Rick is a divorced father-of-two who meets Lily, a newly-separated mother-of-two. They begin a relationship, which has a significant impact not only on their lives but on those of their children and ex-spouses, as well.Written by
As sad as I am that Once and Again didn't last, I am so thankful that once and again did survive three incredibly imaginative and deeply moving three seasons that will forever keep it as one of the most if not the most telling and honest family drama. It is not a franchise nor is it formulaic and that's why even the Emmys couldn't reward it they way it should have. This show had so much talent in it that if we didn't live in such cynical times when only edgy shows (i.e.: Six feet under, sopranos and CSI) that examine life from a half-empty prospective are appreciated, OAA could have very easily swept the Emmys and even dominated all the supporting and guest actor categories (Just imagine, Susanna Thompson, Marin Hinkle, Evan Rachel Wood and Julia Whelan all getting nominated in the same category in the same year. And they all deserved it for each and every season.) I am not against edgy shows and the ones I mentioned are good at they do. But Once and Again was a show so far a head of it's time because it was a show that valued the traditions of family, love and being a good human being without rounding off the edges of their characters. Everyone had flaws and some of them were very intense but the characters redeem themselves by being so human and unbelievably real that when they do things that can be looked at as wrong, we see their humanity and therefore love them more for it. Karen, Lilly, Jake and Grace especially have those qualities. Grace lies and sabotages Jessie but we see her journey and we don't forgive her necessarily, we fall in love with her commitment (And that's to Julia's credit) To her humanity. Lilly becomes self-involved more often than not but she doesn't need anyone to remind her of it she admits it and apologizes for it without promising that she has undergone some miraculous change but rather just tries to work on it. Karen is stern and by the book but her undeniable devotion to her children and the incredible sensitivity that Susanna brings to the role makes her so lovable and even sexy. And Jake who screws up and yells and gets bankrupt but never fails to have a vulnerability that even the toughest most judgmental critic can't help admitting an affinity toward him. Those qualities are a credit to the writers as well as the amazing actors a better ensemble than which has never existed in a television show; Not on that scale anyway. Children and teens are notorious for being bad bad news for any good show but those 4 (Including an eerily talented and too precise an actress for her young age Meredith Deane) make me reinvest in the belief that young actors are not just there as space fillers.
I can talk endlessly dissecting everything about this show but that could take a book. Once and again is so brilliant, it's network didn't know how to market it. These characters are real people and their problems are not exotic in that TV way, They are purely and simply real. It is hopeful and sweet without being resolved to wearing some ridiculous rose-colored glasses. But it is also real without showing a bleak reality where it's all darkness and despair. The brilliance of this show was in its ability to balance the good with the bad and the dark with the light. It was a very liberal and beautifully open minded show that still valued traditions of love and family. Which is also another aspect that made it art. In true art, not one person is good or bad. Every situation in which there is a villain, the villain has a good guy in them that contrasts with the little villain that lives inside that "Good guy." Every character in this show was like that. They were all lovable at times but not so lovable at others. There are no mythical heroes on OAA, the heroism of those characters comes in the form of their flawed nobility as humans. I think that's why the show was not an instant success but the sort of thing that will be talked about for years and years to come; It never picked sides but shows to show both sides of an issue. No one was 100% right all the time and no one was 100% wrong. Ask anyone and they will tell you that that very idea is the very definition of good literary art. And that once and again is Once and Again.
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