One of the most acclaimed series on TV during its brief run in the '90s, My So-Called Life
pioneered the modern teen drama and made a star out of 15-year-old Claire Danes. Ostensibly centering around the trials and tribulations of high schooler Angela Chase, My So-Called Life
actually expanded to include everyone in its protagonist's orbit, from school friends to extended family, and gave its stellar ensemble cast ripe material to work with during its too-short life. Produced by thirtysomething creators Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick, MSCL
evoked that yuppie-friendly show with its emphasis on finding extraordinary drama within ordinary situations, but was far more heartfelt and heart-wrenching, echoing the dizzying highs and lows of adolescence. As such, it developed a cult following among young viewers who identified strongly with Angela's high school traumas and followed her every move with rapt attention (after cancellation, the show enjoyed a popular reprise on MTV). Avoiding the sensational, My So-Called Life
tackled every teen hot-button issue imaginable (and pioneered the then-controversial topic of teen homosexuality), but with a clear-eyed perspective, never dissolving into soap opera-even when Angela mooned over heartthrob Jordan Catalano (dreamy Jared Leto). Even as it mined adolescent angst, though, My So-Called Life
never lost sight of its adults, with Bess Armstrong and Tom Irwin both phenomenal as Angela's parents, whose marriage was one of the most complex seen on TV since... well, thirtysomething. Through it all, Golden Globe winner and Emmy nominee Danes was a neurotic, touching, and funny centre, whether obsessing over a zit or negotiating the rocky terrain of first love. Her funny, sobering, and empathetic portrait of teendom reminded us that in some ways, life was just an extended version of high school. --Mark Englehart
All 19 episodes of the 1990s US teen drama series starring Clare Danes as the angst ridden, introspective Angela Chase. Episodes are: Pilot, 'Dancing in the Dark', 'Guns and Gossip', 'Father Figures', 'The Zit', 'The Substitute', 'Why Jordan Can't Read', 'Strangers in the House', 'Hallowe'en', 'Other People's Mothers', 'Life of Brian', 'Self-Esteem', 'Pressure', 'On the Wagon', 'So-Called Angels', 'Resolutions', 'Betrayal', 'Weekend' and 'In Dreams Begin Responsibilities'.