February 27, 2003

TV Graveyard

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Excuse me if my words are little haphazard or my sentences a little fragmented; I’m writing rather quickly because I’m really excited. I just found out the most wonderful news…

The WB pulled the plug on Dawson’s Creek! Hallelujah! Cancelled! (For the ‘under-a-rock’ folks, Dawson’s Creek was a bad prime-time soap featuring a group of quasi-teens, starring Katie Holmes and James Van Der Beek.)

While the world will now have to deal with the tepid film attempts of the baby-faced, twenty-something cast, at least the ‘Creekers’ — who used to get antsy upon the first couple of notes of Paula Cole’s “I Don’t Want to Wait” theme song — can now rejoin the rest of the rational, sane population.

As pleased as I was with the Creek’s cancellation announcement, I couldn’t help but be dismayed that such a schlocky show could last for six years and amass such a strong following (they named themselves Creekers for god’s sake.)

I could only point to the real-life situations or the connection to the human experience as reasons why anyone would have watched this crap, but other shows have worked with the same themes much more expertly in the past and still been cancelled. I am now going to tell you what shows those were because I know you might need the help, what with grief over Creek clouding your judgment and all.

Available on DVD right now, three cancelled shows come to mind that could not only kick Dawson’s Creek’s ass in the quality department but also could win a couple of awards while doing so.

First, Felicity.

It aired for four years on The WB, two of which were right after the Creek (thanks for the lead-in Van Der Beek). It’s viewed primarily as a chick-show because, well, it is. With Keri Russell playing the titular college-student who attends school in New York to follow her high school crush, Felicity was much more than the trite premise or the hair (enough about the hair already!).

Those were just rouses by creator J.J. Abrams to get you hooked on the emotional complexities surrounding this girl and her coming of age tale. Deep, huh? Go out of your way to watch it (WE: Women’s Entertainment also repeats it around 100 times a day), and you won’t be disappointed.

Second, Once and Again.

This show was just as rich in character as Felicity, if not more so. The show focused on two fractured families whose parental figures, the insanely pretty Sela Ward and Billy Campbell, become a couple and subsequently throw off the balance of their entire lives. Creators Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick layer the often-moving domestic situations with black and white direct addresses, and thankfully the trick doesn’t get old. No other drama has dealt in as beautiful a sentiment with the difficulties of family life as Again. Buy the DVD, relish in the fact that this isn’t your life.

Third, My So-Called Life.

Also from Herskovitz and Zwick, My So-Called Life is a classic that never should have ended when it did. Angela, Rayanne, Ricky and Brian. Nuff’ said.

The Creek is dead but at least your DVD players are still in working order. Try something new, you’ll realize you should have never swum up the Creek to begin with.

Archived article by Carlos Perkins