American Dreams @ ATX Festival: Scoop on the Emotional, Time-Jumping Ending You Never Saw

AmericanDreams_Cast_DWIt was a TV lover’s “dream” come true on Sunday when, at the 2nd annual ATX Television Festival, the cast, writers and creator of NBC’s criminally underrated American Dreams reunited before fans’ eyes.

The jam-packed panel — moderated by yours truly and comprised of Brittany Snow (who played Meg), Sarah Ramos (Patty), Tom Verica (Jack) , Ethan Dampf (Will), Rachel Boston (Beth), Vanessa Lengies (Roxanne), Arlen Escarpeta (Sam) and Jamie Elman (Luke), as well as showrunner Jonathan Prince, writer/producers Liz Tigelaar, David Semel, Becky Hartman Edwards and Jason Wilborn — consisted of walks down memory lane, tales from the audition room and countless declarations of love from the drama’s incredibly close-knit “family,” which to this day includes just about everyone who worked on Dreams in some capacity.

Attendees were also treated to a snippet of the Philadelphia race riot-centric Season 1 finale and a sizzle reel of sorts which was used way back when by Prince as a means of enticing NBC to order a fourth season. (His efforts, unfortunately, proved unsuccessful.)

ATX Festival photo c/o

ATX Festival photo c/o

The highlight of the entire event, however, came in its final moments, when fans were gifted with a surprise screening of Dreamsnever-before-aired “epilogue.”

Created as a way to properly wrap up the series (which came to an abrupt and somewhat polarizing end in 2005), the roughly 10-minute segment features appearances by Snow, Verica and Gail O’Grady and was ultimately shelved when the network opted not to air it.

Due to various legalities and music licensing hubbub, we’re unable to share with you the sequence — but we can give a play-by-play on how life (kinda sorta) would have ended up for Meg Pryor & Co.:

Picking up three years after we last saw Meg (at which time she was leaving town with Milo Ventimiglia‘s Chris, while on bad terms with her family), our leading lady — now sporting long hair and hippie-ish duds — is making her way to Woodstock. Upon meeting a pair of free-spirited, seriously inquisitive travelers, Meg begins a trip down memory lane (cue: emotional clips aplenty).

She reveals that she’ll be attending the famed concert with her best friend Sam, who’s just graduated from college, and that her other best friend Roxanne lives in New York with a kid and her husband (Luke!). We also learn that Patty ended up going to Radcliffe, and, most notably, that Meg hasn’t been home since that fateful night of the Season 3 finale.

A moment later, Meg is walking into her childhood home’s backyard, where her nephew Trip (JJ and Beth’s son) plays on a swing set. He recognizes her from pictures, he says, and then mentions that a man will soon walk on the moon (setting the time around July 20, 1969). Then Jack enters the scene.

After staring at his daughter for more than a few beats, Jack calls his grandson back inside. Helen soon meets him at the door, sits stunned for a moment herself and then Jack breaks the ice. “Are you hungry?” he asks his estranged daughter, who sighs in relief and says yes. In his hard-headed way, he tells her that her mother probably has some leftovers and walks back inside. Helen and Meg then embrace while he looks on in the background.

As the camera pans back, radio news coverage from Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon plays us out. (Sob!)

Does that American Dreams ending better tickle your fancy? How would you have wanted to see it all wrap up?

GET MORE: Finales, Scoop

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  1. GS says:

    I absolutely loved that show! Thanks for letting us know how it should have ended.

    • Randy says:

      It sucks that they can’t get season 2 and 3 on dvd. Been almost a decade since the 1st season hit dvd. You can get music for free on the internet but they can’t work out a music license agreement. I remember when I ran nightclubs it cost about $8000.00 a year to let my DJ play music. Same thing with Party Of Five, it is just on season 3. There has to be a cheaper way to get these seasons out there. I remember that Dawson’s Creek played a different intro song and some episode songs to get the series out.

  2. Dick Whitman says:

    Damn, I loved this show.

  3. psd says:

    Awww :(( I loved that show!!!!!

  4. Melissa says:

    Ugh. Great show. So heartbroken when it ended. Thanks for the epilogue!

  5. will we ever have the chance to see that epilogue?!?!?

