Give your show a name: It Never Rains (in California)
“It Never Rains (In California)” was an escapist melodrama that aired for one season in the late-‘90s on a now-defunct cable network called “No Holds Barred” or NHB for short. The guilty-pleasure dramas and comedies on NHB featured gobs of salaciousness, and much shredding of moral fiber - to a degree that would not be produced for US television again for another fifteen years after NHB folded. “It Never Rains” was one of several NHB shows to feature same-sex relationships and polyamory without apology or explanation, and had a ferociously devoted college fangirl and fanboy support base. It regularly challenged some of the top network shows for prime-time dominance, often scoring double digit ratings and shares that toped fifteen percent of the viewing audience. It would have carried on had NHB not folded due to massive financial mismanagement and a ‘party like it’s 1999’ attitude among upper management.
Locations: Los Angeles, with backstory flashbacks in Iowa and various other locales worldwide.
Synopsis: Elliot Boranski (Misha Collins) is a popular and promising young acting student who drops out of college against his father’s wishes to chase his dreams in Hollywood. Months later, Elliot’s best friend and sophomore football-hero-in-the-making Cutch Andrews (Jensen Ackles) gets wind his buddy is barely a garbled, drunken call home from a pay phone short of missing. Cutch goes after him, determined to bring Elliot to his senses and get him back to Iowa. Instead, he’s drawn into a world of reckless people with little to lose and millions to win in the fame game – if they play everyone around them just right.
Half the fun of the show is watching the various car wrecks Elliot and his friends turn their lives into, and the other half is wondering how long they can hold the pieces together once they’ve picked them up. While there is very little loyalty to talk about between the characters (either professionally or romantically) there are two core serious relationships; one between Elliot’s friends Janie and Cyn and the fraught, clandestine one between Elliot and Cutch that started nearly two years ago under the bleachers back in Iowa.
Characters: Create characters for your show.
Elliot Boranski – Misha Collins ~ Smart, beautiful, and the life-of-the-party: Elliot was the darling among many factions on his college campus before he took off for Hollywood. What few of his friends realize is that Elliot’s flamboyant, daring ways mask deep self-doubts and destructive tendencies that could only do him so much damage in Iowa. Now that he’s living life in the fast lane, Elliot’s well on track to die young and leave a pretty body unless someone gets through to him.
Cutch Andrews – Jensen Ackles ~ The son of a local department store founder with a former model for a mom, Cutch Andrews knows he’ll never have to ask where he’s going in life. If football doesn’t work out for him the family business will be waiting. The good life was placed in his lap the day he was born, complete with a huge bank account and a future full of fast cars and McMansions. Problem is, he’s not sure he wants any of it. The only thing he does know he wants is the boy he met in eighth grade with blue eyes that look right into his soul. The fact that he can’t tell his parents or live the life he wants leads him to chase a variety of women happy to be his ‘front’ – which only drives Elliot away to Hollywood.
Cyn – Anna Torv ~ Cynthia ‘Cyn’ Ramos came to Hollywood and hit fast- a TV show that lasted three seasons, a small movie role and the lead in a play that won her critical acclaim. But now, for no reason she or her agent can see she is struggling to get the parts that could make her a true breakthrough star. Cyn feels like a detective searching for answers – every one of which leads back to the distinct possibility that Cyn’s ex-husband is actively torpedoing her career.
Janie– Tatyana Ali Janie Williams is a writer and actress whose ultimate goal is the Broadway stage. L.A. life is just a step in that direction, except that L.A. life has brought her Cyn. She’s determined to have both the career she wants and love but bi-coastal living, as it turns out, only means twice the difficulties and five times the temptations.
Ben – Owen Wilson ~ When acting didn’t work out, Ben bought a surf shop. It more than pays the rent, but only because of the active drug trade he does on top of selling boards and gear. Ben lives with and is in a relationship with both Jazz and Piper and the many people Piper brings home on a rotating basis.
Jazz – Scott Caan ~ When you grew up worshiping the Angry Young Man genre of 60s actors, it’s hard to accept that your path may be frothy half-hour comedies. Jazz is torn between riding the success that came in a form he never wanted and giving it up to dig deeper and win the roles and the fame he needs almost as much as oxygen.
Piper – Claire Danes ~ Piper is the one character on the show who wants nothing to do with acting. She’s an acolyte of a Hollywood agent, hell-bent on turning her business degree and a ton of attitude into wheeler-dealer status.
Adam Andrews – Elijah wood ~ Cutch’s younger brother is seen in flashbacks to Cutch’s life before he left to find Elliot. Adam is on the Asperger’s scale, is very close to his brother, and the only reason Cutch has to feel torn between his mission to save Elliot and the need to go home sooner than later.
Mr. Avery – landlord to Elliot and later Elliot/Cutch – Mark Sheppard
Billy - Piper’s heroin addict kid brother - Johnny Galecki -
Julia Masters – Morgan Fairchild – Andrews family neighbor, who knows about Cutch and Elliot and who is Cutch’s ‘Mrs. Robinson.’
Colin Flyte – Heath Ledger - Cutch's fellow hometown football player who shows up mid-season, gets a clue about Elliot and Cutch and takes it back home with him – getting Cutch’s funding from his folks cut off.
2. Writing: Give us more detail about the world your show is set in, and maybe an episode or two!
Gah. This will have to come later. I’d love it if we could do this challenge again next year – I’d definitely flesh this out.
3. Fandom: “It Never Rains” didn’t get cancelled – it died because NHB failed and went dark. It happened to be at a time when dial-up message boards and basic, flat html web pages were the rage among early web adapters. Fandom pages for “It Never Rains” popped up online for several years after its demise, with fans writing short fan fiction offerings that resolved the unfinished plotlines, and took the characters on many AU journeys. In the early Y2K era, a graphic novel of “It Never Rains” was published and sold tens of thousands of copies in airports, at college campus bookstores and online.