Felicity

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Felicity is a feminine given name derived from the Latin meaning "enjoys good fortune." It also is the nickname of the webcomic "Felicity Flint, Agent from H.A.R.M.."

Image:Felicity opening.jpg Felicity was an American television series that revolved around the college experiences of the title character, Felicity Porter (played by Keri Russell), as she attended the fictional University of New York in New York City across the country from her home of Palo Alto, California. The series ran for four seasons from 1998 to 2002, with each season roughly corresponding to the traditional freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years students attend at universities. The series was created by J.J. Abrams and Matt Reeves with the assistance of many writers, and was directed and produced by many people, including Brian Grazer and Ron Howard. It originally ran on the WB Network.

Some episodes of the show began with stark camera shots of Felicity sitting in a dorm 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 provided a method for Felicity to narrate an entire episode. At the end of episodes like this, Felicity would often be shown listening to a tape Sally sent in reply. This was a staple of early episodes, but became less frequent as the series went on.

The show had 84 episodes play on-air, plus one unaired pilot.

Contents

Plots

The story of the series began at Felicity's high school graduation where she asked Ben Covington (played by Scott Speedman), a classmate whom she had a crush on, to sign her yearbook. Moved by a comment he wrote, she decided to completely change her education plans, deciding to follow Ben to New York rather than attend Stanford University to prepare for the study of medicine.

Upon arriving in New York, Felicity discovered that her ideas were rather misguided. Ben had a girlfriend and apparently did not actually have strong feelings for Felicity (he has difficulty remembering her name when they first see each other). While Felicity worked to sort out her emotions, she continued the basic motions of student life and moved into her dorm. There, she met the resident advisor Noel Crane (Scott Foley). Eventually, romantic involvements ensued, and the relationships between Felicity, Ben, and Noel form the basic dramatic conflicts in the show and continue until the end of the series.

A number of other characters appear throughout the series. Felicity's college roommate for the first two years was Meghan Rotundi (Amanda Foreman), a goth Wiccan who occasionally cast spells on her for good or evil. Julie Emrick (Amy Jo Johnson) was one of Felicity's best friends for three seasons and Elena Tyler (Tangi Miller), an African-American woman, often took classes with Felicity. She had male friends including Sean Blumberg (Greg Grunberg), who was always trying to produce new off-kilter inventions, and Javier Quintata (Ian Gomez), a Hispanic homosexual who operated the coffee house Dean & DeLuca where Felicity worked for most of the time she was at college.

The DVDs were released over a period of four years. They have been criticized for a few reasons, most notably because the soundtrack includes different music than the TV version. Some of the songs were changed, reportedly because high licensing costs would bring up the price of the box sets. On a technical level, some episodes did not have proper telecine encoding, so viewers using HDTVs could sometimes see interlacing artifacts (though this problem can be mitigated in a few ways). The yearly sets are listed below with their American release dates.

Ratings controversy

The show's ratings declined in the 19992000 season. Executives at the WB blamed this partly on a new hairstyle by the show's star. Known for long and curly locks, Russell snipped her hair short early on in the second year after her character had a rough breakup with Ben. The network was bombarded with letters and e-mails from fans, who stated that they hated the haircut and they didn't recognize the title character anymore.

WB network executive Susanne Daniels said in early 2000, "Nobody is cutting their hair again on this network." In reality, the network didn't become that strict, but new policies were enacted requiring hairstyle changes to be approved by management.

Russell herself was surprised at the reaction, later stating, "People still take it really personally. They come up to me at breakfast places like, 'When are you growing your hair back?'"

The ratings drop also coincided with the show's move to Sunday night, so it is unclear exactly how much effect the hairstyle change actually had.

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References

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