South of Nowhere (2005-2008) is an award-winning teen-oriented TV series from Thomas W. Lynch (The Secret World of Alex Mack, The Journey of Allen Strange) about a family who moves from Ohio to Los Angeles. It is the first such show conceived with a lesbian character at the outset. The show was produced and aired by The N, a teen-targeted programming block that aired nightly on the Noggin channel.
The story revolves around the Carlin family, who move to LA when mother Paula (Maeve Quinlan) is transferred to a hospital there. While there, father Arthur (Rob Moran) specializes in relationship counseling, and the three kids complete their high school education.
At school, oldest natural child Glenn (Chris Hunter) endeavors to make the pro-basketball circuit, which brings him to rivalry with Aiden Dennison (Matt Cohen). Meanwhile the younger natural Carlin, Spencer (Gabrielle Christian) is questioning whether or not she should pursue a relationship with Aiden's ex-girlfriend, Ashley Davies (Mandy Musgrave). And while that is happening, the Carlins' adopted son Clay (Danso Gordon) is finding out what it means to be black in a mostly-white world. Meanwhile, Aiden's other ex, Madison Duarte (Valery Ortiz), moves onto Glen when Aiden starts showing interest in Spencer.
Season 1 ends with Glen messing up his knee on a pick-up game and Paula almost buckling under the strain her job put on her marriage, while Spencer and Ashley finally hook up.
Season 2 opens on the morning after. The season introduces Kyla Woods (Eileen April Boylan), Ashley's half-sister, who moves in with her after the death of their father (played by CC DeVille from Poison). Kyla ends up hooking up with Aiden. Meanwhile, Spencer comes out, Glen becomes addicted to painkillers and Clay faces the ultimate test when his girlfriend, Chelsea Lewis (Aasha Davis), announces that she is pregnant to him. Clay dies during a drive-by shooting on Prom Night.
Season 3, the final season opens three months later, with Spencer and Glen starting a new school year. Ashley and Kyla's inheritance comes through, and they decide to get their GEDs and move out on their own. Spencer breaks up with Ashley and enters into a rebound relationship with Carmen (Brooke Vallone), a rebellious artist-type who later moves in with Ashley and Kyla. Chelsea loses the baby in a car crash. Meanwhile, Paula struggles to come to terms with Spencer's orientation.
Sadly, the series was canceled after three seasons. The last half of Season 3 took several months to air in the US—at which point it had already been properly aired in France.
Seasons 2 and 3 were accompanied by a series of webisodes serving as short character vignettes. The final webisode acts as a Distant Finale to the show taking place five years later.
This show features examples of:
- Ambiguously Jewish: Aiden. He's played a Jewish actor and maybe have a Jewish last name but no references to his religion are ever made.
- Am I Just a Toy to You?: Aiden to Ashley, "You're straight when you want me around, you're gay when it's convenient for you!" She tells him it's so not like that except that she is dating him but as a picture of Spencer on her dresser.
- Babies Ever After: Five years after the series ends Spencer and Ashley are happily married, and Ashley is pregnant with their first child.
- But Not Too Bi: Ashley is bisexual, but only has had one serious relationship with a man in Aiden. The rest of her relationships involve other girls.
- But Not Too Gay: The lesbian content was toned down in season 2.
- Chekhov's Gunman: A literal example happens in Season 2. In one episode two thugs are seen hassling Boz. Glenn and Sean fight them off. They come spoiler and open fire on the prom, killing Clay and three other students.
- Chick Magnet: Spencer seems to be gifted at attracting the attention of other lesbians without trying.
- Convenient Miscarriage: Chelsea loses her baby in a car accident suddenly towards the end of an episode. Ashley had one pre-series.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Clay's death in season 2 via drive by shooting.
- First Girl Wins: Three other girls show interest in Spencer and one (Carmen) even dates her but ultimately Ashley, the first girl to befriend her, gets with her.
- Flawless Token: The three most well-adjusted and wholesome characters on the show are Chelsea (black woman), Clay (black man), and Spencer (lesbian).
- If It's You, It's Okay: Rare heterosexual example. Ashley is almost solely attracted to girls, and Aiden.
- Mood Whiplash: Episode 1 of season 2, Spencer and Ashley are celebrating with Ashley's father, less than 30 seconds afterwards we switch to a report of Ashley's father dying in a car accident.
- No Bisexuals: Subverted by Ashley, who refuses to conform to labels, but sleeps with both Aiden and Spencer.
- No Going Steady: Aiden sure gets around a lot, having been paired with as many as five girl: Spencer, Ashley, Madison, Kyla, and the aformentioned Sasha. Others, not so much—although by the midway point of Season 3, only Chelsea is left over.
- Open-Minded Parent: Spencer's father is not even slightly fazed by his daughter's homosexuality despite being married to a very conservative woman. Somehow despite the fact that they were high school sweethearts, this difference of opinion surrounding homosexuality never came up.
- Shirtless Scene: More often of girls in their bras.
- Two-Teacher School: To the point where Madison has the authority to kick Spencer off of the cheerleading squad because they don't have a coach.
- Visible Boom Mic: To the point that the fans declared "Boomy" to be a character on the show.