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Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009

Channel surf

One of last year's top phrases was "around 40," which referred to women of a certain age and was the title of a popular drama. This season's demographic target seems to be slightly younger as evidenced by a new half-hour daytime serial, "Over 30" (TBS, M-F, 1:30 p.m.), which starts Monday.

The drama's producers don't mean to stereotype. In fact, the theme of the show is that every woman in her 30s is different from every other woman in her 30s, since they are products of various circumstances.

Aiko (Wakako Shimazaki) is a homemaker living in the countryside who finds out her husband is having an affair. She runs away with her two children to the city. There, she moves into an apartment that she will share with another woman of the same age. To her even greater shock, this woman happens to be her husband's mistress. Extramarital hijinks is also the leitmotif of another daytime serial starting at the exact same time over at Fuji TV. "Hikon Domei" ("The Unmarried Alliance") (M-F, 1:30 p.m.) centers on three women who have signed a pact pledging that they will never wed, believing that "marriage is not the ultimate goal of a woman."

The origin story of this federation centers on Yukiko (Hitomi Sato), who, when she was 12 years old, was out shopping for a present to give her parents for their wedding anniversary and learns that her father has a mistress. She is totally crestfallen, and her disappointment is compounded when she realizes that both her mother and brother not only know of her father's indiscretion, but don't seem to care about it

"Triangle" (Fuji TV, Tuesday, 10 p.m.) is being publicized as the most star-studded series in Japanese TV history, and will probably rival NHK's Sunday night historical epic as the season's big dramatic series.

When he was 10, Ryoji suffered a trauma after the little girl he had a crush on was murdered. The killer was never found. Years later, he is a policeman and his partner, Hitoshi (Goro Inagaki), soon learns of Ryoji's tragic past and that he still obsesses over his murdered first love.



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