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The OC

Drama . Romance . Comedy

A slick hit about a troubled L.A. teen taken in by an idealistic lawyer and his family in affluent Orange County. The series filled the youth-soap hole left by the departed '90210,' but quickly proved itself far more gritty---and witty. In addition, early plots set up an appealing balance between the kids and grown-ups, who were portrayed as real people with real problems, instead of sounding boards for the unblemished Romeos and Juliets.

Status: Ended
TV Channel: FOX
  • Hal Boedeker

    The first new fall TV series is also one of the most promising. The O.C. -- which stands for Orange County, California-style -- mixes potent conflicts with lavish backdrops and attractive folk. The concoction carries a surprisingly bittersweet kick. [3 Aug 2003, p.4]

    Orlando Sentinel Full Review
  • Tim Goodman

    The series reflects the youth and intelligence of its writer and succeeds by quickly getting viewers past what would seem an insurmountable obstacle -- caring about what happens to rich white kids in Orange County.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Glenn Garvin

    It flickers with longing and resentment, vulnerability and rejection, temptation and moral erosion. It is totally absorbing television. [5 Aug 2003, p.1E]

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • James Poniewozik

    The O.C. looks to have enough heart, talent and wit to generate a few seasons' worth of luxurious suds.

    Time Full Review
  • Alessandra Stanley

    Purists may be irritated by the pilfering of James Dean's classic film "Rebel Without a Cause," including, in the show's second episode, an entire plot line in which Ryan (Benjamin McKenzie) runs away and plays house with Marissa and another young friend in the unfinished model house of a new development. Yet the empty swimming pool, used by the boys as a skateboarding rink, is a rather amusing homage to that 1955 movie by Nicholas Ray.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Carina Chocano

    Somewhere in all the high-stakes soapiness ... and often deft and subtle drama, there is a pretty wicked satire of baby-boomer values.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Mike McDaniel

    The O.C. may be a lousy title but it's cast, written and directed well. Early indications are that the show is smartly going after two generations of viewers - not just the 20-somethings Fox is famous for, but also their parents. [5 Aug 2003, p.8]

    Houston Chronicle Full Review
  • Phil Rosenthal

    McKenzie is a revelation and, backed by an able cast, he is what salvages this music-infused, glossy soap from slick filmmakers Doug Liman and McG. [5 Aug 2003, p.39]

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Chuck Barney

    Brody's portrayal of the wise but nerdy Seth energizes The O.C. He's comical without being cartoonish, and the humorous touches he brings to the story help to lighten up a show that at times feels overly heavy. Here's hoping the script writers don't leave his character in the dust in favor of chasing more glamorous story lines. [5 Aug 2003, p.D01]

    San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times Full Review
  • Ed Bark

    The O.C. looks as though it will be hard-pressed to build and maintain a loyal base of younger viewers. Sure, it's worth a look. But no, it wouldn't be terribly missed. [4 Aug 2003, p.12E]

    Dallas Morning News Full Review
  • Ellen Gray

    McKenzie may look like Russell Crowe's younger brother - while playing nearly a decade below his own age - but for all the James Dean comparisons being bandied about, he's a character straight out of Dickens: a little bit Pip, a little bit David Copperfield. [4 Aug 2003, p.28]

    Philadelphia Daily News Full Review
  • Scott D. Pierce

    Not that The O.C. is a bad show. It actually shows some promise of being a decent drama that will appeal to Fox's young-skewing audience. [4 Aug 2003, p.C06]

    Deseret News Full Review
  • Terry Kelleher

    Nothing in the opener is especially fresh or intriguing except the relationship between Ryan and Seth.

    People Weekly Full Review
  • David Bianculli

    All glamour and glitz and surface. The show is intended as a prime-time soap to appeal to those who watched "Beverly Hills, 90210," "Dawson's Creek" and "Felicity" - and for them, The O.C. ought to connect quickly. [5 Aug 2003, p.66]

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Steve Johnson

    Better is Brody, a bundle of oddball mannerisms and naked yearnings as he plays Seth, the one character the writer truly seems to identify with and understand. Obsessed with sailing and acutely self-conscious, Seth is given a degree of specificity that would be affecting in another show but here serves primarily to underscore how generic everybody else is. [5 Aug 2003, p.C1]

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Rob Owen

    As soaps go, The O.C. has its positive attributes, but the show is at its most enjoyable when it's focused on the family at the core. Anytime it strays into the world of the wealthy kids of Newport Beach in Orange County, Calif., it's almost painful because the characters are so detestable and yet bland. [3 Aug 2003, p.TV-5]

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Full Review
  • Tom Shales

    Encumbered by a script that is nearly breathtaking in its imbecilic banality, The O.C. makes one long for the cold comforts of a sleazy-minded "reality" show. Fox is trying to pass off this moody, moon-faced trifle, a drama about rich young brats in Orange County, Calif., as the first series of the new fall season (in August?). But if there's any justice left in television, "O.C. will be canceled by the time the actual fall shows premiere. [5 Aug 2003, p.C01]

    Washington Post Full Review
Episode Guide For Show: The OC