I watched the first episode of Life Unexpected back in January because the critic in the Philadelphia Inquirer insisted it was a family drama parents would not be embarrassed to watch with their teens.

Always on the lookout for something to do with my daughter that does not include using my credit card, I took his advice. I’m glad I did. Life Unexpected not only has a most intriguing premise, it also has great characters, smart dialogue and the cutest outfits on prime time television.

As for the story, this is how it goes:

On prom night, Baze (Kristoffer Polaha), (the most popular guy in high school) seduces Cate (Shiri Appleby) (a shy A student) only to ignore her the following Monday. When Cate tells Baze she is pregnant, he refuses to take responsibility for the baby. Without anybody to support her (her mother is an alcoholic, she doesn’t even have her father’s address), Cate gives her baby girl up for adoption. They will find the perfect family for her, they tell Cate, and she believes them.

Now sixteen years later, the girl, Lux (Britt Robertson), who was never adopted, is tired of living in foster care and wants to get emancipated. To do that she needs her birth parents to sign the papers.

So you see where this is going. Cate and Baze are about to receive the visit of their long stranded daughter. A visit that will make them confront a past and a relationship they thought long gone.

As the story starts Cate is a local celebrity in Portland (Oregon) where she host a radio talk show with her fiancé Ryan (Kerr Smith), while Baze lives with two friends as a perpetual teenager over the bar he rents from his father. To take responsibility for a teenage daughter is not in their agenda. But when the judge instead of granting Lux the emancipation she seeks gives her biological parents temporary custody, Cate and Baze are forced into sudden adulthood. And they are not ready.

Although the show is not perfect (predictable and unrealistic, my daughter says) I love the characters and their drama. I love the fact that Cate and Baze, although they are the parents, are more immature in many ways than their daughter. I like Lux’s resourcefulness, her independence and her vulnerability. And I love Ryan, the most understanding boyfriend ever.

So if you have not seen Life Unexpected yet, go to hulu and watch it before the summer is over or buy the DVD when it comes out. Because, as of today, it has been renewed for another season.

I can’t wait to tell my daughter.