Filmed in Tampa, Fla., by New World Entertainment, MT2 Services Inc. and Longfeather Entertainment. Executive producer, Pamela K. Long; co-executive producer, Sam Egan; producers, John Perria Flynn, Edward Tivnan; director, Donna Deitch (pilot), Victor DuBois; creator-writer. Long; “Second Noah” is New World chair Brandon Tartikoff’s baby, a nice family drama centering on Jesse and Noah Beckett, a couple who share a serious messiah complex–these two want to save every living thing that comes down the pike — that undermines the credibility of the otherwise pleasant and somewhat involving hour. “Noah” should click with younger auds not looking for profound, probing entertainment.
Pilot’s exposition is clear although jumbled at times. Jesse Beckett (Betsy Brantley) is the chief veterinarian for a wild animal park in Tampa, Fla., and hubby Noah (Daniel Hugh Kelly) is a bestselling writer and fabled retired college hoops coach. (Actual moms will not relate to Brantley’s perfect, wise and almost, unflappable angel of a mother.)
“Noah’s” gimmick is that the Becketts take in strays; reptiles, mammals, white-trash housekeepers, kids — especially kids. They have adopted eight children of assorted ethnic backgrounds and have built a little rainbow coalition. And the plots pretty much write themselves.
Or rather, have been written, since “Noah” is the direct descendant of “Eight Is Enough” — sometimes it’s a carbon copy — in tone and in the manner in which it tackles tough issues surrounding child rearing and marriage; not too deep and with a happy ending.
First three segs address racism, teen love and prejudice with an extremely soft focus — at times the parents seem completely out of touch with the normal guidelines of discipline.
Ensemble of child thesps is cute, not cloying. Teenage dad Ricky (James Marsden, soon to be on the cover of Tiger Beat, if he’s not already there) enjoys the most compelling character history: He and his son, Ben (Gemini), have a warm, believable relationship. Tech credits are tops, with kudos to production designer Donna Hattin. Good use of Florida locations adds to “Noah’s” overall gloss.
Tartikoff wanted to bring a show to TV that the whole family could watch, and he’s succeeded in a light, inoffensive way. But maybe he should have called it “Dr. Beckett, Animal Medicine Woman.”