Once and Again: Wikis


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Once and Again
Format Family Drama
Created by Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz
Starring Sela Ward
Billy Campbell
Jeffrey Nordling
Susanna Thompson
Shane West
Julia Whelan
Evan Rachel Wood
Meredith Deane
Todd Field
Marin Hinkle
Jennifer Crystal Foley
Ever Carradine
David Clennon
Steven Weber
Composer(s) W.G. Snuffy Walden
Country of origin USA
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 63
Running time 60 minutes
Original channel ABC
Original run September 21, 1999 – April 15, 2002

Once and Again is an American television series that aired on ABC from September 21, 1999 to April 15, 2002. It depicts the family of a single mother and her romance with a single father. It was created by Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick, the same team that created Thirtysomething and produced My So-Called Life.

One of the show's more unique aspects were the "interview" sequences filmed in black and white and interspersed throughout each episode, where the characters would reveal their most innermost thoughts and memories to the camera.



Lily Manning (Sela Ward) is a 40ish suburban soccer mom living in Deerfield, Illinois. Recently separated from her philandering husband Jake (Jeffrey Nordling), Lily is raising her two daughters, insecure, anxiety-ridden 14-year-old Grace (Julia Whelan), and wide-eyed, innocent 9-year-old Zoe (Meredith Deane). For support, she turns to her more free-spirited younger sister, Judy (Marin Hinkle), with whom she works at their bookstore called My Sister's Bookstore.

Lily's life changes when, during the pilot episode, she meets Rick Sammler (Billy Campbell) in the principal's office of Grace's school, Upton Sinclair High School.

Rick is a single father and co-head of an architectural firm, Sammler/Cassili Associates, which is located in downtown Chicago. Rick has been divorced from his uptight ex-wife Karen (Susanna Thompson) for three years and has two children, Eli (Shane West), a 16-year-old basketball player at Sinclair High who suffers from a learning disability, and sensitive 14-year-old Jessie (Evan Rachel Wood), who longs for the days before her family's disintegration.

Lily and Rick share an immediate mutual attraction and begin dating. Their budding relationship causes problems in both of their respective families. Grace strongly objects to Lily and Rick's relationship as she still hopes to see her parents get back together. Karen, a public interest attorney at the downtown law firm of Harris, Riegert, and Sammler, is worried about the toll Rick's new relationship would take on their children, particularly Jessie, who is shy and emotionally fragile. She is also working through her own feelings of jealousy that Rick is moving on to a new relationship.

In addition to Lily and Rick's relationship, the show also focused to a lesser degree on their exes, Jake and Karen, and their own struggles to move on in a post-divorce environment.

Plot summary


Season one

Lily is in the process of divorcing her restaurateur husband, Jake. She is reluctant to begin dating again due to the sensitivities of her daughters, who are still emotional about the divorce. She meets and is instantly attracted to divorced architect Rick Sammler. However, their new relationship is complicated by Lily's many remaining emotional and financial issues with Jake. Grace and Eli become close when she becomes his tutor.

Season two

Lily and Jake's divorce is finally over, and she hopes to spend more time with Rick. However, Rick becomes sidetracked by difficulties at work and has to begin working with unscrupulous developer Miles (David Clennon), who played the same role on the series thirtysomething. Things become difficult for Lily when Rick has to turn to his ex-wife Karen for legal assistance. Much of the season revolves around these work problems for Rick. At the end of season two, Lily and Rick finally get married.

Season three

Lily faces domestic struggles: her mother begins to show signs of Alzheimers Disease and her brother Aaron, who is schizophrenic, wants to move in with his girlfriend. Other storylines include Judy's relationship with her boyfriend Sam, Jessie dealing with her sexual identity, the birth of Jake and his new wife Tiffany's baby, Grace's attraction for her teacher, and Karen dealing with depression. By the end of the season, Rick and Lily face big decisions when he is offered a job in Australia and she is offered a nationally syndicated radio show.


