TIME Television

5 Things Producers Didn’t Want You To Know About Bewitched

BEWITCHED
BEWITCHED: Dick York (Darrin), Elizabeth Montgomery (Samantha), Erin Murphy (Tabitha), Agnes Moorehead (Endora) ABC Photo Archives/Getty Images

When were the producers trying to fool viewers with some TV magic?

There was a time when a twitching nose only indicated that allergy season was starting. That changed 50 years ago Wednesday, on September 17, 1964, when ABC aired its first episode of Bewitched. The classic television show focused on Samantha Stephens (played by Elizabeth Montgomery), a witch-turned-housewife who prompted magical acts with a signature wiggle of her nose.

But she wasn’t the only one with a secret to keep. Here are 5 times the producers used a little TV magic to hide things from viewers:

Samantha spent much of the show trying to hide her true, witchy identity from her husband Darrin. Producers, on the other hand, hoped that the audience wouldn’t notice when they changed Darrin’s identity. Without warning or explanation, Dick Sargent replaced Dick York as Sam’s TV husband. The act of nonchalantly switching out actors has become playfully known as “The Darrin Syndrome” — evidence that they didn’t exactly get away with the switcheroo.

Darrin wasn’t the only character who got replaces sans explanation. Nosey Gladys Kravitz was first played by Alice Pearce and then Sandra Gould.

Elizabeth Montgomery, on the other hand, was the exception to that rule: the actress got to play two different characters. Sometimes she would play Samantha’s cousin Serena, a character flaunting short skirts and short black hair. While it wasn’t exactly a secret that Montgomery was playing Serena, the credit was given to a made up actress named “Pandora Spocks.”

People weren’t the only elements of the show that might have looked a little too familiar. It turns out that Samantha and Darrin weren’t the happy TV couple living in their house. The facade appeared in shows including Dennis the Menace and I Dream of Jeanie.

But perhaps the best bit of TV magic was related to the famous nose twitch. Erin Murphy, the actress who played Samantha and Darrin’s daughter Tabitha, told Parade that “I’ve never tried [twitching my nose]! The producer didn’t think a baby witch should be able to.” Murphy added that Montgomery’s wiggle “was a camera trick.” Look closely and you’ll see that her nose isn’t really moving at all — it’s her mouth.

Need a drink after all of that? You wouldn’t be alone. Characters on Bewitched drank so much, fans created a drinking guide for the show.

In the words of Darrin Stephens, “Make it a double, Sam.”

Read a 1964 profile of Elizabeth Montgomery, the star of the new show Bewitched, here in TIME’s archives: The Girl with the Necromantic Nose

TIME Television

Watch Jimmy Fallon and Julianna Margulies Deliver High School Morning Announcements

You wish these were your high school morning announcements

In a Saturday Night Live-esque sketch, Jimmy Fallon and Julianna Margulies dressed up as a high school principal and vice principal and acted out delivering high school morning announcements Tuesday on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Rather than the dull morning announcements you may have heard back in the day, Fallon and Margulies sang out typical morning announcements about parking passes and the debate team to the tune of current pop songs such as “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift and “Rude” by MAGIC!.

TIME TV

Dancing With the Stars Watch: Week 1 Results

ABC

Plus Smokey Robinson and Aloe Blacc performed

Welcome back to Dancing With the Stars. The show kicked off last night with some polished performances (Fresh Prince‘s Alfonso Ribeiro and, surprisingly, Duck Dynasty scion Sadie Robertson ) and some, well, less-than-polished performances (apparently bobsledding in the Olympics is not the same as cha-cha-ing). Tonight we find out who goes home, because despite last year’s blissful one-episode-per-week format, after 19 seasons the show has realized that in fact they do need two nights to contain all the sparkling glory.

Here’s what happened on Dancing With the Stars:

Star Parade: To remind viewers of the show’s glorious past, the audience was packed with celebrities and former contestants like Ralph Macchio, Rick Schroder, David Justice, Amy Purdy, Brant Daugherty, Cheech Marin, Leah Remini, Rumer Willis and Danica McKellar.

Safety First: It’s always nerve-racking to be judged first, but Antonio Sabato Jr. managed it without breaking a sweat. He’s coming back next week, as is Tavis Smiley, while Betsey Johnson does not get an AARP break and is in jeopardy this week.

