TV on DVD: “October Road, The Complete Second Season”

Written by Television, TV on DVD

october-roadOctober Road, The Complete Second Season (2009, Buena Vista)
purchase from Amazon: DVD

October Road got a bad rap. The ABC drama about a successful novelist (Bryan Greenberg) who returns to his hometown of Knights Ridge, MA after a 10-year disappearance (plus an unflattering book about the people of Knights Ridge) was never as bad as its critics would have you believe. In fact, I would choose October Road over ABC’s limp Private Practice any day of the week. The second season of October Road built on the storylines established in season one and as a series, it began to grow. Unfortunately, October Road never found as big an audience as its network had hoped, and it was canceled after completing the 13 episodes of season 2. Working against the show was what made it so unique: A male-centric drama about life in a small New England town that didn’t involve cops, lawyers, doctors or athletes, Still it developed a loyal, cult following (“roadies,” they call themselves), a fanbase devoted enough to inspire series creators/producers Andre Nemec, Scott Rosenberg and Josh Appelbaum to film a 15-minute series wrapup exclusive to this complete second season DVD set.

On the show, Greenberg starred as Nick Garrett who, in season one, gradually won back the confidence of the people he left behind when he left Knights Ridge for New York City. Those people include his father, The Commander (Tom Berenger), his brother (Jonathan Murphy), his best friend, Eddie (Geoff Stults), and old girlfriend, Hannah Jane (Laura Prepon). Season two begins where the first one left off, with Nick and Eddie still at odds, but coming together to go search for their friend, Owen (Brad William Henke), loose on the big city after his marriage has broken up. Owen’s gradual acceptance of his new life as a single father is just one of the storylines season two of October Road follows. Others include Nick and Eddie (after reconciling) opening their own window business, the Commander’s battle with cancer, and most enjoyably, the romance between local stud Eddie and the “plain” girl, Janet (Rebecca Field). October Road deserves high praise for showing the fears and reservations of not only Eddie, who was used to dating model types, but also Rebecca, who has to overcome a lack of confidence and believe that Eddie would really fall in love with her.

Not everything is perfect about October Road. The dialog has a tendency to be repetitive and sometimes a little cornball; at times some of the show’s melodrama could be a little much. Yet, October Road is a nice guilty pleasure when taken in small dosages (a couple hours at a time). Certainly it deserved a little more leverage to grow and really establish its footing. Alas, ratings are too important, and if a low-rated show isn’t an across-the-board critical darling, it doesn’t stand a chance. Thankfully, there are DVD collections like this one to allow us to go back to the show at our own convenience.

As for the wrapup, it picks up seven years after the final episode. Most of the main characters are on hand as Sam, Hannah Jane’s son, is about to leave Knights Ridge to start his own adult life. Roadies will be pleased to know that we finally learn who Sam’s real father is and that everything ends on an uplifting note. Anything else wouldn’t have kept with the tone of the show.