The Tease: 'Six Degrees' returns

Campbellscott_sixdegrees_abc_s1_240 When we last left the plucky New Yorkers of Six Degrees, they were, uh ...

Hang on a minute. Lemme think.

Oh yeah: Steven (Campbell Scott) was struggling to connect with his son, Laura (Hope Davis) was flustered in her job and Damien (Dorian Missick) came clean about his past to his girlfriend, who then rejected his proposal.

We're now about four and a half months removed from that episode, and ABC has made the surprising decision to bring the show back, starting tonight at 9 p.m. ET, to complete its 13-episode order. (And, by the way, none of those plot threads continues this week.) In between November and now, the show stopped production for a while to work out some creative issues, with Peter Horton (who's now credited as an exec producer) taking time from Grey's Anatomy to consult.

And what we get for all that is ... a lot like the show I remember from back in the fall. Which is to say, there are some good things to be had, particularly in Scott's and Davis' performances, but the whole kind of feels like less than the sum of its parts.

Part of me wonders if I feel that way because of the way the show was sold initially. To my eyes, anyway, ABC was trying to convince us that there was something slightly magical about the way these characters' lives were connected, and I just didn't see that in the initial run.

As the show returns, one of those connections becomes full-blown, as Laura walks into a gallery showing Steven's work and sees the photo he took of her crying on her stoop, way back in the pilot. Unsurprisingly, she's not pleased to see an image of her in a dark moment out there in public, and she steals the photo off the gallery wall (thereby ruining a heretofore pleasant first date).

As a result, we get to see friends and frequent indie-film co-stars Scott and Davis work together. Their ease with one another on screen is fun to watch.

The show has made a wise choice too, I think, in keeping the focus (at least in this episode) on those two and Whitney (Bridget Moynahan), Laura's friend and Steven's sometime employer. Missick and Jay Hernandez get a B-plot revolving around Damien's involvement in the shooting, and Erika Christensen has all of about two lines.

A brief bit of narration by Davis opens the show. Maybe it's just there for this week to help get viewers back into the show, but it doesn't feel right. Narration implies a sort of omniscience, and that works at cross purposes to a show that's ostensibly about the randomness of life.

There has been some speculation that ABC might consider bringing Six Degrees back if it does OK with its second chance. But the show that's on now looks and feels a lot like the show that was on then, one with some nice moments but not a compelling reason to keep coming back.