'My So-Called Life' is a classic- forgotten as it was 'just TV'. The 19 episodes prior to it getting cancelled were classic- much better than the anodyne Hitler-youth utopia of 'Dawson's Creek' or the vile 'Party of Five'.
It caught the era of teenagedom wonderfully- with a nod towards grunge music- but felt like a teen-soap that might have read 'Smithereens' & 'Generation X'. The characters were great- and one of the benefits of being a TV show meant that we could focus on any one at any given point.
Jared Leto stands out as Jordan Cataleno- he would make an excellent transition to adult films such as 'American Psycho', 'Fight Club' & 'Requiem for a Dream'. Plus, blink and you miss him in 'The Thin Red Line'...Claire Danes is great as Angela- a likeable performance when it could have been irritating. What happened to her career?...Ricky is a dude- nice to have not only a homosexual character but one of mixed race- he popped up as a butler in 'Nixon'.
I feel it was the presence of his storyline and the gay teacher that contributed to this being cancelled. It would happen in this country- where we have 'Clause 28' which prohibits reference to homosexuality in schools I felt this storyline was believable (unlike the one in 'Dawsons Creek') and would help people empathise with such a character...Rayanne was a great character- again, we were given a mess of a person- promiscous (a faker?), hedonistic and the worst kind of best friend (who meant well...). Sharon is Angela's slighted best-friend who develops wonderfully over the series. Plus Gram Chase's character is great- he is close to an affair with his business partner at the end- much like his affair Angela discovers around the pilot episode.
The best character is Brian Krackow- the unrequited lover of Angela and king of the nerds. Kevin Williamson would rip him off for 'Dawson Leary'- though make him more utopian and therefore less truthful...The best episodes are the one with Buffalo Tom, the 'Weekend' episode (a handcuff populated farce which will remind anyone of teenage parties) and the fun Halloween episode. Love the fact we never see Ricky's cousin!...I've still got this on longplay video from 1997 and everyone I've shown it to has loved it...They ought to do a sequel for 'adults' on HBO- and get Elizabeth Wutzel to write it! Proof, along with programmes like 'Larry Sanders', 'The Sopranos' & 'Twin Peaks' that TV-drama can be fantastic and anything but a formula ridden distraction.
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