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Holliston: The Complete Second
Blu-ray Disc Released: 4/8/2014
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 4/2/2014
Thanks to services like Netflix, everyone is talking about binge-watching television shows these days. However, early adopters of DVD have long-since been privy to this exercise. I can't tell you how many box sets I've gotten to review that wound up robbing me and my wife of an entire weekend. Along with the ability to absorb a season (or seasons) all at once, the other great thing about TV box sets is that they can allow you to watch shows which air on networks which you don't get. I don't worry about having HBO or Showtime year round, because I know that I can catch up with the Blu-rays when they are released. Then we have cable channels such as FearNet, which aren't available on every cable/satellite system. Thanks to home video, we can view their shows, such as Holliston, which has just seen its second season hit Blu-ray Disc.
The second season of Holliston begins with a Christmas special which negates the finale ofSeason One, but re-introduces us to the characters, who all reside in Holliston, Massachusetts (hence the title). Adam (Adam Green) and Joe (Joe Lynch) are roommates who work at the local cable TV station, where they produce commercials and host a horror movie show. They are also aspiring filmmakers who are attempting to finish "Shinpads", a movie about a zombie soccer team. Their boss at the station is Lance Rockett (Dee Snider), who also sings for a Van Halen cover band. Joe is in a relationship with Laura (Laura Ortiz), while Adam continues to pine over his ex-girlfriend, Corri (Corri English), who moved back to town in Season One. Season Two sees the guys continuing to try and find a way to finish their movie, while Adam's attempts to move on from Corri often fail.
We've all heard of the "sophomore slump" which occurs when someone or something fails to achieve the success that they had with their first outing or project. But, you'll be hard-pressed to find something as disappointing as the second season of Holliston. While the first season wasn't a masterpiece, I was pleasantly surprised by how Series Creator and Writer Adam Green, who is known for gory horror movies, was able to make a show which branched out from its horror roots. Sure, the series contained plenty of references to horror movies and guest spots by horror actors, but it also focuses a great deal on relationships and on the workplace.
Apparently, Green felt that he'd stumbled upon a good formula and that there was no reason to mess with it, as Season Two of Holliston is nearly a carbon copy of Season One. I don't expect sitcoms (which Holliston is) to provide the kind of story arcs and constantly shifting plots which was see in hour-long dramas, but most live-action comedies offer some sort of flowing narrative over the course of seasons. But, Holliston appears to be stuck and doesn't have much of an intention to move forward. Save for a subplot in which Adam and Joe's jobs are in jeopardy and some new love interests for Adam (in an attempt to get over Corri), the show doesn't offer us anything new or different.
This stagnation also seeps into the show's comedy, which is nearly non-existent in Season Two. I don't remember Season One being a chuckle-fest, but I can recall finding it humorous. I think that I may have laughed out loud only once during Season Two. The jokes all fall very flat and don't show any attempt to be clever or insightful. Everything resides in the "lowest common denominator" neighborhood and there is no true wit on display here. Worst of all, it feels as if the show is telling the same joke over and over with only slight variations.
In my review for the first season of Holliston, I wrote that I had expected the show to be aimed squarely at horror fan-boys, but most of it was not. In a surprising move, the second season moves even farther away from this, as we only get a few cameos from those known to horror die-hards (Kane Hodder, Danielle Harris, etc.). In fact, most of Holliston plays like a straight-ahead sitcom which you could find on any network, complete with an episode where the cast gets animated. Checking Green and Lynch's filmographies, both are currently working on movies, so maybe this took their attention away from the show. Whatever the case, Season Two of Holliston is a repetitive bore which won't satisfy horror fans or those looking for a good laugh.
Holliston: The Complete Second Season is awkward to watch now that Dave Brockie is dead on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of RLJ Entertainment. The Disc contains all ten episodes from the show's second season. The show is letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 15 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing on noticeable grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look fine and the image is never overly dark or bright (which is easily possible given the look of the show). The image shows a nice amount of detail and the depth is fine. Overall, this rivals HD broadcast quality. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. While the dialogue and music sounds fine, I didn't detect many noteworthy audio effects. The laugh track comes from the rear speakers and we gets some occasional off-screen sounds emitting from the front channels, but otherwise, most of the audio is confined to the center channel.
The Holliston: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray Disc contains several extra features. Each episode, save for "Episode 7: Blobby", contains an AUDIO COMMENTARY with Green, Lynch, Ortiz, and Director Sean Becker. "The Christmas Special", "Halloween Girl", "Honesty", "Rock the Cradle", "Kevin's Wedding", and "Farm Festival" each provide a DELETED SCENE. "Behind the Scenes" (14 minutes) is actually made up of three segments, one which focuses on Dee Snider and his wardrobe, one which gives an overview of the season, and one which focuses on the Season 2 premiere event. We get a 5-minute reel of BLOOPERS. "Table Read" (29 minutes) shows the cast performing an episode in front of a crowd at a convention. Finally, we have three MUSIC VIDEOS -- "Can You Hear" by Brokedown Cadillac, "Love" by Dyver Down, and "Road" performed by Adam Green.
Review Copyright 2014 by Mike Long