Ladies With an Attitude: To introduce the audience to the stars who, frankly, kind of need an introduction, the producers kindly give up a few moments of prime time so each woman can explain who they are and why they are on the show in a two-second soundbite. Pretty Little Liars star Janel Parish wants to show off her Hawaiian dance heritage. Sadie Robertson wants to share her faith and prove Christians can have fun. Actress Lea Thompson wants to relive her ballet-dancer past. Olympic bobsledder and hurdler Lolo Jones wants to show up that guy who embarrassed her at prom. Bethany Mota wants to live life, step outside YouTube and onto TV. Designer Betsey Johnson wants to show that age is a matter of mind, because “if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter!”

Fellows That Were in the Mood: Then, the men get a shot at justifying their spot on the show. Former Fresh Prince star Alfonso Ribeiro is looking forward to losing weight. Tommy Chong wants to impress his wife. PBS mainstay Tavis Smiley wants to start being silly before he turns 50. Mean Girls actor Jonathan Bennett is here to make the audience cry and honor his father, who is watching from heaven. Mixed-martial-arts champ Randy Couture is here to show his softer side. NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip wants to pick up where Bill Engvall left off.

Meet the Pros: The show added three new pros this season, and while it introduced them last night, they are just going to go ahead and do it again. Allison Holker came from So You Think You Can Dance, Artem Chigvintsev won Strictly Come Dancing and Keo Motsepe is a South African dance machine. After a video that featured all three glistening in oil while a wind machine sputtered. Tom Bergeron quipped, “Dancing With the Stars, where body fat goes to die.” After their video intro, they show their stuff by dancing with the rest of the pros to Pharrell’s “Come Get it Bae.” Needless to say, the men were shirtless.

Encore Performance: The judges smartly opted to watch a repeat of Alfonso’s and Witney’s high-flying, fast-paced jive, which put them at the top of the leaderboard. Watching the frenetic footwork and effortless flair in the routine makes you realize that Alfonso is good, but it also speaks to Witney’s talent. As the youngest pro on the show, she has the most to prove.

Safety Dance: Over the next few rounds of drama-filled results announcements, it’s revealed that Janel, Randy Couture, Sadie Robertson, Alfonso and Bethany Mota are safe. That left Lea Thompson and Michael Waltrip in jeopardy.

Best Performance: Motown legend Smokey Robinson and up-and-comer Aloe Blacc sang a slowed down version of “My Girl” while Mark and Witney slow-danced like they were at a rom-com version of a high school prom when everyone had cleared the floor so the preacher’s daughter and the motorcycle-riding town rebel could rekindle their love against all odds and her father’s wishes.

Best Moment of the Night: The producers unearthed the pros’ audition tapes and showed Derek Hough’s shiny-faced, exuberant and loquacious tryout. It was all kinds of adorable.

Worst Moment of the Night: Airing time-wasting B-roll footage, instead of the rest of the pros’ audition videos.

In Jeopardy: The hosts reveal that Jonathan Bennett and Tommy Chong are safe, meaning that all is currently right with the world and Lolo and Keo are in jeopardy. She joins Betsey Johnson, Michael Waltrip and Lea Thompson in the bottom of the rankings.

The Results: It’s quickly revealed that Lea and Michael are safe, meaning that Betsey and Lolo are actually in jeopardy.

Going Home: Lolo Jones. The Olympian handles defeat with grace, admitting her mistakes and pointing out that it wouldn’t have been fair to send Betsey home over a wardrobe malfunction. If she had been as gracious last night, perhaps she would have stayed on the show longer.

TIME Culture

Blackness, ‘Black-ish’ and ‘The Cosby Show': How Cliff Huxtable Changed American Culture

Bill Cosby as Cliff Huxtable, with daughter Rudy (Keshia Knight Pulliam), on "The Cosby Show"
Bill Cosby as Cliff Huxtable, with daughter Rudy (Keshia Knight Pulliam), on "The Cosby Show" Everett

When “The Cosby Show” first aired in September 1984, nobody—not NBC executives, not Bill Cosby, not the viewers—could have predicted the impact it would have on how African-Americans are perceived and how they perceive themselves

Thirty years ago this September, NBC aired the pilot for a new situation comedy on eight o’clock on Thursday night. At the time, there wasn’t a single sitcom in the Nielsen top twenty, and many in the TV industry had declared the format “dead.” In an upfront presentation for advertisers, network president Brandon Tartikoff predicted tepidly that the show would finish second in the time slot to “Magnum P.I.” on CBS; in an advance review critic David Bianculli pleaded with NBC not to “dump it” prematurely. And when viewers tuned into the pilot, they weren’t treated to the usual drum-roll introductions to the show’s character and premise. All they saw was a typical day in the life of an American family: the kids and parents bickering over what kind of music to listen to over breakfast, the teenage daughter getting ready to go out on a date, the dad having a stern talk with his son about a dismal report card.

Yet “The Cosby Show” didn’t just win the time slot that night. It went on to dominate TV for the rest of the eighties, topping the ratings for five straight years, reviving NBC and pulling all the sitcoms that aired after it into the Nielsen top ten. In the sentimental glow with which it is now remembered, it’s easy to forget how astonishing it was that a comedy about black people could have that kind of success, or to assume that it did so only because the Huxtables were, as New York Magazine once sneered, “little more than ‘Leave it to Beaver’ in blackface.” As unfair as that verdict was at the time, it seems even more ludicrous now, in light of the failure of any show in the three decades since to come close to matching the impact that “The Cosby Show” had on how African-Americans are perceived and how they perceive themselves.

Cosby His Life and Times

The premiere next week of “Black-ish,” a new ABC sitcom about a black family, provides a reminder of just how quietly radical “The Cosby Show” was. Like Cliff and Claire Huxtable, Andre and Rainbow Johnson (played by Anthony Anderson and Tracey Ellis Ross, the daughter of Diana Ross) are successful black professionals: an advertising executive and a doctor, raising their three children in an affluent mixed neighborhood. But in every other way, “Black-ish” is more of a throwback to shows like “The Jeffersons” and “Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” where the humor is always directly or indirectly about race, and rarely is it subtle. Born in “the hood,” Andre is obsessed with “keeping it real” at work and at home—a loss-of-identity crisis that leads him to do clownishly implausible things like include a ghetto riot in an ad for the L.A. tourist board, dress his son in tribal garb for “an African Rights of Passage” ceremony and bait his biracial wife for not being truly black (hence “black-ish”).

For Cosby, keeping it real meant something very different. While his show was still in development, Cosby reached out to Dr. Alvin Poussaint, a Harvard psychiatrist whose specialty is minority children, and asked him to read scripts to make sure they reflected genuine child psychology and family dynamics. Sensing that Poussaint was going easy on laugh lines, Cosby told him to be even tougher: “Your job is to check reality,” he said. “My job is to make it funny.” Cosby stuck by his guns when network boss Tartikoff criticized the thin plot lines of the early episodes. (Rudy’s pet goldfish dies; Theo gets cut from the football team; Denise botches the sewing of a knock-off designer shirt.) Shooting the second season premier, Cosby threatened to walk off the set when the network sought to appease advertisers by removing an “Abolish Apartheid” sign from Theo’s bedroom door. “There may be two sides to apartheid in Archie Bunker’s house,” he declared. “But it’s impossible that the Huxtables would be on any side but one.”

Affectionate with fellow cast members, Cosby could be hell on writers, making fun of their contrived jokes and riffing on their carefully-crafted dialogue, like the jazz musician he once wanted to be. Yet today, even some of the most bruised survivors credit him with ushering in a down-to-earth style of comedy that would help pave the way for shows like “Seinfeld” and “Home Improvement,” and later “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Portlandia,” where actors are encouraged to improvise. Combined with Cosby’s insistence on sticking to universal themes of family life, that naturalism allowed his show to go in new and unpredictable directions every week. Some episodes could have nothing to do with race; others could revolve around jazz, or black art, or remembering the March on Washington. Watching the “Black-ish” pilot, with its one-note identity fetish and over-scripted laugh lines—“Not really black!” Rainbow retorts, “Tell that to my hair and my ass!”—you wonder how the show will avoid repeating itself.

By the end of the first episode, however, it’s clear that “Black-ish” also aspires to express the yearning of African-Americans not to be totally defined by skin color. Andre is disappointed when he is promoted to vice-president of his firm’s “urban division” because he wanted to be “the first vice-president who just happened to be black.” And when he eventually supports his son’s decision to play field hockey rather than basketball and agrees to throw him a hip-hop bar mitzvah, even though the family isn’t Jewish, he tells the audience: “I didn’t feel urban, I just felt like a dad who was willing to do whatever he could to support his family.” Given time, perhaps “Black-ish” will find its way to the higher ground that Bill Cosby miraculously seized from day one and occupied for almost a decade thirty years go. You can almost hear Cliff Huxtable in the voice of Andre’s father, played by an underutilized Laurence Fishburne, when his son asks how he kept it real.

“I didn’t keep it real,” Pops replies. “I kept it honest.”

 

Mark Whitaker is the author of Cosby: His Life and Times, the biography of Bill Cosby out this week, and the critically acclaimed memoir, My Long Trip Home. The former managing editor of CNN Worldwide, he was previously the Washington bureau chief for NBC News and a reporter and editor at Newsweek, where he rose to become the first African-American leader of a national newsweekly.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Television

Watch Nasim Pedrad’s Spot-On Aziz Ansari Impression in This Unaired Saturday Night Live Sketch

Almost as good as her Kim Kardashian

On last night’s Conan, former SNL star Nasim Pedrad gave a little taste of what could have been. She said she constantly pushed for the opportunity to impersonate Aziz Ansari — and though it finally happened, the sketch never aired. O’Brien said he got a hold of the footage and shared it with his audience.

First, of course, O’Brien chatted with Pedrad about her very popular Kim Kardashian impression — and her experience meeting Kim in person. The conversation soon shifted to other people Pedrad had wanted to play, and that’s when she revealed her steadfast mission to buck the odds and play Aziz Ansari. “The producers were always like, ‘Hey, what about this week you play a pretty gal?’ and I was always like, ‘Or, what if I play another small man?'”

Sadly, Pedrad won’t be returning to SNL this season, so her dreams of playing Ansari on air will never become a reality. Too bad — we would have loved to see her perfect the classic Tom Haverford face.

TIME Television

Central Perk From Friends Is Now a Real Place, and Gunther Is There

Erik Matey/Warner Bros Entertainment

For the 20th anniversary of Friends, the iconic coffee shop is launching as a pop-up in lower Manhattan

Starbucks. Blue Bottle. Dunkin Donuts. New York City is filled with places to get coffee. Yesterday, though, we went to Central Perk.

Yep — a pop-up shop immortalizing the dream of the ’90s has opened to mark the 20th anniversary of Friends. The once-fictional coffee shop that was the hangout of choice for the cast of Friends has become a reality — for a limited time, anyway. In a collaboration between Warner Bros and Eight O’Clock Coffee, Central Perk will open its doors to the public on Wednesday, September 17 and stay open until October 18, giving fans plenty of time to grow out their Rachels and find their most ’90s outfit.

Erik Matey/Warner Bros Entertainment

Fans may be able to find some inspiration at Central Perk itself thanks to the display of the show’s costumes in all their ’90s glory, including Monica’s (Courteney Cox) V-neck peasant shirt and calf-length skirt train wreck, Rachel’s (Jennifer Aniston) belted grey schoolgirl skirt and black boot ensemble and Joey Tribbiani’s (Matt LeBlanc) henley-flannel shirt combo. (A box of Smelly Cat cat litter is not a recommended accessory.)

Erik Matey/Warner Bros Entertainment

The pop-up shop is fittingly filled with Friends memorabilia, including signed scripts and cast photos capturing behind-the-scenes moments from the set and candid shots of Chandler, Joey, Rachel, Monica, Phoebe and Ross goofing off.

More exciting for the die-hard Friends fan is the display case filled with ephemera, like the VHS copy of Buffay the Vampire Layer.

Chandler, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Ross and Rachel were nowhere to be found, so we were able to snag the big orange couch — it was once Central Perk’s hottest real estate! — and talk to Gunther. While the surly waiter had no interest in taking our order (typical), actor James Michael Tyler — who played Gunther on the show — was happy to stretch out on the couch. “As a character, I was never able to sit on the couch,” he says. “Gunther only sat on it once!”

