Welcome to my Binge Worthy blog post series. In these posts, I will be taking my favorite shows that have finished their run, and tell you why you should be watching them as well! And if you are already a fan of the show, there will also be a discussion section, where I will be giving my thoughts and opinions on the show as a whole. From season rankings to favorite couples, this discussion section will look at the best and worst parts of each series. Today I will be looking at One Tree Hill.
If there is one show I could watch over and over again, and never grow tired of it, it would have to be One Tree Hill. Between the declarations of teenage love, the schemes of Dan Scott, the psycho stalkers, and heartbreaking moments, what is there to not love about this show? One Tree Hill was the first teen drama I first ever really started watching, and because of that, it will always have a special place in my heart. So without further ado, let's get into it!
One Tree Hill premiered on September 23, 2003. Originally envisioned by creator Mark Schwan as a movie entitled An Unkindness of Ravens, the show premiered on the WB for its first three seasons. It then made the move over to what is now known as The CW when UPN and the WB merged in 2006 and would remain on the network for the duration of its nine-season run. It stars Chad Michael Murray, Sophia Bush, Hilarie Burton, James Lafferty, Bethany Joy Lenz, Paul Johansson, Barry Corbin, Craig Sheffer, Moira Kelly, Barbara Alyn Woods, and Lee Noris.
One Tree Hill is about a small town high school basketball team, and the drama associated with two generations of the town’s residents. Tree Hill is turned upside down when half-brothers Lucas and Nathan Scott both make the varsity high school basketball team. The boys who share the same father Dan Scott, have been brought up differently their whole lives.
Lucas was raised by his mom Karen, and the claim from Dan that he was not really his father. He spends most of his days playing basketball with his friends down at the city’s local river court. Nathan on the other hand, whose mother Deb ended up marrying Dan, has had everything he could have ever asked for. He is dating the most popular girl in school, lives in a huge house, and is the star of the basketball team. However, despite seeming to have it all, Lucas soon discovers that he may have ended up with the better end of the deal when he sees Nathan and Dan's relationship for himself. Even though the boys have hated each other for most of their lives, they must now come together if they want their team to do well, and Tree Hill High will never be the same.
Their parents are also forced to come together again, and face the drama they left behind all those years ago when Dan chose Deb over Karen. The show also focuses on the lives of Lucas and Nathan’s friends, Peyton, Brooke, Haley, Mouth, and Skills, as they try to navigate high school, and growing up.
Check out this major WB throwback trailer below:
Why You Should Watch It
One Tree Hill debuted at a time when teen dramas were on the rise. It helped usher in a new era of the genre alongside the likes of The O.C. (which was the biggest competition) and Gilmore Girls, leading to many others such as Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries which would come shortly after. It also premiered on the W.B. the same year Dawson's Creek ended in the hopes of keeping the same audience on the network. Originally meant to appeal more to boys with the heart of the show being about two brothers playing basketball, the show went on to appeal to a much wider audience. When many people think of One Tree Hill, and let's be honest, most teen shows in general, it is often not taken as seriously as a piece of television drama. And while yes, a lot of the show's premise takes place around kids in high school, there is so much more to the show than that:
The show manages to capture what it feels like to be a teenager in an authentic way. While yes sometimes the situations are a bit more dramatized than they would be in real life, the heart of the show is very realistic. The characters deal with everything normal teens do, such as applying to colleges, dating, popularity, friendship, family problems, and above all else, finding out who they are. It makes the show very relatable, and honest.
The soundtrack is incredible. If nothing else, the show was known in it's time for helping new and upcoming artists to be discovered, while also mixing in classic songs everyone knows. It has quite a connection with music. Not only is every episode title a song name, but the show its self is named after a U2 song called 'One Tree Hill'. In season two, the show even created its own club Tric, so that it was able to feature more bands and artists in ways other than just the soundtrack.
Despite being a teen drama, the show also has a lot of new and refreshing storylines to the genre. Between murder plots, fake marriage schemes, and stalkers, the show is never boring and adds a level of fun to the tired prom and graduation plots.
The show centers around basketball and uses the idea of a team sport to its advantage. A lot of the show's biggest moments center around basketball events, or big games and the show's use of mirroring what's happening on the court with what is happening in the kid's lives is so well done. Basketball is also shown as the heart of the show, and can both cause and fix problems between the characters.
It promotes not only strong female characters but also just the idea that young people can make a difference no matter your age. Brooke Davis is a fantastic example of a woman who is strong, smart, and kind, and runs her own business while also starting a family. Many of the other characters are also shown to be very driven in following their dreams, such as Nathan wanting to make it to the NBA, and it is always inspiring to watch someone struggle for a dream, and then finally get it, as many of the characters do. If you are a sucker for happy endings, this show has you covered.
The Essentials List
Since there is so much to watch on television these days, I often hear people say that they just like to watch the most important episodes of a show, so that they can get through them quickly and watch more things. I personally would never want to do this, if I'm going to get invested in a show, I'm in it for the long haul, even through the worst episodes. However, if this is your preferred form of television viewing, I have compiled what I believe to be the most important episodes from each season, to ensure you get the most essential information out of a shortened viewing.
