Where do we begin with a show that has exceeded expectations to a level where fans have become teary eyed about its departure from the airwaves? Not many TV shows have this effect on their audience but you have to keep in mind that this show’s main themes were love and friendship. The teen drama has become one of the most successful and lasting TV shows of all time with the creator Mark Schwahn stating “there are not many more greater underdog stories than us”.
I started watching the show consistently in the fifth series when the show is set four years into the future after the main characters graduated high school. I had seen episodes from the previous four series but considering I was nine when the first episode aired in 2003, it was pretty normal to give the show a miss for a few years. The show’s consistent diverse and relatable storylines have made the viewers come back for more, with an average of three million watching series one to six with series two having been the most watched out of all nine. These figures may not be as high as other shows but there was a solid fan base.
With the first series set in the protagonists junior year of high school, the main focus was on the rivalry between Lucas and Nathan Scott. The climax of the first episode is still one of the most memorable moments of the whole series. Chad Michael Murray, who played Lucas Scott said that when he read the script for the pilot ten years ago it was the heart of the story that drew him in. The first season focused a lot on basketball, but it was completely wiped from the second series when critics claimed that the show had too much of a masculine approach. The show’s creator described the basketball scenes as a metaphor for other aspects of the plot, what was happening to the people when the game was approaching.
The casting for One Tree Hill has been great. Many of the characters had such unique personas the audience had to wonder if they were actually acting. The five main characters: Lucas, Nathan, Brooke, Hayley & Peyton were the backbone of the show and the characters that the audience related to most. You could argue that Nathan is at the top of the spinal cord but for me Lucas is the character people think of when they hear One Tree Hill. Personally Lucas is the character that I relate to the most because of similar personal issues, as well as the passions of sport and literature. I can also relate to Nathan because of his competitiveness, which demonstrates how relatable the characters were. This is a big reason why One Tree Hill has been on the air for so many years; fans relate well to the characters. When fans see people overcome obstacles on the screen it inspires us, and this is what the viewers have loved about the program the most. For me, One Tree Hill has been a program to fall back on if times have been difficult and I think other fans have had a similar experience.
The first four seasons revolved around the characters experimenting with different relationships but Nathan and Haley’s continued throughout. Of course it had its twists and turns like any relationship, but they shared the strongest bond. The characters were in high school for the first four seasons, which featured many memorable and powerful moments. One of the most talked about scenarios of the whole series was the love triangle between Lucas, Peyton and Brooke. This situation continued right through to the end of the fifth season when Lucas decided he wanted to be with Peyton. This situation alone has seen love, betrayal and friendship been pushed to extreme lengths.
Notable highlights also include Peyton’s relationship with her sick biological mother, Haley becoming pregnant and the Ravens winning the state championships. The big climax at the end of the third was the ultimate one that everybody talks about the most. This involved a number of important plot points, but I don’t want to depress you too much so I’m going pick out the one that had the most significant impact on all of the other characters. It was the moment when Dan Scott decided to kill his own brother which for me was the biggest moment of the entire series. This had major repercussions on pretty much every other character in the program, making Dan Scott the best TV villain of all time. He tormented his own sons, his wife and pretty much everybody living in tree hill, which led to the character getting hit by a speeding car, poisoned and attempting suicide. Dan wasn’t always bad though. He protected Nathan and played a big part of Nathan’s NBA achievement. He also took a bullet for him in the last series where we discover all the underlying meanings of why he did what he did. A previous reviewer has said that the show is based on the mistakes the teen’s parents have made and the way they have been manifested into the students lives.
The fifth season jumped four years into the future and showed the characters starting to mature and deal with adulthood. As the characters aged, the show was geared to a more mature audience. The sixth series focused on Lucas and Peyton’s relationship and her dangerous pregnancy. The series also introduced the character Julian Baker who eventually became a series regular. Julian was a movie producer, and the audience was first introduced to him when he collaborated with Lucas into trying to turn his book written into a feature film. As the series went on difficulties erupted and the film broke down. However, in the last series we see Julian adapt the book into a TV series which gives that feeling of the show living on.
A major controversy in the show was when Lucas and Peyton were written out and didn’t return for the seventh series. There were plenty of rumours as to why this had occurred including monetary disputes (which both Murray and Burton have denied). Burton who played Peyton said it was an emotional decision to leave but also a professional one. Fans were not happy to see two of the main characters written out of the show, but for me the show still carried on with its heart and desire to help people with their lives. One Tree Hill carried on with more mature and serious plot lines that focused on the other protagonists. The fans were also introduced to two more characters, Clay (Nathan’s agent), and Quinn (Haley’s sister). The final three seasons saw relationships strengthen when Nathan and Haley had another baby, Julian and Brooke became an item, and Quinn and Clay getting together. Yes, Of course there are struggles with all the relationships but every couple finds a way which is inspiring for the audience.
For the last season of One Tree Hill some of the lead actors took their turn at directing an episode. This included Sophia Bush directing the penultimate episode with James Lafferty, Austin Nichols and Paul Johansson also directing an episode in the series. This level of contribution showed that they really cared about the conclusion of the show. For me the last episode was the perfect send off to all the fans. Everything about that single episode was fulfilling as it contained elements that the show has produced over the years. First we heard amazing and inspiring quotes from the main cast members, which seemed to be personal messages to the fans about carrying on through difficulty.
The show also had an exceptional soundtrack, which led to a great number of bands earning the recognition they deserve. I am personally grateful for the show’s decision to feature what is one of my favorite bands, “The Gaslight Anthem.” The last episode also included Gavin Degraw himself which for me was a testament to how good he has been at producing music for the show, and for writing the theme song “I don’t want to be”.
Over the years the show has been about how to deal with difficult situations and getting what you want from life. The last sequence of the last episode features the whole cast at a basketball game but they are not only attending to watch the game they are delivering a message to the fans. The whole cast takes their turn to deliver an inspirational message about achieving your dreams. Over the years the message of the show has been to pursue your passions, and making that wish and believing in it with all of your heart.