Spirited personalities, a breezy approach and some actual humor make up for the trite formula behind UPN's "Second Time Around." Continuing on the safe path of high-concept urban sitcoms -- a path that has become the lifeblood of the network -- skein hardly breaks ground comedically or structurally, but what it does, it does well enough.

Spirited personalities, a breezy approach and some actual humor make up for the trite formula behind UPN’s “Second Time Around.” Continuing on the safe path of high-concept urban sitcoms — a path that has become the lifeblood of the network — skein hardly breaks ground comedically or structurally, but what it does, it does well enough.

While the premise seems better suited to promos than to anything enduring — how long before a relationship show about exes who remarry each other becomes just another romantic comedy? — the bickering and the sweet talk is handled deftly.

That’s due to the authenticity of real-life couple Nicole Parker and Boris Kodjoe, who sparked it up on Showtime’s “Soul Food” and are completely natural here sparring, sassing and adoring each other — and helping the writing seem smarter than it actually is.

Kodjoe stars as architect Jackson Muse, a ladies’ man once married to Ryan (Parker), a free-spirited artist. They’re reunited for a second whirl, but now with a few therapeutic techniques to guide them (they’re big on “reconnecting” whenever a fight’s about to ensue).

Their current attraction to each other evident, it’s the years apart that have them on edge. Debut episode showcases how little they trust each other; she finds out he was once engaged to another woman — while they were dating — and he can’t get over an image of her naked body showcased at an art show.

Along with the undeniably attractive leads, “Second Time Around” has a solid supporting cast: Brian White is strong as Jackson’s more prudent younger brother Nigel (the relationship is reminiscent of another brotherly pair, Frasier and Niles Crane), Danielle Nicolet has the right touch as his snobby fiancee and Melissa De Sousa is Nicole’s feisty best friend Coco.

Subsequent episodes are textbook examples of “he said, she said” and show off plenty of love with baggage.

Second Time Around

UPN, Mon. Sept. 20, 9:30 p.m.

Production

Filmed in Los Angeles by Regan Jon Prods. and C to the B Prods. in association with Paramount Television. Executive producers, Ralph Farquhar, Claude Brooks; co-executive producer, Michelle Listenbee Brown; co-producers, Stephen Rose, John Vohlers; director, Stan Lathan; writers, Ralph Farquhar, Brown;

Crew

camera, John Simmons; editor, Brian Schnuckel; music, Kurt Farquhar; production designer, Michele Sefman; casting, Eileen Mack Knight. 30 MIN.

Cast

Ryan Muse - Nicole Parker Jackson Muse - Boris Kodjoe Nigel Muse - Brian White Coco - Melissa De Sousa Paula - Danielle Nicolet
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