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October 9, 2015

My So-Called Life lands on Hulu

by Mike Moody, posted Aug 12th 2009 6:30PM
my so-called lifeToday I don't feel like Brian Krakow standing sad and alone in the street holding my bike. Nope, today it feels like the Internet is giving me a big warm hug thanks to the debut of My So-Called Life on Hulu. The site is now streaming every episode of ABC's pioneering but short-lived series about a teenage girl growing up in the '90s.

For the uninitiated, My So-Called Life stars Claire Danes as Angela Chase, a teen desperately searching for meaning in her life and balancing new friends, the wild Rayanne Graff (A.J. Langer) and gay 15-year-old Rickie Vasquez (Wilson Cruz), with old ones, nerdy Brian (Devon Gummersall) and cheerleader Sharon Cherski (Devon Odessa). The show also chronicles Angela's parents' (Bess Armstrong and Tom Irwin) rocky relationship and her obsession with the broody Jordan Catalano (Jared Leto).

My So-Called Life was a success with critics, and precocious teens, because it offered a brutally honest portrayal of middle class teen and family relationships. It's hard to describe exactly what I felt when I first watched the premiere back in 1994. I was sixteen and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air just wasn't doing it for me anymore. My So-Called Life felt like punk rock. It chronicled the minutiae of a confused, self-absorbed teen's life perfectly.

The show never shied away from the controversial issues – drugs, teen drinking, sex, homosexuality, and poverty to name a few – but it rarely felt preachy and it never talked down to me. Plus it had a killer soundtrack (The Lemonheads, Buffalo Tom, Juliana Hatfield).

My So-Called Life made me a life-long fan of writer Winnie Holzman and producers Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz (thirtysomething and Once and Again). It only lasted one season, but you can see the show's lasting influence in everything from the teen shows that followed to current shows like ABC's Brothers & Sisters. Stream the pilot below and watch the entire series on Hulu:

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I was really pleased to see this piece was written by a guy. I was a little older when it was first on, but was equally in love with the show. But it seems in later years that the only enthusiastic fans I find of it are women, like it's some special "chick flick" thing that only girls/women could understand. That's just not true. And it's also not just for teenagers--it's for anyone who WAS a teenager.

I'm glad to see it on Hulu. After ABC stupidly killed it (it was, in effect, the model for many future WB drama series), it was on MTV for a while, and found a whole new generation of teenage and college-age fans. Now it's a few years later, and that generation watches TV from Hulu, so of course it will become popular there all over again.

August 12 2009 at 10:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Scott's comment

Wonderful show, but ABC didn't kill it: Claire Danes did. She did not want to return.

August 13 2009 at 5:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is great news, thanks for the heads up!

August 12 2009 at 6:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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