After the romantic courtship and the awkwardness of first dates, Once and Again in its second season settled into charting the growing relationship between fortysomethings Lily (Sela Ward) and Rick (Billy Campbell), who finally shook off all their angst and family pressures to embark on a long-term relationship. And of course, once finally committed in their love for each other, life rudely interrupts what should have been a comfortable, winding road to happily ever after. Rick's architecture firm is hand-picked for a new high-profile project, but it's dogged by community protests and run by the ever-devious Miles Drentell (David Clennon, reprising his shady character from thirtysomething); what's more, Rick's ex-wife, Karen (Susanna Thompson), is the lawyer representing the project's opposition. Lily finds herself as the assistant to a twentysomething entrepreneur at a fledgling dot-com, and the victim of the amorous, non-professional interests of a consultant for the troubled company. She's also faced with the fate of her late father's restaurant, run by her ex-husband, Jake (Jeffrey Nordling), who's charming but not the best of businessmen, and his financial strain soon becomes hers as well. Oh, and then there are the kids: Rick's son Eli (Shane West) would rather start a band than go to college, and daughter Jessie (Evan Rachel Wood) may be anorexic; Lily's daughter Grace (Julia Whelan) falls into a friendship with a troubled girl, and only Zoe (Meredith Deane) seems to be the most normal--that is, when she isn't worried about Rick and his kids moving into her house.
The course of true love never did run smooth, and truth be told, there were a bit too many plot twists cooked up for this season of the Edward Zwick-Marshall Herskovitz drama (including a hostage episode at Jake's restaurant that garnered high ratings), but the creative team behind this show managed a deft balancing act among all the characters and plotlines. Teenage angst co-existed alongside more adult worries, and the specter of professional and money troubles for both Rick and Lily kept the characters grounded in a reality not often seen in television dramas. And in addition to giving all the cast members shining moments, Once and Again developed an extensive number of secondary characters, including Lily's mentally ill brother Aaron (Patrick Dempsey), Jake's flighty girlfriend Tiffany (Ever Carradine), Karen's hunky younger boyfriend (Mark Feuerstein), and an uncredited Edward Zwick as Jessie's therapist. It was the core cast, however, that made Once and Again soar--teen actors West and Whelan broke their characters' stereotypical molds, the young Wood (who would go on to star in thirteen) was outstanding as she navigated blooming adolescence: Nordling and Thompson, as the exes on the periphery, were two of the best supporting actors ever on television. As always, though, Ward and Campbell were the show's heart and soul, always communicating the underlying waves of frustration and anger in their character's facades as well as the love and happiness. Despite low ratings, ABC renewed Once and Again for a third and final season, giving all us fans of great television (and hopeless romantics) one more year with Rick and Lily after this one. --Mark Englehart
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Golden Globe(R) award-winner Sela Ward and Billy Campbell star in the highly acclaimed second season of ONCE AND AGAIN. Celebrate the loves and experience the triumphs and heartbreak that made ONCE AND AGAIN a favorite among critics and audiences everywhere. It's "a great show," raves Robert Bianco of USA TODAY. Now you can experience all 22 episodes of season two in this spectacular five-disc set, featuring exclusive bonus features. It's everything you remember and so much more.