Monday, September 18, 2006

Someday, I hope to remember the WB as more than the network that renewed 7th Heaven. Someday.

Last night, a similarly TV-obsessed friend and I settled in to watch the WB's big sendoff before it merges with UPN and becomes the CW. (Had to keep the "the," huh, guys?) To celebrate their last night, the WB re-aired the original pilot episodes of Felicity, Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Dawson's Creek.

Now, as you may recall, I wasn't allowed to watch much TV when these shows originally aired, so this was actually my first time viewing all of these episodes except the Buffy pilot, which I finally saw a few years ago. Luckily, my friend's parents were more TV-friendly, and he was happy to answer all my "But who does Greg Grunberg play?" and "Is Michelle Williams' character really a virgin?"-type questions. He also came up with the genius plan of a "WB Classic" network, which would air all-WB shows, all the time.

I feel like the WB was really the network of my generation, pretty much neatly encompassing our journey from childhood to adulthood. It started in 1995, when I was in middle school, and now ends its run as I'm a year out of college. Since I didn't actually get to watch it for much of that time, last night was an opportunity for me to experience some of the quintessential adolescent television-watching moments I missed out on the first time around. Here's a quick rundown of my impressions...

Felicity: Really, really creepy. She follows this guy all the way across the country, turning down a paid four years at Stanford, after he writes a nice message in her yearbook?! Um...yeah. My friend assured me it got better (before it got worse again), but I was expecting a lot more from Felicity, given that it is J.J. Abrams and all. Bonus points for casting the Pink Power Ranger and Elliot's boyfriend from Scrubs, though.

Angel: I had forgotten how much darker this show was than Buffy. It really stood out as the most adult show of the night. Also, how is it that David Boreanaz has had multiple shows and yet James Marsters, who is also good-looking and can actually kind of act (comic timing, good fake British accent), is stuck with a bit part on Smallville?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: You can tell just from the pilot that this show has all the makings of awesomeness. The characters are there (save Angel, who is just sort of wooden and vaguely creepy, Boreanaz), the themes are there, the distinctive vernacular is there, and the surprisingly high (for the WB) production quality is there. Makes me want to go out and watch the whole series on DVD. It's been too long!

Dawson's Creek: SO not sorry I missed this one the first time around! Dawson seems like a clueless maybe-jerk (my friend assures me this does not change), Joey seems like a jealous bitch, Pacey is believable, but most of what he did made me cringe, and Jen...actually didn't annoy me that much. But perhaps was a little too perfect. Maybe you just had to be that age, or something. It's also possible that my vision of the show is slightly colored now that I know Joey (supposedly) gave birth to the spawn of Cruise, but I'm pretty sure I'm just not down with the teen melodrama. Ah, well.

And was anyone else totally weirded out when they kept showing America's Next Top Model promos? I kept being like, "What the- this isn't UPN! Oh, wait..." Just as an instinctive reaction. Weirdness.

So yeah, goodbye, WB. Some of your shows sucked, and some prevailed against all odds and were wonderful. Many of them were just good bad TV. No one can say that you didn't influence the television landscape enormously (although not entirely for the better), and no one can say that you didn't really, really start the CW off on the wrong foot by renewing 7th Heaven, but that was your mistake to make. Well, yours and UPN's. Best of luck in the future, guys!


Aoife said...

The WB was definately the network of our generation. I remember the premiere of Dawson's and how that season's finale (Joey wins the summer in Paris but chooses Dawson instead) was an event. Luckily for me, I discovered Buffy soon after and was able to keep my soul.

Aoife said...

Unlike, say, Angel.

Liz said...

Hahaha, true that. Thank god for Buffy.

Colleen said...

I disagree. I make no claim on the Wb representing any part of my life. I have never seen an episode of any of those shows. Truth. Maybe like 3/4ths of a buffy episode, max.

Liz said...

Your loss, in the case of Buffy, at least. Especially since you like Firefly--they're both by the same guy, you know!