Television characters aren't real, but our attachment to them is. With that in mind, I hope we haven't seen the last of plucky protagonist Meg Pryor, the headstrong, idealistic teen daughter on American Dreams, played so convincingly by winsome actress Brittany Snow.

In last week's tumultuous season finale, Meg rode off to an uncertain future in California on the back of a motorcycle, leaving behind a family in Philadelphia divided by issues of war and peace circa 1966.

"I was trying so hard to break people's hearts with the truth," says executive producer Jonathan Prince, who oversaw an episode as uncompromising as it was honest, a send-off meant to send a message. "I wanted to have the network executives and [viewers] say in the end, 'We've got to keep this show on the air.'"

Here's hoping that NBC considers how crushed the show's 7.5 million viewers will be if the network cancels this modestly rated but life-affirming family drama. It may not have sustained a level of greatness in its three seasons, but it's been consistently endearing, ambitious and layered. (Plus it had a beat you could dance to.)

In an era when families have far too few viewing options and legislators decry indecency, there needs to be room on a broadcast network's schedule for a quality series that rakes in more goodwill and admiration than revenue.

Have a heart, NBC. Save American Dreams.

For more of Davis's take on shows families can watch together, read the Family Page every week in TV Guide magazine.