Twenty years ago today, at 5pm eastern time, SWANS CROSSING first appeared on TV. The show ran 5 times a week for 13 weeks. Created by Mardee Kravit and Ned Kandel, it was a different sort of teen soap opera. Here’s what Kravit said to the Chicago Tribune after the show first aired:
“We’re more of an action-adventure soap-serial. We decided not to do problem/solution stories like teenage alcoholism, child abuse, drugs. Instead we asked what is the most obvious concern of adolescents? When the world is falling apart around me, what am I most concerned about? Who likes me? Who is my friend today? Who will ask me out? We decided to make them rich to give them more freedom to get where they wanted to go.”
The only time the show got mildly serious was in Episodes 55 and 56, when Sydney (Sarah Michelle Gellar) attempts suicide (sort of), and is rescued by Callie (Stacey Moseley). Even the kidnapping (Episodes 40-44) of Glory Booth (Carisa Dahlbo), during which Glory was bound with ropes and threatened (possibly in a symbolic way) with snakes, resulted in no harm to the character. Glory hardly seemed upset by her ordeal once she had been rescued.
The location of the town of Swans Crossing was never specified. A case can be made for the vicinity of Providence, R.I., and also for the coast of Maine.
The villains were Baldies and Anglos, the two groups competing to capture the secret “self-perpetuating fuel source” invented by town geeks J.T. Adams (Tom Carroll) and Neil Atwater (Eddie Tyclus Robinson). The experimental fuel was called UB2B, which, on reflection, is quite similar to UWTB, Douglas Adams’ power source in HITCH HIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY.
Of the non-adult characters, Sophie Eva McCormick DeCastro (Mira Sorvino) was the “older woman” (17) in the show. The other teen cast members ranged in age from 12 to 15. Sophie actually had a car, a powder blue 1957 Ford convertible. After Episode 11 (the end of Mila’s birthday party) we didn’t see much of Sophie. The writers were probably not sure what to do with her. J.T. had a little sister named Katy, aged 8, played by Ashley Chapman.
Among the adults there was a Countess (Delphi Harrington) and Contessa (Brittany Daniel), and a Baroness (Angela Pietropinto). Callie Walker (Stacey Moseley) and her father lived on a submarine that had a periscope disguised as a swan. Susan Ward was an extra in several episodes.
A guy looking a lot like Spike Lee made an appearance at the beginning of Episode 14.
There were dolls marketed for most of the main characters. Some say the show was created for the purpose of making and selling those dolls.
SWANS CROSSING was Sarah Michelle Gellar’s first starring role.
A cast reunion would be a good thing. If no one can get it together for this year’s 20th Anniversary summer, perhaps someone can for the 25th in 2017. At least someone ought to get the show released on DVD.