Sunday, January 1, 2012
Revisit This Show - Felicity
Browsing through my Netflix options for viewing TV series instantly, I came across a show that I had originally watched from start to finish when it first aired back into 1998, a quiet but poignant little series by J.J. Abrams, the genius behind other great series like Lost and Alias - Felicity.
The WB series (pre-CW days) put actress Keri Russell (and her trademark, luscious golden locks) on the map and supported her a terrific cast that included Scott Foley, Amy Jo Johnson, Greg Grunberg, Amanda Forman and Ian Gomez, among others. Beauty Russell was a natural in the role of Felicity Porter, a shy, smart high school graduate from Palo Alto, Calif., who forgoes a predetermined, pre-med college destiny laid out for her by her achievement-obsessed parents for an uncharted future as an artist at the fictional University of New York.
Her initial motivation? Ben Covington (Scott Speedman), a boy she fell in love with from afar who, on the day of their graduation, wrote something so deep and meaningful in her yearbook, she immediately dropped all previous plans and made the leap into a scary, unpredictable journey thousands of miles away both physically and academically.
The pilot, written by Abrams, is strong in setting up Felicity's story - why she makes her 11th hour choice to switch schools, the uncertainty she feels during her first weeks in the Big Apple, the rollercoaster of emotions she feels as she tries to reconcile her feelings for Ben, her spur-of-the-moment confrontation with him about why she made the move, her doubts and fears about her choice and ultimately, why she decides to stay. Russell shines in the role, bringing believability and authenticity to the character, and you can't help but root for her to stay and make it work.
Right from the jump, Abrams sets up the inevitable, albeit classic love triangle in Felicity, Ben and resident advisor Noel Crane (Foley). I was on Team Noel from the start, but you knew Felicity would bounce between the two over the course of the series - it was a WB drama after all. But week to week great writing and plot points, along with well-structured B-storylines with other characters, made it an enjoyable ride (you'll have to watch to see who ends up with whom).
What I always liked about the series was that it lasted exactly four years, each season representing Felicity's four years in college. It was the right length for the show and I never felt like I wasn't watching a group of young people going through all the trials, tribulations, joys, sorrows, ups, downs and all that went with finding yourself through the college experience. It stayed real, the drama never reaching or pushing too far (unlike, say the original Beverly Hills, 90210, which jumped off every over-dramatic cliff it could find). It was nicely paced, well acted and written, beautifully shot and was a very enjoyable series.
So whether a first timer or a re-viewer as I am, Felicity is definitely worth a watch. Available on DVD and through Netflix streaming.