Also, for people who have already seen the show and are fans, you could view this as a highlight reel to go back and watch the best episodes of each season!
-The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most
-Crash Into You
-Every Night is Another Story
-Life in a Glass House
-With Arms Outstretched
-Crash Course in Polite Conversations
-I Shall Believe
-Spirit in the Night
-To Wish Impossible Things
-The Leaving Song
-The Games That Play Us
-The Truth Doesn’t Make a Noise
-I Will Dare
-Let the Reigns Go Loose
-Truth, Bitter Truth
-The Heart Brings You Back
-The Hero Dies in this One
-Unopened Letters to the World
-Somewhere a Clock is Ticking
-The Tide That Left and Never Came Back
-The Leavers Dance
-Like You Like an Arsonist
-Champagne for My Real Friends, Real Pain for My Sham Friends
-How a Resurrection Really Feels
-The Wind That Blew My Heart Away
-Just Watch the Fireworks
-With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept **If you watch one episode of this show make it this one**
-Who Will Survive and Who Will Be Left of Them
-When It Isn’t Like It Should Be
-Over the Hills and Far Away
-The Show Must Go On
-The Same Deep Water as You
-I Love You but I’ve Chosen Darkness
-Where Did You Sleep Last Night
-Some You Give Away
-Pictures of You
-You Call it Madness, but I Call it Love
-It Gets the Worst at Night
-Ashes of Dreams You Let Die
-The Birth and Death of the Day
-All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone
-4 Years, 6 Months, 2 Days
-I Forgot to Remember to Forget
-In da Club
-For Tonight You’re Only Here to Know
-Running to Stand Still
-Cryn’ Won’t Help You Now
-Hate is Safer Than Love
-What Comes After the Blues
-Touch Me I'm Going to Scream, Part 1
-Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.
-You've Dug Your Own Grave, Now Lie in It
-Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe
-Things a Mama Don't Know
-You and Me and the Bottle Makes Three Tonight
-Show Me How to Live
-Forever and Almost Always
-Remember Me as a Time of Day
-4:30 AM (Apparently They Were Traveling Abroad)
-What Are You Willing to Lose
-I and Love and You
-Now You Lift Your Eyes to the Sun
-You Know I Love You... Don't You?
-My Attendance Is Bad But My Intentions Are Good
-What's in the Ground Belongs to You
-Almost Everything I Wish I'd Said the Last Time I Saw You
-Asleep at Heaven's Gate
-We All Fall Down
-Luck Be a Lady
-Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace
-Darkness on the Edge of Town
-The Drinks We Drank Last Night
-The Other Half of Me
-Flightless Bird, American Mouth
-This Is My House, This Is My Home
-Know This, We've Noticed
-Love the Way You Lie
-Catastrophe and the Cure
-Last Known Surroundings
-Every Breath Is a Bomb
-Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
-One Tree Hill
Fellow One Tree Hill fans, did I miss anything, or is there anything on here you don't think is necessary? Let me know what you think of my list in the comments below!
(Beware, if you have not seen the show in its entirety, there will be spoilers from this section onward.)
I started watching One Tree Hill when I was in high school, catching reruns of it on TV, so I ended up seeing a lot of it out of order. In college, when I finally got Netflix, I decided to watch the whole thing from start to finish. I binged the entire show in a few months, and have since re-watched it, many times. Of the many teen television shows out there today, I think I connect with One Tree Hill the most. It is about a very close group of friends from a very small town, where everyone knows everyone, much like the town I grew up in. I knew cheerleaders like Brooke and Peyton, my boyfriend was on the soccer team, I experienced drama at school dances, I just know these characters so well. Well you know, minus the stalkers, and kidnappings, and high school marriages...
What One Tree Hill does so well, is capture what it's like to be a teenager. In high school, getting into a fight with your best friend felt like the end of the world, and drama over boys consumed your conversations at girls nights. These were the things that happened on OTH that I connected with, and what made me fall in love with and relate to the characters. Even now, I still have a small close group of friends who all live in different places, but just like when Tree Hill's residents come home, and nothing has changed, the same can be said for us in our small town. There are so many things I love about this show, so let's get into it!
First Let's Get In the One Tree Hill Mood...
Ah, good old Gavin DeGraw's 'I Don't Wanna Be'... I mean does any fan of this show not think of Tree Hill when they hear it? The show certainly helped put him on the map when it used the song for its opening theme back in 2003, and he responded with multiple guest appearances in thanks. The show's history of its theme song can be followed alongside the evolution of the theme song in general. The theme plays at the beginning of almost every episode of the first four seasons, with the exception of a few special episodes.
But it was then dropped completely to the dismay of many fans in seasons five through seven. This was a period in time when many shows were either dropping or not using theme songs at all, as they were thought of as time wasters, and creators wanted to use the extra time for the story. It was then brought back towards the end of the show's run for season eight (I'm assuming as a tribute to the show when it was thought to be in its final season) by having each episode’s theme sung by a different artist. Whether you liked it or hated it, it was a cool way to incorporate past musical guests and actors in some of the show's final episodes, as many came back such as Fall Out Boy, Kate Vogel, and more. The show then dropped the song again in the actual final ninth season, bringing it back one final time in the finale.
