End of the Road: Looking at Recent Series Finales

[Out of courtesy, SPOILERS AHEAD]

Last Friday, Hart of Dixie aired its season finale. With its status being on the bubble for quite some time and renewal chances looking slim, it very much acted like a series finale. I mean, they did title the episode “Bluebell”, which is about as final as naming it “Hart of Dixie” or “Finale”, and even the actors’ tweets seemed to point towards it being the end. [For what it’s worth, I don’t think The CW knew what to do with the show because they didn’t have anything else like it on the network – sound familiar? *cough* Nikita *cough* – until now in Jane the Virgin. And the one week they got paired up, it was cute/crazy overload that I loved] It’s all rather unofficial, but the finale left me in tears because of how perfect it was for the show, and if it is indeed the end, it was a satisfying ending. I’ll miss the crazy Bluebell antics regardless. In light of everything, I thought it’d be a good time to look at some other series finales, all within the last two months and which also made me cry (the measure of a good finale obviously).

Parenthood was the little show that could over on NBC. It flew under the radar and had a loyal fan following. For 6 seasons, we watched the Braverman family as they celebrated the good times and struggled through the bad times. We cried tears of joy and sadness along with them, throughout all 103 episodes. It was a wonderful series that was well loved by the people who watched it, but was constantly on the bubble and never got the award recognition it deserved. The cast was also so incredibly talented – from Craig T. Nelson to Peter Krause, Lauren Graham to Mae Whitman, and all the other Braverman children, grandchildren, extending to all the guest stars. The series finale saw Sarah getting married to Hank, Joel and Julia adopting another child, Amber adjusting to life as a single mom and becoming partners with Crosby to run the Luncheonette, Adam becomes Headmaster of Chambers Academy, while Christina opens another school. Everything seemed great until we see that Zeek dies in his sleep, a plot point that had been written in the cards for the season. But the show ends on a happy note, as Zeek’s ashes get scattered on a baseball field and the remaining Bravermans honour his memory by playing a game there. It doesn’t end there though, as we get treated to a montage checking in on everybody at different points in the future. I truly loved that they didn’t do just a basic flashforward – seeing glimpses of their life in the future (and obviously only the happy/joyful moments) was actually a lot more satisfying.

Parks and Recreation was sort of the comedy equivalent of Parenthood, in the way that it was an underdog show on NBC and was loved by all those who watched it. The cast, led by the amazing Amy Poehler, were so incredible in this show and have been criminally unrecognized because they deserve all the awards. Now, the final season of Parks and Recreation had already taken us to 2017, so the finale took us even further into the future. The hour episode jumped forward to different times for each character. Donna doing well for herself as a real estate agent in Seattle and then putting some of her earnings towards an education non-profit with Joe. Tom unsuccessfully expanding the restaurant, and then finding yet another life as a motivation speaker/writer. Andy and April having kids. Gerry staying on as mayor of Pawnee until he dies on his 100th birthday. Ron ends up looking after the Pawnee National Park. As for Leslie and Ben? Well their government aspirations continued to grow, as the show hinted at Leslie possibly becoming POTUS (or at the very least, she gets to the White House). It really was a nice wrap up to the show; nothing too crazy or dramatic, but straight to the point future.

I’ll admit, I checked out of Glee a long time ago, sometime around season 4 (I may have stuck it out that entire season, but can’t recall any of it). I tuned into season 5 for “The Quarterback” and “100” for obvious reasons, but besides that I didn’t care for it. The show was so far off from what I had initially loved about it, that not even the music could save it (actually, a lot of the music choice kinda killed it for me). When the series finale rolled around, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to watch it, but everybody’s nostalgia for it pulled me in. The first episode of the two-part finale, “2009”, took us back to when the Glee Club was first formed and we saw how Rachel, Kurt, Mercedes, Tina, and Artie ended up in the Glee Club. Capped off with a re-airing of that original performance of “Don’t Stop Believin'”, it was such a heartbreaker and yes, the tears started.  The second episode, “Dreams Come True”, jumped forward to essentially show us everybody’s happy endings. In the immediate future, McKinley is turned into a performing arts school where Mr. Schuester is principal. Sam is the new teacher/coach for New Directions. Mercedes’ career skyrockets, starting with a gig as Beyonce’s opening act. When the show jumps forward to 2020, Sue is Vice President of the United States and intends on running for President. Kurt and Blaine are living a wonderful life together in New York, being an inspiration to kids. Artie and Tina are together, and his film gets into a festival. Rachel becomes a surrogate to Kurt and Blaine’s child, marries Jesse St. James, and wins a Tony. And before one last group performance featuring (almost) everyone who was ever on Glee, Sue declares that the McKinley auditorium will be renamed to honour Finn. Major tears. For a show that kind of lost itself, they certainly stuck the landing, offering a reminder of what people had initially loved about the show – that underdog spirit and the feeling that things will eventually be okay.

