Ain't It Cool News (

HERC Says Tonight's ONCE AND AGAIN Gets ****


What’s it called?

“Aaron’s Getting Better.”

Who’s Responsible?

Teleplay is credited to “thirtysomething”/”My So-Called Life” vet Richard Kramer.

When’s it air?

Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.

Why are you reviewing this show?

Because “TV Funhouse” has moved to Mondays and “South Park” is in reruns, and because this is one of the best episodes of “Once and Again” to hit air.

What’s TV Guide Say?

“Mental illness is treated with insight and compassion in an episode that brings back Patrick Dempsey as Aaron, Lily and Judy's psychologically disturbed brother. In the story, Aaron's gotten permission from the social worker at his group home to stay over at Lily's place. For a while, all's okay. Aaron feels at ease with Lily (Sela Ward) and even bonds with her restless teenage daughter Grace (Julia Whelan), who's excited to talk to her uncle about her romantic feelings for the capricious Spencer (Marco Gould). But soon Aaron begins to drift, withdraw and converse with a mysterious figure - visible only to him - whose contemptuousness triggers a psychotic reaction.”

“Once and Again?” Dude, isn’t that a chick show? Review “Walker” or “Titus”!! They rock!!

“Once and Again,” now completing its second season, is the latest from the folks who gave us “thirtysomething,” “My So-Called Life” and “Relativity.” It tells the tale of two divorced parents (and their sprawling families) who find love. It’s a great show that gets better all the time. (It is also a sequel of sorts to “thirtysomething,” as it revives one of the most entertaining characters in television history, maniacal businessman Miles Drentell.)

What’s TV Guide Not Telling Us?

Tonight’s installment is a monster tearjerker. While the episode evokes the best elements of both “Rain Man” and “Charly,” Lily’s brother is neither autistic nor developmentally challenged. He is nuts in a really unfunny way. He sees and hears menacing figures that no one else sees or hears. There are few things scarier in life.

Was Aaron always disturbed?

No. He grew up alongside Lily and Judy as their normal and beloved sib.

Why is tonight’s installment so good?

Because Aaron’s sister Lily harbors great guilt over shutting her brother out of her life. Because Judy, who frequently visits Aaron, resents Lily for shutting Aaron out. Because Lily and Judy obviously love their suffering brother to pieces. Because Aaron is now SO close to rejoining the lives of his fellow Brookses, it kills you when he doesn’t quite make it.

Where’s that spoiler?

Teen Grace Manning, who has fallen completely in love with fellow hostage-situation survivor Spencer, learns that Spencer does not want to be her boyfriend. As she flies to pieces, it is Aaron (of all people) who provides solace.



The Hercules T. Strong Rating System:

**** better than most motion pictures

*** actually worth your valuable time

** as horrible as most stuff on TV

* makes you quietly pray for bulletins

God doesn’t want you! But I still do!

I am – Hercules!!

Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus
    + Expand All
  • March 20, 2001, 9:12 p.m. CST

    Rocketeer in love

    by halconmilenario

    When are we going to see a sequel to Rocketeer with Bill Campbell, Joe Johnston helming again and Jennifer Connelly! They could even bring back Neville Sinclair!!!!! I'm first?

  • March 20, 2001, 9:37 p.m. CST


    by bastardly

    Speechless am I, Once and Again gets reviewed and Angel doesn't? Ok, I'm just dumbfounded, what's next Friends reviews? General Hospital? Rosie O' Donnel? You scare me.

  • March 20, 2001, 11:25 p.m. CST

    Herc why does Campbell now list himself as Billy instead of Bill

    by Regis Travolta

    Usually they go from Billy to Bill or from Ricky to Rick or from Jimmy to James you know to be more "adult" but Rocketeer Guy has gone the opposite way, he used to be Bill now he's Billy!

  • March 21, 2001, 12:35 a.m. CST

    Why is Once and Again still around...

    by enigmainyourhead

    And Now and Again, the show about John Goodman's brain being put into the body of that superhuman guy that looked like Bill Campbell in his Rocketeer days, get canned? I think someone at the networks made a mistake. Oh yeah, and all those times in Once and Again when they are talking to the camera in black and white, are really part of a murder investigation that will happen later this season. They ain't talking to the camera, they're talking to Detectives Briscoe and Green. Rocketeer 2 would be good. The Rocketeer was the best superhero movie after Unbreakie-bull.

  • March 21, 2001, 8:33 a.m. CST

    "Once and Again" rules!

    by ajy1

    Hands down, still one of the best shows on television. The amount of character depth in the program and the things that our lovable divorcees, Rick and Lily, go through is absolutely heartbreaking to watch every week. Doesn't matter if you're a chick or a dude. Good TV is still good TV. Glad to hear that tonight's ep. is another solid one.