  6. Vinyl Crocodile says:

    Omg. I loved this show. Thanks so much for sharing the ending. Gah. I’m so heartbroken still that we didn’t get to see it.

  7. Julie says:

    I loved that show! Loved Brittany Snow’s Meg and Will Estes’ JJ especially. I would’ve loved to see the epilogue.

  8. Alicia says:

    Loved that show! Wish Netflix would have it!

  9. Holly Treadwell says:

    My dream ending had Meg and Sam ending up together so lets just assume that they finally got together at Woodstock!

  10. Curt Levesque says:

    I just wish that they would make a movie based on this show and have it take place in 1976, the year of America’s Bicentennial. I mean the show took place in Philadelphia, that’s where the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776 at Independence Hall by the 2nd Continental Congress. And 1976 would be ten years after the original ending of the last episode, which took place in 1966.

    I hope that the cast of the show could reunite for such a movie. It could be a made-for-tv one for NBC or even a big-screen one for Universal Pictures. I actually wrote such a request to Mr. Prince, the show’s creator, on the ATX Festival web page. Maybe, he or somebody else who wrote for the show, could write a teleplay or a screenplay for a movie based on this show.

  11. Curt Levesque says:

    By the way, Meg and Sam were at Woodstock before Meg finally came home to her parents to see the moon landing in 1969. The moon landing happened on July 20, 1969, but Woodstock didn’t happen until the following month, August of 1969.

  12. Curt Levesque says:

    By the way, didn’t you say that Meg and Sam were at Woodstock before Meg finally came home to her parents after a three-year hiatus to hear about the moon landing in 1969? Well, the moon landing did happen on July 20, 1969, but Woodstock didn’t happen until the following month, August of 1969.

    • Erin says:

      No, it says that while she was AT Woodstock, she started remembering her reunion with the family – which we then see, in flashback. So the timeline makes sense.

  13. Blake says:

    Any hope that seasons 2 and 3 will be released on DVD?? Last I heard, Prince was “working on it.” My old VHS copies wore out long ago!

  14. Kyrandiana says:

    So good wish they would release seasons 2 & 3 or as a box set as I miss this wholesome tv show so very much. Please release it jonathan prince

  15. Paige says:

    I hope someone puts this online! I want to see it SO bad!

  16. Robin says:

    A play by play is ok…but seriously fans of this show deserve to see it actually. I’m surprised it wasn’t on a dvd of the show or something. I absolutely loved this show! I grew up listening to “oldies” that my grandma loved…and I still like that music…I was thrilled when this was a show…and I miss it very much. NBC really messed up by not renewing it way back when… Now Tvline…work your magic and get us that epilogue. OR is there somewhere we can watch this panel discussion thing…

  17. Kat says:

    i was literally just thinking about this show the other day and went on netflix to search for it. WHY isn’t it available?? ughh

  18. jax says:

    One of my all-time fave shows. What a wonderful surprise to find it on the home page of TVLine! Too bad Will Estes and Gail O’Grady didn’t attend the reunion.
    Became a big fan of Will Estes because of American Dreams … tuned in to Blue Bloods solely because he was in the cast and ended up loving the show

  19. dee123 says:

    Damn you NBC! The only show i hated getting cancelled more than this was Veronica Mars.

    • Curt Levesque says:

      Well, “Veronica Mars” is going to become a movie and it will be out some time next year. I want “American Dreams” does become a movie in the future. It should take place in the 1970’s because the show took place in the 1960’s.

  20. LLA says:

    I loved this show. Was so sad when the idiots canceled it. Now it’s reality tv 24/7

    • l saun says:

      Don’t forget about the 10 trillion morbid shows like CriminalMinds,SUV,SVU,ColdCase,WithoutAFlash,HannibalCannibal, blah blah, ad nauseum.

  21. Tinemi says:

    I loved this show!! And I’m glad to know it was suposed to end in a better note than it did.

  22. They really need to release the last two seasons on dvd – so ridiculous that they can’t work this out and get them out there for the fans….I loved this show!

  23. Diana says:

    I LOVED this show. I really wish they could work something out to get seasons 2 & 3 on DVD! My VHS copies are getting pretty worn out.

  24. CJ says:

    This was my all time favorite tv show. Why why why could it not have lasted just one more season.