Not all finales end well or tug at the heart strings, but that’s neither here nor there. The point is the most successful finales should be measured by whether the show ended in a way that was right for it and acts as a cap to the series as a whole. Sometimes these shows weren’t perfect but their respective finales proved that (most of) our time spent with them weren’t a complete waste.

 

NIKITA Recap: 4×06 “Canceled” + Final Thoughts on the Show

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Well here we are, at the end of the road. Nikita, one of the most underrated shows on television, has come to an end – and it was the perfect ending. It took me longer to get this post up because frankly, I was still reeling from all the emotions I had watching the episode, and just time to be able to sit down and type. So let’s start at the beginning of the episode.

We start off with a new flashback to when Nikita was first brought in to Division. After having attacked a guard twice her size, Nikita says she wants out, but Amanda tells her that she’ll come to learn that brute force will not beat deception. Amanda then asks Nikita who she wants to be: powerful and beautiful or a wild animal? We see another flashback with Michael suggesting Nikita be cancelled because she’s had four incidents in her first week at Division, deeming her to be dangerous, but Amanda sees potential in Nikita to be the best agent Division’s ever seen. Though Michael warns that if they can’t control her, she could be the one to destroy them all. To be fair, they ended up both being right.

With Ryan’s death last week (RIP Fletcher), it seems that Nikita has gone off the rails, with Alex helping her to take down The Group, starting with Mr. Jones who provided them with the names of the other members before being blown to bits. Senator Chappel has a field day when he learns that Nikita is going after The Group her way and not the “official” way – investigate, collect evidence…the standard boring stuff we see in typical cop procedurals. That does not work for Nikita, the character or the show. Though he hates to admit it, Michael (and Sam) actually agrees with Chappel that there is a right way to take down The Group, but this isn’t it; Birkhoff meanwhile, scoffs at Chappel, “Our government trained her to be an assassin…Look, if Nikita wants to take down the one percent of the one percent to zero, I say pull up a chair and pass the popcorn.” Chappel allows the boys off the base and go after Nikita. Except Slocum and his Marines have to join them.

When we get back to Amanda, she’s got a nasty scar – a departing gift from Ryan before he died. When she discusses matters with Trevor Adrian, he does what every other man she’s worked with does, and tells her to step away because she doesn’t know what she’s doing. He also essentially blames her for The Group’s undoing. But before cutting her out, Amanda did manage to convince Adrian to gather all the remaining Group members to make it harder for Nikita to find them. HA! You just helped her make it easier to take them all down Amanda. Soon enough, Amanda witnesses that Nikita and Alex have tied up the Group and feeding them the lethal neurotoxins, in order to get somebody to cough up the list of doubles.

Throughout the episode, we see Alex, Michael, Sam, each give their own talks to Nikita, trying to essentially talk her down the ledge. Alex brings it up that Nikita’s about to cross a line, that involves killing a whole bunch of people, after she’s been recognized as a hero. Sam channels his memories as Owen and talks about the time in London when he was ready to release the contents of the Black Box, but she talked him out of it. He says that if Owen was here, he’d tell her that she needs to trust the people she loves and that it’s not about her head, but her heart and soul. Then there’s Michael who pulls out the “I have nothing left. If you die…I die.” (And we all swoon and die.) When none of the talking works, Alex resorts to sparring with Nikita instead in order to stop her. But when Adrian finds an opportunity to shoot at them while they’re fighting, Nikita shoots back at all of the Group members.

After the Marines have captured Nikita, they ship her off to a supermax prison in Virginia, where she’s held down by some heavy duty restraints; unfortunately, Alex and Birkhoff (who against orders downloaded the doubles list onto a cloud server) join her in prison. We come to learn that Slocum has been working with Amanda when she shows her scarred face in Nikita’s cell. Amanda comes in to thank Nikita for giving her a new life and reminds her that they both came from abusive homes, but have managed to rise above it. But joke’s on Amanda, as Nikita gets released from her restraints and puts Amanda in them instead. Turns out it was all a ruse to make Amanda think that Nikita had gone off the rails and released the monster inside of her, that she had chosen brute force over deception. Nikita had only temporarily put down all the members of The Group and put on a show for Amanda at Adrian’s house; The Doubles arc closes down with Michael and Sam releasing the originals who were doubled. It was thanks to Ryan’s last words that Nikita knew Slocum was a double, and though she wanted to kill everybody and rip Amanda to bits, she owed it to her family for reminding her that she’s better than that. So Nikita finally gets to deceive Amanda once and for all and bestow Amanda a fate worse than death: life alone in the basement as Helen.

