This week’s TV flashback is devoted solely to two shows that debuted in 1998, both on the dub-dub-dub-dubya-WB.
Where were you when James Van Der Beek, Michelle Williams, Joshua Jackson and Katie Kate Katie Holmes first frolicked on a pier in their J. Crew khakis to Paula Cole’s “I Don’t Want to Wait." Well, I was 16 years old, locked in my bedroom, anxiously awaiting the WB’s new Tuesday. Dawson’s Creek premiered January 20, 1998 and really put the fledgling network on the map.  All of these kids seemed to be consulting a thesaurus before crafting each sentence, but with Kevin Williamson at the helm, the characters were well-defined and the plots really came together early on in the series. 
This was, of course, our first introduction to Holmes as Joey, the girl-next-door, who had always harbored a crush on an oblivious Dawson (Van Der Beek).  I always thought the writers brought these lovebirds together too soon, after just 13 episodes, but it was nice to see them very smitten with each other for a while.  In season three, Dawson and Joey’s relationship broke off when she found herself in the arms of new Capeside resident Jack (Kerr Smith).  Perhaps foreshadowing her future marriage to Tom Cruise, Jack turned out to be gay, and Joey calls it quits so that they could pursue, uh, other options.  Now I have to interject here, Jack came out in a very *interesting* manner.  Some of us are caught in a compromising position with someone of the same sex.  Others are caught via internet history, myself included.  Many simply find the right time and place to let their friends and loved ones know their sexuality.  But in this case?  Jack ends up outing himself via a poetry assignment in his English class.  Here he’s forced to share his innermost thoughts and feelings, which, I guess he never thought his teacher would read either?
James Van Der Beek currently plays himself on the new sitcom Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23, returning this fall on ABC.  In a particularly funny first season episode, Van Der Beek agrees to teach an acting class at NYU.  The students only want to talk about Dawson’s Creek, which increasingly frustrates him to the point that he gives up and breaks into character for them.  Now that Katie Holmes is destined for a comeback, her first foray back into television should be a guest role as herself, alongside Van Der Beek, on Don’t Trust the B.
Long  before Lost, Alias, or the recent Mission Impossible movies, J.J. Abrams created one of my all-time favorites dramas, Felicity, which debuted in 1998 and ran for four seasons on the WB.  Keri Russell brought such warmth, tenderness, and just the right amount of awkwardness to the role of Felicity Porter, an over-achieving high school girl who completely changed her high school plans based on something a guy wrote in her yearbook at graduation.  Against her parents’ wishes, Felicity bucked Stanford for the fictional New York University.  Ben or Noel?  Medicine or art?  The ugly brown sweater or the ugly orange one?  Felicity had a lot of life choices to make, particularly in her first year at a new school in an exciting city.  There were so many wonderful things about this show – the metamorphosis of Felicity’s bizarro, Wiccan roommate Megan (Amanda Foreman) into one of her best friends; Felicity’s chain-smoking guidance counselor (Amy Aquino); Greg Grunberg as perennial entrepreneur Sean (whose favorite condiment isn’t “Smoothaise?”); Ian Gomez as Felicity’s flamboyant, lovable boss Javier at Dean & Deluca;  and, of course, the Felicity-Ben-Noel love triangle.  Felicity’s first season finale was a cliff-hanger in which Felicity had to choose how to spend her summer:  (1) in Berlin with Noel (Scott Foley), who was there for a prestigious internship, or (2) driving cross-country with Ben (Scott Speedman).  Check out this old-school promo:
Thank you, 1998, for delivering two of my favorite WB guilty pleasures!
Josh Kossack is a writer based in Los Angeles, California. When he isn't cruising around with his convertible top down or reading to the blind, he can be found putting Sriracha on pretty much everything under the sun.


