Movie Details

Debuting September 29, 1999, the weekly, hour-long WB series Popular was frequently described as a "satire" or "send-up" of the heavy-breathing teen angst genre. This, of course, did not prevent many fans from taking the series' incredible plot twists and turns with the utmost seriousness. The show's basic conflict boiled down to the age-old struggle between the cool and the uncool. The scene was Jacqueline Kennedy High School (where the school paper was called the "Zapruder Reporter"!), where the acknowledged social arbiter was the disgustingly popular Brooke McQueen (Leslie Bibb), captain of the school's "Glamazon" cheerleading squad. Brooke, of course, was also the leader of the school's coolest clique, numbering among its members her football-star boyfriend, Josh Ford (Bryce Johnson), and her two best friends, über-bitch Nicole Julian (Tammy Lynn Michaels) and shallow, borderline-psychotic Mary Cherry (Leslie Grossman). Annoyed by Brooke's smug supremacy, Samantha "Sam" McPherson (Carly Pope), resident intellectual, crusading journalist-in-training, and tireless campaigner for social equality, formed her own "anti-clique," including nerdy, self-conscious Harrison John (Christopher Gorham), plain and portly Carmen Ferrara (Sara Rue), and firebrand activist Lily Esposito (Tamara Mello). Alas, the battle lines between the two factions were blurred when Sam's widowed mother, Jane (Lisa Darr), fell in love with Brooke's divorced dad, Mike (Scott Bryce), forcing the two bitter rivals to live under the same roof. Even after Jane and Mike broke up, Sam and Brooke found themselves bound together by family ties when Jane gave birth to Mike's baby. This unholy and undesired alliance served also to break down the barriers between the other members of the two cliques, resulting in some truly surprising romantic couplings and unpredictable alliances. Its title and its fan following notwithstanding, Popular was not popular enough to warrant any more than two seasons on the WB schedule. Even so, the producers obviously hoped that there'd be a last-minute reprieve for the series, as witness its final episode on May 18, 2001, which concluded with a tense cliffhanger, leaving the fates of four principal characters hanging perilously in the balance. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi