Claire Danes was an enormous talent when she arrived on the scene in this low key, unfortunately short lived coming of age drama about the life of a young woman - mid-teenager who is suddenly aware there is more to life than birthday parties, malt shop, and slumber parties, and who wants to explore the new things she suddenly sees, but doesn't yet have the knowledge, tools, or self-preservation skills to safely pursue her suddenly bigger world. Indeed, nor are her parents equipped to help her, having themselves been sheltered, so without even any awareness of the people, activities, substances, and issues their daughter is confronting.
She has no idea why she is attracted to the beautiful and dyslexic young man who is struggling to stay alive as he is required to become adult while no one in his life seems to even care whether he lives or dies. In fact, she has no idea why any of she seems to be driven to pursue perilous paths as she learn loyalty to new and socially outcast friends; a young female alcoholic child of alcoholics, and a disenfranchised homosexual (before the invention of the term, "gay") boy on the tracks to an early grave.
So we follow her, our hearts aching for her and her new, and old, friends, her parents, and just about everybody who is not a predator in her world. I only wished (and frequently wished) I could step into her world, give her a genuine hug, and tell her she would survive, she would become wiser, and things would actually turn out OK as long as she didn't get pregnant. Of course I couldn't but that is the center of the show; that and good acting, and the great young actress Claire Danes before anybody messed with starhood, cameo roles, and the various cruelties of Hollywood.
I sound angry, or just upset, and this is how I feel after I saw this show in its first showing on Television, and have now seen the sum of Claire Danes' career. I was young too, and I couldn't figure out what my options were or where they would lead, and this show illustrated and encapsulated my own feelings at the time (and since, I confess).
I will summarize: this was our first view of a great talent, and I hoped for great things from Ms. Danes. I don't think she achieved the career landmarks that her talent deserved, and I feel disappointed. Still, I recommend any one reading this make the investment, and watch the entire season to enjoy one of the few profound coming of age stories told on television. A young woman rebels, without a cause, without anything other than a compulsion to be more than she is, and she attains that goal. I would have loved to see more.