Despite this roller coaster of emotions over losing and gaining back the beloved theme song, it was just so fitting to the show. I will actually stop what I'm doing and watch it every time I'm re-watching an episode which features it because it just puts me in a good mood. The cheesy font choice, flashing over cut head-shots of each character, intermixed with drama-filled sceans from the upcoming seasons was the perfect way to get fans in the Tree Hill mindset before each episode. Okay, now we can dive into the show.
Seasons Ranking (from best to worst):
I think it is safe to say that the high school years of OTH are most fans' favorite seasons, and this one, in my opinion, is the best of the best. This season was far enough into the show that the characters had grown out of their stereotypical roles and were getting much more serious stories. Nathan was no longer a jerk, and he and Haley were almost past her leaving to go on tour in the previous season. Lucas had to learn that he may never be able to play basketball again because of his heart condition, and so for the sake of his friends and family had to decide to walk away. Brooke had gone from the naked girl in Lucas's backseat to student council president, and was so much more confident in herself and her relationships, especially with Peyton and Lucas. Peyton and Brooke were friends again, and Peyton grew close to and lost her birth mother. Also, Dan Scott runs for mayor...one of my favorite storylines of the whole show. This season also contains one of the darkest and most heartbreaking run of episodes in the form of the school shooting, and the show's first death of a main character, Kieth. It was really the season that people started paying attention to what OTH could do as a show. Also, Peyton dates Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy but dumps him for Jake... #TeamJakeForever.
Season three set up so many great storylines that would play out in season four, that I almost just think of them in my head as one season. From Lucas slowly figuring out that Dan was the one who killed Keith, to his realization that he does still have feelings for Peyton, so many things that were set up for him in season three played out and finished up so nicely. And while I loved that Peyton finally got to be happy with Lucas, I also admire that she spent a lot of the season learning self-defense, and finding out more about where she came from. Speaking of self-defense, this season also had the first of quite a few psycho stalker storylines, and in my opinion, the only one that was truly well done. Psycho Derek could come across as a cautionary tale about what happens when you meet people on the internet, but in my mind, it is more about showing why Peyton has so many issues with trusting people, and her struggle to overcome that fear. This is also the first season where Brooke did not have a storyline revolving around Lucas and instead got to focus on figuring out who she was as a person. I also really like her and Chase together, and it was a nice change of pace for her. My favorite story of the season though was Nathan and Haley. It was hard enough for them to navigate being married in high school, and then Haley finds out she is pregnant. Even though I do not admire that Nathan began point shaving in order to get Dante's money, I completely understand why he did, and watching him and Haley overcome their problems in this season was so enduring.
It may be because I am older now, and so I'm closer to the age the gang is in these seasons, but I have found upon re-watching the series just how much I love seasons five and six. Much like with seasons three and four, to me, seasons five and six almost feel like one complete season. However, I do like season six a little more purely because I love getting to see all the happy endings our characters get at the end of and throughout the season. Lucas and Peyton finally have a full season of being together and happy, instead of the star-crossed lovers plot of season five. This is also their characters' final season, and the show wrote them off in the perfect way. Nathan continues to get closer to his dream of making it to the NBA, and I will admit I cried the first time I watched the episode where he gets to tell Haley he finally made it. Haley herself also gets more time to discover what she wants to do with her life and even starts recording again. And then there is Brooke. She begins to make amends with her mom, has an amazing arc in helping Sam, and of course, meets and begins to fall for Julian. Mouth and Skills even end up with happy storylines as they both explore dating Milly and Lauren. While the writers were unsure if the show would be renewed, and therefore ended with an episode that could have served as a series finale, I loved that the show finally ended a season with everyone just being happy after all they had been through.
What OTH did that I will always love it for, was the reset it does at the beginning of this season. Deciding to skip the college years, and just show us flashbacks throughout the season was one of the smartest moves I have seen in a teen drama. We did not need to see the same drama in college as we did in high school, and I loved that it gave the season a bit of mystery as well, as we in the audience had to piece together what happened during the four years we missed. As I stated above, this season set up a lot of conflict for the characters that would be resolved in season six, and so it was a little heavier than its proceeding season. Peyton spends most of it pining for Lucas, who is engaged to his book editor Lindsey. And while I love that she started her own record label, I felt like too much of her story this season revolved around getting Lucas back. As viewers, we obviously knew Lucas was not going to end up with Lindsey, and so to see him deny his feelings for Peyton all the way up to their wedding day, and even after was just frustrating. However, I did love that him, Skills, and Nathan coached the Ravens, it felt like it brought the story full circle. Nathan and Haley also had a bumpy ride this season with Nathan's injury, and of course Nanny Carrie, of whom I could have done without. However, the best thing to come from their story was of course Jamie. Jackson was so cute, and a perfect addition to the cast and I loved how he was incorporated in some way into everyone's stories. When most shows about 20 somethings introduce a child, the kid ends up almost never being brought up or used well, but OTH made sure to make Jamie his own fully formed character, not just a plot device.
