Quality TV Under Fire This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Two years ago, Itried watching a new program on ABC called "Once and Again," assumingthat a show with mature themes aimed at adults would bore me to death - or evenworse, to sleep. Priding myself on giving new television shows at least onechance, however, I turned it on, sat back, and waited to give what I assumedwould be a negative verdict.

Imagine my surprise when instead of beingboring and out of touch, "Once and Again" turned out to be the mosttrue-to-life, character-driven, well-acted, well-directed and well-written showon television. The trials and tribulations each character faced were performedwith such reality, delicacy and tenderness that, just by watching, I began tofeel less alone as a teen - I had finally found my voice in Grace (Julia Whelan),Eli (Shane West), Jessie (Evan Rachel Wood), and the young Zoe (MeredithDeane).

Many television shows geared toward teen viewers today haveslipped into a monotonous consistency, born of the assumption that teens areincapable of grasping and understanding issues that are deeper than make-up andrelationships. "Once and Again," however, has consistently proven itcan take an issue that is not only difficult to understand, but challenging foran actor to portray and do justice to the topic (i.e., sexual identity, adultery,divorce, eating disorders, depression, fear of (and actual loss of) a parent,suicide, drugs, confusion about the future, etc.). They handle all of it withabsolute dignity and sensitivity. The writers, producers and actors allunderstand the characters and obey their hunger to be portrayed fairly andrealistically.

Though often described as an adult show, "Once andAgain" has also been dubbed a "thinking show for teens" and I, forone, agree, because not one episode has failed to deliver a strong,thought-provoking message - and, I'm sure those who watch would agree that it isa quality show, not a brainless tribute to teenagers and their lives.

Now,disappointingly, cancellation threats loom. The "Once and Again"community has joined together in an effort to save it by asking ABC to listen andtake notice of the fact that people want more quality programming, nothorrifyingly brainless time-fillers like "The Chair" and the bankrupt"Who Wants to be a Millionaire."

But, the show can't besaved unless more publicity is generated and it attracts more viewers, so I askevery teen out there to tune in and judge for themselves whether or not this showfairly portrays you and your friends' lives. I'm certain once you watch, you willundoubtedly agree that this is the best show on TV.

We have a voice, andshould use it not just to save a TV show, but to take action in any situation wefeel passionately about. If you are interested in helping to save "Once andAgain," there is a simple way: visit www.saveoanda.com, and tune in when theseason picks up after a seven-week break on Mondays, at 10 p.m. Let our voices beheard!




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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