Friday, April 16, 2010


So, there's this little t.v. show that aired on the CW (previously known as the "WB") a few years ago. It lasted 4 years, but they were a good 4 years. If you can't already tell, I loved that show. Adored it. Created by J.J. Abrams ("Lost," "Alias," "Star Trek," "Regarding Henry"), it's about this high school girl, Felicity, who makes a decision in the first episode that changes her life. Right after graduation, she throws all her plans for medical school away and traipses across the country to follow her teenage crush. Along the way, she meets quirky characters, and learns about life and about herself. It's a coming-of-age story, during a time (college) when so many of us faced life-altering decisions. Each episode starts out with a "Dear Sally" segment, where Felicity records a message to her friend (who, by the way, we never see, not in the entire 4 years. We just hear some of her taped replies at the end of episodes).

Okay, all that to say this -- the reason I loved the show so much was because the writing was downright brilliant, at times. Sure, the series had its flaws and one season, in particular, spiraled down into flat-out, eye-rolling soap-opera territory. But the episodes that didn't were pure gold.

Here's a great example - the first 9 minutes of the pilot episode. Listen to the language, the dialogue, the voice-overs, from a writer's perspective. Really deep and creative, I think. Especially for a show that most people dubbed as a "teenage" show. I think it was a lot more than that.

One of the most clever moments in the series was one that contained no words at all. In the 2nd episode (which, sadly, I couldn't find on YouTube), Felicity is sitting at this incredibly awkward dinner with her parents, who are pressuring her into coming back home. They think her trek to New York was crazy and stupid, and they offer her an expensive car as a bribe to return home. In this particular scene, the father passes the keys to Felicity across the table. Felicity slowly looks at the keys, thoughtfully picks them up, and ponders the offer. As she looks down, she notices her finger subconsciously rubbing the "panic" button. Love it. That says SO much. Does she panic? Does she let her parents convince her that the decision was wrong? Does she take the easy way out and move back home? Or does she stay brave, stay in NY, and make her own way? Obviously, she chooses the latter, or else the show would've probably ended there.

Anyway, I love subtle-but-obvious scenes like that one. So much "said" in a small space of time, with no words at all. Now that's powerful writing!


  1. I am so excited to read a post about this show! I used to love it, watched it religiously. As a matter of fact, my cuz and I rented all of the seasons on DVD two years ago and re-watched all of the episodes. Of course you're right about the few episodes that were a little too soap opera-ish, but that generally happens on TV shows that run for a while, they start running out of plots :) Anyway, it was very brilliantly written, fresh, and quite unique for that time. BTW, I was team Ben...were you?

  2. Marquita - thanks for the comment! I adore Felicity - it's my 2nd favorite all-time show (behind Thirtysomething). I admit to being team-Noel (loved him!!), but I totally see how Ben and Felicity had more chemistry and were "meant" to be together. He really was her soulmate, I think.

    BTW, something I didn't mention in my post was the wit in that show. One of my favorite episodes was the Christmas/final exam episode, where Noel took Megan's "smart powder," with beet extract. TOOO funny! And the way they used the subtitles as they whispered in the library? Hilarious!!

    This is making me want to go back and see all the shows again (I've got all 4 seasons on DVD, or course, lol). Maybe this summer, when I'm not grading papers!! :-)

  3. Never saw the show...but watched the video you linked to. Enjoyed the dialogue...and can see how a viewer would want to stick with this show to see what evolves.