As we got into the final minutes of the episodes, we find out everybody gets their own happy ending. Ryan is honoured with a star on the CIA’s wall of fallen agents. Alex resumes her role as Alexandra Udinov, with Sam now her bodyguard and more. Birkhoff releases Shadownet to the world (reminds me of the movie Antitrust) and settles in for a life with Sonya (Lyndie was sadly missing from the episode because she was too busy kicking ass on Sleepy Hollow). Nikita and Michael? Well they eloped and are having some wedded bliss on a beach in Ecuador. As Nikita says in her voiceover, “The real gift isn’t freedom, it’s what we do with it. I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t just sit on a beach anyways.” With that, we see the newlyweds run off and spend their honeymoon going after a guy who was trying to push a kid into becoming a soldier.

It was as perfect an ending as any fan could hope for considering the circumstances. I read the interviews with Craig Silverstein by Meg Masters of TVLine and Eric Goldman of IGN discussing what happened in the finale, what could have been, what they wanted to do but didn’t have time for, etc., and really at the end of it all, I’m just really happy/satisfied with how things ended. Sure, it would have been nice to delve into Nikita’s backstory and parents, prior to going into the foster system and wish that the season was longer so everything could have been fleshed out more, but they ended things on a spectacular note.

FINAL THOUGHTS

What else can I say about this show that I haven’t already in my letter to the cast back in March or my write-up when the cast wrapped in October. Nikita has always been an underrated show that deserved so much more than it did. It’s one of the first adult-skewing shows on The CW, something that went beyond the typical teen angst that the network needed in order to be taken seriously. Unfortunately, being the first also means that the network wasn’t particularly sure of how to market the show. But without all the teen angst and a big dose of action, it paved the way for the network to take chances on other shows that weren’t its typical type like Arrow. Granted, Arrow has the added bonus of being a known entity, it also had its own pressures to contend with. Regardless, Nikita was a trailblazer for the network, and you can’t help but wonder what could have been had the show been on a different network (I’m thinking cable because I’m not sure any of the other broadcast networks would be any better – except maybe FOX).

What may be its enduring legacy, besides being underrated and perennially on the bubble, is what it did for females on television. First and foremost, Nikita gave us the first Asian-American female lead of a TV show in Maggie Q. If Maggie ever decides to do another TV show, I would not want her to be some supporting character that isn’t given a lot to do; she’s come so far from doing/being this character that being anything less than that would just be wrong. Second, the ultimate big bad of the series ended up being Melinda Clarke’s Amanda, a woman who was severely underestimated by every one of her male counterparts, but proved to be a crazy adversary for our hero. Lastly, the show gave us a central relationship between two females, Nikita and Alex, who spent more time working together kicking-ass and taking down the bad guys than talking about their love life or fighting over a guy. The typical gender roles were pretty much flipped when in actuality, Nikita and Alex saved the men in their lives more often, bucking the usual “damsels-in-distress” that need saving. What’s truly amazing is that all these women (along with Sonya) were layered characters. They were not defined by any one trait or by their men. They were fully realized characters – smart, good at what they do, flawed, emotional, and of course beautiful in every way – everything a woman is and how they should be represented on TV.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: THANK YOU to everybody involved with the show from the beginning up until the very end, who helped make this incredible show that was underappreciated. The producers and writers – Craig Silverstein, Albert Kim, Carlos Coto, Marc David Alpert, Kristen Reidel, Oliver Grigsby, Terry Matalas, Travis Fickett, and everybody else I missed – you are all amazingly talented and the work you put in to making this show what it is does not go unnoticed by those of us who did watch the show throughout its run. The actors – Maggie, Lyndsy, Melinda, Lyndie, Shane West, Aaron Stanford, Noah Bean, Devon Sawa, Dillon Casey, Xander Berkeley, Ashton Holmes, Tiffany Hines, Peter Outerbridge, and all the guest stars over the years – you brought these characters to life and worked so hard, I will forever be in awe of everything that you did.

I wish all these amazingly wonderful people nothing but the best in their future endeavors and projects. Whether it be, Craig Silverstein’s period spy drama Turn; Matalas and Fickett teaming up and reuniting with Aaron and Noah on Syfy’s 12 Monkeys, alongside Amanda Schull and Kirk Acevedo; Shane and Xander working together on WGN America’s Salem (with Seth Gabel and Janet Montgomery); Maggie and Lyndsy with their films, Divergent & The Conspiracy on Jekyll Island (Maggie) and Moments of Clarity (Lyndsy); Lyndie continuing on in Sleepy Hollow; Dillon with his new series Remedy; or Albert Kim’s drama in development at The CW with Eva Longoria’s production company, I look forward to whatever they do in the future. They all deserve great success.