Erik Matey/Warner Bros Entertainment

“In real life, I’m not grumpy,” says Tyler. “But Gunther pretty much epitomized the early ’90s barista.” Can Tyler see Gunther working in a coffee shop now? “It would be interesting to see Gunther with a full beard and a fedora working at a coffee shop right now,” says Tyler. “But he either franchised Central Perk or went back to soap opera acting.”

Erik Matey/Warner Bros Entertainment

Tyler, who has moved on from acting to writing, says he was able to put Gunther to rest thanks to the show’s writers. “The final episode — where Gunther had closure and was able to tell Rachel that he was in love with her and had been for ten years — was great,” says Tyler. “No one ever picked up the clues that Gunther was obsessed with her! The writers had a lot of story lines to write in that last episode and to have the courtesy to include closure for Gunther instead of leaving him open-ended was great. 20 years later, if he was still obsessed with Rachel, that would be sad.”

To make your Gunther-Rachel fanfic come to life (and to get a cup of limited-edition Central Perk Roast), Central Perk at 199 Lafayette Street (at the corner of Broome Street) in New York City is open from Wednesday, September 18 through Saturday, October 18.

TIME Television

Judd Apatow’s New Show Is Headed to Netflix for 2 Seasons

"Begin Again" New York Premiere
Judd Apatow attends the 'Begin Again' premiere Gary Gershoff—Getty

Love will star Community's Gillian Jacobs and Paul Rust

Judd Apatow is going from the big screen to your computer screen.

Netflix announced Tuesday that it signed a two-season deal for the mogul’s new comedy series Love, starring Community’s Gillian Jacobs and I Love You Beth Cooper star Paul Rust, who will also be a writer on the show.

Apatow and Rust will be joined by Brooklyn Nine-Nine writer Lesley Arfin to pen the series.

“Judd Apatow has a unique comedic voice that manages to be delightful, insightful, and shockingly frank — often at the same time,” Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said in a statement. “Together with Paul and Lesley, he’s bringing a whole new level of agony and ecstasy to this modern day comedy of manners.”

There had been rumors earlier this summer that the show would appear on Netflix competitor Hulu.

Apatow created short-lived television hit Freaks and Geeks. Love will be his first series since Undeclared, which ended in 2003.

TIME Television

Here’s a Sliver of Good News About Women in Television

FRANCE-ENTERTAINMENT-INTERNET-FILM-TELEVISION-NETFLIX
"Orange is the New Black" cast members US actresses Laura Prepon, Taylor Schilling, Uzo Aduba and Kate Mulgrew pose during a photocall for the launch of Netflix in France on September 15, 2014 in Paris. Francois Guillot—AFP/Getty Images

A new study shows that prime-time television is still very much a boys club, but women are gaining ground in one key area

By now, we’ve almost become accustomed to the depressing figures about how few women are working in the film industry — and television is no different. In front of the camera and behind, the television industry is notoriously a boys’ club. But according to the 17th annual “Boxed In” study, conducted by San Diego State’s Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, which analyzes how many women are working in primetime television and was released Tuesday, there are some key areas where women are on the rise.

Let’s start with the good news: Women producers are on the up in television as this year women accounted for 43% of all producers on network television shows, an increase of five percent over last year. It’s also a 14% increase since 1997-98 (the first year the “Boxed In” study was conducted). Also promisingly, women made up 13% of all directors this year, an increase of one percent from the previous year and an increase of five percent since 1997-98.

Unfortunately, the report wasn’t all positive or even mostly positive about the current state for women in primetime television. This year, the number of women in writing and executive producing positions had decreased from last year’s figures. What’s more, only 20% of creators were women, a decrease of four percent from last year.

Women working in front of the cameras also took a hit, as women only made up 42% of all speaking characters and 42% of major characters this year, marking a one percent decrease from last year.

Though the television roles off-screen are less glamorous than the ones on-screen, the study also found the two are linked. More specifically, the higher the number of women behind the cameras often corresponded with a higher number of women in front of the camera. According to the numbers, when a program had at least one woman writer on staff, “females accounted for 46% of all characters.” Yet the number of female characters dropped to 38% when there were no women writers on staff.

While the above numbers only take network television into account, “Boxed In” did also factor in the number of women working in cable and Netflix shows. Sadly, those numbers don’t exactly offer improvements. Looking at broadcast, cable and Netflix together, women made up 40% of producers, 26% of writers, 21% of executive producers, 19% of creators and 13% of directors. (Though once again, producers and directors marked a marginal increase over last year’s figures.)

