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Savannah the Dead Man Talking

Robin Lively, Jamie Luner and Shannon Sturges return for a second season as those Savannah charmers Lane MacKenzie (who's been kidnapped), single-parented Peyton Richards, and wealthy, jailed Reese Burton. When Nick (George Eads), surprise twin brother of Reese's murdered ex-hubby Travis, turns up at the door to sort out what's happened, he's told, "It's complicated!" Sho nuff.

With:
Cast: Robyn Lively, Jamie Luner, Shannon Sturges, David Gail, Paul Satterfield, Beth Toussaint, George Eads, Ray Wise, Wendy Phillips, Scott Thompson Baker, Mimi Kennedy, Taurean Blacque, Stephen Michael Ayers, Mary Nell Santacroce, Ron Clinton, Theresa O'Shea, Austin Cruce, Robin Vaughn, Don Stallings, John Maynard, Bart Hansard, K. Addison Young, Tom Clark.

Robin Lively, Jamie Luner and Shannon Sturges return for a second season as those Savannah charmers Lane MacKenzie (who’s been kidnapped), single-parented Peyton Richards, and wealthy, jailed Reese Burton. When Nick (George Eads), surprise twin brother of Reese’s murdered ex-hubby Travis, turns up at the door to sort out what’s happened, he’s told, “It’s complicated!” Sho nuff.

Reese, Edward Burton’s (Ray Wise) known daughter, had a bad falling out with hubby Travis, Nick’s murdered brother. Back in circulation is Edward’s ex-housekeeper Lucille (Wendy Phillips), mother of Peyton, Edward’s unacknowledged daughter. Married Travis had dallied with Peyton before Lucille plugged him. More, just to urge the series on: Travis had his hands on a fabulous emerald, and now a couple of thugs, thinking Nick’s Travis, keep chasing him. It’s a busy crowd.

That third belle, Lane, was seeing cop Dean Collins, whose ex-partner’s gone mad. To hurt Dean, he’s snatched Lane and secretly locked her up at Millie’s snake farm. Everyone, of course, is frantic.

Series, starting off at a tremendous clip under Harvey Frost’s lively direction, plays like a fictional, giddyup “Midnight in the Garden of the Absurd.” Production again brightly uses cliffhanger scene endings, abrupt cuts from one seg to another, and an inexhaustible number of oh-no! situations. Lucille wields a revolver at Edward for what he’s done to her life; conman Tom Massick (Paul Satterfield) may be falling in love with Reese; Buchanan’s out there in the boondocks building a bomb in keeping with the times.

Outrageous as it plays, writers James Stanley and Dianne Messina Stanley know how to whomp out a slew of attention-getting stories and surprise turns in good if bizarre storytelling tradition. Dedicated watchers can’t predict what the characters will do any more than the inmates can, but it makes entertaining TV. There’s little intentional humor in “Savannah,” but lots to amuse.

Dean Mitzner’s production design looks like the genuine article, and the acting’s often unrestrained. Frank Johnson’s camerawork is inventive, and Derrick Berlapsky’s editing helps pep up the goings-on. Dan Foliart’s contributed an in-step score to help the soapy, vigorous first episode.

Savannah the Dead Man Talking

(Mon. (26), 9-10 p.m., WB)

Production: Filmed on location in and around Savannah and Atlanta by Spelling TV. Exec producers, Aaron Spelling, E. Duke Vincent, Jim Stanley, Dianne Messina Stanley; co-exec producer-creator, Constance M. Burge; producer, Christopher Seitz; director, Harvey Frost; writers, James Stanley, Dianne Messina Stanley.

Crew: Camera, Frank Johnson; editor, Derrick Berlapsky; sound, Mary Ellis; music, Dan Foliart; theme, Christopher Stone; production designer, Dean Mitzner; casting, Vicki Huff (L.A.), Shay Bentley-Griffen (Ga.).

Cast: Cast: Robyn Lively, Jamie Luner, Shannon Sturges, David Gail, Paul Satterfield, Beth Toussaint, George Eads, Ray Wise, Wendy Phillips, Scott Thompson Baker, Mimi Kennedy, Taurean Blacque, Stephen Michael Ayers, Mary Nell Santacroce, Ron Clinton, Theresa O'Shea, Austin Cruce, Robin Vaughn, Don Stallings, John Maynard, Bart Hansard, K. Addison Young, Tom Clark.

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