The official season premiere of Fox's The O.C. is this Thursday night. BUT you can watch the first episode on MySpace (you'll have to download a player for it). Many fans, myself included, have been skeptical about the future of the show sans-Marissa Cooper (that's Mischa Barton, whose character was killed off during the last season finale, to those of you too cool to watch the show).
Well, I just watched it, and it has exceeded my very low expectations. Although Marissa's not technically on the show, she's still very much present in the storyline - especially with regards to how everyone copes and responds to the tragedy. Hooray for psychological complexity! It looks like this season is taking a much darker, more adult tone, somewhat reminiscent of the (AMAZING) first season. Thank goodness this probably means that there won't be any more stupid episodes like the one where they get locked in and camp out at the local mall.
Other things to look forward to: Ryan (Ben McKenzie) is a badass again! No more wimpy Ryan w/ goofy looking hair. Julie Cooper (Melinda Clarke) being hooked on prescription meds - she was always more interesting when she was messed up. More complexity w/ the character of Summer (Rachel Bilson) as she goes off to Brown, copes with Marissa's death by becoming a hippie, and tries to work out a long distance relationship w/ Seth (Adam Brody). Aside: Rachel Bilson is so damn cute, I can hardly stand it. I think I want to be her.
Storylines that I could do with out (and hopefully won't kill the series): new character/cast regulars' Kaitlin Cooper (Willa Holland) and Taylor Townsend (Autumn Reeser). They're both extremely obnoxious, although there is potential for some complexity in their characters. Let's hope the writing develops that.
Anyway, I wouldn't be surprised if this were the last season of the show since the ratings have been quite lackluster over the last couple of years. Creator and writer Josh Schwartz better step up b/c The O.C. is up against Grey's Anatomy during the same time slot. That's killer. Even being the die hard O.C. fan that as I am, that's a tough call. Hopefully Josh Schwartz has realized that he has to go back to his writing genius of the first season. Devlop your story lines. Don't pack too much into one episode. More substance. And for Pete's sake, let Ryan have the mental breakdown that's been building up for all his life. That boy needs a good cry.