Thursdays at 10pm EST on ABC
This is one of those shows that just sort of snuck up on me. With a great title like “October Road” and a cast including Bryan Greenberg, Tom Berenger and the wonderful Laura Prepon (“That 70’s Show), it’s bound to suck people in (especially with a lead-in from “Grey’s Anatomy”). Its story surrounds a young man who left his small Massachusetts hometown with the promise of returning at summer’s end. For ten years he disappeared, leaving friends, family and high school sweetheart behind as he made a name for himself by writing a celebrated novel about the trappings of small-town America. When he is brought back for a one-day speaking engagement at the local college, the whole of his past returns to bite him in the rump. The town of Knight’s Ridge is small indeed, but very charming in that Gilmore Girls/Providence/7th Heaven sort of way. It’s quaint New England crispiness is bordered with soft autumnal light and a fiery splash of falling foliage (though the production cheats Atlanta for the Boston suburbs, as evidenced in some of the architecture). We slip into the story easily enough, but it is the actors who coerce us to stay in its frame. Greenberg’s character of Nick has the sneaking suspicion that his old flame’s 10-year-old son may also be his, and leads to a series of events that take us from one episode into the next. I’m not going to lie…I was hesitant to hop on the journey at first. Now, of course, I find myself wondering where these characters will go next. There really aren’t a whole lot of character-driven dramas making much noise out there (ABC has another one in “Brothers & Sisters”). It’s nice to watch a show where there is no endgame, no catch, no cash prizes in suitcases or tears on the faces of young starlet wannabes. Give it a taste test and see for yourself.