls"

If "Bunheads" reminds you of "Gilmore Girls," it's no coincidence. Amy Sherman Palladino is the creative force behind both shows, and the vibe of ABC Family's new series is very familiar.

As is one of the cast members.

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"Bunheads" (Monday, 10 p.m., ABC Family) has the same quick-talking, sharp-witted dialogue that distinguished "Gilmore Girls." The same sort of small-town feel.

Sutton Foster stars as Michelle Simms, an aging (i.e. thirtysomething) Las Vegas showgirl whose dreams haven't come true. She's smart and funny, and sounds an awful lot like Lorelai Gilmore. Who, not surprisingly, sounded a lot like Sherman Palladino.

Michelle has an ardent admirer, nice, sort of nerdy guy Hubbell (Alan Ruck), who loves her with all his heart.

She likes the guy, and in a moment of weakness fueled by alcohol, marries him. And then the newlyweds move to Hubbell's small, beachside, California hometown, where his mother, Fanny (Kelly Bishop of "Gilmore Girls") is not exactly thrilled to have a Vegas showgirl joining the family.

Fanny runs a ballet school - where the dancers are known as "Bunheads" - and, somewhat surprisingly, Michelle seems to fit in.

Complete with a bunch of odd and odder townsfolk and a bunch of teenage dancers, the pilot episode goes along pretty much like you might expect. Including the predictable clash between Fanny and Michelle.

But there's a jaw-dropping twist in the final moments of the episode that sets up the series and leaves you considerably less certain where all this is going to end up.

The pilot is good. It's not great, but it shows a lot of promise.

And given that "Gilmore Girls" was such a great show, there's reason to stick around and see where "Bunheads" is going.

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