If you don't already watch New York City's favorite college student, says Ken Tucker, you'd better start
”Felicity”’s premiere is a hit
So it was BEN!
The sentence above will mean little to anyone who doesn’t watch ”Felicity”; it means everything to those who do. When we last left our favorite crinkly tressed New York City university student at the end of last season, she’d grabbed a cab and taken off on a summer vacation with — well that was the cliff-hanger: Was it mumbly swimmer Ben (Scott Speedman) or adorably mopey Noel (Scott Foley)? Since so much of the fragile emotional life of Keri Russell’s Felicity had revolved around her attractions to these two guys, it made sense to end the season with her loyalties conflicted. It also meant the season premiere could have been a bust: So she had a nice time with one of them. We weren’t there — we were home watching reruns; should we care?
Yes, as it turns out, we should have. Sunday’s season premiere demonstrated how strong this series has become. Felicity — who, despite all the recent photos we’ve seen of a newly shorn Russell, was still wearing her long crinkle ‘do — went to San Francisco with Ben. Meanwhile, rather than mope, Noel went to Berlin, met a new gal, and has come back to New York with a very attractive new attitude: He’s a bitter, angry man, our Noel, and he really let Felicity have it for keeping him hanging last season with her dithering affections.
Writer and cocreator J.J. Abrams has truly done Scott Foley a service by giving him a firmer backbone in the season premiere, and it bodes well for future confrontations this season. In fact, Noel now makes Ben look a little damp, and I don’t mean from swim-team practice; in the premiere’s fine soap-opera finale, we saw Ben listen to one of the diaristic tapes Felicity makes to send to her friend Sally, and hear her admit that she’s in love with Ben. Which, of course, threw Ben into a paralysis of doubt. Like, the big dude isn’t sure he wants to be pinned down, y’know?
Oh, it’s going to be a great year, I can tell. Why, even the lovable coffee shop owner Xavier is back!
The preceding sentence meant nothing to those of you who don’t watch ”Felicity.” Hint: Start watching.