Gearing up for the launch of the new CW network means having to lead UPN and the WB out back and put two merciful shots in each of their heads. You can’t move on until you’ve buried the past. And while UPN is going out with a whimper (Shasta McNasty marathon perhaps?), the WB is trying to remember days of yore by re-airing some of the defining shows’ pilots from the network that was once called “The Frog”. Stay tuned for a breakdown of the new CW schedule (set to launch on Wednesday, September 20) sometime next week. Until then, here’s a look at what “classic” pilots the network will air on its last night of Broadcast, Sunday, September 17 on the WB (sorry, Birds of Prey is nowhere to be found).5 PM – Felicity
Say what you will about the constant whispering, the scandalous haircut and the presence of the Pink Power Ranger, this show had a lot of merits. While most people stand on either side of a very distinct love it or hate it line in the sand, I was the very rare casual Felicity watcher. Sure the love triangle was sort of one-sided (did anyone REALLY think Felcicity would end up with Noel?), but it was a smartly written, well-acted show. And it helped JJ Abrams establish himself, so all you WB snobs out there repeat after me: If there was no Felicity, there’d have been no Alias, and if there was no Alias there’d be no Lost. And then nerds around the world would have nothing to do, four toed statues wouldn’t exist, Evangeline Lilly would still be making Phone Sex commercials and there’d only be one Bennifer. I cringe at the thought.
6 PM – Angel
I’m so pleased that this show got picked for spotlight, because it was a spin-off and spent most of its 5 seasons in the shadow of it’s sister show, Buffy, before being unceremoniously cancelled before its prime. But now we have a chance to rewatch the Pilot episode, when Cordelia was still a hell on wheels bitch from Sunnydale, Angel was still nursing his broken heart over leaving Buffy, and Doyle was alive (in fact, not only has Doyle since passed on, but his portrayer Glenn Quinn killed himself in 2002). This was the show as it was just starting to find its rhythm, which it eventually did, in Season’s 2 & 3. It might not have been the most revolutionary of WB shows, but it’s earned it’s place in the pantheon. Although there isn’t nearly enough Cordelia butt-kicking, take a look at her and please, please PLEASE find a way to e-mail Joss Whedon about casting her as Wonder Woman. Sure, they have an, umm, prickly working history (she was MIA for much of season 4 & all of season 5 -save for the 100th episode), but she’s way better than Jessica Biel or, gross, Kate Backinsdale.
7 PM – Buffy, The Vampire Slayer
At first, my not-so-inner nerd was worried that when they aired all these pilots they’d only put on the first hour of Buffy’s two-hour pilot. But geeks of the world rejoice! All two hours are here in their entirety, complete with Eric Balfour. Thank God, they killed him off in episode one, or else Buffy would’ve never had the opportunity to become the cult classic it did. Now I know there are people out there who never got into Buffy (besides Freddie Prinze, Jr., of course), and it’s easy to dismiss this show as just another fanboy wet dream. But in actuality it is just simply: ONE OF THE BEST SHOWS EVER ON TELEVISION. For anyone, even the casual fan, take a look at where Buffy, Angel, Cordelia, Willow and Xander start out in this pilot and then think about who they are when their respective series’ have wrapped up. Plainly, Joss Whedon is a genius. Oh and it has one of my favorite lines ever, courtesy of Cordelia Chase: “What is your childhood trauma!??!”
9 PM Dawson’s Creek
Meet James Van Der Beek, Katie Holmes, Joshua Jackson & Michelle Williams. I bet you’ll never guess which two you’ll still be talking about in 10 years. No, not the show’s namesake, or the studly badboy, Pacey. Mousy Joey and duck-like slut Jen, are going to be the ones scoring Tom Cruise and Oscar nominations, respectively. This show was like the best hook up buddy ever. At first you think it’s going to last and be great forever. Then slowly you just use it when nothing else is around. I think I completely stopped watching by the time we hit the last season and/or the college years. But when this show was good, it was really good. Okay, not good. Let’s say entertaining. On the plus side, this particular episode introduced the worst masterbation euphemism ever (“Walk the dog”), on the downside, it made it possible for show creator, Kevin Williamson, to not go away for many, many years.
So there you have it, the very last night of WB programming ever. Sad? Ehh, me neither. With the UPN & WB merging together, they are making a Voltron-like super network. Okay, super is a strong word, but sadly 75% of my television watching takes place between the UPN and WB. Not having to change the channel = Priceless. I’m also very proud of myself for writing this whole post without mentioning the abortion that is 7th Heaven and the cancellation of my beloved Everwood. Oh. Damn!