The season that started it all. While I do have a soft spot for the first season, I find it to be a bit slow. It is by far the most realistic season, somewhere closer to Dawson's Creek than say The OC, but it is definitely not like what OTH became known for being. That being said, it is nice to go back and see all of the relationships form that will play out for the rest of the show. We get the beginning of Lucas and Nathan working together as brothers and teammates. This is also, of course, the beginning of one of my favorite couples, Naley, and I love how pure and innocent their relationship starts out. I don't love the story of Lucas and Peyton sneaking around behind Brooke's back, but I do love Brooke and Peyton's journey back to each other as friends. I also love the realistic dynamic between Deb, Dan, Karen, and Keith in this season, before all the murder plots and schemes begin.
My least favorite season of the high school years. This season was all over the place and at times a little boring. Watching Nathan struggle with Haley leaving him is too hard for me to watch, and it lasts so long it starts to make me depressed. I loved the introduction of Felix and Anna in this season, Felix was a fun character, and Anna was the shows chance to explore a coming out story. However, neither of them ended up being used to their full potential, and they were written out and never brought up again. Brooke's FWB deal with Felix made sense after her relationship with Lucas, but I still wasn't their biggest fan. I also did not love the whole storyline with Lucas trying to "take down Dan", it never ended up playing out to its full advantage either. However, the Jules and Keith storyline was a fun twist, and of course, started the beginning of the major feud between Dan and Keith that would end in Keith's death. I also loved Peyton and Jake together, and their struggle with Nikki. The best thing to come out of this season though? Chris Keller of course! And the addition of Tric, which allowed the show to host many future musical guests. Overall, it was my least favorite high school season, however, it was still much better than the last few seasons in general.
A lot of One Tree Hill fans don't seem too fond of this season, but I loved it. While the storyline about Nathan being kidnapped was pretty ridiculous, it was a great reason to bring everyone together for one final mission. Watching Dan, Haley, Julian, Chris, and Chase team up to save Nathan was awesome, and Dan's sacrifice was the perfect conclusion to his and Nathan's story. I also really liked Chase's storyline with Chuck in this season and found he was finally being used to his full potential. I could have done without the stories of Julian leaving one of the twins in the car, and Clay discovering he forgot his own son though, they were both pretty absurd. I did, however, love the ending of the season, and the fact that Haley and Brooke reopened Karen's Cafe. For me, it was the best of the post- Lucas and Peyton seasons.
I have similar feelings towards seasons seven and eight, they were both okay, but not the show's best. The reason this season ranks higher to me though than seven is because I loved getting to see Brooke and Julian get their happy ending, especially that they ended up being able to get pregnant. All the episodes leading up to their wedding were great, and finally seeing Brooke get to be the bride after watching all of her friend's find happiness was awesome. Clay and Quinn also got to develop more as a couple this season without having to deal with David and Katie. I also didn't mind Alex as much during this season, especially her love triangle with Chase and Mia. This season also was one of the first to not have Haley and Nathan go through a major marital problem, and instead, they had another baby, and Nathan found a new career. Considering it was written to be the show's final season, it would have provided a satisfying conclusion had that been the case.
One Tree Hill is possibly one of the only shows that I have seen so far, where I don't dislike or disregard an entire season of it, I just like some more than others. That is the case with season seven, the final one in my ranking. There are of course many things about this season I could have done without. This was the season that the show had to prove it could survive without Lucas and Peyton, and in some ways, it was a breath of fresh air to invite some new characters into the picture. I loved the introduction of Quinn and Clay and ended up falling in love with their relationship. However, I could have done without Alex, and Nathan's accused mistress. Both of those characters felt like they were trying to recreate different parts of Rachel, and it just wasn't working for me. Speaking of Rachel, this was also the season where she was married to Dan, who had his own talk show about how he had killed his brother... While I found this storyline funny at first, it soon grew tiring and I was over it far before it was. One thing I found really compelling about this season though, was Haley's struggle with depression after losing her mom. As the one who was normally taking care of everyone else, it was nice to see the gang come together to help Haley for a change, and Bethany Joy Lenz's performance was heartbreaking.
Top Ten Episodes:
With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept (Episode 3x16)
If you ever want to show someone that One Tree Hill is more than just a silly teen show, please direct them to this episode. It brings back the happy go lucky friend of Mouth's, Jimmy Edwards from the pilot and shows just how different his life has become since being left behind by the guys at the River Court. Listening to Jimmy's story and experiences of depression is gut-wrenching, and the episode keeps you at the edge of your seat the whole time. From Peyton dying in Luke's arms in the library to Nathan going back into the school to save Haley, the whole episode is so compelling, yet handled with complete respect for its subject matter. Not only does it show the horrors of school bullying, but the aftermath of the episode was also so well done as the season progressed. It also, of course, has one of the biggest twists of the entire show, Dan killing Keith, and framing poor Jimmy in the process.
Some You Give Away (Episode 4x9)
This episode has everything. The Ravens win the state championships, allowing Whitey to retire with pride. Lucas finally realizes Peyton is the one he is meant to be with and kisses her under a sea of confetti. And Nathan tries to prove he will be a better father than Dan by not following through on his deal with Dante. It also has a ton of action and suspense when Dante retaliates by hitting Haley with his car, resulting in Lucas having a heart attack after seeing Haley in the street. Dan even takes the fall for Nathan when he beats Dante to death, showing the beginning of his arc for redemption. Overall, it pretty much sums up One Tree Hill as a show and gives us everything the show has to offer in one episode.
