I must admit that I’m a sucker for US TV series featuring teen angst and attractive kids who always seem to glow with the peculiar golden light that only the American networks can achieve. My So-Called Life, Dawson’s Creek, Roswell, all that, I’m there. It’s bewildering to me that of this genre Felicity has had the least impact in the UK. It’s consigned to the digital wasteland that is ITV2 where it obviously failed to find an audience on early Sunday evenings, having now been shunted to the unholy hour of 9.25am the same day.
For me the show has everything going for it. We can take the attractive and strangely articulate young people as read. It’s set in New York, which is a good start, although it’s so understated (or, perhaps, budget-conscious) that one rarely sees a picture postcard view. There are the endless shifting relationships between characters that have made Dawson’s so exhausting and tiresome of late, but somehow it’s less cartoon-like; the angst is more believable from these world-weary college kids than it is from the increasingly sickly and slap-worthy gang that has failed to make the leap from Capeside to Boston. And the crucial ingredient that raises Felicity above the competition is its humour, a light-heartedness and sense of fun that stops us from taking it too seriously.
There have been times when the balance has been wrong, and even the wackiest of gay coffee-shop proprietors and hare-brained scheming businessmen would be hard-pushed to balance the over-wraught trauma that was the prolonged near-death of a parent from alcoholism. But recent episodes have somehow managed to pull together the most unlikely plot devices into something that magically holds together… Felicity, convinced she’s been with the wrong guy since he cheated on her, appears to have travelled back in time, thanks to a flatmate’s Wiccan spell, to set things straight with the right guy. This week both guys over-reacted when she divulged this and had her committed to an asylum, before the “wrong” guy realised she must, somehow, be telling the truth and got her out, becoming the right guy (which we knew all along). Only for the original right guy (who was, by now, the not-quite-so-right guy) to die. Presumably in the college fire from which he rescued Felicity back when we were all in the future.
Yes, it’s preposterous, but somehow it worked. Felicity’s frustration and desperation, the guys’ confusion, the final minute police phone call and the comedy background sub-plots involving manicures, Dollywood and imaginary boyfriends all worked and I had tears in my eyes. And yet I’ve no one to share it with because I don’t know anyone who watches it. But that’s fine, because it makes the show just mine and I don’t have to share.