Despite having a vocal, devoted fanbase, Everwood hasn’t exactly been consistent when it comes to DVD releases. The Season 1 DVD set came out in 2004, and Season 3 is just hitting shelves today. Years-long-gap aside, however, it’s nice to have more episodes to revisit. Everwood was one of the last quintessentially WB shows—a strong family drama with engaging characters and tricky storylines that challenged its audience. Or, as it was pitched when I started watching back in 2002, “Gilmore Girls for guys.”
The first two seasons of Everwood have a special place in my heart because I watched them while I was in high school. Chris Pratt, who played Bright, told me recently that he understands the sentiment. “We had a lot of teen fans, and I think there’s something special about that time in a person’s life,” he said. “It’s nice that Everwood can be part of the nostalgia of a generation.”
But Season 3 still hit all the right marks. We finally got a coupled Ephram (Greg Smith) and Amy (Emily VanCamp)—and learned that our favorite pairings don’t always work out the way we want them to. The Madison storyline reached its resolution, as Ephram learned about the baby that Madison (Sarah Lancaster) gave up for adoption. Meanwhile, we got two new characters: dorky high school girl Hannah (Sarah Drew), and suave new doctor Jake Hartman (Scott Wolf). Oh, and Rose (Merrilyn Gann) was diagnosed with cancer. It was a tough year.
“Everwood wore its heart on its sleeve,” Greg Smith told me during an interview I conducted with him last week. We had been talking about his new show, Rookie Blue, but he was happy to reflect on his four-year stint as Ephram. “[Creator] Greg Berlanti dealt with issues that were delicate issues, and he wasn’t shy about them. He didn’t always take the standard party line with how he dealt with them.”
With Rookie Blue (which premieres June 24 on ABC), Smith joins many Everwood cast members who've returned to primetime in the last couple years. Pratt is on Parks and Recreation, Sarah Lancaster is on Chuck, Scott Wolf is on V, and Sarah Drew just got promoted to regular status on Grey’s Anatomy. And yet, for those of us celebrating the Everwood Season 3 release, these actors are still fondly remembered for their work on the WB series. Just ask Pratt: “Since Everwood ended, I still from time to time get recognized by people who really just loved the show,” he said.
Smith has had similar experiences: “When people make the connection that I’m Ephram or that I was on Everwood, it’s pretty astounding the number of people who were really affected by and connected with the show.”
And now that the penultimate season is finally available for purchase, we can connect all over again. I don’t think Everwood was ever really “Gilmore Girls for guys,” though that was a clever way to get us watching. It was a unique show that continues to hold up, thanks to the strength of its arcs and a talented young cast. Things are a little flashier these days—look at Gossip Girl or, to cite a more recent example, Pretty Little Liars—and I like that, too. But sometimes it’s nice to step back into a simpler time and place, even if it never really existed.