The Show Must Go On (Episode 3x22)
While I thought that it was sweet that Nathan and Haley had a private ceremony to get married, I can't say I wasn't super bummed we didn't get see them have a wedding episode. But that is exactly what we got with this season finale, along with one of the biggest cliffhangers the show ever has. The wedding its self was so sweet, and it was so rewarding getting to see Nathan and Haley finally happy after all they had been through that season. But that is the only happiness we get. Deb tells Dan she tried to kill him, Peyton tells Brooke she is still in love with Lucas, and Rachel steals the wedding limo and drives it off a bridge. We are left with Haley screaming on the bridge after Nathan jumps in to save Rachel and Cooper, and the question of who out of Rachel, Haley, or Brooke is pregnant? It is a very high stakes episode, and also includes a pretty great soundtrack.
When It Isn’t Like It Should Be (Episode 3x18)
I love everything about this episode. It is so sweet and features the gang going on a weekend trip to Rachel's cabin. After all the heartache of the episodes following the school shooting, it was so nice to have an episode that just showed everyone having fun together. Between Pete Wentz making an appearance, and Nathan stealing back Haley's wedding ring so he could re-propose to her, what's not to love?
The Other Half of Me (Episode 8x13)
This is it, after watching Brooke struggle for so long to find love, she finally gets to marry the man of her dreams. Brooke and Julian are such a great couple, and this episode served them so well. Julian picking Jamie to be his best man was so sweet, and the speech he gives is impossibly cute. Skills trying to make sure that nothing goes wrong like at every other Tree Hill wedding is funny and appropriate, as this is the only wedding episode that manages to not end in disaster. And even though it's heartbreaking that Brooke's dad does not show up, it's nice to see how her relationship with Victoria has progressed so much, that she ends up being better off with her walking her down the aisle.
4 Years, 6 Months, 2 Days (Episode 5x1)
What an amazing season opener. After the gang graduated in the previous season's finale, fans were left to wonder what direction the show would go in next, mainly would everyone be heading off to college? But what we got was so much better. The episode skips almost five years ahead and shows where everyone has ended up, leaving a lot of questions to be answered over the upcoming season. What happened to Nathan's back? Why are Lucas and Peyton not together anymore? How did Brooke get her company off the ground? And most importantly, why can't poor Mouth get a job? It was such a creative way to go for a teen show and hopefully will inspire others to try things different than the college route.
One Tree Hill (Episode 9x13)
The series finale was purely an hour of fan service, and I loved every minute of it. It called back to everything we loved about the show, Peyton's bedroom, Karen's cafe, and Brooke getting her house with the red door. It even ends with one final concert at Tric, featuring none other than Gavin DeGraw. Watching the whole cast sing "I Don't Wanna Be" always makes me cry, and it was paired perfectly with a montage of everyone hanging out at the cafe with their families. The flash forward at the end was also great, as we got to see Jamie follow in his dad's footsteps, and that everyone would still be just as close for years to come.
All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone (Episode 4x21)
I remember watching this episode not too long after my own high school graduation and thinking about just how perfectly it captured that feeling you get when you realize you are about to enter the real world. I related so much to the final scene at the River Court with everyone talking about how they were going to stay just as close, and that nothing would change so much, and remembered making similar vows to my own friends. And of course as life, goes, the following episode would show that this was not the case, but it was still a perfect ending to the high school years of the show.
To Wish Impossible Things (Episode 1x18)
This episode was when the show started to really capture my attention. Not only was it fun seeing all the guys on the team get auctioned off to some pretty unlikely partners, but it had some really great moments. Lucas and Haley finally get to reconnect after their distance because of Haley dating Nathan. Nathan and Peyton finally got some closure to their relationships as we saw Nathan finally starting to change his ways for Haley. We also got to see the beginnings of Jake's struggle with Nikki, and one of my favorite friendships between Mouth and Brooke.
Danny Boy (Episode 9x11)
No matter your feelings for Dan, this episode is extremely emotional, and the perfect send off to the show's most notorious villain. Dan has come so far by this point in the show and watching him sacrifice himself for Nathan just shows how far he has come as a character. Not to mention that watching Keith welcoming him at the gates will always make me tear up. This episode also saw Haley and Nathan reunite at last, which was so nice after watching them be torn apart all season.
Worst: Holding Out for Hero (Season 9)
While I liked the idea of Brooke creating superhero costumes for the leading ladies, it could have been done for perhaps a Halloween episode? Centering a whole episode around the girls actually going around town in superhero costumes and trying to help random people was very odd and felt like an after-school special. In any case, this episode was not for me.