  • Sela Ward (Elizabeth 'Lily' Manning) Grace and Zoe's mother, separated from Jake
  • Billy Campbell (Richard 'Rick' Sammler) Eli and Jessie's father, divorced from Karen
  • Jeffrey Nordling (Jake Manning) Lily's estranged husband, Grace and Zoe's father
  • Susanna Thompson (Karen Sammler) Rick's ex-wife, Eli and Jessie's mother
  • Shane West (Eli Sammler) Rick's son
  • Julia Whelan (Grace Manning) Lily's elder daughter
  • Evan Rachel Wood (Jessie Sammler) Rick's daughter
  • Meredith Deane (Zoe Manning) Lily's younger daughter
  • Marin Hinkle (Judy Brooks) Lily's younger sister
  • Todd Field (David Cassilli) [2nd season 23-35, recurring previously] Rick's business partner and friend
  • Ever Carradine (Tiffany Porter) [2nd season 36-44 & 3rd season, recurring previously] Jake's mistress/girlfriend
  • Jennifer Crystal Foley (Christie Parker) [2nd season] Lily's boss at PagesAlive.com
  • David Clennon (Miles Drentell) [2nd season 23-43] Rick and David's primary client
  • Steven Weber (Samuel Blue) [3rd season, recurring in 1st season] Rick's friend and Judy's lover

Recurring characters


Season 1: 1999-2000

  • 1. Pilot (Boy Meets Girl) - September 21, 1999
  • 2. Let's Spend The Night Together - September 28, 1999
  • 3. The Scarlet Letter Jacket - October 5, 1999
  • 4. Liars And Other Strangers - October 12, 1999
  • 5. There Be Dragons - October 19, 1999
  • 6. A Dream Deferred - October 26, 1999
  • 7. The Ex-Files - November 2, 1999
  • 8. The Past Is Prologue -November 9, 1999
  • 9. Outside Hearts - November 16, 1999
  • 10. Thanksgiving - November 23, 1999
  • 11. Where There's Smoke - December 7, 1999
  • 12. The Gingerbread House - December 21, 1999
  • 13. Mediation - January 24, 2000
  • 14. Sneaky Feelings - January 31, 2000
  • 15. The Mystery Dance - February 7, 2000
  • 16. Daddy's Girl - February 14, 2000
  • 17. Unfinished Business - March 6, 2000
  • 18. Strangers And Brothers - March 13, 2000
  • 19. Cat-In-Hat - April 3, 2000
  • 20. My Brilliant Career - April 10, 2000
  • 21. Letting Go - April 17, 2000
  • 22. A Door, About To Open - April 24, 2000

Season 2: 2000-2001

  • 23. Wake Up Little Susie - October 24, 2000
  • 24. Booklovers - October 31, 2000
  • 25. I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down - November 14, 2000
  • 26. Feast Or Famine - November 21, 2000
  • 27. Ozymandias 2.0 - November 28, 2000
  • 28. Food For Thought - December 5, 2000
  • 29. Learner's Permit - December 19, 2000
  • 30. Life Out Of Balance - January 10, 2001
  • 31. Scribbling Rivalry - January 17, 2001
  • 32. Love's Laborers' Lost - January 24, 2001
  • 33. Thieves Like Us - January 31, 2001
  • 34. Suspicion - February 7, 2001
  • 35. Edifice Wrecked - February 14, 2001
  • 36. The Other End Of The Telescope - March 7, 2001
  • 37. Standing Room Only - March 14, 2001
  • 38. Aaron's Getting Better - March 21, 2001
  • 39. Forgive Us Our Trespasses - March 28, 2001
  • 40. Best Of Enemies - April 4, 2001
  • 41. Armageddon - April 11, 2001
  • 42. Won't Someone Please Help George Bailey Tonight - April 18, 2001
  • 43. Moving On - April 25, 2001
  • 44. The Second Time Around - May 2, 2001

Season 3: 2001-2002

  • 45. Busted - September 28, 2001
  • 46. The Awful Truth - October 5, 2001
  • 47. Kind Of Blue - October 12, 2001
  • 48. Acting Out - October 19, 2001
  • 49. Destiny Turns On The Radio - November 2, 2001
  • 50. Jake And The Women - November 9, 2001
  • 51. Chaos Theory - November 23, 2001
  • 52. The Sex Show - November 30, 2001
  • 53. Tough Love - December 7, 2001
  • 54. Pictures - December 14, 2001
  • 55. Taking Sides - January 4, 2002
  • 56. Gardenia - January 11, 2002
  • 57. Falling in Place - March 4, 2002
  • 58. The Gay-Straight Alliance - March 11, 2002
  • 59. One Step (Parent) Backward - March 18, 2002
  • 60. Aaron's List Of Dreams - March 25, 2002
  • 61. Experience Is The Teacher - April 1, 2002
  • 62. Losing You - April 8, 2002
  • 63. Chance of A Lifetime - April 15, 2002 (Series Finale)



  • Todd Field played David Cassilli on the show until midway through the second season. It is fair to assume that co-writing and directing the Academy Award-nominated film In the Bedroom played a significant role in his departure from the series. He has also directed episodes of Once and Again and Carnivàle.
  • Miles Drentell, the arch client who destroys Rick and David's partnership, nearly had a similar effect on Michael Steadman and Elliot Weston's friendship on thirtysomething.
  • Miles Drentell would die of pancreatic cancer in the 2000-2001 season.[1], [2]
  • Series creators and executive producers Herskovitz and Zwick also appeared as minor characters on the show. Herskovitz played Dr. Frankl, the physician who reported Phil's death to the Brooks/Manning family. Zwick portrayed Dr. Daniel Rosenfeld, the child psychologist who counseled Jessie while she had an eating disorder, in six episodes.
  • Series producer Winnie Holzman appeared as Aaron's social worker, Shelly, in three episodes.
  • The show received particular media attention and, in the introductory episode, ratings figures, for its depiction of Jessie's budding lesbian relationship with Katie, a previously introduced friend. Besides the expected piqued interest and controversy over an instance of homosexuality (or possibly bisexuality) on TV, in a drama series, the storyline also stood out as one of the few depictions of a lesbian relationship between two teenaged girls in a drama series with recurring manifestations of affection, distancing itself from an often used angle in the media, that of attributing the experience to sexual experimentation.
  • For the second season, Steven Weber was cast in Cursed and was not available, so Mark Valley as Wil Gluck was introduced to fill the void. The next season Valley was unavailable because of his role in Pasadena, so he was written out and Weber (who was again available) returned, this time as a regular cast member.
  • As of episode 39, the ABC network eliminated the opening credits and replaced them with a brief interstitial logo. This graphic had previously been used as a bumper between the double commercial break at the half-hour mark. The cast listings were then incorporated into the opening scene(s). It is likely that ABC used this additional time to add an extra commercial and therefore increase ad revenue, since the episodes did not increase in length. This technique had been used once before, in the pilot.


It originally aired on ABC from 1999 to 2002. In the U.S it was in syndication on Lifetime Real Women the spinoff channel from Lifetime Television. The channel stopped running O&A in April 2005, and no American outlet presently carries the show. However, on August 2, 2008, it was announced that Once and Again will return to United States television for the first time since April 2005. It might return to U.S. TV for the first time in 4 years by the first quarter of 2009. Once and Again was seen on the now-defunct ABC1 in the United Kingdom and the Seven Network in Australia. In Canada, the show was seen on the W Network until late 2007 or early 2008. Today, the show might be seen in full-length episodes on YouTube.W Network will be broadcasting the series at 3 am beginning September 2008 (from their network schedule).

DVD releases

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment (formerly Buena Vista Home Entertainment) released Season 1 on November 5, 2002, mere months after the series finale. It was expected that the remaining two seasons would be released soon afterward. However, it took three more years and numerous petition drives for season two to be released, which occurred on August 23, 2005. A little over a month later, on September 30, 2005, news broke about the release of the third and final season, which was slated to occur on January 10, 2006, but by October 2005 the title was delayed and has been ever since, with no explanation. It was almost two years before another official word was uttered on the subject and in July 2007, it was reported that Buena Vista's license on the program was soon to expire and, as a result, could lead to a new company acquiring the distribution rights to the title and thus a potential third season release.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
Season 1 22 November 5, 2002
Season 2 22 August 23, 2005
Season 3 19 TBA

External links


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