  • March 21, 2001, 9:44 a.m. CST

    I Echo Your Sentiments Monterey Jack.............

    by RightWing Dude

    Sela Ward is a SUPER FINE PIECE OF ASS!........As an aside, isn't ONCE & AGAIN primarily a woman's show? I doubt that most of AICN's visitors would bother with that show!

  • March 21, 2001, 11:46 a.m. CST

    Just goes to show the immaturity of fanboys here....

    by moto

    It's funny to here people rip on a show that they probably haven't even seen. I'm not surprised though... not here at least. Once and Again is an excellent show, with true character development that is not contrived or put under a stereotype. The casting is excellent and the stories are pure. No, I'm not a chick... no I'm not into guys... no I'm not a pussy.... just a guy who loves a good story, and excellent acting. It's sad to see people bitching about how this show is a "chick flick"... how they would rather see someone review Walker, Buffy, Angel, etc. Shows that are fun to watch, but don't really offer a whole lot of depth or superb acting. Acting that challenges the actors abilities. But such is the fanboy mantality I guess.

  • March 21, 2001, 12:31 p.m. CST

    I thought 'Once and Again' and 'Now and Again' were the same sho

    by Psyclops

    I swear to God! I remember everyone telling me that 'Now and Again' was such a great series. It had a bit of a sci-fi/romance thing going for it. I never saw the show... but I kept thinking that it was called 'Once and Again'. WTF????

  • March 21, 2001, 1:04 p.m. CST

    Who was saying this week?

    by bastardly

    I havent seen Angel reviewed here once, maybe I just missed it or something, but I always see Buffy or whatever else constantly get reviewed, never Angel. As for Once and Again, the show is mucho lame, I don't need to see it to know that. Sela Ward attractive? Eh no, she looks like Shania Twains mother, who also only a few steps more attractive than Whoopi Goldberg.

  • March 21, 2001, 3:15 p.m. CST

    Billy Campbell: Hot piece of ass

    by XrAfEx

    Am I the only chick that ever visits this freakin site? It seems to be overrun by undersexed geek boys. And besides The Rocketeer, this show is worth watching, and I hate the "chick flick" type of show (Dawson's Creek and all that kind of crap.)

  • March 21, 2001, 5:12 p.m. CST

    Once and Again is the best show on TV.

    by bswise

    Yes, it's true; consistantly the best written, directed, performed and edited show on TV in '01, populated by real (if a little too beautiful) people. The West Wing and Sopranos are similarly populated by thinking, feeling and unpredictable people. But while those shows are essentially fantasies about power, the characters in Once and Again dwell uneasily from week to week in the uncomfortable truths of the "real" world. Last year, I too wrote this off as soon-to-be repeated on the Lifetime Channel fodder, but once I'd watched it again (oh, how punny), I was absoloutely hooked. Check it out this summer in repeats and watch it every week.

  • March 21, 2001, 11:14 p.m. CST

    How about reviewing Big Apple

    by wicked9690

    Best new show this season but it's not getting the viewers so far, spread the word.

  • March 22, 2001, 5:21 a.m. CST

    Forget This Show..........

    by RightWing Dude

    The best 2 (new) shows on the air are BOSTON PUBLIC & THE FUGITIVE (how about we see more reviews of the latter?)

  • March 22, 2001, 7:14 a.m. CST

    First off, I think it's sort of a chick show but....

    by zel

    This show is one of the few on tv that actually keep my attention the full hour. It may just be the many different directions it goes in, but I like and do believe Demsey's performance was brilliant.. and to the one that said "The Fugitive" was one of the best shows on tv... What!?!

  • March 22, 2001, 7:21 a.m. CST

    For those of you who watched for the first time...

    by bswise

    ...please don't think you have the show pegged. One of the greatest innovations (for TV) that Once and Again brings are shifting Point of Views each week. Which is not to say that each week the story is told from a different character's point of view; that's too simple. Rather, each episode is told from a different group of characters, and what their shared experience is. So, maybe one week it's about Rick, his business partner and the controversial project their building, or Eli's struggle with his Dad, his girl, and choosing what life he wants to live, etc... each week, it's never entirely the same focus. Now, I also first thought that the "asides" were an easy target, as this has been done so terribly so often - but this is not just "breaking the fourth wall" to gimrack the plot along. The B&W interior monalogues in O&A are done sparingly and with great wit or pit, what the character, or you, immediately thinks but would never say. Sometimes two or three people may apprear in the "interior" room, suggesting that people do often share the same thoughts. This is a great show, funny and deep. If Ingmar Bergman ever did a soap, it might be something like this. Give it a shot or (again) try picking it up from the top of the season in Summer repeats. If you don't see that the writing is truly excellent, stick to bullets, babes and bubblegum and maybe download an old episode in abut ten or fifteen years.

