Let’s Remember First Years

Let’s Remember is an opportunity for those who watched relatively recent short-lived TV shows, as well as those who didn’t, to share their thoughts and memories, to help ensure that these shows aren’t forgotten. This month’s column examines First Years (NBC, 2001).

The Basics

Title: First Years
Network: NBC
Cast: Mackenzie Astin as Warren Harrison, Ken Marino as Miles Lawton, Samantha Mathis as Anna Weller, Sydney Tamiia Poitier as Riley Kessler, James Roday as Edgar “Egg” Ross, and Eric Schaeffer as Sam O’Donnell
Air dates: March 19, 2001 – April 2nd, 2001
Time slot: Mondays at 9PM ET
Episodes: 9 (6 unaired)

First Years © 2001 Studios USA Television, LLC and NBC Studios, Inc.

Still from the opening credits to First YearsStill from the TV show First Years showing James Roday as Edgar 'Egg' Ross and Ken Marino as Miles LawtonStill from the TV show First Years showing Samantha Mathis as Anna Weller and Sydney Tamiia Poitier as Riley KesslerStill from the TV show First Years showing Mackenzie Astin as Warren HarrisonStill from the TV show First Years showing Eric Schaeffer as Sam O'Donnell
Official Synopsis

I can’t find an official NBC synopsis for First Years. Here’s the very brief TV Guide summary for the show:

Dramedy about five hip and hungry San Francisco lawyers who share a fixer-upper in Haight-Ashbury. The young cast is appealing, but the show tried a bit too hard to be cool and was rejected by viewers. Adapted from the BBC series `This Life.’

Program Notes

-First Years is based on a British show called This Life, which aired on BBC Two in 1996 and 1997.

-NBC used negative criticism (“offensive to lawyers”) from the American Lawyers Public Image Association in promotional spots for the series.

-You can find summaries for the three aired episodes, the episode scheduled for April 9th but never aired, and the unaired pilot episode at TV Guide.

-A repeat of Law & Order aired on April 9th in place of First Years. The following week, Dateline took over the 9-10PM ET time slot on Mondays.

TV Guide’s Take

As a mid-season replacement, TV Guide never reviewed First Years for a Fall Preview issue.


Variety – Steven Oxman (3/18/2001)
The Washington Post – Tom Shales (3/19/2001)
The New York Times – Anita Gates (3/19/2001)
The Michigan Daily – Jennifer Fogel (3/19/2001)
SFGATE – John Carman (3/19/2001)

Opening Credits

The opening credits weren’t on YouTube, so I uploaded them myself:

My Thoughts

I can vividly remember seeing promotional spots for First Years before it premiered, probably during but I don’t recall if I watched the first episode when it aired. I taped it and probably watched it the next day. To be honest, my strongest memory of the show is forgetting to tape the second episode and being so frustrated I gave up on the show entirely. Then NBC cancelled it.

A few years later, I managed to acquire the two other episodes NBC aired. That was probably 15 years ago so I don’t remember much. James Roday’s character goes by the nickname Eggs. That sticks out. Also, there’s a scene in the first episode in which several of the characters are at lunch and Ken Marino’s character pretends to be choking in order to serve a doctor with a summons. I haven’t forgotten that.

I’ve never seen This Life, the British show First Years is “based” on. According to many of the reviews I’ve found, First Years is a pale imitation of This Life.

Where to Watch

Nowhere. First Years has never been officially released on DVD nor is it streaming anywhere.

Hit the comments with your thoughts and memories to ensure First Years doesn’t slip into total obscurity.

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One Reply to “Let’s Remember First Years”

  1. Possibly the most notable thing about “First Years” is that three of the five leads in the series were what they now refer to as “Nepo Babies.” You had Mackenzie Astin, son of Patty Duke and John Astin, Samantha Mathis, daughter of actress Bibi Besch and Sydney Tamiia Poitier, daughter of Sidney Poitier.

    But the biggest problem this show had was that NBC chose to schedule it opposite another program that had the same themes, only was well established by 2001, when this show premiered: Fox’s “Ally McBeal.” Both programs aired in the Monday night at 9pm ET time slot.

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