Review | The Playboy Club

Credit: John Russo/NBC

Air Date: Monday 9/19

Us Rating: *** 1/2

Livelier, though certainly less profound, than '60s drama benchmark Mad Men, this snazzy and fast-paced new period piece makes clear from the start that it's here to entertain. The same could be said of the characters, a surprising bunch of men and women who populate Chicago's Playboy Club circa 1961. At the center of the action is Maureen (Amber Heard, strong and likeable), a pert blonde and newbie server (a.k.a. bunny) who must deal with unwanted advances from lecherous members, sly glances from dashing regular Nick (Eddie Cibrian) and the wrath of Nick's girlfriend, top bunny Carol (Laura Bernanti, deliciously complex). Maureen also gets mixed up in the murder of a mobster, a well-crafted plot that isn't the only juicy story line (one bunny is a closeted lesbian). The mini-revelation here is Cibrian. Nick may not be as deep as Don Draper, but with his clipped manner and weary smile, the star makes his playboy-with-a-past an evocative hero. All said, swingin'! (NBC, 10 P.M.)