Philosophising about the 'S'-word: Watch… and learn
Felicity is an American prime time television drama series that was created by J. J. Abrams (Revolution, Lost, The Office) and Matt Reeves and produced by Touchstone Television and Imagine Television for The WB Television Network. The series revolves around the fictional college experiences of the title character, Felicity Porter (portrayed by Keri Russell, The Americans), as she attends the “University of New York” (based on New York University), across the country from her home in Palo Alto, California.
The series opens at Felicity’s high school graduation, where she asks Ben Covington (Scott Speedman), a classmate whom she has a crush on, to sign her yearbook. Moved by his comment that he wished he had gotten to know her, she changes her education plans completely, deciding to follow Ben to New York rather than attend Stanford University as a pre-med student. Felicity’s overbearing parents, concerned about Felicity’s seemingly rash decision, come to New York to try to convince her to return home and “get back on track”. Felicity has second thoughts about her decision, but soon realizes that she came not only to follow Ben, but to discover her true inner self.
While Felicity works to sort out her emotions, she continues the basic motions of student life and moves into her dorm. There, she meets the resident advisor Noel Crane (Scott Foley, The Goodwin Games). Eventually, romance ensues, and the relationships among Felicity, Ben, and Noel form the basic dramatic conflicts in the show throughout the series.
A number of other characters appear and play large roles in Felicity’s life. Her roommate for the first two years is Meghan Rotundi (Amanda Foreman, Alias), a goth Wiccan who occasionally “casts spells” on Felicity and others. Julie Emrick (Amy Jo Johnson) is one of Felicity’s best friends, as is Elena Tyler (Tangi Miller), who often takes classes with Felicity. Felicity also has male friends, including Sean Blumberg (Greg Grunberg, Lost, Alias, Heroes), who is always trying to produce new off-kilter inventions, and Javier Clemente Quintata (Ian Gomez, Cougar Town), who manages the coffee house Dean & DeLuca, where Felicity works for most of her college career.
The show ran for four seasons from 1998 to 2002, with each season corresponding to the traditional American university divisions of freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years. A recurring episode opener of the show is a stark camera shot of Felicity sitting in a dormitory room or apartment holding a tape recorder, recalling events in order to make a cassette tape to send to an old friend named Sally Reardon (voiced by Janeane Garofalo). This occasionally provides a method for Felicity to narrate an entire episode. At the end of episodes like this, Felicity is often shown to be listening to a tape that Sally has sent in reply.
In 2007, Felicity was one of Time magazine’s “100 Best TV Shows of All-Time.” AOL TV named Felicity one of the “Best School Shows of All Time.” In June 2010, Entertainment Weekly named Felicity Porter one of the “100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years”.