NBC (ended 2005)
This evocative drama, which won two Emmy Awards, is set against the memorable music, the cultural clashes, and the Vietnam war during the 1960s. The third-year drama depicts the American landscape -- as seen through the youthful Pryor family of Philadelphia as they brace for the cultural turbulence ahead that still resonates in this contemporary era.
Seventeen-year-old Meg Pryor (Brittany Snow, “Guiding Light”) is shedding her “good girl” image as she and her outspoken best friend Roxanne (Vanessa Lengies, “Popular Mechanics for Kids”) continue to pursue their dreams of making a difference as they struggle through the transition from teenager to adult. While they continue to dance on Dick Clark’s locally produced “American Bandstand,” they find -- as seniors at East Catholic High School -- that the world around them is growing ever closer with issues of the war, racism, feminism, and even teen marriage and pregnancy.
At the same time, Meg’s mother Helen (three-time Emmy nominee Gail O’Grady, “NYPD Blue”) continues to face the challenge of the era’s modern woman, working and holding the family together. The family’s patriarch, Jack Pryor (Tom Verica, “Providence”), braces himself for the sociological and economic changes as he prepares to run for city councilman, and JJ (Will Estes, “7th Heaven”), a U.S. Marine fighting in Vietnam, struggles to find his way home to his family and his ex-fiancee, Beth Mason (Rachel Boston, “The Andy Dick Show”), who is pregnant with their child. In addition, adolescent Will (Ethan Dampf, “Collateral Damage”) tries to fit in at school after successful polio surgery, and smarty-pants Patty (Sarah Ramos) tries to find a balance between her brilliant mind and social acceptance among her high school peers.
African-American father Henry Walker (Jonathan Adams, “The American Embassy”) remains hopeful that his partnership in Jack Pryor’s electronics store is a sign of positive social changes to come. However, the politics of the time continue to show him that the needs of the black community are not being met. Meanwhile, his son Sam (Arlen Escarpeta, “The Shield”) has mixed feelings concerning the evolving events as he starts his freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania on a track scholarship which forces him on a path of self-discovery.
The drama embraced contemporary musicians as guest stars who portray classic 1960s icons on “American Bandstand.” Last season’s guest stars include Kelly Clarkson (as Brenda Lee), Nick Lachey (as Tom Jones), Alicia Keys (as Fontella Bass), and Hilary and Haylie Duff (as The Shangri-Las).moreless