Much Promise in 'Manchild'

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About a year ago, Home Box Office debuted The Mind of the Married Man, which it touted as the older male's answer to Sex and the City. Mind
was a strong effort, but didn't quite live up to its billing.

BBC America's Manchild
lives up to that promise. That's partly because protagonist Terry (Nigel Havers, Chariots of Fire) narrates the tale of four friends, sort of like Carrie Bradshaw, but without the column.

But it's also because — unlike The Mind of the Married Man, which was all about mid-life crisis-oriented navel-gazing — three of the four protagonists are single and out and about enjoying the life of the freshly divorced — or, in the case of art dealer Patrick (Don Warrington) never married.

And also unlike Mind, the depiction of the one married friend, Gary (Ray Burdis, The Krays), isn't stereotypical or condescending, although he is by far the least obviously suave of the group.

Indeed, the four Britons find themselves in dilemmas more akin to those faced by Sex's
out-and-about New York women: Terry dates a 25-year-old model — and eventually loses her to his somewhat estranged son, while also dealing with the jealousy brought on by his ex-wife's new relationship.

James (Anthony Stewart Head, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) finds out at an inopportune moment (when he's with a woman not much older than Sarah Michelle Gellar) that he's not up to the job, and we watch him deal with the medical ramifications of that.

And Gary, the token married man, is forced to deal with his own desire to cheat after accompanying his mates to a strip club.

There are some touching moments, too, like Patrick's coming to terms with the decision to take his terminally ill mother off life support.

Although the narration touts the joys of recently divorced life, the men aren't always right in Manchild. There's enough humor and irony in the series for anyone to relate.

Manchild
bowed August 2 on BBC America and runs Fridays at 8 p.m. EDT and 9 p.m. PDT.

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