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Originally published July 15, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified July 15, 2007 at 2:02 AM

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Florangela Davila's TV Picks

"Side Order" is tasty addition

With one hit already this summer — the solid and only occasionally sappy "Army Wives" (10 p.m. Sundays) — Lifetime TV unveils a...

Seattle Times TV writer

With one hit already this summer — the solid and only occasionally sappy "Army Wives" (10 p.m. Sundays) — Lifetime TV unveils a pair of new shows this evening, keeping its fingers and toes crossed. "State of Mind" (9 p.m. Sundays) stars the wonderful Lili Taylor ("Six Feet Under") as a 40-something psychotherapist with a louse of a husband (she catches him having sex with their couples counselor), but alas, the program as a whole fails to satisfy. The better summertime snack is "Side Order of Life," (8 p.m. Sundays), about a 30-year-old magazine photographer arriving suddenly at life's crossroads.

Could be that the "Side Order" characters just come across as more relatable: Jenny (Marisa Coughlan) works for a magazine and is having serious nightmares over her pending nuptials to Ian (Jason Priestley, "Beverly Hills 90210"), when best friend Vivy Porter (Diana-Maria Riva) announces her cancer has returned. Life's too short, Vivy declares, decisively ordering dessert before her entree and demanding her friend not settle for Ian. And thus Jenny's unexpected journey towards figuring out and finding out what makes her happy begins.

If this all sounds kind of corny, well, it kind of is until you realize the story line hits its mark, making you recall your own missteps and regrets for not having taken better charge. In "State of Mind," Taylor's character is justifiably angry, but she's too dour, and the show's pilot just dragged on.

Worth a look and likely to hook you is "Mad Men" (10 p.m. Thursdays on AMC), the striking new drama about corporate America from Matthew Weiner, an executive producer and writer for "The Sopranos." Instead of mob men we're given ad men, but their ambition and duplicity is just as sharp. The series is set in the sexually charged, ego-driven environment of a 1960 Manhattan ad agency, Sterling Cooper, whose tasks include the promotion of cigarettes and creating a more attractive image for a Jewish department store. If Lifetime winningly snags the female viewer with "Side Order of Life," AMC just might snag viewers of both genders with this sophisticated, unpredictable drama.

Florangela Davila: 206-464-2916 or fdavila@seattletimes.com

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