Two of the most rapturously romantic lump-in-the-throat moments I've seen on TV this season have taken place in a mountain town called Everwood
, home to TV's best-written, best-acted and most touching family drama (Thursdays at 9 pm/ET on WB).
Both scenes involve the endearing odd couple of Bright Abbott (Chris Pratt), a former jerk and not-quite-reformed slacker, and Hannah Rogers (Sarah Drew), a bookish mouse who blossoms in his presence. In a show bursting with lovably empathetic characters caught up in turbulent family and personal relationships, the Bright-Hannah combo has sent Everwood into heights of sentimental transcendence.
Last month, fearing his girlfriend was leaving town for good (she didn't), Bright surprised Hannah with a private senior prom, a gesture made more delightful by its out-of-character chivalry. Then, in a scene that plays out on opposite sides of a bathroom door in the Dec. 8 episode, he forces Hannah to look at herself in a mirror while he describes through the door what he finds so beautiful about her: "You need to see what I see when I look at you."
Sappy? Maybe. Satisfying? You bet. Everwood is rarely preachy and sometimes gets a bit edgy as its characters stumble and fumble tragicomically through life. That juicy Dec. 8 episode delivers major turning points for nearly every Everwoodian, including Andy and Ephram Brown (Treat Williams and Gregory Smith), the father and son whose fractious bond fuels many of the key story lines.
Buried on Thursday nights but still thriving and growing creatively, Everwood is one of TV's hidden treasures.
A Royal Snore
I'm all for ABC making musicals for TV, but the remake of Once Upon a Mattress (Dec. 18, 7 pm/ET) is a miscast misfire. This retelling of The Princess and the Pea is heavy-handed when it should be light-footed. As brassy Princess Winnifred, Tracey Ullman is overripe, lacking the adorably gawky sparkle Carol Burnett brought to earlier versions. Burnett has more success mugging as the mean queen, but it's all so inert you may pine for your own mattress.