So for OTH, this section is going to go a little differently. I can't talk about the writers without acknowledging the recent allegations against showrunner Mark Schwahn. If you have not heard about it, the female cast members of the show recently came out with a letter in Variety accusing Schwahn of many sexual harassment encounters throughout the filming of the show as part of the Hollywood Time's Up movement. It was extremely heartbreaking to read, and I fully support them and acknowledge their pain. In doing so will not be including Mark Schwahn in this list despite, him being the show's creator, and will instead celebrate some of the show's other brilliant writers. To learn more about the incredible stand these women took, you can watch the video above. And to learn more about the movement in general, and how you can help other women in these situations, make sure to visit the Time's Up website. With that, let's not give him a minute more of our time and just dive in.
Mike Herro & David Strauss
This writing duo is responsible for some of my favorite, and most exciting episodes in the show's run, and were around for multiple seasons. As displayed in a favorite episode of mine In Da Club, which is a character-driven bottle episode, they seemed to truly get the characters and were great at writing for them. Not only did they write some heartbreaking moments like in Danny Boy, but they also wrote some hilarious and shocking ones as well, such as the James girls family dinner episode Family Affair. They also wrote some thrillers such as Prom Night at Hater High, where Psycho Derek made his final appearance to kidnap Peyton before her prom. Due to this incredible range of episodes, they clearly earned the top spot.
John A. Norris
So I knew John A. Norris had to make this list when I saw that he was responsible for bringing Brooke's wedding episode to the screen. He also wrote some heartbreaking moments such as when Haley and Quinn discover and try to grapple with the fact that their mom is dying from cancer in At the Bottom of Everything. He was also involved in some of my favorite storylines such as Nathan's point-shaving scandal, and Haley and Nathan's reconciliation in season three. Basically he seemed to be apart of a lot of Naley moments, so of course, he had to make the list. But more than that, he brought to life so many other beloved episodes, and was a producer and story editor on many others. He was clearly very involved in the world and knew the characters well, and for this, he earned spot number two.
Another producer, Terrence wrote quote a handful of great seasons three episodes, which of course is my favorite season. He also wrote some really fun episodes later in the show's run such as I Forgot to Remember to Forget, I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight, and Don't You Forget About Me. Between flashbacks, 80s themes, and fun camping and girl's night storylines, Terrence was great at bringing some of the show's heartwarming moments to life.
Time jump (Season 5)
I've stated this already above, but I loved that OTH skipped the college years, and decided instead to show us the gang in their late twenties. Not only did this give them the ability have the actors actually play someone closer to their actual age, but it gave viewers who had grown up with the series a way to connect with adult versions of their favorite characters. Also deciding to open the season by presenting us with a ton of mysteries we would have to figure out about what had happened over the years that we missed gave the show a breath of fresh air, and a way to help them reset the characters. It was a story that would ultimately continue throughout the entire season, and I just love how well thought out and smart it was.
Nathan's journey to the NBA (Seasons 1-6)
It's not very often that the dreams we have in high school continue to be our dreams throughout the rest of our lives. Sometimes we think we will not be able to achieve that dream, we change our minds, or an obstacle gets in the way. What I admire about Nathan so much is his journey to make it to the NBA. Throughout the show's run, Nathan has so many obstacles thrown at him, from his point shaving dilemma, to injuring his back, to not wanting to abandon his family. But through it all, he doesn't give up, and watching him struggle for so long to achieve his dream, and then see him finally do it is such a rewarding storyline to follow.
Nathan and Haley pregnancy/point shaving (Season 4)
Nathan and Haley are such a great television couple, but that is not to say they do not have their hard times. After finally getting over Haley leaving to go on tour in season three, season four found Nathan and Hale dealing with a few new hurdles. They have to decide where they can both go to college, and then, of course, Haley finds out she is pregnant, causing financial problems. By the time Dante appears trying to persuade Nathan to shave some points in order to get some money, we have watched them struggle so much to stay afloat, it's heartbreaking to see Nathan feel like this is his only way out. But what is rewarding is getting to see that Nathan is nothing like Dan in that he is willing to sacrifice his future in basketball in order to provide for his family, and his speech to Haley about how everything will be okay at his press conference is beautiful.
Worst: Clay remembering he has a son
At first, I was very intrigued by Clay's mystery of what was going on in his mind that was making him sleepwalk. However, when we found out that it was the fact that his brain had blocked out that he had a son with his dead wife, I was very confused. Even for One Tree Hill, this storyline was a little too far-fetched for me. And while I loved the addition of Clay's son as a character, I feel like he could have been written in better than how he was.
Brooke Davis is not only my favorite OTH character, she might be one of my overall favorite television characters. She starts out the show as completely insecure, constantly causing trouble, and doing anything to get attention. But over the course of the show, she becomes one of the most confident, independent, and strong female characters I have seen on TV yet. She tries, fails, and succeeds in all aspects of her life, relationships, her career, and friendships. But while she is far from perfect, she realizes her mistakes, and always tries to do the right thing.
