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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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TV review: ‘Mixology’ is a lot better than you might think

Well, here’s a surprise. The guys behind the first "Hangover" movie have come up with a half-hour sitcom titled "Mixology" about 10 people who meet and, potentially, fall in love in a bar - and it’s funny and charming.

Who would’ve guessed?

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For its first season, "Mixology" (Wednesday, 8:30 p.m., ABC/Ch. 4) takes a "How I Met Your Mother" last-season approach and, quite frankly, does it better. At least for the first couple of episodes. Everything that happens in these 13 episodes takes place in one night.

With the addition of some really good flashbacks, that is.

Creators/executive producers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore set the pattern tonight with a story that centers on Tom (Blake Lee), a really likable guy who, we learn in a flashback, has just been dumped by his fiancee. His buddies Cal (Craig Frank) and Bruce (Andrew Santino) take him to a bar and encourage him to put himself out there.

Shy, cute Tom approaches drop-dead gorgeous Maya (Ginger Gonzaga), convinced that under all that beauty there’s a good person. But there’s not, as we learn in another flashback. She’s tough on everybody. ("How is a person ever supposed to improve if you don’t point out their weaknesses to them?" she says.) And the interplay between them is funny and unexpected.

All 13 episodes in the first season take place over the course of one night in a bar as 10 20-somethings in search of love or sex mix and mingle. On paper that sounds like a potential recipe for disaster -- how do you get to care about characters in such a short period of time, let alone in a hook-up setting? -- but the show’s writers effectively use flashbacks to deepen the characters.

There are lots more characters, who we meet but don’t necessarily get to know in Wednesday’s premiere. (There are 12 more episodes for that.) Maya’s engaged friend, Liv (Kate Simses), isn’t sure she actually wants to marry Jim (David Clayton Rogers), and she has eyes for Ron (Adam Campbell).

There’s single mother Jessica (Alexis Carra), who has a sister, Janey (Sarah Bolger) in the first episode who seems to have been written out and replaced with "frenemy" Fabienne (Frankie Shaw). Cocktail waitress Kacey (Vanessa Lengies) slept with bartender Dominic (Adan Canto), and he can’t remember her name. So she tells him - repeatedly - that she’s never speaking to him again.

It’s actually a lot less confusing than it sounds. And a lot funnier than you might expect.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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