First there's the issue of season 1's cliffhanger. Did Felicity spend her summer with former high-school crush Ben (Scott Speedman) or her dormitory's resident advisor, Noel (Scott Foley), who harbors strong feelings for her? Episode 1 teases us with the answer while laying the bumpy groundwork for our heroine's sophomore year: Felicity has come back to college in New York City as an R.A. in her old dorm, once again sharing a room--much to her discontent--with acerbic Wiccan-punk Meghan (Amanda Foreman). Ben has a part-time job working in a coffee shop owned by Felicity's confidante Javier (Ian Gomez). Noel is sharing an apartment with another Felicity ally, Elena (Tangi Miller), as well as filmmaker Sean (Greg Grunberg), who previously made a documentary focusing on Ben and Felicity's relationship.
Tangled connections and shifting loyalties make for a long, involving second year in this drama-comedy from Disney and Imagine Entertainment. Characters fall in and out of love, earn and betray trust, leap before they look, and redeem themselves with powerful acts of forgiveness or faith. Felicity creators J.J. Abrams (writer, Forever Young) and Matt Reeves (director, Relativity) set out to capture the unique contradictions of young adulthood in this show--in particular, clinging to a precise college track while trying to make sense of post-adolescent love and responsibility--and for the most part succeed very well. Sometimes too well: The storylines may become a little redundant, the drama a tad flat with such singular interest in the muddled passions of 19-year-olds. But each episode is sharply written, comically incisive, and never less than watchable.
Great special features: Keri Russell's audition, audio commentaries, a never-before-seen pilot, and the Felicity Emmy Parody, i.e., a spoof of the TV show produced for an Emmy Award telecast. --Tom Keogh