Show goes only 'Skin' deep

Romeo-Juliet tale stale

Thursday, October 16, 2003

It comes as no surprise that of all the TV networks, Fox is the first to set a prime-time drama in the world of pornography. "Skin" is certainly not a CBS show.

And yet, "Skin" (8 p.m. Mondays, Sunflower Broadband Channel 4) isn't nearly as tawdry as jaded viewers expect or Fox executives might wish. In fact, for a show about a sexy subject, it's oddly uninvolving, possibly because viewers have seen it before.

At the root, it's a re-telling of William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," as two young lovers from rival families try to make their relationship work despite their buttinski parents.

At a party, Adam (D.J. Cotrona) meets Jewel (Olivia Wilde) underwater in a pool. Soon the sopping-wet pair are fleeing from Jewel's sort-of boyfriend in his borrowed car. They go for coffee and chat long into the night.

"It's like buying a CD," Adam said. "You know, 'cause you like the cover and you hope when you listen to it, it will be . . ."

"Perfect," Jewel says, completing his sentence.

Yes, it's more dewey-eyed teen love.

Adam and Jewel are star-crossed by the careers of their fathers. Adam's dad, Thomas Roam (Kevin Anderson, "Nothing Sacred"), is the Los Angeles district attorney. Jewel's dad, Larry Goldman (Ron Silver), is CEO of Golden Intl., the most successful producer of adult entertainment in the world.

Aside from seeming overly familiar, another reason this Fox drama fails to get under my skin is its dad vs. dad premise, which seems difficult to sustain. After all, how long can the grudge match stalemate between the dueling dads stay interesting?