A moving journey back to ‘Everwood’
A reunion of the family drama turns tearful — and funny — during a CW panel.
If the CW ever decides to reboot the beloved early 2000s family drama “Everwood,” there is one sponsor they should hit up: Kleenex.
Joyful tears flowed freely among the cast and creators during the show’s 15-year reunion panel at the Television Critics Assn. summer press tour Wednesday.
The group was reunited to spread the news that the CW Seed — the network’s streaming service — will begin running the heartwarming four-season series about New York doctor Andy Brown (Treat Williams) uprooting his kids and moving to a small Colorado town after his wife’s death.
Williams was on hand alongside his TV children, Vivien Cardone and Gregory Smith, as well as fellow “Everwood” residents Emily VanCamp, Tom Amandes, Justin Baldoni, John Beasley, Stephanie Niznik and Debra Mooney and executive producers Greg Berlanti and Rina Mimoun. (Absent was Chris Pratt, who was a series regular in one of his earliest roles.)
The waterworks started with creator Berlanti, as he recounted the show’s genesis. “This is an emotional day for me,” said Berlanti, a veteran TV producer-writer-director who began his career with family dramas before being consumed by the DC superhero universe on the CW (”Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Supergirl,” etc.)
“The show obviously was about coming of age. And I was so lucky that I made it when I did, at the beginning of my career. I’m very blessed. And I realized a few years after, that I’m not sure I’d be that lucky again, in the same way. I’ve been really proud to work on a lot of things I’ve worked on since, but I think probably people that know this show probably know me better, in that way. It was very personal.”
Emotions ran high again when Amandes (“Scandal,” “Arrow”) recalled an episode that dealt with abortion that he called “some of the finest and bravest writing that I’ve ever had the pleasure of working on.”
Later, Williams and Cardone (who was 9 when the series began) tearfully remembered making a pledge to be each other’s temporary father and daughter since they were away from their actual families.
There were also plenty of laughs during the talk, many of which centered on Pratt, who played the lovably dimwitted Bright Abbott.
When asked for funny anecdotes about the “Jurassic World” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” star, Williams quipped, “How much time have you got?”
They all agreed that Pratt had an ineffable star quality as well as an apparently insatiable appetite.
“We hung out quite a bit,” recalled Beasley. “And I told him that he was going to be a star .... I had no idea he was going to be ‘Chris Pratt’ Chris Pratt, but he’s just a great guy, and he deserves everything he gets.”
Niznik recalled Pratt’s eagerness to absorb lessons from the rest of the cast. “That really impressed me,” she said. “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.’... I think it paid off for him. He’s so good.”
Given all the good will, questions about a possible revival — perhaps in the style of the recent limited series reboot “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” — came up multiple times.
Williams said he would do it “in a New York minute.”
“No one has asked,” said Berlanti, “but I think we all would love to work together again.”
When asked if a show like “Everwood” could work now, Berlanti thought it was possible.
“There’s more platforms than ever for people to tell stories,” he said, noting that it was more important now to have a passionate audience as opposed to a vast one. “I certainly hope that there’s a lot of young writers out there from all walks of life that are figuring out a way to tell their story.”
“Look at ‘Game of Thrones,’ ” said Williams. “It’s just ‘Everwood’ in fur.”
TREAT WILLIAMS is f lanked by his “Everwood” kids, Vivien Cardone and Gregory Smith, at panel.