For example, when she finds out Victoria had been lying to their investors about their success resulting in them losing money, she decides to sell her company, and give the money back to them. Or when she finds out she will probably never be able to have children, she tries her best to help other children in need. And even though she comes from a family who does not seem to want her, she is still fiercely loyal and kind. She is also one of the few TV women who owns her own company and is not perceived as a bitch or a sellout, a rarity for women in film. In the end, she owns her own clothing line and finds an amazing man who respects and adores her, showing a woman who is able to have the total package. Overall, she is a pretty great role model if you ask me. #BrookeDavisForPresident
Haley James Scott
When most people list their favorite OTH characters, I feel like Haley often gets overlooked. In my opinion, it is because she is the most realistic character, so people categorize her as a boring. However, I connected with her the most instantly. Much like Haley, I was quite nerdy in high school, and everyone thought of as a goody two shoes, until I started dating my boyfriend who helped make me a little more outgoing. By the end of the show, Haley has not only managed to graduate four years of college while raising a baby but has had multiple career opportunities. She was a teacher, and a musician, and even went on tour twice. She is an amazing mother and wife and is kind to everyone. But she also has a little bit of spunk and sass to her that I love, and she does not let anyone push her around. So while to most, she is a very unappreciated character, she will always be one of my personal favorites.
I'm sure I'm one of the few who would pick Nathan over Lucas as my favorite Scott brother. However, I liked Nathan better from the very beginning. Even though he did not start out as the most lovable character, once you saw the household he was brought up in, you instantly understood why Nathan was the way he was. Nathan was never a bad person, he just needed someone to show him they loved and supported him, which was what he found in Haley. And once he found that, he turned into the amazing man Haley always saw in him. He worked tirelessly to achieve his dreams of making it to the NBA, and it was so inspiring to see a character struggle for so long, and finally get their dream. He was also an excellent husband and father and tried to be everything to his family that his parents were not to him. I'd pick Nathan over Lucas and his moody quotes any day.
Worst: Renee Richardson
This woman was the worst. She accused Nathan of having an affair with her, and that she was pregnant with his child. Not only did this result in Nathan almost losing his spot on the team, but also his marriage. And when she finally got caught for lying, she suffered pretty much no consequences and was then never brought up again.
Nathan and Haley
Well considering the fact that two of my favorite characters were Nathan and Haley it should come as no surprise that of course, Naley is my favorite couple. Not only did we get to watch them prove their love time and time again despite all the obstacles life threw at them, but they were both such great characters individually as well. I also connect to them a bit through the fact that my boyfriend and I are also high school sweethearts, and it is so nice to see a couple on TV that I can relate to (you know minus the teen marriage/baby, and me not leaving to go on a rock tour). They show what it is like to have to work at a relationship in order to make it, and that love can overcome anything if you do.
Brooke and Julian
For those of you who would have liked to see Brooke end up with Lucas, let me just say that I was never "Team Brooke" simply because I did not think Lucas deserved her. He cheated on her with her best friend, and then made her feel crazy when she questioned his love for her when they got back together. When Brooke met Julian however, I instantly loved them. He understood Brooke in a way that no one else did and was never intimidated by her success. When she found out she could not have children, Julian did everything he could to make her realize how much he loved her no matter what. For two people who grew up feeling like they had no family, they certainly became the perfect family for each other in the end.
Lucas and Peyton
While I never loved that Peyton and Lucas dated behind Brooke's back, I will say I was always rooting for them. They obviously had a connection from the start, and you couldn't help but become invested in their will they won't they love story. When they were together, they were a great couple, and it was usually life getting in the way which caused them to not end up getting married until near the end of season six. But let's be honest, we knew they would end up together from the moment Lucas helped Peyton in the pilot when her car broke down and told her that art mattered.
Worst: Dan and Rachel
At first, I found this relationship comical. Rachel was clearly only with Dan for his money and growing fame, and putting two of the most hated characters on the show together seemed like a great idea. However, in the end, it was just creepy, and the story never really paid off in a way that made it as fun as I had hoped it would be.
Haley and Lucas
Haley and Lucas are one of my favorite male/female friendships because they did something you don't normally see. They never had any romantic relations ever, not even a hint of it. In fact, they often joked about how weird it would be to date because they were basically like siblings. Haley and Lucas were there for each other from the beginning, and while they went through ups and downs, they never gave up on each other or stopped being best friends. They were such a positive type of friendship to see growing up, and this scene still makes me tear up a little bit when I watch it.
Brooke and Mouth
Another interesting, but adorable friendship that I love is Mouth and Brooke. It's not too often you see the dorky boy who has a crush on the most popular girl in school end up becoming her best friend, and I loved every minute of their friendship. While it may have started out kind of one-sided, with Mouth doing anything he could for Brooke because he liked her, in the end, Brooke ends up being there for Mouth just as much. She even ends up introducing him to his future wife, Milly.
Brooke, Haley, and Peyton
From the first episode of this friendship where Peyton and Brooke give Haley a ride home from an away game, I loved their dynamic. Brooke was the fun one, Haley the smart one, and Peyton the artistic one. Together there was nothing the three of them couldn't do, and while all of them had their differences with each other at various points, they ended up as a second family to each other.
Worst: Milly and Alex
The only thing to come out of this relationship was Milly's drug problem, a storyline I was never particularly fond of. Alex introduced Milly into a world that made her insecure, and quite honestly a very annoying character, and because of that, I never understood this friendship or liked it.