Again, thanks for all the memories and four seasons of awesome! I will miss this show dearly.

Nikita Cast @ SDCC 2013. Even though I didn't get to formally meet them and get a picture with them, they made my first trip to SDCC worth every penny.

Nikita Cast @ SDCC 2013. Even though I didn’t get to formally meet them and get a picture with them, sitting less than 10 feet away from them at the show’s final panel made my first trip to SDCC worth everything.

It’s a Wrap on the Nikita Set

So today marks the last day of filming on the set of Nikita. I poured a lot into my first letter to the cast and crew back in March when we didn’t even know if we’d get a fourth season, and I had intended on only adding to that initial post for today. But I didn’t realize how much more I had to say…so here we go again (heh).

To be honest, I’m kind of in denial about them filming the end. I have been in denial the past couple weeks with the cast tweeting about the last episodes. I think I teared up just seeing the title of 4×06, Cancelled. I mean, REALLY?! How does that one word so simply encompass the show? Holding meaning within the Nikita universe, but also a tongue-in-cheek and sad reference to the state of the show after being on the bubble (also, the title of 4×05!) all these years. SO MANY FEELINGS!

I know it’s a little silly, at 25, to feel sad about a show filming its final scenes, but I’ve never been SO INVESTED in a show like I have Nikita. The closest I ever came to being this invested was Fringe, The O.C, One Tree Hill, and Chuck (yes, I do have very varied tastes in television shows), but looking back, my fan level for those didn’t come close to how I am with Nikita and this amazing cast. I don’t want to say that Nikita changed my life because it seems a little heavy-handed, but I definitely hold a special place in my heart for this show. As I said in my letter, I never realized how important it was for me to see Maggie, an Asian-American actress be the lead in a network TV show, and on top of that, see an Asian-American writer in Albert, also co-executive produce the show. I still don’t know what I’m doing with my life as far as a career, but they inspire me to at least try and find something that would allow me to work in the hard, sometimes infuriating, but ultimately satisfying world that is the entertainment industry.

For over three years, I tried to meet them in Toronto, and go figure my closest contact with them would be at the final San Diego Comic Con panel, where I got up the nerve to ask a question (however random it was), knowing that it was probably my only chance to talk to these guys. I suppose I did sort of meet Lyndsy immediately following the panel, but my interaction with her was cut incredibly short, that it barely counted (plus I had no photographic proof of it!) Thinking about it, I obviously wanted to meet the cast because I admired them so much and just wanted to be a fan, but I selfishly also wanted to get to know them beyond the glimpses we get from Twitter and interviews. Alas, I never got the chance – but hey, at least they acknowledged my existence at SDCC! (Gotta hang on to those little things…)

Thanks again for all your hard work all these years: Maggie, Shane, Lyndsy, Aaron, Devon, Noah, Melinda, Lyndie, and all the former cast members and guest stars. Thanks also extended for the creative geniuses behind the show: Craig, Albert, Carlos, all the producers involved, and writers. I’m going to miss all of you being in Toronto, working on my (and a lot of other peoples’) favourite show. I wish you all the best in your future projects and can’t wait to see the end product of your hard work on these final 6 episodes. Please come back and visit Toronto, regardless of if it is for work or not, and we’ll be more than happy to welcome you back! Just, THANK YOU for everything!

And you know what, a special shout-out to all the other Nikita fans out there! We might not have been able to get The CW to give the show more episodes (or seasons!), but we helped get it this far! No one can say that we weren’t a dedicated bunch! And when these final episodes air, let’s show everybody else who weren’t watching Nikita the past few years, what they’ve been missing out on!

Now, excuse me, while I try not to cry over the end of filming. (Full disclosure: tears were already shed writing this post.)

The End of “Fringe”

It is with complete sadness that I write this post talking about the end of this wonderful show, Fringe. After 5 very well-earned and incredible seasons, Fringe has come to an end. I won’t go into details of the series finale itself, but rather I’d like to take this opportunity to just write about the show.

From its start, Fringe was a show that defied the odds and sort of epitomized the saying “expect the unexpected.” Being a show from J.J. Abrams and the Bad Robot brand, and premiering after the mainstream cult success of Lost, high hopes and expectations were thrust upon the show. Many were trying to tout it as “the next Lost” (a label that gets put on any sci-fi/high concept series nowadays); some called it “the new X-Files“. What intrigued me was, of course, that it was a J.J. Abrams show (I never watched Lost, but I was a huge fan of Alias) and the sci-fi aspect of it. I saw Anna Torv, as Agent Olivia Dunham, as the new Sydney Bristow – a strong, kick-ass female lead. Then they cast Joshua Jackson as Peter Bishop, and seeing as how I watched Dawson’s Creek in my tween years (and also The Mighty Ducks movies as a kid), that got me really excited.

