Jumping five years ahead on Desperate Housewives isn’t as futuristic as I’d feared. There are no Jetsons-like robot maids spiffing up Wisteria Lane, only a freshly married Edie (Nicollette Sheridan) looking almost as though, in the fresh glow of her newlywed state, her face and derriere have been remolded with some state-of-the-art doll plastic. Oh, and Edie’s hubby is played by Neal McDonough (Band of Brothers), whose ice-blue eyes always look cyborg-ish — perfectly apt for his character, a chilly self-improvement guru.
But those are the only sci-fi overtones to the time leap, which is there primarily to enable show creator Marc Cherry to plunge into new story lines without a lot of tedious exposition. Bree (Marcia Cross) — now a best-selling Martha Stewart wannabe — is at her flame-haired fieriest jousting with a jealous Katherine (Dana Delany). And if a now-schlubby Gaby (Eva Longoria Parker) — saddled with two kids and a messy house — is a dry joke, I laughed at the utterly plausible notion of still-blind hubby Carlos (Ricardo Antonio Chavira) launching a new career as a stay-at-home masseur. There’s also a lot of juice in the way Felicity Huffman’s Lynette is coping with her bigger, even more naughty twin sons (Charlie and Max Carver). Why, even tiresomely twitty Susan (Teri Hatcher) has become more interestingly heartbroken and tougher, for reasons slowly unfolding. This season, the Housewives aren’t desperate: They’re avidly ambitious, like the series itself. B+