One Tree Hill Review

By: Kell Bernardo

             I’m doing research to write a mini web series, and in order to create it I needed to reference some other material within that genre. Teen Drama. They’re basically soap operas with baby faced 25-year olds portraying teenagers and have love dynamics centered on more triangles than a geometry pop quiz. For real it’s hard to find a good one. The CW has recently created a television adaptation of the Archie comics with their series Riverdale. I’m not gonna talk about that one, though, because it’s honestly not that good and I’ll talk about that in a later post. No, for now we’re gonna focus on a CW predecessor, One Tree Hill.

             For those of you that don’t know or have only vaguely have heard of it, One Tree Hill is a series that ran on the WB/the CW from 9 seasons from 2003-2012. I knew nothing about it before I saw the first episode on Netflix. If you had asked me before I watched it, I would’ve guessed it was like Dawson’s Creek? But, I also don’t know anything Dawson’s Creek? One Tree Hill is a basketball series that centers around the life of Lucas Scott. Lucas is good at basketball, and loves literature. Bad news is that he’s also the illegitimate son of Dan Scott, a hall of fame basketball player from Lucas’ current high school, so he really doesn’t get the respect he deserves. On top of that, Dan has another prodigy basketball son named Nathan who hates Lucas’ guts.

              The strength of the pilot episode can be attributed to casting and the story’s focus. On a superficial level it’s no wonder why this show was popular. It’s sort of a sports show, it’s easy for a large audience to rally for that, specifically people that are into basketball. Also, the CW has done it again with making the Core Five all extremely attractive. The pilot episode also sets up the roots for future love triangle situations, which becomes a slight drag later on in the seasons, but we’re all curious creatures and I’m a sucker for that kind of stuff. Fooled again, because it’s never a question of “will they or won’t they” it’s all just a matter of when and where. All that stuff aside, they really did a good job with casting.  

               Chad Michael Murray does a good job with Lucas’ character in that he almost always seems to have something weighing him down on the inside. His character has a lot of introspection, tries to do the right thing, and is a little broody, but it’s totally tolerable. The other brother Nathan is played by James Lafferty and his character actually has reasons to act like a tool. They’re not good reasons, but shout out to not letting the popular/athletic character be mean just to be mean. His character holds a lot of pressure to be the son their father chose, and to meet the standards of being the team’s star. Hillary Burton does a phenomenal job as well by sort of paralleling Lucas’ internal wealth of emotions with her character’s Peyton. Peyton actually has a life outside of being a love interest, she has fears, hopes, and dreams. She’s a real human being. That’s dope. Finally we have Bethany Joy Lenz who plays Haley, the best friend to Lucas, and Sophia Bush who plays Brooke, best friend to Peyton who eventually is vying for Lucas’ attention. So far, they’re kinda just written in just to either be a best friend to Lucas, or to create more romance triangles, but I have a feeling this will change with later episodes.

             At the heart of it and the reason why I think this show succeeds while some other teen dramas fall short is that the main focus of the plot actually puts a lot of stakes for the main characters. Lucas’ character is dealing with the abandonment and joining the basketball team brings that conflict to the forefront when he’s pitted against his half-brother Nathan. They’re both emotionally invested in a similar journey. Both of them are struggling to prove themselves. While, Nathan is trying to prove to his father he’s good enough to be the best in basketball, he’s also trying to prove to himself that he’s good enough to be the chosen son. Lucas, however, is trying to prove to himself that he belongs on the team, that his mother did right by raising him, and that their dad was wrong for abandoning him. Lucas’ goal directly opposes Nathan’s and this creates a weird sense of family and a different take on sibling rivalry. With that, there’s opportunity for honest conflict and character growth.

I give One Tree Hill 4/5 Stars.

Or, alternatively, actually being able to order a coke when you think the restaurant is going to say, “Is Pepsi, okay?”


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