American Dreams @ ATX Festival: Scoop on the Emotional, Time-Jumping Ending You Never Saw
It 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.)
A BLAST FROM THE… FUTURE?!
The highlight of the entire event, however, came in its final moments, when fans were gifted with a surprise screening of Dreams‘ never-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?