Saturday, September 13, 2008


This one-season wonder series which aired in 2004 is rabidly adored by fans--if IMDB's ratings are to be believed. Prompted by Elisabeth (due to our shared love of all things Lee Pace), I added it to my Netflix queue.

Having watched it, I can now understand why--despite its strong and loyal following--it was fated for an untimely cancellation. The quirky show had both its charms and its flaws, but its number one failing was: not enough Lee Pace!

Yes, Elisabeth--he's hella cute (and so is his hair!) in this show where he plays Aaron Tyler, older brother (although oddly enough in real life he's a year YOUNGER than Caroline Dhavernas) of the lead character, Jaye Tyler. Aaron is pursuing a Ph.D. in Religious Studies--despite being an agnostic, perhaps even an atheist. The writers started to touch on that paradox, plus draw the parallel of Aaron, who is searching for meaning via his studies vs. his sister Jaye (Dhavernas), who actually hears voices--even if they do come come via wax lions and cow creamers.

The show's run was cut short before they could really explore that storyline, but I think the considerable charms of Lee Pace would have been better put to use as Jaye's love interest rather than her older brother. Tyron Leitso, who did play the love interest Eric Gotts, is very cute--in a sweet and bland sort of way. But he was no match for Caroline Dhavernas' charismatic and curmudgeonly Jaye Tyler. Pace would have easily been able to go head to head with Dhavernas. He was woefully underused for the beginning of the series, but eventually grew to have a larger role.

Admittedly, I'm predisposed to wanting to see Lee Pace as the romantic lead in ANYTHING, but could it be that the producers eventually realized the error of their ways when they came up with the budding romance between Aaron and Jaye's best friend Mahandra? The sparks between Jaye and Eric were sweet, but the real heat was generated by Pace and Tracie Thoms (who coincidentally attended Julliard together and were both replacements for actors who were originally cast in their respective Wonderfalls roles.)

I also really loved Diana Scarwid as Jaye's mother, the above-it-all Karen. Her performance is so tempered and understated, it's impossible to see her as a "Momster." Carol Brady she is most definitely NOT, but neither is she "Mommie Dearest" (although she is famous for having acted in that movie...). She was just a complete hoot here.

Apparently creator Bryan Fuller learned from his Wonderfalls mistake (not enough Lee Pace!) when he went on to create Pushing Daisies because this time he was smart enough to cast Lee Pace as the ROMANTIC LEAD. (He also brought along the fabulous Diana Scarwid to appear in three episodes this season--yay!) And so Wonderfalls also goes on to join a legion of critically acclaimed but canceled before their time shows like My So-Called Life, Cupid and most recently, Aaron Sorkin's Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

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