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Monday, July 31, 2006

Recent Discovery: Kyle XY


Sci-Fi fans -- which include many progressives, geeks, artists, gay men and lesbians, and other 'don't-fit-the-mold' thinkers -- tend to like and identify with stylish dramas, comedies, films, art and mysteries which feature non-traditional characters searching for their identities, overcoming obstacles, learning who they really are and how to express their own voices. I give you Kyle XY.

This appealing one hour drama with comedic touches currently airs Monday nights on -- don't choke -- the ABC Family Channel. Before you dismiss it entirely, it's no namby pamby squeaky clean whitewash -- well, okay, so far only a couple of persons of color in the first episode (mainly the extremely talented and infrequently seen Dorian Harewood) ... and it's about a middle class family/community, set in the Pacific Northwest -- but it's nuanced and edgy in its own way -- including some unexpected, non-clichéd, creative touches and complex character development.

The overview:

Kyle is a handsome, sweet-natured, innocent teen boy (I know, an oxymoron and a paradox wrapped in an enigma) who wakes up in the middle of the beautiful wondrous lusciuous green forest.

Kyle is naked, covered in some sort of primoridial oozey slimey stuff. He has no language. He has no name. He has no memories. He has no belly button.

He wanders (naked) into a busy intersection, wide-eyed, open, newly birthed and is promptly taken to an institute for developmentally, mentally impaired and juvenile delinquent youths (quite a combo, huh?)

Anyway, the institutional director (Harewood) calls the facility's therapist, 'the Mom' -- and Kyle 'temporarily' becomes part of her all-American family along with Dad, Teen Daughter and pre-teen Son -- all of whom, except for Mom, are not quite so sure this Kyle kid (who is disrupting their usual patterns) is welcome.

It's a fish out of water, innocent soul story -- Kyle is in process of becoming human: learning the roles, rituals, systems, language of the host entities while possessing incredible mathematical and scientific knowledge, the ability to speed read and acquire large data sets in practically no time (he read and memorized an entire encyclopedia of 12 or twenty or so volumes in one day). But he has to learn the unspoken, unwritten rules of culture, family, romance, friendship and social relationships through experimentation, observation, iteration, trial and major error along the way. It very much reminds me of the short-lived John Doe from a few years back.

Lurking at the fringes is the creepy CIA/NSA/spy/spook/murderer guy: Nicholas Lea (whom X-File fans will remember as Alex Krychek). Mr. Lea simply does creepy, sneaky, lying spy-v-spy double-agent extremely well -- a spy who obviously knows much more about Kyle than the unsuspecting family members who are coming to love this strange and wonderful kid (who
also just happens to 'draw' beautiful photo-realistic memory images through his own version of crayon pointillism).

And this young actor who plays Kyle -- sorry I don't even know his name -- he is just so darned cute, appealing and so expressive with his gorgeous eyes, understated body language -- a real pleasure to watch.

TV Guide describes it this way:
Premise: A mysterious teen without human instincts, a past or even a navel befuddles a psychologist, who takes on his case and tries to help him adjust to his strange, new surroundings.

So, if you want to learn more about Kyle XY, I suggest you start watching and keep your eyes open for the sure-to-happen Kyle XY marathon, which must be somewhere on the horizon.

Oh, Kyle XY also repeats on Friday nights on the regular ABC network, and it might be repeated different times throughout the week on ABC Family. One annoying truly unbelievable story featured Kyle going to work with 'Dad' (a software programmer) one day and the company's computer server system was down -- Kyle quickly read the manual and fixed it. Hello -- a passle of programmers, code warriors and geeks who were sitting around waiting on some on-call computer fix-it guys to show up and fix their server? I don't think so. Otherwise, suspension of disbelief happens naturally enough.

Kyle XY: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

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