Felicity (TV series)

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Felicity
Felicitylogo.jpg
Season 1 title screen
Genre College drama
Created by J. J. Abrams
Matt Reeves
Starring Keri Russell
Scott Speedman
Scott Foley
Amy Jo Johnson
Tangi Miller
Greg Grunberg
Amanda Foreman
Ian Gomez
Narrated by Janeane Garofalo
Keri Russell
Theme music composer Judith Owen
J. J. Abrams
Andrew Jarecki
Opening theme "Felicity Theme"
"New Version of You"
Composer(s) W. G. Snuffy Walden
Joseph Williams
Danny Pelfrey
Jon Huck
John Zuker
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 84 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) J. J. Abrams
Brian Grazer
Tony Krantz
Matt Reeves
Jennifer Levin
Ron Howard
John Eisendrath
Laurie McCarthy
Location(s) New York City
Los Angeles
University of Southern California
Cinematography Robert Primes
Michael Bonvillain
Marshall Adams
Camera setup Single-camera setup
Running time 42–45 minutes
Production company(s) Touchstone Television
Imagine Television
Distributor Buena Vista International
Broadcast
Original channel The WB Television Network
Picture format NTSC (480i)
Audio format Stereophonic
First shown in United States
Original run September 29, 1998 (1998-09-29) – May 22, 2002 (2002-05-22)

Felicity is an American prime time television drama series that was created by J. J. Abrams and Matt Reeves and produced by Touchstone Television and Imagine Television for The WB Television Network. Brian Grazer and Ron Howard were executive producers through Imagine Entertainment. The series revolves around the fictional college experiences of the title character, Felicity Porter (portrayed by Keri Russell), as she attends the "University of New York" (based on New York University), across the country from her home in Palo Alto, California.

The show ran for four seasons from 1998 to 2002, with each season corresponding to the traditional American university divisions of freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years. A recurring episode opener of the show is a stark camera shot of Felicity sitting in a dormitory room or apartment holding a tape recorder, recalling events in order to make a cassette tape to send to an old friend named Sally Reardon (voiced by Janeane Garofalo). This occasionally provides a method for Felicity to narrate an entire episode. At the end of episodes like this, Felicity is often shown to be listening to a tape that Sally has sent in reply.

In 2007, Felicity was one of Time magazine's "100 Best TV Shows of All-Time."[1] AOL TV named Felicity one of the "Best School Shows of All Time."[2] In June 2010, Entertainment Weekly named Felicity Porter one of the "100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years".[3]

Plot[edit]

The series opens at Felicity's high school graduation, where she asks Ben Covington, a classmate whom she has a crush on, to sign her yearbook. Moved by his comment that he wished he had gotten to know her, she changes her education plans completely, deciding to follow Ben to New York rather than attend Stanford University as a pre-med student. Felicity's overbearing parents, concerned about Felicity's seemingly rash decision, come to New York to try to convince her to return home and "get back on track". Felicity has second thoughts about her decision, but soon realizes that she came not only to follow Ben, but to discover her true inner self.

While Felicity works to sort out her emotions, she continues the basic motions of student life and moves into her dorm. There, she meets the resident advisor Noel Crane. Eventually, romance ensues, and the relationships among Felicity, Ben, and Noel form the basic dramatic conflicts in the show throughout the series.

A number of other characters appear and play large roles in Felicity's life. Her roommate for the first two years is Meghan Rotundi, a goth Wiccan who occasionally "casts spells" on Felicity and others. Julie Emrick is one of Felicity's best friends, as is Elena Tyler, who often takes classes with Felicity. Felicity also has male friends, including Sean Blumberg, who is always trying to produce new off-kilter inventions, and Javier Clemente Quintata, who manages the coffee house Dean & DeLuca, where Felicity works for most of her college career.

Cast[edit]

Felicity maintained an ensemble cast, keeping most of its characters for its entire four season run. Numerous secondary characters, including friends and love interests for these characters, appeared intermittently to complement storylines that generally revolved around this core group.

Name Portrayed by Season
1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Felicity Porter Keri Russell
Ben Covington Scott Speedman
Noel Crane Scott Foley
Elena Tyler Tangi Miller
Julie Emrick Amy Jo Johnson
Sean Blumberg Greg Grunberg
Meghan Rotundi Amanda Foreman
Javier Clemente Quintata Ian Gomez
Richard Coad Rob Benedict
Key:
     Main cast.
     Recurring cast.
     Guest appearance.

Keri Russell, Scott Speedman, Scott Foley, and Tangi Miller were the only four original series regular cast members who remained with the show throughout all four seasons. Russell, Speedman, and Foley are the only three cast members who appeared in all 84 episodes of the show. Miller made appearances in 65 episodes.

