A mov­ing jour­ney back to ‘Ever­wood’

A re­union of the fam­ily drama turns tear­ful — and funny — dur­ing a CW panel.

Los Angeles Times - - WEEKEND PICKS | POP MUSIC - By Sarah Rodman sarah.rodman @la­times.com

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.”

Richard Shotwell Invision / As­so­ci­ated Press

TREAT WIL­LIAMS is f lanked by his “Ever­wood” kids, Vivien Car­done and Gre­gory Smith, at panel.

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