The Van Der Beek Effect - How Did the Casts of 00's Sensations Fare?
By Melissa Daniels Posted Dec 10th 2009 03:30PM
As we get ready to say goodbye to this decade, there are plenty of fond pop culture memories to recall. Television shows and movies set new trends, broke records and captured some serious staying power. One has to wonder -- after being a part of a phenomenon like that, what's an actor to do? Here's a look at the casts of ten wildly popular hits of the past decade, and what they've done since.
In 2003, television audiences said goodbye to the high school buddies of Capeside, Massachusetts. The show capitalized on the teen-theme craze of the late '90s and early 2000s, and put James Van Der Beek and Katie Holmes on the map. While Holmes' biggest claim to fame since then might be becoming Mrs. Tom Cruise and mommy to the adorable Suri, star Van Der Beek seemed to drift into the celebrity abyss. Until the recent announcement of his divorce, that is.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Joss Whedon's sexy, adventurous, hilarious and heartwarming 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' put vampire fandom in the spotlight long before 'Twilight' tickled anyone's fancy. Sarah Michelle Geller put away the stakes in 2003 and went on act in movies like 'Scooby Doo' and 'The Grudge.' Meanwhile, her tall, dark and handsome costar David Boreanaz had a successful spin-off with the show 'Angel,' and currently stars in the crime drama 'Bones.' Nicholas Brendon, who played Buffy's snarky pal Xander might still be best known for that performance, while Alyson Hannigan, who played the sweet, Wiccan Willow starred in the 'American Pie' franchise and is a mainstay on the hit show 'How I Met Your Mother.'
From 1999 until 2007, 'The Sopranos' captivated HBO audiences with its star-quality writing, cast and production. Credited as being one of the best shows of the past decade, the plot triangles of mafia crime, family drama and internal conflict paved the way for future cable shows. While star James Gandolfini seems to have retired from his television days, costar Edie Falco, who played his wife, has a new show on Showtime called 'Nurse Jackie,' set to return in 2010. Jamie-Lynn Sigler, who played daughter Meadow, now plays herself on HBO's 'Entourage' as an unexpected love interest to Turtle.
The West Wing
Few ensemble casts have had greater chemistry and greater success than that of Aaron Sorkin's 'The West Wing.' The presidential drama featured Martin Sheen, Bradley Whitford, Rob Lowe, Allison Janney and Stockard Channing, among many others, as the president of the United States and his staff. Many members of this seasoned cast continue to work on select projects. While Lowe was seen in this year's 'The Invention of Lying' and Janney branched out to musical theater by appearing in 'Hairspray' and its upcoming sequel.
Combining family comedy with family drama, 'Gilmore Girls' charmed audiences for seven seasons with the witty repartee of mom Loralei and daughter Rory – and the quiet but gossipy town of Stars Hollow. Lauren Graham has gone to Broadway as Miss Adelaide in 'Guys and Dolls,' and will be taking over Maura Tierney's role on 'Parenthood.' Alexis Bledel shed some of her nice-girl attitude to play Becky in 'Sin City' and 'Sin City 2,' proving she's certainly not Rory Gilmore anymore.
As 'Scrubs' just entered its 9th season, it's hard to tell how much longer the lifespan of the show can be – for years there's been a will-they-or-won't-they cancel debate has been going on. The new season features set changes, cast changes and plot changes, but the show remains a staple of popular 00s television. As most of the main cast is still seen on the show, like Zach Braff and Donald Faison, it's hard to tell whether they'll branch out from the comfort of Sacred Heart Hospital. We figure we'll be most familiar with them in syndication.
One of the most memorable movie franchises about losing one's virginity and beyond, 'American Pie' started in 1999 and went into the 21st century with two more movies and four that went straight-to-DVD, including the upcoming 'The Book of Love.' Actors like Seann William Scott, Jason Biggs and Chris Klein all went on to appear in other films, mostly comedies like 'The Dukes of Hazzard' and 'My Best Friend's Girl.' But it's fairly certain that these guys will be most memorable for their roles in what might be the most awkward movie ever to watch with your parents in the living room.
Blair Witch Project
O.K., O.K., so it's technically from 1999. But 'The Blair Witch Project' was such a success it was often parodied and referenced in pop culture throughout the past decade – it never really went away. The film was also a precursor to the spooky (and often nauseating) documentary-style/ found footage genre seen in horror movies like 'Cloverfield' and 'Quarantine,' cementing its place in cinema history. What are the creators up to these days? A recent announcement says they're working on a second sequel, but since the first movie grossed almost $250 million worldwide, we might not hear from these guys this century.
The Lord of the Rings
Peter Jackson's take on J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy brought to life the scenic dreams and nightmares of Middle Earth. A huge hit with audiences of all ages, the movies were released in 2001, 2002 and 2003, kicking off the era of supersized franchise films. The enormous cast featured talents like Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen and Orlando Bloom – actors with some serious staying power. Wood and Mortensen have had various film credits, and Bloom found success in another far-off land with 'Pirates of the Caribbean.' And next decade, we'll be seeing McKellen reprise his role of Gandalf for 'The Hobbit.'
Before we had 'The Real Housewives' series to entertain us during prime time, we had 'The O.C.' Pretty people living in pretty homes in pretty California, battling often un-pretty problems. For four seasons, the turbulent lives of teenagers and their parents in Orange County was an audience favorite, even as a guilty pleasure. Benjamin McKenzie played a police officer on the short-lived show 'Southland,' while cutie Rachel Bilson starred in 'The Last Kiss.' Mischa Barton's Marissa Cooper was killed off all too soon – so was 'The Beautiful Life,' the CW show she starred in this year.
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