During its first season, ''The O.C.'' was a more than credible drama. Later, not so much. So we come to the end of the trail, according to today's announcement from Fox:
The sun will set for the last time on THE O.C. when the series ends its four-season run Thursday, Feb. 22 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. The countdown has begun, with all-original episodes airing from Thursday, Jan. 4 through the last episode on Feb. 22 ....
"THE O.C. Season Four finale will also be the series finale. This feels like the best time to bring the show to its close,” said Josh Schwartz, creator and executive producer of THE O.C. “Thanks to the hard work of our cast, crew and writers, we have enjoyed our best season yet, and what better time to go out than creatively on top. It has been an amazing experience and a great run. For a certain audience, at a certain time, THE O.C. has meant something. For that we are grateful.''
As I said, it could have turned out differently. The second season was a mess, Mischa Barton's shortcomings as an actress became more evident (and probably drove away viewers who did not return when she left) and so on and so on. The collapse, like that of ''Joan of Arcadia'' in its second season, suggests yet again that the extended U.S. broadcast season is murder for some shows -- that the British model of as-few-episodes-as-we-are-happy-with would better serve many U.S. series as well.