I think for the majority of the OTH fan base it is agreed that it was basically split up into three different sections of the series so to speak...the first 4 seasons being OTH 1.0, seasons 5 & 6 being OTH 2.0, and seasons 7-9 being OTH 3.0. For all sections of the series what did you like, not like, thought they could have done better, which was the worst, your favorite, est?
Unlike most fans, especially now that I've gotten older and the show has been over for a year now, I can appreciate every section of the series. Earlier on I was always so attatched to the high school years that I always compared all the adult seasons to it, which in reality isn't a fair comparison because the characters had grown and they were different people than they were before, but still with the roots of what made them who they always were.
I feel like each segment of the show served a purpose to the over all plot. OTH 1.0 was obviously the characters as teenagers, which is what we all mostly were when we started watching for the most part. I loved how they depicted the stories and unwinded the plots in a way that you just didn't see in any other high school drama show. There was a heart to it that was so easily felt that made it retable. It wasn't always true that the storylines were the most relatable and realistic even in the high school years, it was just that you could feel the emotions behind them and the characters somehow felt like a friend to you when you were maybe going through a rough time and just needed some inspiriting wisdom to hear and invest your attention too.
OTH 2.0 (seasons 5-6) get a lot of ridicule and I can understand why, but I think the writers did a great job at the transition. OTH was the first high school series to take the risk of jumping a head 4 years and I thought it panned out very smoothly. Was it very different than what we were used to before? Hell yes. But even with that there were still the qualities about the show that still made it OTH and it was also new and invigorating again which was needed after 4 seasons of high school, because as much as I loved season 4, it was starting to become obvious that the actors were becoming burnt out on playing teens. I loved how S5 really focused on the importance of home and Tree Hill to all the characters and showing us where they all ended up, and the struggle to getting back on track for some of them. They had grown up and were being faced with REAL LIFE problems for the first time in their lives, not just petty high school drama for a change. Yeah, some of the episodes after the strike were a little slower, but they had a deadline to spit 6 episodes out on a limited amount of time, they did the best with what they had to work with. Then comes Season 6...again, a lot of ridicule on this season. In my opinion, S6 was the best year for Brooke of all the OTH seasons. She really went to some deep and dark places that they never took her character before and I enjoyed every minute of it. The Sam storyline as well was one of my favorites of the entire series and seeing the bond created between Sam and Brooke was something really special. Unlike most, it was nice for Naley to have a calm storm following season after season of drama. Seeing Nate work his way to the NBA which everything I wanted to see and more. Finally in LP's final season we got to see them get the baby and tie the knot, but with a few bumps in the road which were Julian and the baby troubles, loved them both. They explored LP in a different light this year than we had ever seen before and it was nice that once they were finally together they stayed that well. What I loved most about this season looking back on is that I feel like the whole season was the calm after the storm, and the storm was seasons 1-5. It was nice to have a year where even though there were still dramatic storylines and all that, it all felt stable for once.
OTH 3.0 (season 7-9), were very unexpected to me and most of the OTH fan base I feel like. It was the last 3 seasons of the series and there was no LP which was a HUGE risk for Mark and the show to take, and just like the time jump, he and the writers somehow managed to pull it off even with a lot of doubt from critics and fans. I was very worried before S7 premiered and I came to the conclusion only half way through the season that it was my favorite season of the entire series. In order for the show to survive and thrive with the absence of two majors characters like LP, they had to reinvent and completely revamp the whole premise of the show, while still keeping it's roots intact, even while missing two of it's biggest roots and I was so impressed with the way they did it. Putting a lot of focus on Naley's relationship as well as exploring Haley's character more in depth in a way they had never done before was what sold S7 for myself and lots of other fans. That mixed in with the return of some old characters to bring back that old OTH nostalgia (Taylor, Lydia, & Rachel) helped to make it have the homey feel to the series again. Even though many got annoyed with Brooke and how things went with Julian this year, I appreciated her insecurities and all the sillyness of that storyline because Brooke had held onto those fears and doubts in her relationship with men since Lucas, and she needed to finally get it all out to let it go once and for all. Quinn, Clay, and Alex were perfect additions to the show. They each fit in perfectly the puzzle and made the OTH world just a little brighter. Season 8...oh boy. I'm one to normally appreciate every season of the show, but I will say S8 is the only one that it was a little hard for me to find a lot of enjoyable aspects to it. I think the main reason it didn't work quite as well was because they went into the season believing it was going to be the last, but at the same time didn't know that for sure and so they tried to dance a fine line of doing storylines that would seem appropriate for the ending of a series but still not making it to series finale-ish, if that makes sense aha. I did enjoy Brooke and Julian's relationship calming down and all the happened to Brooke's company with her mom and Millie. Haley's 2nd pregnancy I thought would have given a good opportunity for the writers to it explore in a way they didn't the first time and give her and Nathan some good scenes, but they didn't take advantage of that...oh well. Alex, Mia, and Chase...need I say more? Bleh. Sara coming back...shoot me. However, I did like how they handled Quinn dealing with the after math of the S7 finale shooting, lots of good character growth there, and her acting really improved. Most of all, the first 5 episodes of the season were pretty solid, but it just kinda went down hill from there. It's just my opinion that the writers got a little lazy this season. Could have been worse but could have been a lot better too. Season 9...I was blown away. It was so refreshing to know from the get go that it would indeed be the last season and there were only 13 episodes. I loved this because this way there was no questioning it and I think with it only being half a season it gave them just the right amount of episodes to wrap everything up with a nice little bow. I have no complaints whatsoever with how they ended it. Anything that was still open ended got tied up by the end of the season. Brooke finally mended her relationship with both parental units and got the family she always wanted, with both her mom and Dad, and her fam with Julian and her twins. Haley and Brooke opening the cafe together reminded me a lot of Deb and Karen, nice throwback. Nathan may have been missing half the season, but at least it was an interesting storyline and not boring. It gave Haley a lot of great material to work with and shine for the last season. Having Lucas back (even if only for an episode) showed who Luke always was in his heart...a true best friend, and that's always what he was for Haley. Dan totally came full circle this year with rescuing Nathan and then dying...him exiting out with Keith and that whole episode was amazing. Having Deb back for a few scenes was also the cherry on top to an already great final season. The series finale surpassed any of the other finales in my opinion, but still lining up with the others. There were technically 3 major finales for this show...S4's concluding the high school years, S6's concluding LP, and S9 concluding the series as a whole, I couldn't have asked for a better one.