OCTOBER ROAD: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON
MOVIE: * (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
Bryan Greenberg as NICK GARRETT
Laura Prepon as HANNAH DANIELS
Tom Berenger as BOB GARRETT
Warren Christie as RAY CATALDO
Brad William Henke as OWEN ROWAN
Evan Jones as IKEY
Jay Paulson as PHYSICAL PHIL
Sade Pearce as SAM DANIELS
Geoff Stults as EDDIE LATEKKA
Odette Yustman as AUBREY DIAZ
Rebecca Field as JANET MEADOWS
Studio: Touchstone Television
BY KEVIN CARR
Is there life after the seventies? Apparently Laura Prepon has found it, playing a version of Donna without the comedy. The result is “October Road,” which is available in its first season on DVD. The story follows a guy named Nick (Bryan Greenberg), who leaves his small town for college with the promise of return. However, he stays away for a decade and writes the great American novel which paints his friends back home as a bunch of douche-bags.
When a book lecture brings him back home, he meets his old friends – and his old girlfriend – with a mixture of love and hate. However, to get in touch with himself, Nick plans on staying. So, after having a taste of the high life, Nick comes home again and finds his friends once more, to wallow in self pity, play in a ten-year-old air band and whine about which girl he wants.
What’s wrong with this series? Well, let’s start with the minutia. First, there’s no such thing as the “great American novel.” The only people who believe in these things are wannabe writers who hope to write it some day. The fact is that critical acclaim usually means it won’t be well read, and popular books will never be considered great by the critics. Heck, if there were ever a recent novel that touched people across demographics, it’d be the Harry Potter series, and that’s not even written by an American.
Next, let’s look at the writing? This is some of the hokiest, corniest and forced dialogue I’ve ever heard. It’s clear that they people writing the scripts are trying to write the elusive “great American novel” for television. You don’t believe me? Try this metaphor on for size: “under a lipstick sky.” What the hell is that supposed to mean?
Finally, lets talk characters. Everyone in this television universe is a tool. They are riddled with angst, being held back from their dreams by their own insecurities. It’s as if J.J. Abrams pulled a boat-load of old “Felicity” scripts and gave them to a lesser television producer.
Sure, the cinematography of the series is beautiful, featuring a town that is perpetually in the autumn season. But it’s not like you can just watch the show with the sound off.
The only thing likable about this DVD is that it is mercifully short. As a mid-season start, “October Road: The Complete First Season” only has six episodes. But that was enough for me to hate the show.
The DVD extras include a behind-the-scenes featurette on the series, deleted scenes, bloopers and a message from Satan himself: a preview of Season Two. Egads!