One of the very few things you can count on is this: if Francine and I really start to enjoy what we feel is a quality television program with excellent writing, great acting and something that really speaks to us, you can pretty much guarantee that it is going to be dropped from the network relatively soon -- most likely in favour of some garbage mass-interest reality based television program that costs pennies to produce and, in my opinion reduces the television more properly to an "idiot box" than any time in the history of broadcasting.
But instead of getting on my soap box about the mass crap being produced, and bemoaning the loss of a show that we'd come to enjoy, I'd like to focus instead on a drama show that captured our attention and our hearts.
October road. (or, more properly: october road.)
Here's the premise for the show:
Acclaimed novelist Nick Garrett returns to his small New England home town as a "guest" author at the local college. He is reintroduced to the group of friends he both left behind and drew upon for characters in his bestselling novel. Confronted with a serious case of writer's block and trying to pick up the pieces from abandoning and exploiting his family and friends, Nick finds himself at a crossroads between his life in New York and his life among this close circle of friends.
The show was brilliant, powerful and a heck of a lot of fun. I was initially attracted to it because it was about a writer, but I came to love the interaction between the characters, the tension, the stories and the events surrounding this group of small town friends. Some of my favourite scenes are the group of friends playing air band to songs from the eighties -- obviously something they've continued to do in the decade since high school. In many ways a group of oddball nerds that I could easily connect with. And particularly in the initial conflict between Nick and the friends he is catching up with is a very strong sense of friendship and loyalty -- one of the show's strongest elements.
Tom Berenger (The Commander - Nick's father) was perhaps the best known actor on the show, as was Laura Prepon from That 70's Show fame. Them and the rest of the cast (mostly actors I didn't really know) including Bryan Greenberg in the role of Nick, were excellent. The casting was phenomenal and the actors really brought all of the main characters to life.
There was an artistic style to the show that I also liked -- not just in the writing, direction and acting, but in the subtle things like the way that the title script for the show was presented with a period "." at the end at the ending of each episode.
I'll miss this show, particularly the aspect of dropping in on the group of friends in Knights Ridge, Massachusetts. If you never gave it a look you should consider getting your hands on the 1.5 or so seasons available (should they become available on DVD)
This week, I'm counting the fact that we started watching october road from the beginning and that such a show existed. I'd like to offer all the people at ABC behind creating and producing this show huge thank you. Shows like october road prove to me that there's still hope for prime time television.