Eight years since the tales of Ryan Atwood, Seth Cohen, Summer Roberts, Taylor Townsend, and Marissa Cooper left the air, all four seasons of The O.C. can finally be streamed legally on CW’s online network CW Seed.
The Josh Schwartz-created teen drama originally aired on Fox between 2003 and 2007 but, unlike many of its peers, has yet to make its way to traditional streamers like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime. The series joins a lineup of CW-licensed shows like Whose Line Is It Anyway? and Veronica Mars spin-off Play It Again, Dick on CW’s free, ad-supported streaming platform.
Set in Newport Beach, CA, the series began as a classic fish out of water story, depicting Ryan Atwood’s (Benjamin McKenzie) assimilation into an upper class community after being adopted by the wealthy Cohen family. “[Producers] McG and Stephanie Savage were figuring out ways to do something about Orange County,” explained Schwartz on the show’s roots to Vulture in 2013. “And I think McG’s initial instinct was — this was around the time of extreme sports — to do something in that world. And I said, “This is not my experience with Orange County,” and I talked [to them] about my experience as a Jewish kid from the East Coast coming to USC.”
What resulted was a well-regarded show which highlighted Orange County’s glitz but also delved into difficult issues of growing up like struggles with fitting in, sex, drugs and mental health. Peter Gallagher, Kelly Rowan, Mishcha Barton, and Adam Brody also starred on the show.
An era-defining hit for many a teen or twenty-something, The O.C. was also known for its popular soundtrack, which put a focus on indie rock, and even broke a few up-and-comers into the mainstream. Groups like Death Cab for Cutie, The Killers, Rooney, Youth Group and The Album Leaf got a significant signal boost from the show and its associated Billboard-charting mixtapes. The significance of licensing a song to the show became so big that people in the music biz called the phenomenon ‘The O.C. Effect.’
All four seasons of The O.C. can now be streamed on the CW Seed website or its app.