19 February, 2010

Once and Again

"You don't have to be the bravest person in the world. Just the bravest writer."

Once and Again is a television drama that aired for three seasons starting in 1999, about two divorced families (each with a pair of school-aged children) who come together, and all the troubles they face in life. I recently discovered it upon hearing that Mischa Barton - an actress whom I have had a crush on ever since seeing her in Lost and Delirious, a film that instantly became one of my favorites - stars in a guest role that involves a lesbian kiss. The rest goes without saying.

But the great thing about this show is that it turned out to be really good on its own. It would have been worth watching even absent Mischa's relatively small (yet important) role in the third season. More than the plot or the premise, it's the approach that grabs me. As a viewer, I feel like I'm not being patronized. It's a very depressing show, and all sorts of things go wrong (the kind of things people actually have to deal with in life). But there's also a faint glimmer of hope that shines through it all. These people are pummeled by life, but they're not destroyed by it. And the show emphasizes the importance of focusing on the small victories, in spite of the larger failures. Because that's what really counts.

And the characters are all strong and likable. They all have their flaws, but they're basically good people, that you want to root for. Of the four kids, Grace is an inspiration (she starts out as this anxiety-ridden mess, but she grows into a very strong-willed young woman), Jessie (a budding Evan Rachel Wood) is gorgeous, Zoe is adorable (and humorously mature for her age), and even Eli is cool (considerably more so after he quits being a jock and decides to become a musician instead). You find yourself wanting things to work out between Rick and Lily, the divorced parents, and yet you also feel sympathy for their exes (and their new lovers).

And I cannot neglect to mention that this series contains not one, but two of the best kisses I've ever seen on television (and the fact that I don't watch much television in no way denigrates the impact of those kisses). As of this writing, the third season of the show has yet to be released on DVD (and even the first two seasons appear to be discontinued), and that's the real tragedy, because I recommend this series and I think more people should get to see it.

"Tonight, you let everything inside you actually show. Which, I believe, is the only thing in the world worth doing. Although I've never been willing to do it, myself."


  1. Sounds excellent, I'll have to check it out. Although, I was hoping that inlaw-incest would play a role... I'm innately optimistic.

  2. There is some recurring romantic tension between Grace and Eli, fyi. I guess, if anything, that would be step-incest.