Felicity (TV series)
Title screen used for the first two seasons
|Created by||J. J. Abrams
Amy Jo Johnson
|Narrated by||Janeane Garofalo
|Theme music composer||Judith Owen
J. J. Abrams
|Opening theme||"Felicity Theme" (seasons 1-2)
"New Version of You" (seasons 3-4)
|Composer(s)||W. G. Snuffy Walden
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||84 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||J. J. Abrams
|Location(s)||New York City
University of Southern California
|Camera setup||Single-camera setup|
|Running time||42–45 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Touchstone Television
|Distributor||Disney–ABC Domestic Television|
|Original network||The WB|
|Picture format||NTSC (480i)|
|First shown in||United States|
|Original release||September 29, 1998– May 22, 2002|
Felicity is an American drama television series that was created by J. J. Abrams and Matt Reeves and produced by Touchstone Television and Imagine Television for The WB. 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.
In 2007, Felicity was one of Time magazine's "100 Best TV Shows of All-Time." AOL TV named Felicity one of the "Best School Shows of All Time." In June 2010, Entertainment Weekly named Felicity Porter one of the "100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years".
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 persuade 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.
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.
Cast and characters
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.
|1st: Freshman Year||2nd: Sophomore Year||3rd: Junior Year||4th: Senior Year||Total|
|Felicity Porter||Keri Russell||Main||84|
|Ben Covington||Scott Speedman||Main||84|
|Noel Crane||Scott Foley||Main||84|
|Elena Tyler||Tangi Miller||Main||65|
|Julie Emrick||Amy Jo Johnson||Main||Special Guest||50|
|Sean Blumberg||Greg Grunberg||Recurring||Main||61|
|Meghan Rotundi||Amanda Foreman||Recurring||Main||61|
|Javier Clemente Quintata||Ian Gomez||Guest||Recurring||Main||39|
Felicity was filmed in part 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 like other universities, NYU normally welcomes being mentioned in film or on television as free product placement, the university refused permission for the show to use its name, stating that "[t]he negatives kind of outweighed the positives."
|This section does not cite any sources. (July 2012)|
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", 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 six-figure 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.
Time-slot and hairstyle changes
In the summer of 1999, after filming the first season, Felicity star Russell—known for what The New York Times described as "[t]hat glorious head of voluminous golden backlit hair"—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. After being shifted from Tuesday nights at 9:00 PM Eastern to Sunday nights at 8:00 PM Eastern (WB's weakest night) for the 1999-2000 season, the ratings for Felicity declined immediately. This decline was before the celebrated hair-style change, but the later hair-style change became conflated by some of the public and by some of the popular press and network executives with this earlier event and thus incorrectly blamed the earlier ratings drop partly on the later new hairstyle. After the negative reaction Russell rejected wearing extensions or a wig while her hair grew back. Although storytelling and time-slot changes had already created a ratings decline, a network executive said WB actors' future hair changes would "be given more thought at the network than it previously would have". 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.
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 1996 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." 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.
Despite the controversy, Felicity survived for two more seasons.
The series debut garnered 7.1 million viewers.
|Season premiere||Season finale||TV season|
|1st||22||September 29, 1998||May 25, 1999||1998–1999||#124||4.4|
|2nd||23||September 26, 1999||May 24, 2000||1999–2000||#135||2.2|
|3rd||17||October 4, 2000||May 23, 2001||2000–2001||#123||2.8|
|4th||22||October 10, 2001||May 22, 2002||2001–2002||#129||3.2|
Felicity was nominated for 38 awards during its run from 1998 to 2002 and won several, including an Emmy Award for Outstanding Cinematography for a Series for Robert Primes and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama for Keri Russell.
|Year||Group||Category||Recipient(s) and nominees(s)||Result|
|1999||People's Choice Awards||Favorite TV Drama||Felicity||Won|
|Favorite TV Drama Actress||Keri Russell||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Awards||Best Actress – Drama Series||Keri Russell||Won|
|Best Series – Drama||Felicity||Nominated|
|OFTA Television Awards||Best Actress in a New Drama Series||Keri Russell||Won|
|Best Actress in a Drama Series||Keri Russell||Nominated|
|Best New Drama Series||Felicity||Nominated|
|Best Direction in a Drama Series||Felicity||Nominated|
|Best Music in a Series||Felicity||Nominated|
|Best New Theme Song in a Series||W.G. Snuffy Walden||Nominated|
|Best New Titles Sequence in a Series||Felicity||Nominated|
|Eddie Awards||Best Edited Series for Television||Stan Salfas
|Artios Awards||Best Casting for TV, Dramatic Pilot||Marcia Shulman||Won|
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Cinematography for a Series||Robert Primes||Won|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV: Breakout Performance||Keri Russell||Won|
|Choice TV: Actor||Scott Foley||Nominated|
|Choice TV: Actress||Amy Jo Johnson||Nominated|
|Choice TV: Drama Series||Felicity||Nominated|
|Television Critics Association Awards||Outstanding New Program||Felicity||Nominated|
|2000||American Society of Cinematographers Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Regular Series||Robert Primes||Nominated|
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Music Composition for a Series||Danny Pelfrey
W.G. Snuffy Walden
|ALMA Awards||Special Achievement Award||Ian Gomez||Won|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV: Actor||Scott Speedman||Nominated|
|Choice TV Actress||Keri Russell||Nominated|
|Choice TV Show: Drama||Felicity||Nominated|
|Choice TV: Sidekick||Amy Jo Johnson||Nominated|
|GLAAD Media Awards||Outstanding TV Drama Series||Felicity||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV: Actress||Keri Russell||Nominated|
|Choice TV Show: Drama||Felicity||Nominated|
|2002||Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV Actor: Drama||Scott Speedman||Nominated|
|Choice TV Actress: Drama||Keri Russell||Nominated|
|Choice TV: Action/Drama||Felicity||Nominated|
|NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series||Tangi Miller||Nominated|
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released the DVDs over a period of four years.[when?] 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. 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.
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 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 on the series."
Some episodes did not have proper telecine encoding and when viewed on an HDTV some interlacing artifacts are visible. All four seasons were re-released on DVD by ABC Studios on April 7, 2009 in "slimmer" packaging. These region 1 releases have been discontinued and are now out of print.
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. Seasons 3 and 4 were re-released on May 7, 2013.
|Felicity: Freshman Year Collection||
|Felicity: Sophomore Year Collection||
|Felicity: Junior Year Collection||
|Felicity: Senior Year Collection||
Although Felicity was filmed and aired in the United States, it was shown worldwide.
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