Amy Jo Johnson, an original series regular, left the show early in the third season for personal reasons relating to a death in her family. However, she later reprised the role of Julie during the show's final season in a guest starring capacity. Johnson appeared in a total of 50 episodes.

Greg Grunberg and Amanda Foreman were major recurring characters throughout the show's first season and were later promoted to series regular cast members during the show's second season. Both of them remained with the show through the rest of its time on the air. Both Grunberg and Foreman appeared in 61 episodes.

Ian Gomez and Rob Benedict, both originally recurring guest stars as early as the first season, were the final cast members to be added as series regulars during the last half of the show's run. Gomez appeared in a total of 39 episodes and Benedict appeared in 36.

Production[edit]

Setting[edit]

Felicity was filmed partly in New York City, and is set at the fictional University of New York (UNY), based on New York University (NYU). Like NYU, UNY is located in Greenwich Village near Washington Square Park, and the school is an important part of the show. Although universities often welcome being mentioned in film or on television, NYU had refused permission to use its name, stating, "The negatives kind of outweighed the positives."[4]

Writer's age[edit]

In 1999, a publicly hyped young writer for the show, Riley Weston, was disclosed as a fraud for claiming to be much younger than she truly was. At the age of 32, she began marketing herself to television studios as a recent high school graduate, passing off her husband as her older brother. She was soon hired by the WB Network as a writer for Felicity. Hailed as a child prodigy and "wunderkind",[5] she was featured on Entertainment Weekly's October 1998 list of the "100 Most Creative People in Entertainment", which described her as an up-and-coming 19-year-old. Shortly thereafter, she was offered a half-million dollar screenwriting deal with Disney. Her real identity and age were exposed after a Felicity producer checked her social security number. Soon afterward, her contract with WB expired and was not renewed, and her deal with Disney fell through.[citation needed]

Hairstyle change[edit]

In the summer of 1999, after filming the first season,[6] Felicity star Russell—known for what The New York Times described as "[t]hat glorious head of voluminous golden backlit hair"[7]—sent the show's producers a photo wearing a short-haired wig. They panicked before learning that it was a joke, but then suggested to the actress that a new hairstyle would be appropriate.[6] Felicity's ratings declined in the 1999–2000 season, and the popular press[7] and network executives blamed this partly on the new hairstyle. After the negative reaction Russell rejected wearing extensions or a wig while her hair grew back. Although storytelling and timeslot changes also likely contributed to the ratings decline, a network executive said WB actors' future hair changes would "be given more thought at the network than it previously would have".[6] In 2010, TV Guide Network listed the hairstyle change at No. 19 on their list of "25 Biggest TV Blunders," with several commentators arguing that it was the reason that the ratings of the show dropped.[8]

The haircut incident went on to become a popular culture reference within other television shows, both comedic and dramatic. In the 30 Rock episode "The Bubble," Jenna discusses how to get her hair cut and says, "But if I make the wrong choice, I could end up like Keri Russell, Felicity, season 2." When a girl cuts off her hair due to supernatural forces in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Where the Wild Things Are", the character Xander remarks, "People are going all Felicity with their hair", while in the One Tree Hill episode "The Desperate Kingdom of Love", when Lucas walks up to Keith at the beach, his uncle says, "Nice job, Felicity", referring to his new shorter haircut. Teen-aged Claire of the drama series Six Feet Under tells her mother that she wants to cut off all her hair like Felicity, to which her mother replies, "Do I know her?" — Claire replies sarcastically, "Yeah, she came over for dinner once." In the 2001 sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch episode "Making the Grade", animosity over an exposé she had written prompts Sabrina to ask, "[W]hy is everyone looking at me like I'm the girl who told Felicity to cut her hair?" In the Gilmore Girls episode "Here Comes the Son", the character Paris, debating whether to follow her boyfriend to Princeton instead of going to Harvard, says, "Suddenly, I'm Felicity without the hair issues." In the Happy Endings episode "The Code War", Max perms Dave's hair while the latter is sleeping. Upon seeing his new do, Penny quips, "You look like Keri Russell after she ruined Felicity."[9] In the Family Guy episode "Friends Without Benefits", Chris declares he went through a rough time when Felicity cut her hair, as he used to have that same brown and curly haircut.

