TV on the Web: My So-Called Life
I think I can trace my general distrust of broadcast networks back to ABC's cancellation of My So-Called Life. It was the first television show that I connected with strongly, only to see it canceled at the end of its first season. Since that time, star Claire Danes has confessed that her desire to explore a film career was a contributing factor in the show's early demise, but it still stands as the first (and certainly not the last) time that ABC broke my heart.
The series follows 15-year-old Angela Chase, an amateur teen philosopher, who's working through the pains of redefining herself, while having to deal with an overbearing mother, a rejected best friend and high-school halls teeming with gossip. The show also focuses on the lives of Angela's parents (played by Bess Armstrong and Tom Irwin), who deal with the pain of their eldest daughter growing apart from them, in addition to some typical marital issues.
My So-Called Life has dated—I remember the excessive use of "like" and prevalence of flannel in wardrobe seeming retro even a few years after the show had ended—but it's had an impact on many teen shows since. I got caught up on the NBC show Friday Night Lights this summer (the first two seasons are available on Netflix Watch Instantly) and I was amazed at how much the football-centric series reminded me of MSCL. But for the most part, my MSCL love is personal. As a high schooler, I felt a little less alone in my teen girl angst with Angela by my side. All 19 episodes of My So-Called Life are now available on Hulu for your pleasure. Enjoy.