Fall TV Preview

One Tree Hill On the Bubble: Keep Or Cut?

By mid-May, broadcast TV bigwigs will be making tough calls as to which shows will return for the 2011-12 season, and which won’t. To complement the “Renew Our Show!” Bracket Tournament, TVLine is singling out select “bubble” shows to survey their prospects. Next up is a series that might be looking at its last branch: The CW’s One Tree Hill.

THE SHOW: One Tree Hill (The CW)

THE TIME SLOT: Most recently, Tuesdays at 8/7c.

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THE CASE FOR KEEPING: Ask yourself this (and try to answer honestly): Can you imagine The CW without the long-running One Tree Hill? I thought not. The series has become a network staple, surviving countless time slot-swaps over eight seasons, yet still managing to deliver inventive story arcs for a majority of its ever-expanding cast. No, it never reached the level of acclaim achieved by its WB predecessor/inspiration, Dawson’s Creek, but the fact remains:  Tree Hill has successfully reinvented itself not once but twice during its run. First, it braved a four-year time jump (avoiding what oft can be trite college stories). Then, come Season 6, the show overcame the hurdle that was the departure of core couple Lucas and Peyton (played by Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton). The series’ other original players — Sophia Bush, Bethany Joy Galeotti and James Lafferty — remain interesting and relevant in this tale of small-town heroes. And who wouldn’t like to watch Naley’s new baby grow up, or witness what’s ahead for Brooke and Julian (Austin Nichols)? After devoting eight years to the series, it’s safe to say fans would stick around for one or two more.

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THE CASE FOR CUTTING: Even at its best, One Tree Hill is simply not the show it once was. Things haven’t been the same since Murray and Burton exited, and while the show was able to somewhat smooth over that bump in the road, it did so by adding a few too many newbies — several of which add little to the canvas (and sometimes nothing at all). Additionally, the series that once prided itself on young adults “living the dream” now seems to insist that in life, nothing is simple or ever going to go right. That isn’t a particularly fun message week-in, week-out. Since the characters we truly care about are right now in a good spot — and (SPOILER ALERT!) with the Season 8 finale set to feature multiple time jumps, effectively advancing big stories — it may be a prudent time to say our goodbyes.

Hit the comments section to make your own case for keeping or cutting One Tree Hill.