  • March 22, 2001, 1:38 p.m. CST

    Zel, THE FUGITIVE Is One Of The Best New Shows On TV!!!!!

    by RightWing Dude

    Or am I the only one who believes that?

  • March 22, 2001, 2:26 p.m. CST


    by Toonimator

    I've enjoyed watching it now & then, but the premise seems tired. It was a neat premise back in the day, and made for a good movie... I know there are lots of Most Wanted folks running around who can't be found, but it seems a little strained to think that with all of today's technology, not to mention paperwork in the job world, that Kimble can just bounce around scoring job after job after job with no license or anything. Or maybe my experience just hasn't covered that kind of thing. Still, with the Fugitive, we know how it'll end, unless they'd try a big departure and actually have him recaptured & executed, despite evidence he's produced to the contrary or because something happens along the way where he DOES do something bad, like kill Girard perhaps (accidentally or not). But how long can the show last, nowadays? At first I thought he was going to work his way up & down the Eastern seaboard this season, then gradually migrate across the country, until I saw the 2-parter where he was in California. I do like the touches, like the internet group that supports his innocence, getting in touch with family, an occasional friend, and Girard's past. But in season 1 alone, Girard's been within 5 yards of him, with his sidearm, HOW many times?!? That's what stretches credibility... it seems like Girard's starting to believe him, but it's played out too much like Miss Parker on the Pretender, being presented all sorts of proof that he's a good guy, even sympathizing with him, yet always charges in, gun cocked & ready. The Pretender stretched credibility to the breaking point with The Center stuff, but I still enjoyed it for Jared's adventures... The new Fugitive seems to be ghosting that, just with the police & feds instead of a mysterious quasi-bad organization and a doctor-turned-working-class-joe instead of a super-genius-turned-whatever-he-wants-to-be. There might be hope for it yet (unlike my post here) but we'll just have to wait and see.

  • March 22, 2001, 2:44 p.m. CST

    Oh yeah...

    by Toonimator

    ...Once and Again is a good show. Forgot to mention that in the last post... I like the way they shift perspectives each week, so you see that it's not this person's show or that person's show. Plus it exposes more facets of the characters by shifting the focus so much... you see one week how Rick is with his coworkers, and Lily or his family are just supporting roles... next time it's about Rick with Lily, while work & family are supporting, and it shifts around, the different relationships merge and grow because of it. At times it seems predictable, average, but usually they DON'T take the buildup to the predictable and bland "dramatic" conclusion (ie, Graham's attraction to Lily... the ads, of course, built it up to be a psychotic stalker thing, and as the episode progressed it looked like Lily might get fired if she confronted him, yet he didn't go psycho, and she confronted him without getting fired. Looks like he's on next week's (didn't see the preview) so something might still go that way. Another TalkBacker might know better) Anyhow, it's a good family drama, heck it's one of the ONLY family dramas on TV nowadays. Everything else is cops or doctors or lawyers or teens. Luckily, it's a good one. Okay, bash away!

  • March 22, 2001, 4:24 p.m. CST

    FUGITIVE A Tired Premise?

    by RightWing Dude

    Maybe for you.....I never had the opportunity to see much of the original David Jansen series (although I did see a few episodes). In fact, I just graduated from college & haven't had the chance to watch much TV since junior high. I'm just getting reaquanted with TV. On the old series, Gerard was a homicide cop who went all over the country for 4 years hunting for Kimble, whenever a credible tip came through, almost every episode. How realistic was that? I like how the new Gerard was put under severe pressure by higher-ups to give up the hunt & subsequently manuevered himself (by means of black-mail) into working for the fugitive-task force after he discovered that his superior & Helen Kimble's father had hired Vassick,a bounty hunter, to kill Kimble. Is the show realistic? Who knows? Heaven knows that things have happened in real life which could never pass the believability test for a movie or TV show......THE FUGITVE's just good entertainment to me! I have a feeling that the one-armed man isn't just another two-time burglar as was the case on the original series. The same people who made the Harrison Ford version are producing this new version & I bet that in the final episode, there will be some surprises as to who/what really prompted the one-armed man to kill Kimble's wife (as was the case in the movie). My current theory is that Kimble's former father-in-law had something to do with the one-armed man being in Kimble's house & something went horribly wrong......after all, he hired a hit-man to kill Kimble & I don't believe that he wanted Kimble dead for the obvious reasons.....then again, what do I know......anyways, I would like to see more about the show on AICN!

  • March 24, 2001, 6:58 p.m. CST

    Angela Chase 2k

    by Auditing

    I can't believe that Spencer faggot blew the deal with Angela 2k!!