The first season, while trying to find its footing, wasn’t perfect. They started off as a show that seemed very procedural, with a case-of-the-week style of storytelling that gave room for new viewers to jump in. With the nature of the show being part science, they had dropped hints along the way of some sort of a mythological background in the overarching story. By the end of season 1, going into season 2, we were introduced to the idea of alternate universes, and that’s where things really got going for the show. Once we got to season 3, it felt like the sky was the limit for the writers; a creative kick bumped the show from a really good show to a really great one, exploring these alternate universes and different character dynamics. At this point of course, the show was much more serialized than its first season, but it still contained case/monster-of-the-week storylines, that which had an impact on the characters. While most shows that straddle the line between procedural and character drama, it can become very cheesy and cliche; with Fringe, everything came about in a rather organic and grounded way, which is a little funny considering all the weird stuff it has going on each week.

Aside from all the sci-fi, what really set Fringe apart from all the other genre shows was that it had such a strong focus on the characters and their development. As someone who majored in Sociology in university, it somewhat surprises me how sociological they got with the characters and the relationships in the show. These characters – Olivia, Peter, Walter, Astrid, and extending to Broyles, Nina, and Lincoln – became a family to each other. They have suffered in their lives and through insurmountable odds and circumstances, they found a way to connect to each other and form this incredible bond. Particularly in season 4, with the timeline reset, it begged the question: how do the people around us affect who we are?

For a show like this to reach 5 seasons, 100 episodes, and get a proper ending is rare. Yet like our characters, the show itself has beat the odds (moving timeslots from Tuesdays to Thursdays to Fridays, low ratings) to get to this point. Many shows don’t often get the opportunity to wrap up storylines before going off the air, and the fact that Fringe got this final season was a complete act of faith/kindness by Fox, who really could have cancelled the show a few times in its run. It is the group of passionate fans that the show has that played an integral part in the show’s survival. In the end, the loyalty and passion put on display by the fans paid off, as the show ended with what can only be said as a perfect finale. The ending was a wonderful recall of everything we know and love about the show – the action, the scientific elements, the love and relationships, Walter’s humour, the alternate universe, and even a sequence that featured a callback to past “monsters of the week.” It ended in a way that gave us a sense of finality with regards to the overarching series and storyline, but leaves us in a state of wonderment as to what these characters are up to now, in hopes that we can get a movie made to catch-up and go on a different journey with the gang. Now, can these fine actors and writers get the credit and respect they deserve?! They are overdue for some Emmys.

Thank you J.J. Abrams, Robert Orci, and Alex Kurtzman for developing this wonderful series. Thank you to Joel Wyman and Jeff Pinkner for spearheading the creativity and uniqueness of the show, along with the rest of the writers. Thanks to the Fox network for keeping the show on the air for five seasons. Without a doubt, thank you to the cast – Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Jasika Nicole, Blair Brown, Lance Reddick, Seth Gabel, and all the actors who have come through the show – who brought such heart and emotion to these characters we have all come to love dearly. For this fan, I don’t think it’s possible for there to be another show like Fringe.

Thank you again for 5 incredibly heartfelt and awesomely weird seasons.

There’s Only ‘One Tree Hill’: 9 Crazy Seasons of TV’s Greatest Underdog Comes to An End

Today, April 4th, 2012, One Tree Hill will air its final episode. 9 seasons. 187 episodes. Not bad at all for a show that fell in the shadows of the more high-profile teen drama The O.C. when they both premiered in the fall of 2003. While The O.C. was about the lives of rich teenagers + their families, and the outsider who changed their world, OTH was a more grounded drama (despite some of the crazy plotlines that it might be known for). Really, both shows couldn’t have been more different. But now we’re here with OTH ending only now after so many years of being on the brink of cancellation. OTH really was the little show that could, thriving when so many had shot it down.

When OTH first began, it was about Lucas and Nathan, 2 brothers related only by the same father, Dan. Their struggles to come to terms that they are related and their shared love of basketball, along with the usual teenage problems. But really, at the heart of this show was the idea of family and its many forms. Karen being a single mom to Lucas. Uncle Keith, also Dan’s brother, who acted as a father figure to Lucas. Dan, Deb, and Nathan and their tattered version of family. Brooke, completely distant with her family. Peyton, having only her father Larry, who was also away for work a lot. Actually, Haley was the only one with a pretty stable family, but we didn’t really meet them until later. So in a show that at its core was about family, we watched these friends become family to each other. Lucas and Nathan were nowhere near friends at the beginning and slowly embraced the idea that they were family. Haley and Lucas were already best friends, and truly became family when Haley married Nathan. Peyton and Brooke were also best friends and family to each other, because of their lack of real family.

