Next Monday, in an episode titled “Valley Girls,” “Gossip Girl” will travel back in time to show us a 17-year-old Lily (Brittany Snow) get kicked out of boarding school and deal with her parents, Rick (Andrew McCarthy) and Cece (Cynthia Watros). If all goes well, we’ll be seeing this “Gossip Girl: They Came From the 80’s” spin-off next year. Will the episode be grody to the max or totally gnarly? We’ll know next week but it’s pretty genius to cast McCarthy, who knows a thing or two about the 80’s, as Lily’s dad. Plus we all know, that much like her daughter, Lily’s high school years were pretty dramatic.
Shows such as “Lost,” “Desperate Housewives” and “My Name is Earl,” play with time frequently. They flash back to show us what the characters were like before we met them and to give context to what is going on with them today. But the whole “Gossip Girl” spin-off got me thinking. What other TV characters would I like to see in their earlier years?
Let’s take a look:
“Brothers & Sisters:” Maybe it’s just because I’m in the midst of a renewed love affair with the show (totally back to wanting to be a Walker) but I would love to see the Walker siblings in their tumultuous teenage years. The show has given us peeks at the characters’ past but a full blown series could be like a new “Party of Five.” We could see how William’s many affairs started, how Nora ignored it all, and the Walkers in high school. Just think of the teenage angst that would ensue.
“How I Met Your Mother:” We’ve seen the Marshall, Lily and Ted in college and something tells me there’s a whole show there — think “Undeclared.” Of course in order for this version to be legendary, we’d have to figure out a way for Barney to be a frat boy at a neighboring university.
“30 Rock:” Our glimpses into Liz Lemon’s high school years have been hilarious. A geeky Liz Lemon seems like a “Square Pegs” waiting to happen.
“24:” Could Jack be a teen super sleuth a la “Veronica Mars?” I kind of think he could be.
“In Plain Sight:” Mary’s home life doesn’t really fit into her series now. But Mary growing up in that family with that mother? Now that could be a series.
Those are the shows I would go back in time to see. What about you? What shows do you think would be ripe for a “The Early Years” series? Talk about it below.
Okay it’s time to briefly revive the “October Road” support group. The complete second season comes out tomorrow (May 5) on DVD and it features a 10 minute DVD exclusive called “Road’s End: The Final Chapter.” Sure that’s not a lot of time but it does answer all of our questions. Like who is Sam’s father? Who did Hannah marry? Did Physical Phil ever leave his house? What is Pizza Girl’s real name? Clearly these are show runners and actors who really respect their fans. It’s great that they came together one last time to give us a conclusion. And perhaps it’s no surprise that this is also the same team (Andre Nemic, Scott Rosenberg, and Josh Appelbaum) behind “Life on Mars.” These guys are all about closure. Even if I didn’t love the “Life on Mars” series finale (and chose to ignore the final five minutes), I kind of heart these guys for making sure viewers aren’t left hanging always wondering what would have happened.
“Road’s End” is a little clunky and you can tell it was filmed over a weekend and on a budget but for fans of the series that probably doesn’t matter. What matters is you get the answers to all your questions. The one thing I did feel was missing from the DVD set was any kind of commentary. I would have loved to know what the actors were thinking when they filmed the second season finale or what was going on in their mind when they returned to film “Road’s End.” If you get a chance to see the wrap up, definitely let me know what you think.
Okay let’s discuss the season finale, shall we? What did you think? My issues with the show aside, I thought it was so strange to have the series take such a dramatic shift in tone and end on such a high stakes cliffhanger that seems right out of a horror movie. Although I’m still not feeling any big desire to have Violet and Pete together (for some reason I still root for Violet and Cooper, is that wrong?), I was glad that Violet chose Pete. Even though I had predicted an “I choose me” moment, I didn’t think it was believable that Violet would shut both Pete and Sheldon out of her life completely.
I did really like that Charlotte was fired because it sets up next season nicely to have Naomi running a competing practice. The series needs to work on the Charlotte character in general. She and Coop have the same fight over and over again. And she’s increasingly a character who doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
What did you think of the “Private Practice” season finale? Talk about it below.
Highlights of the Week Ahead
All times listed are Eastern Standard Time for May 4-10
I’ve been keeping up with “Castle” (Monday, ABC, 10 p.m.) due to the Nathan Fillion factor and I’m more convinced than ever this show would not survive without him. It is built around his personality the same way “Monk” is built around Tony Shalhoub. The dialogue is still far too goofy, the sexual tension between Castle and Kate should definitely be taken down a notch, and the premise often a little too silly (is there any place the cops won’t allow a writer?), but Fillion is so darn charming I almost forget about all that while I’m watching. The show feels like a throwback to another time. Like if networks still aired shows on Saturday night, “Castle” would air on Saturday night. And they do have some great guest stars. Tonight you’ll find Judy Reyes (Carla on “Scrubs”) and Francis Capra (Weevil on “Veronica Mars.”) How do you think “Castle” is doing? Talk about it below.
Lots of exciting news being announced today. “Fringe” (Tuesday, FOX, 9 p.m.) was just picked up for a second season. This week’s episode was written by Akiva Goldsman, who also wrote the movie “A Beautiful Mind.”
Now that “Southland” has officially been picked up for next season, I can turn my attention to “The Unusuals” (Tuesday, ABC, 10 p.m.) and really urge you to give this show a chance. The series really does get more interesting every week. I know we’re in a fight with ABC. I know they always cancel shows on us. But I would really like to see “The Unusuals” come back next season. And if you are watching the show, how did you feel about Walsh and Shraeger’s decision to keep Cole’s past a secret? To me, it’s part of what makes the show interesting. On another series, Cole would have probably been arrested but on “The Unusuals” we’ll have to wait and see when and if his past comes back to haunt him again.
It’s the season (grrr. . . argh, I really hope not series) finale of “Dollhouse” (Friday, FOX, 8 p.m.). The episode is titled “Omega” which makes me a little nervous. I really don’t want this to be the end of a series which is absolutely gaining momentum and finding itself. We know who Alpha is and now we have even more questions. What is Echo’s history with Alpha? Why is Alpha so angry? Many of you think Dr. Saunders could be a doll? Not a bad theory at all. How are you feeling about the season finale of “Dollhouse.”
So is the whole Dave thing working for you on “Desperate Housewives” (Sunday, ABC, 9 p.m.)? I think ever since the first season, the show seems to get bored with its central mystery midway through and kind of abandons it. When they do show Dave now, it seems like a total afterthought. It’s too bad too because when the season first started I thought it was one of the best mysteries the show had had in awhile. It was fun to have Gale Harold back on the series though, wasn’t it?
That’s all for today. I’m back on Wednesday to talk about “Bones,” the season finale of “Scrubs,” this week’s familiar faces and more. Have a question? Seen a familiar face? Want to nominate a quote of the week? Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Talk to you on Wednesday.