Before Greg Berlanti became a household name, responsible for creating, writing, or producing hit television series like Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl, and Riverdale, he created a successful drama for the WB network that would help propel his career forward–Everwood.  What could have been a flop on paper–a family drama about a widower who takes his career as a neurosurgeon and his son and daughter to a small town in Colorado to start again–became an engaging and enjoyable series with an electric cast and powerful writing.  The entire four seasons, all 89 episodes of the 2002-2006 series is now streaming via CW Seed online for free.

Treat Williams (The Empire Strikes Back, 1941, The Phantom, White Collar) starred as Dr. Andy Brown, an immensely successful big city neurosurgeon who, while intruding on the turf of the pompous local family doctor, Dr. Harold Abbott, played by Tom Amandes (Arrow, Fairly Legal, Leverage), begins to become an invaluable and influential member of the community.  Standout in the cast was Debra Mooney (Dead Poets Society, Tootsie) as Dr. Abbott’s mother Edna, whose snarky attitude was perfect as she helps the new doctor with his clinic across the street from her own son’s competing clinic.  Stephanie Niznik (Star Trek: Insurrection, Enterprise) played Dr. Brown’s friendly neighbor Nina, and Brenda Strong (Dallas) played Dr. Brown’s late wife in flashbacks.

But Everwood, which has not been available on any previous streaming service, will probably be best known for the breakout roles of two Marvel Cinematic Universe stars, Guardians of the Galaxy’s Star Lord Chris Pratt and Captain America’s love interest Sharon Carter from Captain America: Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War, Emily VanCamp.  VanCamp and Pratt had significant roles on Everwood.  Portraying Dr. Abbott’s teenage kids, VanCamp was Amy, the target of affection of Dr. Brown’s son Ephram (Gregory Smith, selected for the role over Supernatural’s Jared Padalecki), and Pratt was Ephram’s not-so-bright new friend, ironically named Bright.  Both actors shined in these early performances (and were a real-life couple for several years).

Several familiar faces from cinema made appearances on the series, including James Earl Jones, Betty White, Joanna Cassidy, Beau Bridges, Keith David, Jane Krakowski, Ernie Hudson, Kate Mara, Charles Durning, Anne Heche, and Chris Penn.  TV and film stars Kristen Bell played a teenager who wanted breast enhancements and JK Simmons played a mechanic who could see the future.  Many other performers known for their genre TV series roles could be found on the streets of Everwood, like Psych’s Kirsten Nelson, Babylon 5’s Claudia Christian, Chuck star Sarah Lancaster, Lost’s Elizabeth Mitchell, Enterprise’s Kellie Waymire, Emergency! star Kevin Tighe, and Party of Five’s Scott Wolf.

Everwood was also an opportunity for leading man Treat Williams to establish and fully dig into the role of Dr. Brown as a modern TV dad.  Yet he was successful in leading the series as a traditional father figure like screen classic dads of the past such as Michael Landon’s Charles Ingalls from The Little House on the Prairie and Ralph Waite’s John Walton from The Waltons.

The quaint fictional town of Everwood, Colorado, was actually filmed in Ogden, Utah.  Its beautiful scenery was a fixture in the series.

Stream Everwood now online via CW Seed here, and affiliated TV platforms like Amazon Fire here.  Note: If you watch the online version, be prepared for an extraordinary number of commercials.  You can also get the DVDs at Amazon here.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

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