LOS ANGELES – If "Everwood" had caught fire the way "This Is Us" has, we might still be growing old with the Browns in their sleepy small town in Colorado. Instead, it will best be remembered as the series that gave "Guardians of the Galaxy" star Chris Pratt his first national exposure.
The family deserves better. Relegated to the WB, a now-defunct network specializing in teen bait like "One Tree Hill" and "Charmed," the weeper about a widower (Treat Williams) who struggles to balance family life with a medical practice only survived four seasons. But those looking for a chance to shed some tears before a new season of "This Is Us" can celebrate Saturday's 15th anniversary of the show's premiere by catching all 89 episodes on CW Seed, a free streaming service that also offers up other neglected gems like "Pushing Daisies" and "Girlfriends."
In honor of the occasion, we chatted with cast members who reunited last month at the TV Critics Association press tour:
Growing up on TV
Vivien Cardone (Delia Brown): When I moved to Utah, I was 9 years old. I didn't even know there was a state called Utah. My father had to stay in New York because he had his business there and I couldn't see him a lot, and it was very, very difficult. And Treat came up to me, and he said, "Listen, I know that it's been hard. Your dad is away, and I'll make a deal with you. My family is not with me, either. So if you promise to be my temporary daughter, I'll be your temporary father." And that bond has stayed ever since.
Emily VanCamp (Amy Abbott): It was like an acting master class for us young folk. We just had this incredible creative environment to feel completely free to fail, to breathe and grow, and the memories I have from that experience really help with every job that I do to this day.
Working with a future 'Guardian'
Stephanie Niznik (Nina Feeney): I just remember him in the beginning saying, "I am Chris. I am learning how to act, and I hope you don't mind if I hang out and watch what you are doing." He always made it clear that he was looking to learn from everybody, and that really impressed me. I have never seen anybody who could eat more turkey in my life.
VanCamp: Wasn't that the Saddle Ranch when he ate — how big was that steak? I mean, it was like a steak for four, I think.
Gregory Smith (Ephram Brown): And he had already had dinner.
Williams: You know, he did this stupid dance where he'd grab one leg and kick the leg back and forth, you know, and I thought that's one of the funniest things I've ever seen. He had me on the floor laughing. And he somehow stuck it into "Guardians of the Galaxy."
True fans never forget
Tom Amandes (Harold Abbott): I was in Toledo, Spain, and these young women came up and burst into tears. The only thing they could say was: "Everwood." And it was really moving, because I think at that point the show had been off for a while. It was playing in Europe, and it was striking to see how much of an impact it had.
Niznik: I often got stopped by mothers because they would say to me, "It's the only show I can watch with my teen that we both love." And these same mothers are stopping me now and saying, "I want my grandkids to watch this show with me." It's lovely.
Neal Justin • 612-673-7431 •
Njustin@startribune.com Twitter: @nealjustin