South of Nowhere, or SoN for short, is an American TV show based in Los Angeles. Many would probably class this as a typical teenage drama, but it's way more than that. It covers many important topics such as sexuality, religion, racism, adoption, drugs and just life in general. Unlike other shows of its type it's done in a very realistic way and each character has amazing storylines which all come together to make one great show. You can really understand these characters and learn a lot, no matter how old you are.
South of Nowhere follows the Carlin family as they move from Ohio to LA. The Carlin family is Arthur, Paula and their kids; Glen, Spencer and Clay. Paula works at the hospital and is immediately thrown into a hectic work schedule. Arthur works as a social worker at a local centre. Meanwhile, the three kids are having to get used a new school where the rules are completely different from back home.
It is then that we meet Ashley, Aiden, Madison, Sean and Chelsea. People are divided due to their history and who they are and the three Carlin kids each fall into a different group, complicating life for them all.
The Carlins knew this move would be life changing, they just never realised how it would change.
About South of Nowhere:
South of Nowhere ran for 3 seasons and a total of 40 episodes and a number of webisodes. The theme tune for season 1 is I Don't Wanna Know (If You Don't Want Me) by The Donnas, but seasons 2 and 3 are Wasted by L.P. Often on clips the season 1 theme tune is replaced with Wasted by L.P. On iTunes and Amazon the season 1 theme tune was replaced with Lift Me Up by Gena Olivier, although personally I think the other two themes fit much better.
You can buy South of Nowhere DVDs from Amazon.com and iTunes, but there are other places you may also find it.
Season 1 is 11 episodes long. It all starts with showing the Carlin kids driving along with Spencer doing a voice over as to what is going on. Then they pull up at school and the chaos begins.
I don't want to give away any spoilers, but a lot does happen in the first season. You learn more about each character. You see relationships grow. Spencer and Ashley become good friends, but it is not all plain sailing and Paula isn't happy about the two either after Glen informs her Ashley is gay. Spencer is hurt by how her Mum is reacting and confused about how she is feeling. She goes on a date with Aiden, but ends up going round to Ashley's house when she realises Aiden isn't the one she wants. At the same time Ashley goes out drinking after thinking she has lost Spencer.
At the start Glen likes Ashley, stating she is hot. Later on he turns against her though, saying his sister is not gay and she needs to back off. Meanwhile Clay is having problems with the police who pulled him and Sean over when driving simply because of the colour of their skin, something Clay isn't used to.
On top of all that the parents are at a rough patch in their relationship and, especially with working long hours, things are not easy for them. They have different views on the kids too, making things worse between them.
If things weren't bad enough there is also a school lock down and an earthquake. LA is definitely not what they expected.
You follow the whole family on their own journey, through the good and bad.
As well as the normal episodes there are also webisodes which are short clips that fit in with the main episode. They add more to the show and usually focus on one or two characters, giving you a chance to learn something more about them or just see what they were doing while something else was happening. These are a great addition to the show.
Arthur Carlin played by Rob Moran. Arthur is the Dad of Glen, Spencer and Clay. He is understanding and makes sure his kids know he's there for them whenever they need him. He is often the one to try and calm Paula down. Rob plays this part really well and really suits the role as the Dad.
Paula Carlin played by Maeve Quinlan. Paula is the Mum of Glen, Spencer and Clay. She is not as understanding as Arthur and has strong religious beliefs which often mean her views on certain matters cause problems within the family. As soon as she finds out about Ashley being gay she is quick to judge and tries to stop Spencer being friends with her. Maeve is a fantastic actress who really gets into the roles she plays and it shows.
Glen Carlin played by Chris Hunter. Glen is the eldest of the Carlin kids. He considers himself a ladies man and soon goes after Madison, the head cheerleader. He is a basketball player and it is soon clear he is one of the best on the team. These two things cause him and Aiden to fight as Aiden was the best player and he is also dating Madison. He ends up with bigger problems later on though and his life completely changes. Chris does a great job as Glen and it's interesting to see how his character changes as the season goes on.
Spencer Carlin played by Gabrielle Christian. Spencer is the youngest of the three. She is a cheerleader, but things change when she becomes good friends with Ashley Davies. Head cheerleader, Madison, warns her about her choice in friends, but Spencer ends up ditching the cheerleaders. Spencer soon learns about the past of her new friend and things become more complicated as she realises she likes girls. Gabrielle plays the part of the confused teen very well and it's clear she gets on with Mandy (Ashley) well.
Clay Carlin played by Danso Gordon. Clay is the same age as Glen and is adopted. He is also the clever one in the family. He is a black guy bought up in a white family which up until now has always been fine. However, in LA black people and white people are more divided and Clay finds himself having to choose between his family and new friends. He soon becomes friends with Sean and starts to learn how things are in LA. He also meets Chelsea who clearly likes him.
Ashley Davies played by Mandy Musgrave. Ashley has a complicated history. She used to be friends with Madison and date Aiden before she came out as gay. Since then she has spent a lot of time skipping school, but meeting Spencer changes everything. Mandy suits the role as Ashley perfectly. The producers of South of Nowhere did try switching Mandy and Gabrielle, but it was clear straight away that Mandy should play Ashley and Gabrielle should play Spencer.
Aiden Dennison played by Matt Cohen. Aiden was the basketball star and dating Madison, although it is clear he never got over Ashley. Things go very wrong for Aiden when Glen shows up and he not only loses Madison to him, but is no longer the basketball star. He begins hanging around with Ashley and Spencer instead.
Sean Miller played by Austen Parros. Sean is very smart and despite not getting off to the best start with Clay the two soon become good friends after he sees Clay standing up for a girl.
Madison Duarte played by Valery Ortiz. Madison is head cheerleader and very popular. She used to be good friends with Ashley, but now spends her time insulting her at every possible opportunity. There is more to Madison than meets the eye though.
Chelsea Lewis played by Aasha Davis. Chelsea has known Sean for years and the two are good friends. When she meets Clay the two get on well and you see their relationship develop.
You can tell the whole cast is really close which makes everything that happens even more believable.
I first found out about South of Nowhere when looking through random videos. I saw a clip of it and thought it looked interesting so I searched for the show and started watching it. To start with it seemed like any other show of this kind, but I decided to keep watching it anyway and I'm glad I did.
The writers of this show are great, always keeping things interesting and making sure each character has a part to play without taking the focus off the other important events that are happening. Rather than just showing the kids lives it also shows the parents and the struggles they go through. Not only can teens and young adults relate to the show, but so can parents. It also makes you think of things from another point of view. As a parent, seeing what the kids go through and how they could be more understanding. As a teen/young adult, seeing what the adults go through.
Each topic they cover is done in a very clever way and never rushed. There may only be 3 seasons, but it feels a lot more when you think about all that happens. It's hard to believe how much they fit into just one episode. At no point does it get confusing or seem to race through life. You get to really understand each situation. A lot can happen in everyday life so it's not unrealistic either that they cover so many important issues. There aren't many shows that are as well written as this.
South of Nowhere is a great show with great actors who give very believable performances. Out of all shows like this SoN is number one, in my opinion.
Season 1 is where it all begins and you will certainly want to watch the next two seasons after seeing it.