Revisiting an old TV show can have mixed results. Sometimes an old favorite lives up to the hype that you’ve held around it for years, and other times it falls flat. At the October Road reunion at the ATX Television Festival this year, executive producer Scott Rosenberg recounted co-creator Josh Applebaum’s concern about this outcome when it came time to re-watch a few episodes of their show (that originally aired in 2007), “I was expecting it to be really mortifying, but it was really good.” And for the fans watching in the audience as the festival played episode 01×06 – “Best Friend Windows” that sentiment seemed to ring true. It didn’t hurt that the episode is a clear shining moment of the series, with Nick confessing his love for Hannah on her front porch. It’s a moment that has been built up for the entirety of the short first season, and it also gives a little more information into the central mystery of the show (who is Sam’s dad). But ultimately, it’s a good example of the true heart of the show that carried through the entirety of the series and was the perfect set up for a sentimental reunion of the cast and creators.
While both the fans and the show’s creative team in attendance for the reunion seemed to be feeling some serious nostalgia over the return to Knight’s Ridge, it was important to note that the program inherently held a certain level of nostalgic sentiment even at the time it originally aired. Geoff Stults (Eddie Latekka) recalled living with all of the other cast members, and being “nostalgic about a show that hadn’t even aired yet,” and executive producer André Nemec reasoned that the show “reminds a lot of people of their own lives and their own friends.” Additionally, the storyline that focused on Physical Phil and his agoraphobia post 9/11 “was a nice metaphor for how a lot of people felt at that time” according to Jay Paulson. But nothing takes you on a trip down memory lane quite like the music that held the show together. The producers noted that music was so important to the core of the show that every needle-drop was written into the scripts. Additionally, playlists were made, and every song to ever appear on the show was transferred onto an iPod for each of the actors as a wrap gift.
The creators also took a moment to discuss the difficulty of getting the show on the air and keeping it there. “It’s a show about guys who run a window shop, if you’re wondering why we got cancelled,” Josh joked. While the first season was a short order (only 6 episodes), the network went bigger with the second, only to have it cancelled after the second season finale due to poor timing leading into the writer’s strike. But that wasn’t the beginning of the troubles that the show faced. Originally the network chose not to pick it up, and the team had to secure additional financing to get it to air. Rebecca Field even pointed out that she wasn’t in the original pilot as her character Janet. To this point, André acknowledged the fact that at the time there were fewer networks and the stakes were much higher when it came to taking a risk on a show.
Ultimately, the cancellation didn’t stop the cast and crew from giving the fans a proper ending, which Odette Annable pointed out, doesn’t happen very often, “Nobody got paid for it. It was all a labor of love. We did it because we love the show and we love each other so much.” In the same vein, Jay Paulson added that he remembered the show so fondly because [as a team] “we were greater than the sum of our parts.” Scott Rosenberg even noted that the show was special enough that he would have gladly gone on writing this show for the rest of his career.
So here’s to those special shows. The ones that touch us in a way that keep us coming back to revisit them 10 years later, hoping to relive a moment in time, and a feeling that cannot be replicated.
October Road is available to stream on Hulu and for digital download via iTunes and Amazon.