My love and affinity for anything Adam Green puts his hands on should come as no surprise to any of my loyal readers at Why So Blu over the years. I have not only chatted with the man extensively every year I see him at Comic-Con, but he’s also become quite the household name in the “White House” as both my girlfriend and I eat up everything he does and we can’t get enough of his FEARnet television series, Holliston. My girlfriend loves the cute little Laura Ortiz (see some pictures of her here) on the show and I, well…I love everything about the series from the old school horror humor to the jokes and sketches that only us pop culture comic book loving geeks get. In other words, this is a show written exclusively for me. Are you picking up what I’m dropping here? Well that’s good because we have a lot to talk about here in the below Blu-ray review that brings everyone up-to-speed with everything Holliston: The Complete Second Season. So let’s get starting, this review isn’t going to read itself (unless you are using the Dictation feature on your Mac).
If Joe Lynch is reading this review, please don’t feel left out, buddy. Most of my interactions over the years have been with Adam, but rest assured none of this successes of Holliston could be possible without your collaboration. You two in the show are the Wayne and Garth of this generation to me and I sincerely mean that in every which way of good there is. So what do you say we get down and dirty by talking about the nitty gritty of what Holliston is all about before moving onto a short discussion of the events that unravel in Season 2?
Holliston is the first ever original series on FEARnet cable television. The comedy/horror sitcom made its debut on the network back in April 3rd of 2012. I actually remember interviewing Adam Green back in 2011 moments after he found out the show was a go. I’m happy for my boy, can’t you tell? The show is set in the small New England town of Holliston, Massachusetts and stars Adam Green and Joe Lynch as pretty much carbon copies of their real lives selves, although less successful of course. They portray horror hounds like myself whose lifelong pursuit is to become legendary horror filmmakers while failing miserably to make ends meet by working at a local cable access station managed by none other that Lance Rockett, Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider. The running joke here is because of Lance’s flamboyant looks, speech and actions, the guys never know what team he’s truly batting for if you catch my drift. The series also features the adorable Laura Ortiz, GWAR’s Oderus Urungus as Adam’s imaginary friend who lives in his closet and Corri English. And oh yeah, both Laura and Corri play themselves so to speak in the show too. One hell of a summary, huh? Do you feel up-to-speed yet? Okay. Give me one more paragraph.
I have to admit the following and I’m truly sorry Adam. When I first watched the very first episode of Holliston Season 1 I honestly did not care for it. The humor, for some strange reason, was totally lost on me despite being part of your generation. Maybe I was in a bad mood that day? I don’t know. But what I do know is this. For some strange reason I found myself stuck on a plane ride home for a lot longer of a flight than expected over a year ago. And even more weirder is the fact that I must have downloaded the first episode of Holliston from iTunes onto my iPad in anticipation of me liking it I guess. To this day I’m really not sure why it was on my iPad, but I digress because it was…so get over it. I decided what the hell. This day can’t get any worse. Let it play! I laughed my a$$ off, not once, but twice! Yes! That’s right! I watched that premiere episode a total of two times on the plane ride home that day and immediately came home and shared it with my girlfriend, coincidentally named Kori, and she fell in love with it too. We wasted no time in immediately picking Season 1 up on Blu-ray and binging on it. She almost wet her pants with the Market Basket dialogue between Laura and Corri. And guess what, Adam. I paid for FEARnet just so I can watch Season 2 during its broadcast. That’s how much of a fan I am. Now understand this. We have Time Warner Cable and they don’t carry FEARnet in HD so for me to watch something all season long in only Standard Definition says something, doesn’t it? Gasp! Hell yeah it does! It means I love your show and I just can’t get enough! That Season 2 cliffhanger had us banging our heads and pumping our fists in the air conveying our desire for a third season. And thankfully, it sounds as if our prayers have finally been answered. Isn’t that right, Adam?
Truth be told, you may never find a more odd or quirkier show than this, but once it clicks with you it’s like any good horror monster. It’s not going to let go of you without a fight. If you think the Big Bang Theory meets 80′s old school slasher horror, then you have Holliston pegged perfectly (even though my fellow BBT haters on this site that like Holliston will probably disagree with me on that)! So how’s that for one more paragraph up above (rhetorical question)?
So Season 2 ups the ante with 10 outrageous episodes (well 11 if you count “The Christmas Special”) that cover everything from zombies, werewolves, a suicidal horror icon and a cursed videotape to a psychotic 11-year old girl, music, love and making movies. I guess you can truly say this groundbreaking sitcom has something for every kind of fan to enjoy. It’s a smorgasbord of delight and that’s why I like it! In addition to the whole new level of hilarity and five times the amount of blood from Season 1, Holliston: The Complete Second Season also features an all-star roster of guests including Seth Green, Bailee Madison, Sid Haig, Kane Hodder, Danielle Harris, David Naughton and more. Also included here is the uncut version of the show’s Christmas Special episode, but more about that in a little bit.