We watched the struggles of the characters as they developed from teenagers to adults, which was made all the more real in season 5, when the series fast forwarded past the “college years” and into adulthood.

One of the greatest things about OTH is that, while you have these wonderfully grounded characters and at times truly real drama, at other times these characters are thrown into ridiculous scenarios/plotlines. We’ve had honest to goodness real drama over the years: high school in general, the school shooting with Jimmy, Lucas’ health issues, Naley’s teen marriage, Peyton meeting her birth mom who then died of breast cancer, Brooke trying to adopt, the multitude of careers, and again, family. On the other hand, we have also had a multitude of crazy plots that fans have come to appreciate over the years for being pure OTH: Psycho stalker Derek, Psycho nanny Carrie, Dan’s heart troubles (most notably that time when an EMT dropped a cooler containing the heart Dan was supposed to receive and a dog ate it), Psycho doppelganger Katie. Can’t forget to mention the long-running “joke” that everyone gets into some sort of car accident (I think the official count is 5 within the 9 years).

The heart of the show never changed, but after original castmembers Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton left at the end of season 6, the show did feel a little different. Maybe because Chad was such an integral part of the show from the beginning, to see him leave, it just felt weird. Austin Nichols’ Julian Baker, a recurring character from season 6, became a regular for season 7. The show added Robert Buckley as Nathan’s agent, Clay Evans, as well as Shantel VanSanten as Haley’s sister, Quinn. I can’t quite put a finger on it, but I look at the show now and I just see a somewhat different show than what it used to be. Maybe because the characters actually grew up and matured (although even at the beginning, beyond the usual teenage problems, all the characters were kind of old souls). Or maybe it’s the fact that I grew up too, alongside these characters through high school, university, and now the “real world”. You know what? I’m going to stick to that – the show feels different because it allowed all the characters to grow and allowed us fans to grow with them.

One of the best aspects of One Tree Hill was definitely the music. I don’t think I have ever seen a show that integrates music like OTH has for the past 9 seasons. Music wasn’t just part of the background; at times music was a part of the storyline, just as much as basketball was in those early years. The producers obviously caught on to the fact that they had an incredible talent in Bethany Joy Lenz, who plays Haley and is also a singer-songwriter. We heard Joy/Haley sing in the first season and that became part of her story, where she eventually went on tour and then in these later years, took over Red Bedroom Records. We also had Bryan Greenberg who played Jake, a fellow Raven and one-time Peyton love interest,  sing a few times while he was on the show. Nowadays, Bryan balances his acting career with a solid music career (he’s got 2 albums out, and working on a third). Then we had Peyton, who was just in love with music – music was a part of everything she was. The funny part of this (to me at least) was that Hilarie Burton came from being an MTV VJ to working on the show. Now Peyton was a character that really brought music to the forefront, from being in charge of bringing bands/artists to play Tric to creating the aforementioned Red Bedroom Records.

Speaking of bands and artists that came into the world of Tree Hill, I really think it’s safe to say that because of its integration of music, the show was a master of cross-promotion. Sure you had some acts like Sheryl Crow, Fall Out Boy and Lupe Fiasco who came onto the show just to perform. But then you had the likes of Tyler Hilton, Kate Voegele, Michael Grubbs, and Laura Izibor, real artists who were written into the show with characters of their own – Chris Keller, Mia Catalano, Grubbs (bartender at Tric) and Erin – and this is alongside Bethany, Bryan, and Jana Kramer. When any of these characters released a song or album in the show, their counterparts actually did release the song/album in real life. Our first real proof of the OTH cross-promotion was in the second season when we saw Haley decide to go on tour with The Wreckers & Chris Keller, despite the strain that it caused to her marriage with Nathan. The plotline was not just some storytelling device – Bethany, The Wreckers and Tyler actually did a concert tour in real life, and were sometimes joined by Bryan and Gavin DeGraw. After that in the third season, we saw a storyline involving Peyton and her birth mom, Ellie, putting together a benefit album for breast cancer; that was subsequently released as the second soundtrack for the series titled “Friends With Benefit.” The third soundtrack for the show, “The Road Mix”, got released coinciding with episode 4×17, where the gang (appropriately enough) go on a road trip to save Mouth and Rachel. Then within season 8, we saw OTH do a little cross-promotion with another one of The CW’s shows, Life Unexpected, with Haley and Mia performing at a music festival sponsored by the radio station where 2 of LUX’s characters work. See? Master cross-promoters.