I mean, was there really another choice? Dan Scott is the best type of villain, he is a man that you love to hate. He also was unique in that he was a villain on the show from the pilot, and continued to be one throughout all nine seasons. This gave him the ability to become so dimensional as a character. While I hated him for killing Kieth, I also couldn't help but feel bad for him in the later seasons when he realized his whole family hated him, and that he would never be a part of their lives. And of course, the fact that he ended up dying to save Nathan, and was forgiven by Keith, showed that he was never as evil as the show wanted us to believe, making him all the more interesting.
While Chris never got quite the arc as a villain as Dan, but he was still such a fun character. Despite the fact that most fans, myself included, hated him for almost breaking up Nathan and Haley, they never seemed to complain when he would pop up again throughout the seasons. And even though he was egotistical and rude, he ultimately was a good guy, and even ended up helping save Nathan in the final season. Also, don't tell me you didn't feel for him when he sold his guitar to get money for Haley's demo CD.
In typical OTH fashion, Victoria came into the show as a horrible person, and a terrible mother to Brooke, but ended up seeing the error in her ways and becoming a redeemable character. It's hard to believe that the woman who told Brooke in season five that she had never wanted her or to be a mother in general, ended up being the one to walk her down the aisle in her wedding. She even went to jail for her! But that is just how good her character development was, and how good the writers were at making such dynamic villains.
Worst: Tara Richards
Tara was meant to be a foil for Brooke in season nine by running a competing cafe in town. However, she did some pretty horrible things, and I didn't find her amusing, just irritating. I didn't care much for the love triangle between her, Chase, and Chris either, and found it boring and repetitive.
Favorite Musical Moments:
1. I Don’t Wanna Be (9x13)
I think this one is a no-brainer. What better way to end the show than with the whole gang together singing the theme song at Tric? One Tree Hill definitely helped launch Gavin DeGraw's career, and it was so perfect to have him come back and be the final performer at Tric. Especially since at this point in the show, we had not heard his version of the theme song for almost five seasons.
2. Dare You to Move (1x8)
This choice is one hundred percent because of how much I love Nathan and Haley, and this was such a good song to have played during their first kiss. When the words "I dare you to move" play right before Haley kisses Nathan back, it just works so perfectly in the moment.
3. Wannabe (4x22)
And my final favorite musical moment, of course, had to go to the Spice Girls. Let's be honest, what girl my age does not know all the words to this song, and did not constantly have it playing throughout their high school/college years? To watch all the main ladies of the cast do a group dance to it was great, and is always a cute reminder of singing along to the song with my own friends.
I have heard people say that in order to have a compelling show, you can't have your characters too happy for too long, or it will become boring. This certainly may have been the reason why the show felt that after finally getting Kieth and Karen together after three seasons, their happiness needed to be short-lived. Not to mention the added complications that Peyton had been shot the same day Kieth died, and that everyone believed that Jimmy was the one to kill him. This storyline was probably the darkest the show has ever gone, and it is hard to go back and re-watch Lucas and Karen try to pick up the pieces after losing the one stable person they both ever had in their lives.
This episode is so heartbreaking. Quentin's death was so sudden, and I think it's safe to say that no one was prepared for it after all the happiness in the rest of the episode. When Nathan and Haley have to tell Jamie that Quentin is gone, it is devastating, and watching him stand with Brooke at the funeral and put the cape he made for him on his coffin will never not make me cry. After warming us up to his character all throughout season five, and finally getting us to a place where we loved and understood Quentin, it seemed odd to kill him off, but that is not to say it did not have a domino effect on the rest of the season.
I have never lost a parent, so I can not even imagine what it must be like to go through that kind of grief, but I imagine that portrayal of Haley losing her mother is very close. Watching one of the most stable characters on the show, the one who is always there for everyone else in their time of need, fight off depression is very hard to watch. But I think that it was very well done, and handled with a lot of respect for the subject matter it dealt with. Lydia's death was heartbreaking for so many characters, but watching Haley be the one who was hurt the most, was just devastating.
Least Heartbreaking: Nannie Carrie
The only one of the show's psycho stalkers to actually die, Nannie Carrie was definitely not a character I was going to miss. While she was interesting at first, I didn't really need to see her come back and kidnap Dan. At first, it was fun to see their dynamic, but it soon just became a very strange storyline that did not feel like it fit in with the rest of the season. Also, she kidnapped Jamie and tried to seduce Nathan so, she obviously had it coming to her because no one breaks up the Scott family like that.
This show has so many cheesy moments, quotes, and cliches, but I love every minute of it. Between the portrayals of love, friendship, and family, it is hard not to fall in love with the characters, and the town of Tree Hill in general. All of the characters have great arcs throughout the entire show's run, and the show definitely contributed a lot of great new ideas to the teen drama genre. It has so many exciting and heartbreaking episodes, that it is easy to find an episode to watch for any mood that you might be in. As Karen says in the season one finale, "There is only one Tree Hill, and it is your home." which I think is the perfect quote to sum up my feelings about the show. One Tree Hill will always be a place for me to be reminded of home, friends, and family every time I revisit it.
And now I'd love to hear your thoughts! Were you perhaps upset that Lucas and Brooke didn't end up together? Do you agree that Brooke Davis is one of your favorite television characters? Let me know in the comments below!