Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Set in Philadelphia during the early '60s, the NBC drama series American Dreams concentrated on the Pryors, an Irish-Catholic family struggling to make sense of the great sociological changes being wrought upon the world -- and themselves. The first episode, ostensibly built around the determination of 15-year-old Meg Pryor (Brittany Snow) to appear on the locally produced TV dance show American Bandstand (whose host, Dick Clark, was one of American Dreams' executive producers), veered sharply into an entirely different direction with the announcement that President Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas, an event that would inexorably shape the future of the entire family. Other characters included family patriarch Jack Pryor (Tom Verica), the traditionalist owner of a TV sales shop; Jack's wife Helen (Gail O'Grady), an incipient feminist who had begun to realize that a whole new world existed outside of her home and family; son J.J. (Will Estes), whose plans to attend Notre Dame on a football scholarship were sidetracked by his blossoming radicalism; the two younger Pryor children, Will (Ethan Dampf) and Patty (Sarah Ramos); Meg's best friend Roxanne (Vanessa Lengies); and the family's African-American friends, Henry and Sam Walker (Jonathan Adams, Arlen Escarpeta).
coming-of-age, family, generation-gap, social-change