Ask me how much I am loving One Tree Hill this season

I dare you.

For all the people out there worried about what would happen to the show post-Leyton (thats Lucas/Peyton), I hope you have been watching and letting the North Carolinians prove you wrong. Think new characters, new storylines, and truckloads of drama.

Here's an update of where we are this season, along with some scoop on what's to come.

Nathan: He achieves his dream to play in the NBA, but now must face some baby-daddy controversy. So did he or didn't he? Renee is starting to convince everyone- even Haley- but at the end of last week's episode we see her meeting with Dan, so who knows.

(SPOILER): James Lafferty told TV Guide that the drama will wrap up soon and won't threaten his marriage. "This is a story line that presents a real hurdle, a mountain for them to climb and they have to get through it together," Lafferty says. "Together they have to carry the whole family unit through the situation, and there's an immense amount of trust. At no point did I actually think it would break them up."

Dan: This story just keeps getting stranger and stranger. The over-bearing dad turned mayor turned murderer turned devoted, dying grandpa is now alive and well... and is a self-help guru with his own show... married to Rachel. WTF.

OTH warned us that this was the big, crazy story this season and they were right. So far we've learned that Rachel is still as conniving as ever, as Dan's ratings-hungry producer and wife (gag); and that Mr. Scott Sr. is still on the outs with his family. But the big question has been, is he really good? Has he really changed? At the end of last week's episode we saw him with Nathan's potential baby-momma Renee, so my guess is he's still evil.

Clay: Nathan's yummy agent is making his rounds with the Tree Hill ladies. First newcomer Alex, and now, maybe Quinn? Haley's married (soon to be divorced) sister stayed the night at his place and is now using his pad as a permanent getaway from the drama over at Naleyville. But will the two become friends or more than friends?

(SPOILER): Buckley tells E! that the two have a 'unique relationship,' but no news on whether that will develop into romance or not. But if they do get together, expect some drama from a disgruntled client. Nathan has made it very clear that he wants Clay to stay away from his sister-in-law.

Brooke: She's got a new line, a new BF (Julian), and new models (Alex and... Milli), but she's also got her old jealousey issues. Remember how crazy she was when she thought something was going on between Lucas and Peyton? (Okay, maybe she turned out to be right about that one, but still...) Brooke has got to cool it with her Julian/Alex jealous rage. Is he going to cheat on her? I have no idea. But her playing the role of suspicious girlfriend is annoying.

Marvin: (I hate calling him that, btw.) He got pulled off the air for not betraying his friend, and now his homely gf is becoming a tequila-drinking model. Poor guy.

My rant: OTH has been pretty good about intigrating new characters into the cast, especially in recent seasons, but there is one character that just doesn't stick- Mia. It's not like she is isolated from the rest of the group- she has had great relationships with Peyton and Haley- but there is something about her that still makes her seem like a special guest star. Is it because she is semi-famous in her own right (as musician Kate Vogele)? Tyler Hilton as Chris Keller fit into the cast just fine (bring him back!).
Whatever it is, she just doesn't fit. They have paired her off with Chase, aka Stephen Colleti, another character who doesn't seem to have found his footing, despite being on the show now for four seasons (yes, it has been that long), but I think it is only making it worse. The whole flight school plotline in last week's episode was disconnected from the overall story and was just plain boring.

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