HOLLYWOOD—This has been a series that totally defined my high school days. I just happened to be scrolling through my streaming service MAX and discovered a series that hooked me in high school and early college was available. I am referring to The CW series “One Tree Hill.” Look, the series had an all-star cast that included Chad Michael Murray, James Lafferty, Sophia Bush, Hilarie Burton, Bethany Joy Lenz, Moira Kelly, Craig Sheffer, Paul Johansson and Barbara Alyn Woods, and it was the perfect balance of high school angst and parental drama.

The premise of this series was quite genius, two brothers (half-brothers actually), who go to the same high school, and they share the same father. The twist, the father claimed one of the sons, but not the other. I’m referring to Lucas (Murray) and Nathan Scott (Lafferty). Nathan is the basketball star at Tree Hill High School, who is dating the hot, popular cheerleader, Peyton (Burton), whose bestie is Brooke (Bush). Yes, you have the popular ones and the not so popular kids who include Lucas’ bestie Haley (Lenz).

Lucas plays basketball too, but with his pals as they coin it street ball. He’s damn good, but it is their father Dan (Johansson), who is the villain of villains in the TV arena. Dan Scott is a great TV villain and Johansson totally sinks his teeth into the role people. He is truly the character that you love to hate because he is that parent that pushes his kids until they crack, which we see over a period of time with Nathan. Who can forget the end of the first episode of the series where Nathan and Lucas have that one-on-one BB game that everyone is glued to and Lucas proves he is just as good if not better than his brother.

As for Lucas, his mother, Karen (Scott) is such a gem. She is that single mother who has raised her son without any assistance from Dan, who has done her best to steer clear of Dan in OTH. She is absolutely the heart of the show. However, she has a close bond with Dan’s older brother, Keith (Sheffer), who has issues with alcohol. None of our characters are perfect on “One Tree Hill” and that is what I love about this series that I am starting to do a re-watch of. To be honest, I have NOT watched EVERY SINGLE EPISODE; I dabbled here and there, but really became hooked on the series in season three and then watched it religiously from season four all the way to season nine where it all came to an end. Who would have imagined that Deb (Woods) and Karen would become close confidants after sharing children with the same man, but one got the happy life (or did she), while the other struggled.

I think “One Tree Hill” did a phenomenal job with the time jump between season four and season five, something that not many TV series can do well, especially when you are dealing with high school students and not sure where to go next. It works so effortlessly as our characters move into adulthood and battle some serious issues. With that said, I think season one is near perfection. This rivalry between Nathan and Lucas is such a gut punch. Can you imagine having a brother that you have always known about, but you have NO RELATIONSHIP WITH? One, who is popular, has the girl that you are pining for and he bullies you a bit?

It is an absolute nightmare, and Peyton and Brooke are characters that I didn’t like. Especially Peyton, she was just a you know what and so was Brooke people. Peyton is more an enigma as she is struggling with a lot emotionally and keeps things bottled up. She is being someone she doesn’t want to be, and finds her voice as the series progresses, whereas Brooke is just living up to what everyone thinks about her, however, after she sheds that barrier, Brooke really shows the most growth as a character in my opinion over the entire series. She truly became the face of the series in the later years.

I loved the relationship between Haley and Nathan that slowly developed, the athlete dating the geeky girl whose heart wants what her best friend wants her NOT to have. I always go back to that storyline involving the school shooting that was just some of the best and most riveting TV I recall at the time. And I haven’t even gotten into the parental drama which I think separates this series from most TV dramas. These aren’t absent parents; they are involved in their children’s lives which makes watching that much more fun. The parents are just as messy and dramatic as their kids. I don’t want to spoil anything because the series does cliffhangers and shockers unlike any other.

I started to jump around between seasons, but then I told myself, nope, I am just going to start from scratch. I want to watch this series as if I had never seen it before and relive those moments. I’m on season one and I forgot it was like 23 episodes per season when you got hefty helpings of TV shows people. I’m going to try to watch one-two episodes per day, if possible, some days might be more than others, but I love this nostalgic feeling that I’m getting right now, and I do indeed have a few other shows in my wheelhouse that I plan to go back to. For those with MAX, you can binge-watch the entire series of “One Tree Hill.” Be advised the first four seasons are epic, and seasons five to nine are just as gripping, but a bit shorter.