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Pilot focuses on stepmom-stepdaughter territorial issues and Moesha's boy problems.

Pilot focuses on stepmom-stepdaughter territorial issues and Moesha’s boy problems.

It’s hard to tell what type of direction the series will take from just one seg, but the team behind “Moesha”– Ralph Farquhar (creator of the controversial “South Central”) and the writing team of Sara V. Finney and Vida Spears (“Family Matters”) — promise to bring a mix of social issues and wholesome comedy to future episodes.

Norwood, already having sold 3 million-plus albums, takes on her first starring role (she was a regular on the short-lived “Thea”). She’s a likable kid , and her supporting cast of girlfriends — especially Countess Vaughn as the boy-crazy Kim — are sassy and full of street talk and slang; cast’s chemistry manages to transcend the rather stale storyline.

Fact that series is filmed frees up director Stan Latham’s camera, giving “Moesha” a sophisticated look, although it is filmed mostly in front of a studio audience, which must be restrained from “Wooo!”-ing every time a character utters a line about the attractiveness of the opposite sex.

And the most important aspect of the show: The kids are not smarter than their parents.

Popular on Variety


(Tues. (23), 8-8:30 p.m., UPN)

Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by Big Ticket Television and Regan Jon Prods. Executive producer, Ralph Farquhar. Co-exec producers, Sara V. Finney, Vida Spears; producer, Mary Ellen Jones; creators, Farquhar, Finney, Spears; director, Stan Latham; writers, Finney, Spears; camera , Donald A. Morgan; editor, Jim McQueen; art director, Richard Improta; sound, Larry Stevens; music, Kurt Farquhar. #Cast: Brandy Norwood, Sheryl Lee Ralph, William Allen Young, Countess Vaughn, Marcus T. Paulk, Lamont Bentley, Yvette Wilson, Merlin Santana, Malinda C. Williams, Shar Jackson, Yunoka Doyle, Vicellous Shannon. Netlet UPN goes beyond "Star Trek" spinoffs with this lively sitcom toplining effervescent teen pop star Brandy Norwood as the title character. Series pilot -- the only episode availablefor review -- smoothly introduces characters and relationships. Although "Moesha" doesn't promise to go beyond the sitcom status quo, its slangy, snappy writing and amiability should appeal to a younger demo -- and will be a painless watch for their parents -- although its debut faces "Home Improvement," which doesn't bode well for its Nielsen numbers. "Moesha" press materials promise that the Mitchells are not the Huxtables, Bradys, Cleavers or Conners: They are not rich -- dad Frank (William Allen Young) sells Saturns and stepmom Dee (Sheryl Lee Ralph) teaches high school -- or smarmy, perfect or white trash, but a nice middle-class black family with nice middle-class problems, especially two-months-shy-of-16 Moesha.

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