They only have old radios on October Road

The use of period music can be vary handy, for setting flashbacks in the right time in a viewer’s mind, for really evoking the era.
But (and this is a big but, a badonk-a-donk but) it has to be from the right era. Sometimes you can tell when a script has taken a few years to reach the screen, such as the film 13 Going On 30, where all of the music is a few years older than it oughta be.
But then there’s the inexplicable use of music on October Road, the new ABC drama which is right up against the new show Raines. We open with a flashback to 1996. In part of this flashback, folks in roughly the 18-20 year age range are playing air guitar. To what? A song from the eponymous album by the band Boston. That’s right, they’re jamming to music from 1976. Yeah, those teens, always into the music from the day they were born. (When we see the same guys air guitaring in the present day, it’s to “The Boys are Back in Town”, the Thin Lizzy tune from, yes, 1976.)
Now it’s not impossible that these guys are into music from that period, but it if you’re trying to make the story clear, go with the proper period music unless you have a reason to do otherwise.
And they seal it in with a character born in 1978 making a reference to REO Speedwagon, a band that peaked she was 2.
And then we have a kid born around 1996 making a Laverne & Shirley reference. Now when the writer grew up, he probably watched a lot of a decade-or-two-old sitcoms. I did. But the kids today, they have a bunch of channels built just for them. They’re not watching Laverne & Shirley (which isn’t even airing these days on any channel I get).
All this made it hard to suspend disbelief in this drama.
The show is about a writer going from New York to a small town. (It’s temporarily taking the time slot of Men In Trees, which is a show about a writer going to a small town. And it’s up against Raines, which is a series about a guy who wanted to be a writer. Please, my fellow writers, if we cannot make our heroes anything but writers, then we aren’t good at what we do!) In this case, he’s returning to the home town that he trashed in his best-selling novel, seeing the friends he based his characters on, including the woman he abandoned a decade back (and meeting her ten year old kid).
He finds a world populated by people whose lives have gone on without really changing them. All in all, a reasonable dramatic set-up, and ‘hey, there are worse people to look at than The ’70’s Show‘s Laura Prepon. But the execution leaves much to be desired. Much of the dialog is forced and precious, and points are hammered in with a sledgehammer.
Nothing incurable, though.

Published in: on March 18, 2007 at 1:48 am  Leave a Comment  

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