Michael Slezak
January 07, 2008 AT 11:22 PM EST

Fifteen minutes into last night’s series premiere of ABC’s Cashmere Mafia, I jotted this sentence down on my notepad: “None of these women have any distinguishing characteristics.” Alas, by the end of the hour, the same could be said for the show itself. (Look for Henry Goldblatt’s official review of the show in this Friday’s issue of EW.)

Sure, there were beaded handbags and sparkly skirts and little black dresses galore last night, but costume designer Patricia Field (Sex and the City) might as well have been dressing a quartet of department store mannequins, given the dearth of zippy dialogue or fresh plotlines doled out to series stars Lucy Liu and Frances O’Connor (both of whom I liked in spite of the material), as well as Miranda Otto and Bonnie Somerville (um, not as much).

This isn’t to say that the networks shouldn’t be allowed to explore “It’s hard out here for a career gal” territory. But was it really necessary to rehash the mom-rushes-to-daughter’s-dance-recital scene to punctuate the point? Heck, I’d have settled for seeing O’Connor’s character sneak in to her daughter’s basketball game or mathematics competition–anything to shake up a formula that’s been played out repeatedly on both big and small screens. Or how about this idea? Why not have O’Connor conquer her schedule, show up on time, and prove the point that her kids are a top priority; that’s it’s difficult, but indeed possible, to juggle career and family and (whoa!) be mostly happy? It might help the infinitely likeable actress when she has to deliver groaners like, “We’re being held hostage by our help.” Oh how woeful to be able to afford an allowance for unlimited texting and subway rides (though not super pricey wine) for one’s live-in nanny!

Other recycled story arcs included O’Connor spotting Otto’s hubbymaking out with another woman on the street (and the gals debatingwhether or not to tell her), and Liu being forced to choose between hercareer or her co-worker/fiancé (both of whom, despite supposedly beingsteely, focused professionals, made out in plain view of theircoworkers. Ick!).

Note here that I’m referring to the actress’s names, rather than theircharacters. (I can’t bring myself to IMDb them.) And that I have yet tomention a single male character from the series. (Ugh, I’m gettingkinda drowsy just thinking about ’em.)

Yeah, I’m curious to see ifCashmere Mafia improves when its second episode airs in its regularWednesday-night-at-10 pm time slot, but considering I’ve already gotProject Runway and Law & Order slated for that hour, I’m not suresaid curiosity will prevail. What did you think of the series premiere?Did any of the stars or story arcs stand out for you? And mostimportantly, will you be back for a second helping? Holla!

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