For quite some time now I've been writing a 'Character Style' series which features faces from some of my favourite shows and I've recently been penning episode recaps of Once Upon A Time's fifth season over at YA Love, whilst gearing up to (potentially) bring back Pretty Little Liars recaps now that 6B is underway. In addition to talking currently airing shows, I'm also all for re-watching my favourites over and over again and a few months ago I came up with an idea for a new series themed around this.
The Pilot To Finale Project is a way for me to revisit some of my TV favourites and discuss my thoughts here. Be warned - all posts in the series will contain spoilers!
I thought I would begin by looking back at The O.C. aka the show I credit with sparking my love of US dramas. It's the first one I remember tuning in to watch weekly and, for me at least, still tops the teen genre. Whilst I did dip in and out of other teen dramas of a similar time including Gossip Girl, Greek and One Tree Hill, I never really felt the same way about any of them as I did about The O.C.
"Where I'm from, having a dream doesn't make you smart.
Knowing it won't come true? That does." - Ryan Atwood, S1E1
In the pilot episode, which aired back in 2003, we're introduced to Ryan Atwood a troubled teen who gets caught stealing a car alongside older brother Trey. The incident ends up changing his life forever, but not in the way you might expect. Thanks to this unfortunate event Ryan meets one Mr Sandy Cohen, his court appointed public defender and unbeknownst to him at the time, his future father-figure. After a fight with his mum's boyfriend Ryan finds himself with nowhere to go, leading him to call Sandy and spend a night sleeping in the pool house of the Cohen's "McMansion", despite the hesitance of Sandy's wife Kirsten. As it turns out that one night leads to Ryan finding a whole new place to call home.
Over the show's four seasons we see Ryan become a fully fledged member of the Cohen family, befriending Sandy and Kirsten's geeky son Seth and falling for girl-next-door Marissa. We also meet Marissa's BFF and Seth's long-time crush (whom he's never actually spoken to!) Summer, who completes the group known as the 'core four'. We see the gang go through a whole host of ups and downs over the series but the story comes full circle for our protagonist in the finale as we see Ryan, now a successful architect, attempting to help out a lost teenager who looks a lot like he did back in the pilot - the perfect ending to the story.
Music played a huge part in the show's success and the soundtrack was one of my favourite things about the series. Flawless from the pilot right through to the last episode the playlists featured old favourites and also showcased new or unknown artists. Even today when I hear a song that was used on The O.C it brings back memories of a particular scene or storyline as so many of them featured in the show's most iconic moments. From Hide And Seek (Imogen Heap) as Marissa shoots Trey, to If You Leave (Nada Surf) as Seth chases down Anna at the airport, Life Is A Song (Patrick Park) as we bid farewell to everyone and every use of Hallelujah, The O.C.'s soundtrack was always spot on... in fact, I feel a few blog posts on my favourite O.C. musical moments are in order!
Were you a fan of The O.C?