I’ll end this post with one of the main reasons why I fell in love with this show in the first place. Throughout most of the first 5 seasons and then sporadically in the last 4 seasons, One Tree Hill gave us quotes by famous writers or sort of the inner monologues of some of the characters to cap off an episode. Sometimes we even got really thoughtful lines within the episodes. Without a doubt, I loved these quotes. For me, I look to these as inspiration, as it would to the characters. I also saw these as one of the ways in which the show was different from other teen dramas; it drove the point that OTH had a lot of heart and soul, and was about so much more than the typical teenage drama. It might not have been a critically acclaimed show, but for a lot of us fans, we grew up with these characters watching this show. There’s nothing but love for the series that showed us that whatever life throws your way, whether it be accidents, psychos or loss of a loved one, you’ll come out the other side stronger and wiser.

Thank you Mark Schwahn for bringing this show to life in the first place, as well as Michael Tollin, Brian Robbins, and Joe Davola. All the cast members over the years: Sophia Bush, James Lafferty, Bethany Joy Lenz, Chad Michael Murray, Hilarie Burton, Paul Johansson, Lee Norris, Rob Buckley, Shantel VanSanten, Jackson Brundage, Austin Nichols, Stephen Colletti, Antwon Tanner, Moira Kelly, Craig Sheffer, Barry Corbin, Barbara Alyn Woods, Danneel Harris, Lisa Goldstein, Tyler Hilton, Kate Voegele, Jana Kramer, Bryan Greenberg, and all the multitude of guest stars. You have all made the past 9 years quite memorable.

FAVOURITE QUOTES

WHITEY: There’s no shame in being afraid. Hell, we’re all afraid. What you’ve got to do is figure out what you’re afraid of. Because when you put a face on it, you can beat it. Or better yet, you can use it.

Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swaps of the not quite, the not yet, and the not at all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists. It is real. It is possible. It is yours. – Ayn Rand

Out of the night that covers me, Black as the Pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be, For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance, I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeoning of chance, My head is bloody, but unbowed. Beyond this place of wrath and tears, Looms but the Horror of the shade. And yet the menace of the years,
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid. It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll. I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul. – William Ernest Henley

Do not look back and grieve over the past, for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering. – Ida Scott Taylor

ELLIE: Every song has a coda, a final movement. Whether it fades out or crashes away. Every song ends. But is that any reason not to enjoy the music? The truth is, there is nothing to be afraid of. It’s just life.

WHITEY: Looking back on what I said all those years ago, all the hopes and dreams I had, I’ve come to the conclusion that if having things turn out the way you wanted them to as a measure of a successful life, then some would say I’m a failure. The important thing is not to be bitter over life’s disappointments. Learn to let go of the past and recognize that everyday won’t be sunny. And when you find yourself lost in the darkness of despair, remember that it’s only in the black of night, you see the stars. And those stars will lead you back home. So don’t be afraid to make mistakes, to stumble and fall, cause most of the time, the greatest rewards come from doing the things that scare you the most. Maybe you don’t get everything you wish for, maybe you’ll get more than you could’ve imagined. Who knows where life will take you? The road is long and in the end, the journey is the destination.

NATHAN (V.O.): You know it’s been said that we just don’t recognize the significant moments of our lives while they’re happening. We grow complacent with ideas, or things or people and we take them for granted and it’s usually not until that thing is about to be taken away from you that you’ve realized how wrong you’ve been that you realized how much you need it, how much you love it. God, I love this game.

Many people die with their music still in them. Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live…Before they know it…time runs out. – Oliver Wendell Holmes

When so many are lonely…as seem to be lonely, it would be inexcusably selfish…to be lonely alone. – Tennessee Williams

Who knows what true happiness is, not the conventional word, but the naked terror. To the lonely themselves, that wears a mask, the most miserable outcast, hugs some memory, or some illusion. – Joseph Conrad

Time takes it all, whether you want it to or not. Time takes it all, time bears it away, and in the end there is only darkness. Sometimes we find others in that darkness, and sometime we lose them there again. – Stephen King

He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream, and he sometimes wondered whose it was, and whether they were enjoying it. – Douglas Adams

To be nobody but yourself, in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else, means to fight the hardest battle in which any human being can fight and never stop fighting. – E.E. Cummings

PEYTON (V.O.):  At this moment, there are six billion, four hundred seventy million, eight hundred eighteen thousand, six hundred seventy one people in the world. Some… are running scared. Some… are coming home. Some tell lies to make it through the day. Others are just not facing the truth. Some are evil men, at war with good. And some are good, struggling with evil. Six billion people in the world – six billion souls. And sometimes…All you need is one.

