ABC’s “October Road” has all the makings of a show centered on a small town whose residents rarely leave and are starved for culture and adventure.
The cast is a menagerie of members from every exaggerated and contrived high school clique imaginable.
There’s Nick (Bryan Greenberg), who leaves Knights Ridge for a six-week high school graduation trip to Europe and ends up returning ten years later after a detour that included writing a best-selling novel that demeaned most of the people he grew up with.
Hannah (Laura Prepon) was Nick’s girlfriend when he took off. Now she unconvincingly insists she is clueless about the paternity of her 9-year-old son Sam and much of her interaction with Nick is awkward at best.
Eddie Latekka (Geoff Stults) was the football star who continues to feed on memories of his glory days. He has a crush on Janet (Rebecca Field), who is a bartender at a local dive and a far cry from the blonde, Barbie-like women Eddie typically dates.
Add to that an agoraphobe who can barely stand to open his front door, a wife whose infidelity with her husband’s best friend nearly destroys her family and an unlikable fledgling writer who idolizes Nick. The result is the most unrealistic show on television.
The premise for “October Road” isn’t new either. First there was “Dawson’s Creek” and then came “Gilmore Girls.” The latter were well-written and charming enough to draw a loyal audience. The former is not.
With either antiquated expressions (“Which begs the question: Why did you run out of here?”) or slang (“Your eyes are off the hinge!”), the viewer is left looking for cohesive threads to tie the plot together.
If the complete lack of realism in “October Road” is not a total hindrance, there are a few bright spots thanks to several talented actors.
Laura Prepon plays the sensible, single-mom role to perfection. As her son, Slade Pearce is witty and brings the “us versus the world” mentality to life.
As “October Road” returns for a second season, tensions increase between every relationship.
Hannah overanalyzes her feelings for Nick, while Eddie struggles with publicly declaring his feelings for Janet.
The friendship duo of Hannah and Eddie harbors a secret from Nick, and Sam rebels against his mother by trimming his hair into an ill-constructed mohawk.
Tune into the premiere of the primetime show that feels a lot like a soap opera at 10 p.m. Thursday on ABC.
“October Road” will air in its regular time slot beginning Nov. 26 at 10 p.m. on ABC.