With the commercial and critical success of women-led shows such as Orange is the New Black and Scandal and Girls, it might be hard to believe that now isn’t a pinnacle time for women in the industry. Yet, according to the figures and Dr. Martha Lauzen, the Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, that’s simply not the case.

“For many years, women have experienced slow but incremental growth both as characters on screen and working in key positions behind the scenes,” Lauzen said in a statement. “However, that progress, small though it was, now appears to have stalled.”

TIME Television

Review: Red Band Society Has Faults and (Potential) Stars

Alex Martinez / FOX

The teen hospital dramedy's first hour is shaky, but at moments manages to be more than Glee, M.D.

Glee, which ends its run this season, premiered five years ago. That may not seem like much to you, but it’s a generation in terms of adolescence; a 13 year old when we first visited McKinley High is now old enough to vote, making way for new teens with new tastes. Over that time, we’ve gone from Glee‘s snarky outsiderdom to the sincere likes of The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars–and YA has become so culturally dominant that it was one inspiration for critic A.O. Scott to declare the death of adulthood in American culture. Glee packaged stories of identity and tolerance in self-awareness and camp. By 2014, teen stories are big business and–as in John Green’s novel Stars and the hit movie of the same name–often serious as death.

Red Band Society (Wednesdays on Fox) starts off with one foot in the Glee style and one foot, well, in the grave. Its premise–an ensemble dramedy about seriously ill kids in a long-term pediatric hospital–is so conveniently timed you might call it The Fox in Our Stars. (It’s adapted, to be fair, from a Catalan drama that predates the Green novel.)

But it kicks off with a scene and a sensibility that’s straight out of Glee: wicked-mean cheerleader Kara (Zoe Levin) collapses during a practice and her tormented classmates crowd around to take smartphone pictures of the fallen Queen B. Kara has an enlarged heart–irony alert–which lands her at in L.A.’s Ocean Park hospital, where she quickly tries to assert alpha status.

There’s already a tight social circle at Ocean Park, though, including charismatic Leo (Charlie Rowe), a longtime resident with cancer; rascally Dash (Astro), his best friend, who has cystic fibrosis; and Emma (Ciara Bravo), Leo’s sometime girlfriend, a brainy girl with an eating disorder. And while Kara is the first character we meet, our guide to the ways of Ocean Park turns out to be Charlie (Griffin Gluck), a 12-year-old who narrates the series from within a coma.

Ocean Park is part high school (the kids take classes on site), part camp for misfits and rebels–authority figures include Octavia Spencer as no-B.S. Nurse Jackson–but all hospital, which means that for all the escapades of the pilot, there’s always the looming threat of darker things. One reminder comes when we meet cancer patient Jordi (Nolan Sotillo), who has maneuvered his way into the care of a top specialist, engineering his treatment–having a leg amputated–the way other kids his age might angle to get into a good college.

Promisingly, the pilot of Red Band (like Glee‘s) has a ton of voice, but its tone wobbles wildly as it overcorrects away from sentimentality and then straight into it. One moment it’s all parties, fart jokes and gallows humor, the next Leo is dispensing inspirational quotes like a piñata: “Luck isn’t getting what you want. It’s surviving what you don’t want,” and “Your body isn’t you. Your soul is you, and they can never cut into your soul.”

It’s a tricky challenge that Red Band has, of course. It’s about kids who might die, plain and simple, and it would be irresponsible to act otherwise. And yet–just like the hospitalized kids themselves–its audience doesn’t want to dwell on the morbid, to forget the fun and promise of life. Indeed, a producer has already told press that the first season won’t have “a body count”–but the risk of that is offering all the beautiful sadness of young tragedy while cleansing it of many of its consequences. (The danger of romanticizing illness is inevitable on TV, where, for instance, the ward is bound to be filled exclusively with patients who are extremely good-looking.)

But the great thing about teen stories is that not only do they give you permission for wild swings in tone and emotion, on some level they wouldn’t be believable without them. If Red Band is Glee-like at some moments and mawkish at others, the first hour has moments–like the stirring final sequence–that combine the two modes for a rush of earned feeling. If the show finds that balance, it could lead network teen TV, that recovering mean cheerleader, from Glee mode to the thing that comes next.

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