2004 brought many milestones and epic moments in TV. After the Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy, American television saw itself heavily censored as the FCC tightened its rules on indecency.  Taking a page from the epic 2004 film Mean Girls, the FCC deemed that "it only counts if you saw [Janet's] nipple," which, well, everyone did.  Check out the final seconds of this clip:

Sex and the City aired its final episode, "An American Girl in Paris, Part Deux," ending the HBO series' six season run.  I thought the show did a nice job reuniting Carrie, at long last, with Big. “I’m looking for love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other love," Carrie told Aleksandr Petrovsky.  This was a love that didn’t exist in their hotel room in beautiful Paris.  In the closing moments, we learn where the women’s lives are headed, before their stories were semi-ruined by two feature films.  “The most exciting, challenging, and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself,” Carrie reminded us.  “And if you can find someone to love the you, you love, well that’s just fabulous.”
Beloved, blockbuster comedy Friends came to a close as Chandler and Monica's surrogate gave birth to twins, Rachel nearly moved to Paris before finally reuniting with Ross, and Joey moved to Los Angeles for the ill-fated spinoff, Joey.  It was sad to see the show go but understand considering it had been on for a decade, the stars were all making bank, and the writers were running out of stories to tell.  Still, seeing Monica’s grandmother’s apartment completely empty is jarring; it’s still comforting to see a repeat pop up in syndication or on Nick at Nite (!).  Also, Frasier ended.
Fantasia Barrino was crowned winner of the third season of American Idol in 2004, and her performance of “Summertime” is still remembered as one of the greatest in the franchise’s 11 year history.  After seventy-four consecutive wins, Ken Jennings finally lost on Jeopardy! to competitor Nancy Zerg. Jennings' cash winnings total of $2,522,700 made him the richest winner in American television history.  2004 was also the year that TBS and TNT were officially branded as comedy and drama destinations, respectively.  This helped pave the way for hit original TNT dramas such as The Closer, Rizzoli & Isles, and the new Dallas, not to mention Conan O'Brien's late-night TBS show on TBS.
With the departure of Jimmy Fallon from Saturday Night Live, Amy Poehler joined Tina Fey on "Weekend Update" as the two formed the first all-female duo at the anchor desk.  Donald Trump's The Apprentice premiered, as did mega-hits Lost and Desperate Housewives.  
It would only last one season, but the WB rolled out Jack & Bobby, a drama from Executive Producer Greg Berlanti that chronicled the high school years of two brothers, one of whom would become President of the United States from 2041-2049.  Christine Lahti played their mother, and this was the first time I remember encountering future star Bradley Cooper, taking the part of Lahti's younger love interest.  The show had a lot of heart, but it wasn't the right fit for the struggling WB, which would shut down just a year and-a-half later to partially form the CW network.
Last, but certainly not least, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include a clip from a cult favorite of mine (and probably yours): Drawn Together premiered in 2004 on Comedy Central.  This show was so horribly wrong, yet so wonderfully good.
Josh Kossack is a writer based in Los Angeles, California. When he isn't cruising around with his convertible top down or reading to the blind, he can be found putting Sriracha on pretty much everything under the sun.



After a grueling week during Vegas callbacks on So You Think You Can Dance, the judges narrowed it down from the 188 contestants to 35 and tonight down to the Top 20. Some of our early favorites like Mariah Spears, Tim Conkel and Asher Walker were impressive in Vegas but in the end did not impress the judges enough to be in the top 35. We've made early predictions last week on who's going to make the Top 20 but after seeing the Vegas Callbacks episode, we're going to go on a limb and predict at least 12 of the 20 dancers for Season 9. Special thanks goes to our reality show expert, Melissa Goodman, for giving us her deep insights on these predictions. We've included some of our thoughts as to why we think the judges have chosen these contestants. Ok, here we go!

Witney Carson - our absolute favorite. love her, love everything about. thinking about being her for Halloween.
Lindsay Arnold - BFFs with Witney Carson and fellow ballroom dancer. Gets our automatic vote.
Janelle Issis - her hips don't lie and will be shaking her way into the Top 20.
Eliana Girard - ballerina pole dancer with legs for days. PERIOD.
Amelia Lowe - Tyce is just dying to have her do one of his routines.
Alexa Anderson - this season's Ryan Ramirez
Audrey Case - can do shoulder farts and lick her elbows. Nuff said.

Daniel Baker - Aussie accent gets us every time.
Cyrus Spencer - the show always needs an underdog and he's got the talents to back it up.
Cheyon Wespi-Tschopp - another talented ballet dancer who can give Daniel Baker a run for his Aussie dollar.
Cole Horibe - this season's Alex Wong
Dareian Kujawa - when Nigel calls out your nipples on national TV, you should automatically be in the Top 20.

Our favorite group performance from Vegas Callbacks week - The High Schoolers

Tune into Fox tonight (8/7c) to find out who makes the top 20!