"Rewatching the pilot—one of the best ever made—it’s amazing how thoroughly Holzman, Winant, and the cast combine the adolescent world with the thirtysomething sensibility to make something that feels all the more vibrant for bringing them together. Pilots are meant to set up the necessary conflicts of the show’s world, often through over-expository dialogue or a new character being thrust into a setting. My So-Called Life sets up most of its necessary conflicts and character points within the first 10 minutes of its running time. It’s a supremely confident piece of work, taking us through Angela’s changed social standing (she starts hanging out with a less straitlaced crowd than she did before); the tensions between her and her parents, especially her mother; and the slowly budding sense she has of her own love life, particularly as it comes to her crush on the always-leaning Jordan Catalano (Leto). Much of this was conveyed via voiceover, delivered by Danes in a disaffected style that made you feel just how much Angela was struggling to be cool."
TV The AV Club has a rather good essay about My So-Called Life today which doesn't necessarily say anything particularly new but writer Todd VanDerWerff covers the bases in a way which reminds us just how innovative and influential it was: