Though it lasted only a single season, "My So Called Life" quickly became a cult classic, introducing some of Hollywood's brightest young stars, including Claire Danes and Jared Leto, while ushering in a slate of shows aimed at teens.
Nearly 20 years after the teen drama first aired, Danes is earning awards for her role as a bi-polar CIA analyst in the hit Showtime drama "Homeland," while her co-star Leto is making his return to acting after a three-year hiatus fronting his band 30 Seconds to Mars.
Though Entertainment Weekly ranked it No. 9 among the "25 Best Cult TV Shows from the Past 25 Years" earlier this year, the short-lived series received dismal ratings during its brief time on television between 1994 and 1995. Low ratings, combined with the then 15-year-old Danes's decision to leave after the first season, led to its cancellation despite a large grassroots campaign by fans to keep the show on the air.
Fortunately, some of the show's stars are still around. Read below to see where they are now.
"My So Called Life" centered on the bright, introspective Angela Chase, played by a 15-year-old Claire Danes, who narrated the show in voice-over while navigating the travails of adolescence. In real life, Danes was also struggling to meet the demands of an arduous shooting schedule; thus her decision not to return for a second season.
The decision did not hurt her, as roles in "Little Women," "Home for the Holidays" and "William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet," playing Juliet to Leonardo DiCaprio's Romeo, soon followed. Danes continued to receive film roles well into the 2000s, but it was her return to television in 2010, playing autistic veterinarian Temple Grandin in an HBO film, that earned her an Emmy and Golden Globe. She picked up her second Globe and Emmy for her role as Carrie Mathison in "Homeland." Now 33, Danes is expecting her first child with her husband, actor Hugh Dancy.
Leto played Danes's love interest, Jordan Catalano, the school's bad boy who reveals his softer side in his songwriting. In real life, Leto revealed another side of himself fronting his band 30 Seconds to Mars. After earning praise for his roles in films such as "Prefontaine," David Fincher's "Fight Club" and Darren Aronofsky's "Requiem for a Dream," in which he played a heroin addict, he released his first album with his band to rave reviews.
He continued to split his time between acting and the band until 2009, when he took a three-year break from the screen. But the Hollywood Reporter recently reported that Leto will take a role as a flamboyant cross dresser opposite Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner in the long-in-the-works AIDS drama "Dallas Buyers Club." Recently Leto, 40, who was once engaged to Cameron Diaz, was seen cozying up to former flame Scarlett Johansson at the Democratic National Convention.
A.J. Langer played Angela's troubled best friend Rayanne Graff. After "My So Called Life," she appeared in the sitcoms "It's Like, You Know..." and "Three Sisters" and later was cast in John Carpenter's "Escape From L.A." and Wes Craven's "The People Under the Stairs." In 2011, she returned to television after a six-year acting hiatus in the recurring role of Erica Warner in "Private Practice." Acting aside, Langer, 38, can one day look forward to being England's Countess of Devon after marrying Lord Charles Courtenay, the son of the Earl of Devon, in 2004.
Wilson Cruz played troubled gay teen Rickie Vasquez, Rayanne's other best friend. One of the show's episodes was actually drawn from Cruz's life: After he came out to his parents, Cruz, like his character, was thrown out of his home in Brooklyn. His move to Hollywood paid off, however. After the series, he went on to star in Oliver Stone's "Nixon," in the Broadway production of "Rent" and in series like "Grey's Anatomy." Cruz, 38, is also an active advocate for gay youth, especially those of color.
Devon Gummersall played the intelligent but socially awkward Brian Krakow, who had an unrequited crush on Angela. After the series ended, Gummersall continued to act in the TV series "The Fugitive," "Felicity" and "Roswell." He had a brief marriage to his "Roswell" co-star Majandra Delfino.