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HTF DVD Review: October Road - The Complete Second Season

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#1 of 1 ONLINE   Neil Middlemiss

Neil Middlemiss


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  • Join Date: Nov 15 2001
  • Real Name:Neil Middlemiss

Posted May 08 2009 - 09:52 AM

October Road
The Complete Second Season

Studio: ABC Studios
Year: 2009
Film Length: 552 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Subtitles: N/A

US Release Date: May 5, 2009
Review Date: May 8, 2009

The Show - out of

"To meddle is to give a damn!"

October Road began quite strongly for ABC when it premiered on March 15, 2007. Placed up against the juggernaut that was ER, it performed better than expected but had a strong lead in from Grey’s Anatomy.

It centers on a young man, Nick Garrett (Bryan Greenberg) who returns to his small town, Knights Ridge, after a ten year absence during which he explored Europe, wrote a book and lived the good life. But suffering from writer’s block – he went back to where he came from but had to face the repercussions of his leaving - like upsetting his friends Eddie Latekka played by Geoff Stults, Ikey played by Evan Jones, Owen Rowan played by Brad William Henke etc, his girlfriend, played by That 70’s Show’s Laura Prepon and his family) - and the book he wrote, which was unflattering to many people he grew up with. His return is rife with drama as all his wrongs begin to surface and questions about past relationships and present feelings create quite the stir. Through the first season and through its second and final season, the ripples of Nick’s actions continue to be felt – but slowly through the series, his friends and family’s life’s and the intertwining of lives, loves and liberties ebb and flow, lash and lapse with great frequency.

A short first season (six episodes) and a truncated second, October Road may have needed a little more time to settle; mature into a more sustainable pace of revelation and dramatic turn. But as it stands, it appears to suffer from scripts of too much self awareness, wrapped in drama that plays out as if in the confines of high school. It tends to meanders in the league of soap opera, with surprises and relationship complications that claw deeper and deeper into knots simply to drum up twists.

I’m going to sound like an old fuddy-duddy (a shame since I am in my low 30’s) – but the perpetual ability for these characters to drop themselves easily into situations of reckless abandon, disposing of their responsibilities and maturity for the sake of the plotline to be explored made me shake my head more than once. I can believe certain situations that people find themselves in, and I can be quite forgiving of people slipping up; but at times it just seemed that so much happened in just 13 episodes.

If the show didn’t survive for any predominant reason, then perhaps it is the spaghetti complexity that was born out of the show veering from the appealing, and far more engaging concept of facing the life you left.

The show is easy to get into and boasts an easy to listen to score, with easy songs, warm, rich small town settings and moments of genuinely impressive cinematography. The cast is likeable, even the ones who play the ‘bad guy’ from time to time, moment to moment. And some of the themes explored are valuable – intriguing insights into the male psyche that, while overly dramatized, foundationally remain interesting.

Overall this is an easy going show and its appeal is understandable. As a TV watcher who prefers the darker, more mysterious themes television shows (but not the flash and predictability of a lot of crime drama’s now – I miss you Life on Mars) this isn’t a show that piqued my interest when it premiered in 2007 but as a television drama, is certainly more entertaining than the predictable cop/medical/lawyer dramas that are all vying for the same audience. Like ABC’s other family drama, Brothers & Sisters, that in some ways seems similar, October Road was, if nothing else, a welcome variant in the TV line-up.

The Episodes

Disc One
1. Let's Get Owen
2. How to Kiss Hello
3. The Infidelity Tour
4. Deck the Howls

Disc Two
5 .Once Around the Block
6 .Revenge of the Cupcake Kid
7. Spelling It Out
8. Dancing Days Are Here Again
9. We Lived Like Giants

Disc Three
10. Hat? No Hat?
11. Stand Alone By Me
12. The Fine Art of Surfacing
13. As Soon As You Are Able

The Video - out of

October Road is presented on DVD in a widescreen – 1.78:1 aspect ratio and is enhanced for widescreen televisions. The 13 episodes are generally good looking. The color palette veers to the deeper, richer and warmer colors of the fall season and a produced ably. Some sequences demonstrate lovely and deep blacks for a television show, likely a result of the solid cinematography/lighting that can be found through the show. Details aren’t the most precise, but the quality is satisfying enough that fans won’t be disappointed.

The Sound - out of

The Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound varies from extremely front focused to appropriately warm surrounds and the occasional boom of the bass (nightclub scenes). The audio is clean, with dialogue coming from the center channel without any problems. As with many TV on DVD dramas, the audio fits the show just right.

The Extra’s - star: out of

Road’s End: The Final Chapter - An Exclusive series epilogue, produced specifically for the season 2 DVD, wraps up the series and finally reveals the identity of Sam’s father and the fate of Nick and Hannah’s unrequited relationship.

Bumps in the Road - October Road season 2 bloopers.

The Scenic Route: A Behind the Scenes Tour - The cast of October Road shows viewers around the newly transplanted Atlanta set now nestled in the heart of Hollywood.

Final Thoughts

October Roads decline in ratings was quite swift and secured its eventual cancellation fate. Upon hearing news that the show would not be back for a third season, the show’s creators wrote and filmed the 15 minute finale available on this second season set. So many shows are cancelled without resolution so it is appreciated that closer was provided on this DVD set as an extra.

Fans of the show will not think twice about picking this set up. Others, I would say that if the idea of the show is appealing, it would be worth checking out, beginning with the 6 episode first season. All others – maybe renting first is a good idea.

Overall Score - out of

Neil Middlemiss
Kernersville, NC
"Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science" – Edwin Hubble
My DVD Collection

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