Though the prolific Sandy Smolan eventually established himself as one of Hollywood's most versatile TV directors, he made his career breakthrough with a movie--1987's "Rachel River," a Sundance-winning drama that featured his future wife Pamela Reed. But even though Smolan earned a great deal of acclaim (and a spouse) from his debut venture into motion pictures, he immediately plunged head-first into television work, starting with a one-off directing job on an episode of the educational series "ABC Afterschool Specials." His talents were recognized quickly, and in the late '80s and '90s, Smolan was a hot commodity as a director, working on programs as diverse as the family comedy "Doogie Howser, M.D.," the influential dramedy "Northern Exposure," and the offbeat fantasy-comedy "Ally McBeal." There was never a shortage of quality work for the director, who tended to work on one-off episodes rather than extended stints. But that started to change as the '90s turned into the 2000s, starting with a four-episode run on the teen romance "Dawson's Creek." But unlike many of his director peers, Smolan refused to be pigeonholed into a genre, working on shows like the crime-comedy "The District," the slick romantic comedy "The O.C.," and the comedy "First Day."