Ratings[edit]

The series debut garnered 7.1 million viewers.[10]

Season Episodes Original airing Rank Viewers
(in millions)
Season premiere Season finale TV season
1st 22 September 29, 1998 May 25, 1999 1998–1999 #124[11] 4.4[12]
2nd 23 September 26, 1999 May 24, 2000 1999–2000 #135[13] 2.2[13]
3rd 17 October 4, 2000 May 23, 2001 2000–2001 #123[14] 2.8[14]
4th 22 October 10, 2001 May 22, 2002 2001–2002 #129[15] 3.2[16]

Accolades[edit]

Felicity was nominated for 29 awards during its run from 1998 to 2002 and won several, including an Emmy Award for Outstanding Cinematography for a Series (Robert Primes) and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama (Keri Russell).[17]

Year Group Category Recipient Result
2000 ALMA Awards Special Achievement Award Ian Gomez Won
1999 American Cinema Editors Awards Best Edited One-Hour Series for Television Stan Salfas
Warren Bowman (For the pilot episode)
Nominated
2000 American Society of Cinematographers Awards Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Regular Series Robert Primes (For episode "Todd Mulcahy Part II") Nominated
1999 Casting Society of America Awards Best Casting for TV, Dramatic Pilot Marcia Shulman Won
1999 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Cinematography for a Series Robert Primes (For episode "Todd Mulcahy Part II") Won
2000 Outstanding Music Composition for a Series Danny Pelfrey
W.G. Snuffy Walden (For episode "Help for the Lovelorn")
Nominated
1999 Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Television Series Drama Keri Russell Won
Best Television Series – Drama Nominated
2002 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series Tangi Miller Nominated
2005 Satellite Awards Best DVD Release of TV Shows (For edition III) Nominated
1999 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Breakout Performance Keri Russell Won
Choice TV Breakout Performance Scott Speedman Nominated
Choice TV Breakout Performance Scott Foley Nominated
Choice TV Actor Scott Foley Nominated
Choice TV Actress Keri Russell Nominated
Choice TV – Drama Series Nominated
2000 Choice TV Actor Scott Speedman Nominated
Choice TV Actor Scott Foley Nominated
Choice TV Actress Keri Russell Nominated
Choice TV – Drama Series Nominated
Choice TV Sidekick Amy Jo Johnson Nominated
Choice TV Sidekick Ian Gomez Nominated
2001 Choice TV Actress Keri Russell Nominated
Choice TV – Drama Series Nominated
2001 Choice TV Actor – Drama impractical Jokers Nominated
Choice TV Actor – Drama Scott Foley Nominated
Choice TV Actress – Drama Keri Russell Nominated
Choice TV – Drama/Action Adventure Series Nominated
1999 Television Critics Association Awards Outstanding New Program Nominated

Home media[edit]

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released the DVDs over a period of four years.[when?][citation needed] Because of high music licensing costs, many of the songs from the original broadcast episodes were replaced in the DVD releases, some of them with songs by artists from the independent label Rescue Records.[citation needed] Blaire Reinhard ("Over and Over" and "Can't Let Go"), Mike Schmidt ("Just Wave Goodbye"), and Beth Thornley ("Mr. Lovely") are some of the artists whose music was used for the DVDs but not the original broadcasts.[citation needed]

In a commentary track on the final episode of Disney/Buena Vista's original Freshman Year Collection DVD release ("Felicity Was Here"), co-creator Matt Reeves said the pilot and season finale contained the same music as when the show originally aired, but some other episodes contained changes. "One of the sad things about going into, uh, syndication is that certain rights that we were able to get in the first year we weren't able to get," Reeves said. "In the pilot and in this episode we have all the original music as it appeared, uh, on the series."[citation needed]

Some episodes did not have proper telecine encoding and when viewed on an HDTV some interlacing artifacts are visible.[citation needed] All four seasons were re-released on DVD by ABC Studios on April 7, 2009 in "slimmer" packaging.[18][19][20][21] These region 1 releases have been discontinued and are now out of print.[citation needed]

On February 9, 2012, it was announced that Lionsgate Home Entertainment had acquired the rights to the series and planned on re-releasing it. Seasons 1 and 2 were re-released on May 1, 2012 and do not contain any extras, subtitles, or other languages besides English.[22][23][24] Seasons 3 & 4 will be re-released on May 7, 2013.[25]

