Today TV is littered with so-called teenage dramas, mostly unwatchable and predictably base. In comparison My So-Called Life, which ran about 15 years ago on ABC stands out like a diamond in a landfill.

The show was so far ahead of its time that there will probably never come a time when its time arrives. It perfectly captured the agonizing teenage quest of identity and purpose without being pretentious or careless. And it had the heart of a lion. Lead by Claire Danes in her unforgettable breakout performance, the cast of characters made you feel every emotion and you could relate in some way to all of them. You celebrated the good times and your heart wrenched with the bad, because everything that happened on the show felt real, like it was something that happened to you or could happen next week. If you’re a fan a show, you know how just hearing the theme music conjures up nostalgia, heartache, hope, angst. The writing, acting, and execution all seem flawless, but what I can’t stress enough is the realness of it. It’s raw yet refined. As today’s shows drift further and further into fantasy and superficiality, MSCL stands as a beacon of authenticity.

My So-Called Life

Inconceivably to it’s viewers both past and present, it only ran for one season. The entire series is only 19 episodes, but that only adds to the show’s mystique. Had it continued on it likely would have been the victim of network pressures and ratings chicanery. So maybe it’s better that way. For that one season they captured perfection on film, and its audience is better for it. Short-lived, yes, but timeless.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here are some links. Whether you are a teenager, were once one, or are thinking about becoming one, I think you will like it.

DVD box set