Everwood: The Complete 3rd Season
Cast: Treat Williams, Gregory Smith, Emily Van Camp, Debra Mooney, John Beasley, Chris Pratt, Vivien Cardone, Tom Amandes, Scott Wolf, Sarah Drew, Sarah Lancaster
Creator: Greg Berlanti
St. John's University '07
"If you always do what interests you at least one person is pleased." -Katharine Hepburn
Everwood: The Complete 3rd Season
Review By: Andrea Tuccillo
For those that don’t remember, Everwood was the type of solid family drama that the WB network used to churn out a-plenty. Edgier than 7th Heaven and less kooky than Gilmore Girls, Everwood boasted a rustic Colorado setting, familial and relationship angst, small-town quirk and charm, plus the added bonus of medical cases courtesy of two of the show’s main characters who happen to be doctors. At its core, though, it was a show about father and son, and the often messy conflict that bond brings. In season one, Dr. Andy Brown (Treat Williams), once a powerful New York City brain surgeon with no time for his family, moves his teenage son Ephram (Gregory Smith) and young daughter Delia (Vivien Cardone) to a tiny mountain town called Everwood after their mother is tragically killed in a car accident. There, he hopes to get to know the kids he so neglected before.
Father and son bond, fight, bond again, then fight some more. And in season three things between Andy and Ephram are about to take one giant step back. The season – which aired in 2005 – picks up with piano-prodigy Ephram returning from a summer in New York at a Julliard workshop and into the waiting arms of his long-time crush Amy (Emily Van Camp). Unbeknownst to him, his dad is keeping a whopper of a secret. At the end of season two, Ephram’s older ex-girlfriend Madison (Sarah Lancaster) comes to Dr. Brown and reveals that she’s pregnant with Ephram’s child. In a split-second, he makes the decision to keep this information from his son in order to preserve his bright future, and sends Madison away, vowing to take care of her financially. It’s a cold move, and it hangs over season three like a black cloud. Perhaps this is partly to blame for my lukewarm feeling about the third season.
Also to blame were the various changes the show underwent no doubt to appease the network and gain viewership. Gone were the whimsical and insightful voiceovers that bookended each episode. Introduced were a whole slew of new characters. Scott Wolf rolls into Everwood as a hotshot Los Angeles plastic surgeon looking to get away from life in the big city. But Everwood already has Dr. Brown and family physician Dr. Harold Abbott (Tom Amandes). Does such a small town really need a third doc? Anne Heche also guest-stars as a new love interest for Dr. Brown who also happens to have a paralyzed husband. I didn’t get on board with that storyline five years ago, and it still doesn’t sit well with me now. The only worthy addition to the cast this season was Sarah Drew‘s Hannah. As a shy, nerdy girl who comes to stay with the Browns’ next door neighbor Nina (because her parents are on business in Hong Kong…or
The main characters on Everwood aren’t always likeable. Amy’s neurotic and needy, Ephram is whiney and self-centered, and for a brain surgeon, Dr. Brown can be pretty clueless. But there are parts that everyone can relate to in those flaws. Plus there’s always the dimwitted charm of Bright (Chris Pratt, currently cracking me up on Parks & Recreation) to balance out the unlikeable character traits of the others.
Some standout episodes on this five-disc set include The Reflex, which perfectly illustrates the imperfect way a young couple tries to take their relationship to the “next level.” The uncertainty, the awkwardness and the excitement were all well-played by Smith and Van Camp, especially. Amy and Ephram’s voiceovers in the beginning were also hilariously spot-on. Another great episode is Fate Accomplis, in which Ephram meets up with Madison in New York and finds out the truth about her pregnancy. It’s heavy stuff and Sarah Lancaster (always a favorite of mine) hits all the right emotions.
The special features…well, what special features? All we get is a few selected outtakes. I guess we’re just lucky to have the show on DVD at all. It took years after the first season DVD was released for the 2nd and 3rd to follow suit.
Although in my opinion the third season was the weakest of Everwood‘s four, compared to a lot of hokey family dramas, this one remains a breath of fresh, crisp mountain air.