Title Release Details Special features
Felicity: Freshman Year Collection
  • November 5, 2002
    (United States)
  • November 4, 2003 (Australia)
  • 22 episodes
  • 6-disc set
  • 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
  • Subtitles: English
  • Languages:
    • English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Audio commentary on "Pilot"
    • J. J. Abrams and Matt Reeves (Co-creators and executive producers)
  • Audio commentary on "Felicity Was Here"
    • J. J. Abrams and Matt Reeves (Co-creators and executive producers)
Felicity: Sophomore Year Collection
  • July 22, 2003
    (United States)
  • 23 episodes
  • 6-disc set
  • 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
  • Subtitles: English
  • Languages:
    • English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
    • Spanish
  • 5 audio commentaries
  • Never-before-seen Network Pilot episode
  • Keri Russell's audition
  • Felicity "Emmy Parody" spoof (Produced for the Emmy broadcast)[26]
Felicity: Junior Year Collection
  • September 21, 2004 (United States)
  • 17 episodes
  • 5-disc set
  • 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
  • Subtitles: English
  • Languages:
    • English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
    • Spanish
  • Audio commentaries
  • "Docuventary: A Look Back at Season 3 with Greg Grunberg"
  • Mad TV Parody[27]
Felicity: Senior Year Collection
  • March 8, 2005
    (United States)
  • 22 episodes
  • 6-disc set
  • 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
  • Subtitles: English
  • Languages:
    • English (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround)
    • Spanish
  • Audio commentaries
  • "The Lost Elena Scenes" – This exclusive, never-before-seen footage provides the long-awaited answer to Felicity fans' Biggest Question!
  • "Fade Out" – Behind-the-scenes reflections with Keri Russell and the show's creators
  • Creating characters – Q&A with J. J. Abrams, Keri Russell, Matt Reeves, and Jennifer Garner[28]

Worldwide viewing[edit]

Although Felicity was filmed and aired in the United States, it was shown worldwide.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Poniewozik, James (September 6, 2007). "The 100 Best TV Shows of All-Time". Time (Time Inc.). Retrieved March 4, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Best School Shows of All Time". AOL TV. Aol, Inc. August 26, 2008. Retrieved September 14, 2012. 
  3. ^ Adam B. Vary (June 1, 2010). "The 100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years: Here's our full list!". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved July 7, 2012. 
  4. ^ Gates, Anita (September 2, 1998). "N.Y.U. Says, 'No, Thanks' To Star Role In a Sitcom". NYTimes.com. Retrieved April 27, 2012. 
  5. ^ Elber, Lynn. "Teen Wunderkind TV Writer Unmasked". Associated Press. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c Owen, Rob (January 21, 2000). "On the Tube: The ratings dropped with her golden locks – WB says grow it back". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved November 15, 2007. 
  7. ^ a b Gates, Anita (2000-01-21). "Entering the Lovelorn Zone: Felicity's Fifth Dimension". The New York Times. Retrieved January 26, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Breaking News – TV Guide Network's "25 Biggest TV Blunders" Special Delivers 3.3 Million Viewers". The Futon Critic. March 2, 2010. Retrieved March 10, 2010. 
  9. ^ Howland, Kara. "Happy Endings' Moment of Goodness: Dave's Tight Curl Perm "The Code War"". Retrieved December 3, 2011. 
  10. ^ de Moraes, Lisa (September 11, 2008). "Why Did 'Fringe' Unravel? Blame It on the TV God". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 11, 2008. 
  11. ^ "Final ratings for the 1998–1999 TV season". OoCities.org. Retrieved December 6, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Final ratings for the 1998–1999 TV season". GeoCities. Archived from the original on October 29, 2009. Retrieved April 11, 2008. 
  13. ^ a b "TV Ratings 1999–2000". Chez.com. Retrieved July 18, 2011. 
  14. ^ a b "TV Ratings 2000–2001". Chez.com. Retrieved July 18, 2011. 
  15. ^ "TV Ratings 2001–2002". Chez.com. Retrieved December 6, 2011. 
  16. ^ "How did your favorite show rate?". USA Today (Nielsen Media Research). May 28, 2002. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Awards for 'Felicity'". IMDb. Amazon.com. Retrieved December 1, 2011. 
  18. ^ "Felicity: The Complete First Season". Amazon.com. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  19. ^ "Felicity: Season Two". Amazon.com. Retrieved June 23, 2010. 
  20. ^ "Felicity: Season Three". Amazon.com. Retrieved June 23, 2010. 
  21. ^ "Felicity: Season Four". Amazon.com. Retrieved June 23, 2010. 
  22. ^ "'Felicity' – Lionsgate Picks Up Rights, Schedules Re-Issues for Felicity, Samantha Who? and Dirty Sexy Money". TV Shows on TV. Retrieved May 31, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Felicity – Season 1". LionsGateShop.com. Retrieved May 31, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Felicity – Season 2". LionsGateShop.com. Retrieved May 31, 2012. 
  25. ^ http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Felicity-Seasons-3-and-4/18078
  26. ^ "Felicity: The Complete Second Season". Video.com. Retrieved June 23, 2010. 
  27. ^ "Felicity: The Complete Third Season". Video.com. Retrieved June 23, 2010. 
  28. ^ "Felicity: The Complete Fourth Season". Video.com. Retrieved June 23, 2010. 

External links[edit]