Friends logo

Friends : This "hit US sitcom" from NBC centres on 6 twentysomething friends living in New York. The US is currently into the 3rd series of life with Chandler, Phoebe, Ross & Rachel, Joey and Monica; in the UK we have to wait 'til Summer '97, with Series 2 repeats in the meantime.

There are loads of Friends sites on the Web - as a starting point try Friends. I'll mention a few anyway : For background on the show I recommend the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions), which will also prove useful before you visit the newsgroup. Pictures and soundclips from the show are on many sites, and I particularly like Phoebe's Songpage.

For a quality Friends T-shirt I haven't seen one to beat Adam Richardson's, from a design by The Friends Zone mailing list. (Not much of a sales pitch was it; you make your own mind up! See the design at Adam's site; I can confirm that the T-shirt itself is excellent.)

My friends who started with Season 2 say how good they think Friends is. I thought Season 1 was better, but couldn't explain why. In a 1 Nov '96 post to the newsgroup, Neil Stolar puts it much better than I could, and I've reproduced part of it. (Hope you don't mind me quoting you Neil.)

"I don't see as much creativity as during the first season. I do have to say that this third season is bringing us some good episodes and parts of episodes, so the following comments actually apply more to the second season:"

"What first bothered me about the second season was the lack of realistic continuity between the episodes. They spread out the R&R&J story by interspersing unrelated episodes in between."

"The second thing ...was how they didn't really explore the way in which the R&R relationship affected the other friends. The first season ended with Rachel concerned how a relationship would affect this group of friends, and yet we don't really see that explored once they do get together."

"They spent the entire first season dealing with Ross pursuing Rachel with only minor things happening to the others. This helped give a sense of cohesiveness to the show (as well as a good, slow build up of anticipation regarding R&R). During the second season, there are just too many plot developments so that none really gets the attention it deserves."

"...a show as popular as Friends can afford to not have a strong teaser and yet deliver a great episode like TOW No Oneís Ready, and therefore attract their audience by word of mouth. After all, thatís how they did it in the first place!"

My So-Called Life (MSCL) : The life in question is that of Angela Chase (Clare Danes), a 15 year-old living in Three Rivers, a fictional suburb somewhere near Pittsburgh, PA (USA). Beginning at a turning-point in the lives of Angela and her parents, and including voiceovers by Clare Danes as we eavesdrop on Angela's thoughts, the series has been described as "sophisticated, provocative, and 'brutally honest'".

Created by Winnie Holzman, and produced by Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick (the creative team that helmed "thirtysomething"), to present something other than what Zwick called "television's fatuous, inaccurate depiction of what teenage life is". Ted Harbert, President of ABC's entertainment division, said "Not since 'Moonlighting' has there been a show that when the rough cut comes in, the place stops". Unfortunately it wasn't mainstream enough for the US ratings, and was cancelled by ABC after Season 1 (19 episodes).

A newsgroup campaign, for ABC to reconsider, ended in failure; but occasional repeats are apparently shown on MTV. In the UK, Channel 4 has the option until April '97, but no plans to use it. A video release is hampered by MTV's option and a need for the bands' permission.

A soundtrack has been released, but it's "music from and inspired by" MSCL, and doesn't really capture the feel of the show. "Our so-called soundtrack" was available for a blank tape + $3 (site seems to be closed now?). Some of the sound quality is poor, but it's a much better compilation than the commercial one (IMHO), and includes clips of dialogue.

The main newsgroup is linked above. With the demise of the show and the campaign's failure, it deals mainly with the actors' careers now (especially Clare Danes). (There is another newsgroup, but it is hardly ever used.)

Other links include the FAQ (which I quoted from above), Matt Wolf's MSCL links and the excellent MSCL WWW site.

Other sites :

MSCL logo
Denis Leary
Billy Connolly
Calvin and Hobbes

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