Fans of old-school WB programming can rejoice with the new CW drama Life Unexpected. As its star Kerr Smith told TVGuide.com, the "stylistic view" and "heavily character-driven" story lines are reminiscent of the programs that once defined the old network. Unexpected is exactly how to describe the turn of events when Lux (Britt Robertson), who was given up for adoption 15 years earlier, finds her biological parents Cate (Shiri Appleby), a famous radio disc jockey, and Nate "Baze" Bazile (Kristoffer Polaha), a one-time jock turned aging frat boy. Smith, who plays Ryan, Cate's lovable co-host and boyfriend, chatted about the show's love triangle, and how he knew his first series Dawson's Creek would be a hit.
TVGuide.com: How did you become involved in Life Unexpected?
Kerr Smith: The script became available and it was just so good. The writing was fantastic and the characters were very well thought out. I went in and read for Liz [Tigelaar] and the gang and cut to three weeks later I'm up in Vancouver.
The CW to debut Life Unexpected in January
TVGuide.com: How is the show going to navigate the complicated triangle of Baze, Cate and Ryan?
Smith: It's not your traditional love triangle. It's a crazy, isosceles triangle — that's what I'm going with. The love thing is more on the side of Ryan and Cate and then you have Baze there; he's the father of her child. He keeps hanging around and Ryan doesn't want him there and Cate doesn't really want him there. They've got this weird high school fantasy thing going on from back in the day and you can't really put your finger on it. It's different, I like it.
TVGuide.com: Will the show focus more on the adults' coming-of-age?
Smith: It might go a little bit towards the adult side because you have three story lines going on. You have Cate-Baze-Lux, Cate-Lux-Ryan and you have Lux with her friends. So it's like two-thirds adult, one-third kid. Something for everybody.
TVGuide.com: Will we learn the back story of Cate and Ryan's relationship?
Smith: You won't learn too much about that this season. I know Liz has plans for Season 2 to really dive into Ryan's life, the relationship and everything behind how they got together.
See photos from Life Unexpected
TVGuide.com: Any big guest stars on the horizon?
Smith: We just cast Cate's father [Gordon, played by Peter Horton]. Episode 12 is the one he'll be in so we're all looking forward to that. I'm like, "Guys we have to get the biggest guest stars that we can possibly get on this show." It's just that kind of show that warrants that I think it will really lend towards telling a good story.
TVGuide.com: Are you more like Ryan or Baze in real life?
Smith: I am actually hybrid. There's part of me that's the professional responsible guy that likes to do a good job and then there's a part of me that likes to be a screw up and is still living back in the college days.
TVGuide.com: Cate's big high school secret is that she had a baby. Do you have any high school secrets of your own?
Smith: I don't have any kids floating around, if that's what you're asking. I was the jock, I wasn't the best jock out there, but I played all the sports. I didn't really get into the creative side of me until college.
TVGuide.com: Do you think Life Unexpected will speak to the current CW generation like Dawson's Creek did to WB fans?
Smith: I think it will. It's obviously coming at the audience from a different angle than Dawson's or Felicity but the stylistic view of the show is very old school WB. It's a heavily character-driven show which is what the old WB shows were, so I think for anybody who enjoyed those days of television, and even the people that are watching the CW now, it's going to be a refreshing journey back into time.
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TVGuide.com: When you joined Dawson's, did you imagine how big it would become?
Smith: I did. Dawson's was a midseason [replacement] just like us. The first season was only 13 episodes long, and then episode 14 I joined the cast. It was already a hit but when I watched the pilot I remember thinking, "Wow this thing is good; people are going to love this."
TVGuide.com: Do you keep in touch with any of the Dawson's cast?
Smith: Not so much anymore. We're all doing our own thing these days and I haven't really talked to anybody except for Meredith [Monroe] — I talk to Meredith quite a bit.