WILD CARD. “Pilot.” Lifetime.. 02 August 2003. Joely Fisher (Zoe Busiek), Chris Potter, Rae Dawn Chong, Bronson Picket. Director: Stephen Surjik.  Currently streaming on YouTube (see below).

   Zoe Busiek is making living as a blackjack dealer in Las Vegas, when she learns that her sister has died in an automobile accident back East, and she decides to quit and head there to take care of her three young children, two girls and a boy. Only the youngest, a girl, takes at all warmly to her sudden abrupt presence in their lives.

   Her new life, in other words, will not be easy. Making matters worse is that the insurance company has determined, on the basis of eye witnesses, that her sister was at fault, and there will be no money coming in from them. Feeling something is wrong, she decides to investigate on her own, and – you will not be surprised to learn – she is right. It takes a lot of perseverance and footwork to get there, but each in its way pays off.

   Not only that, when all is said and done, she is offered a job as an investigator with the insurance company. Or should that last sentence end with an exclamation point?

   I’ve chosen not to. All signs have been pointing to this all episode long. The happy conclusion – and yes, the kids becoming OK with her now as well – comes as all in due course, the way things should be., especially on the Lifetime network. Putting things into a proper perspective, I’d consider the entire production a step up from a similar concept on say, the Hallmark Channel. Not quite as sentimentally cloying, and maybe just a hint more of a solid edge to it, the series lasted for two seasons of eighteen episodes each.

   One additional note: I did not realize until I started writing this review that Joely Fisher is the daughter of Eddie Fisher and Connie Stevens. And a half-sister of Carrie Fisher. Talk about family values!