When it comes to good old noughties episodic TV, October Road, which aired for two seasons on ABC from 2007-08, still holds a place in many hearts. Writer/co-creator/EP Josh Applebaum certainly remembers the show with great fondness. “What a special group,” he said during a panel discussion at the ATX Television Festival. “But we were all at a very particular time in our lives, maybe less responsibility? I don’t know exactly what it was, I was trying to put my finger on what it was. I think it was the group, we were greater than the sum of our parts.”
Co-creator and EP Scott Rosenberg concurred with Applebaum’s sentiment, saying, “I remember feeling that I could have spent the rest of my career writing for this show for this cast on Friday and only this many people would see it, I would have done it. That’s how special it was. I sound pathetic, you know, every day Instagram a different still from October Road.”
The short-lived show centered on Nick (Bryan Greenberg), a young writer returning to his small hometown of Knight’s Ridge, Massachusetts after having written a bestselling novel based on its occupants–a move that made him more than a little unpopular. The main driving plot point of the show seemed to be the paternity of Nick’s childhood sweetheart (Laura Prepon)’s young son Sam–a topic that would not likely be strong enough to get a show made these days,–and yet it worked.
Co-creator/ EP Andre Nemec explained the appeal of the show, saying, “It didn’t hinge on a big murder mystery, it was like, ‘Who was Sam’s dad?’ but it was enough of an idea to rally these people around and dig into all those relationships…It’s the idea of you’re checking in with your friends once a week, people that you know and that you love, and I think it reminded a lot of people of their own lives.”
The inspiration for the show was exactly what it sounds like, the real-life friendships of one of its creators. In this case, Rosenberg, who’d previously also written Beautiful Girls based on his friends, further mined those relationships for October Road. “It’s amazing I exploited my friends twice,” he said. “Once my friends recovered from the Beautiful Girls of it all they had to face the October Road of it all.”
But for those who made the show, it remains a very positive experience. Even recalling its cancellation brings up fond memories. Odette Annable, who played Nick’s love interest Aubrey, said, “The really beautiful thing when we found out we were cancelled was these guys pulled together an epilogue and they gave not only us, but the fans an ending, and I don’t feel like you get that often. Most times shows just go away and you never know what happens to the characters and I know because we are such a tight group and it was such a sad thing to see the show go, to have that ending was really wonderful and something that we really value. Also all of our crew members came back, nobody got paid for it, it was all a labor of love and we did it because we love the show and we love each other so much.”