Live each season as it passes – breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit-and resign yourself to the influences of each. – Henry David Thoreau

There is no privacy that cannot be penetrated. No secret can be kept in a civilised world. Society is a masked ball, where everyone hides his real character, then reveals it by hiding. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

LUCAS (V.O.): Tree Hill is just a place somewhere in the world. Maybe it’s a lot like your world. Maybe it’s nothing like it. But if you look closely, you might find someone like you. Someone trying to find their way. Someone trying to find their place. Someone trying to find their self. Sometimes it’s easy to feel like you’re the only one in the world who’s struggling, who’s frustrated, or unsatisfied or barely getting by. But that feeling’s a lie. And if you just hold on, just find the courage to face it all for another day, someone or something will find you and make it all okay. Because we all need a little help sometimes. Someone to help us hear the music in the world. To remind us that it won’t always be this way. That someone is out there and that someone will find you.

LUCAS (V.O.): There are moments in our lives where we find ourselves at a crossroads. Afraid, confused, without a roadmap. The choices we make in those moments can define the rest of our days. Of course, when faced with the unknown, most of us prefer to turn around and go back. But once in a while, people push on to something better. Something found just beyond the pain of going it alone. And just beyond the bravery, the courage it takes to let someone in, or to give someone a second chance. Something beyond the quiet persistence of a dream. Because it’s only when you’re tested that you truly discover who you are. And it’s only when you’re tested that you discover who you can be. The person you want to be does exist. Somewhere on the other side of hard work and faith and belief and beyond the heartache and fear of what lays ahead.

LUCAS (V.O.): There comes a time when every life goes off course. In this desperate moment, you must choose your direction. Will you fight to stay on path? Will others tell you who you are? Or will you label yourself? Will you be haunted by your choice? Or will you embrace your new path? Each morning you choose to move forward or simply give up. There comes a time when every life goes off course. In this desperate moment who will you be? Will you let down your defenses, and find solace in someone unexpected? Will you reach out? Will you face your greatest fear bravely? And move forward with faith. Or will you succumb to the darkness in your soul?

HALEY (V.O.): You can choose to blame your circumstances on fate or bad luck or bad choices. Or you can fight back. Things aren’t always going to be fair in the real world. That’s just the way it is. But for the most part, you get what you give. Rest of your life is being shaped right now. With the dreams you chase….The choices you make….and the person you decide to be. The rest of your life is a long time. And the rest of your life starts right now.

Collective Quotes (From Episodes 2×22 & 2×23)

LUCAS: And Hansel said to Gretel, “Let us drop these breadcrumbs so that together we find our way home, because losing our way would be the most cruel of things.” This year, I lost my way.

NATHAN: And losing your way on the journey is unfortunate, but losing your reason for the journey is a fate more cruel.

PEYTON: The journey lasted eight months. Sometimes I traveled alone. Sometimes there were others who took the wheel… and took my heart. But when the destination was reached, it wasn’t me who arrived… it wasn’t me at all.

BROOKE: And once you lose yourself you have two choices: find the person you used to be or lose that person completely

MOUTH: Because sometimes we have to step outside the person you’ve been, and remember the person you are meant to be. The person you wanted to be. The person you are.

BROOKE: George Bernard Shaw once wrote, “There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart’s desire. The other is to gain it.” Clearly, Shaw had his heart broken once or twice.

NATHAN: As far as I’m concerned, Shaw was a punk, ’cause you know what? Tragedies happen. What are you gonna do? Give up? Quit? No. I realize now that when your heart breaks, you gotta fight like hell to make sure you’re still alive. Because you are… and that pain you feel, it’s life. The confusion and fear, that’s there to remind you that somewhere out there is something better… and that something is worth fighting for.

HALEY: This year, I got everything I wanted and everything I wished for but, in a way, I lost even more.

LUCAS: Shaw was right. As we strain to grasp the things we desire, the things that we think will make our lives better—money, popularity, fame—we ignore what truly matters—the simple things— like friendship, family, love—the things we probably already had.

MOUTH: So Mr. Shaw thinks that getting your heart’s desire is a tragedy? I say he’s wrong. I mean, clearly, Shaw never kissed Erika Marsh.

PEYTON: Yes, losing your heart’s desire is tragic… but gaining your heart’s desire… it’s all you can hope for. This year, I wished for love. To immerse myself in someone else, and to wake a heart long afraid to feel. My wish was granted… and if having that is tragic, then give me tragedy. Because I wouldn’t give it back for the world.