Truth be told, even though I’m a huge fan of the show, I didn’t like every episode here. I have to admit even with my second viewing of this season on Blu-ray, Holliston does wear its welcome out occasionally and perhaps my least favorite episode is the animated one (“Blobby”), but as I made mention of up above by the end credits of the season finale my girlfriend and I were left crying for more! It’s been a long wait, but I know Adam Green and gang will make it worthwhile. In Adam I trust. The tricky thing is going to be how to handle the third season with the all too recent untimely demise of Dave Brockie (R.I.P.). I never thought I was really that attached to Oderus, but like Adam Green and gang, I’m really going to miss the guy (especially after watching him in the Extras discussed below). Say what you want about his looks and ultimately his music, but nonetheless his character was an integral part of the series and like Paul Walker’s tragic death is to the Fast & Furious franchise Holliston has to feel the sting with no more Oderus. He’ll truly be missed by a legion of fans.
So while everything you are reading about here is housed on just one Blu-ray disc, I thought it would be a good idea (I’m earning extra brownie points with you all) to list everything you’re getting yourself into here, namely the episodes. So let’s take a closer look at the episodes in the order they appear on this Blu-ray and real quickly summarize what they’re all about. And rest easy knowing that you truly won’t find a more varied garden of vegetation for old school horror, Goonies and Gremlins fans alike so there’s really no point in me trying to spoon feed you as to what Holliston is all about. You just need to experience it with an open mind and embrace it for the silliness it is. Therefore, I think I’ll let the open and completely quirky vastness of the episodes below speak for themselves. Rest assured, they all factor into my season score above.
- “The Christmas Special” – This one actually aired separately between seasons one and two as a special hour-long Christmas themed episode where the gang is trapped in the apartment without power on Christmas eve and they reminisce on how they all met while a serial killer named The Christine Cringle Tingler is on the loose from the women’s state penitentiary. There’s also a tender moment shared between Adam and Corri in this one…FWIW.
- 1. “Suicidal Tendencies” – Adam and Joe hatch a plan to sign horror icon Kane Hodder to their short film Shinpads when they discover he’s staying in Corri’s hospital after a failed suicide attempt. Joe even shows off his skills at cutting carrots. LOL. It’s quite a shocking introduction.
- 2. “Halloween Girl” – Could this be one of my favorite episodes of the season because I have a thing for Danielle Harris? Haha! Very well could be! In this episode Adam and Joe discover Danielle’s number on Kane Hodder’s cell phone (they could have used mine I have it too…LOL) and lures her into coming to Holliston to act in their short film, but the diva has an agenda of her own and she sucks Adam dry to pay for painkillers, her dental surgery and whatnot.
- 3. “Hobgoblin” – The gang all ventures into the woods for the weekend to shoot a found footage horror movie to capitalize on Hollywoods latest trend and they thought they made up the Holliston Hobgoblin or did they?
- 4. “Honesty” – This one was quite funny in particular because Adam had to pretend like he was Joe when Laura’s judgmental parents came into town and best of all Joe had to pretend to be a servant. There’s some pretty hilarious stuff to take in here. Also, the guys have to help a former bully too. What a variety, huh?
- 5. “Rock The Cradle” – Extra! Extra! Lance is visited by a man…gasp…claiming to be his son! And even worse…Corri is suspicious of Adam’s new girlfriend. Is she legal? Hopefully you’ll find out!
- 6. “Joe’s Soda” – Corri gets bitten by a crazed man of the hospital that the guys fear may be a werewolf. LOL. And get this…Joe thinks his Diet Coke being flat is the more important story line of the episode. Please! Haha.
- 7. “Blobby” – This is my least favorite episode, maybe because it’s animated, but nevertheless the show must go on! This one also kind of hits home for me too as I’ll explain in just a second. So it all goes down like this as Laura mixes together some paints she got from Japan and creates The Blob. The creature wreaks havoc on the town as Joe and Adam try to capture the events on video to ensure a film submission into Fantastic Fest in Austin, TX (hence my hit home comment).
- 8. “Cursed” – The gang becomes “cursed” when one of Laura’s fans sends her a strange video tape and they watch it. Does that remind you of another famous horror film or what? Meanwhile, despite the girl’s overwhelming beauty Adam’s dating, he finds a major flaw with her.
- 9. “Kevin’s Wedding” – This is the episode where things really get intense. Remember Kevin from Season 1? Well, if you don’t, catch up! A lot happens in this one. First, Corri uses Adam as a date to Kevin’s wedding. Second, Laura drops a bomb of bad news on Joe. And third, Oderus moves out of the closet! I know! Whaaat is this world coming to?!
- 10. “Farm Festival” – It all comes down to this one folks. The big daddy, grand finale of them all. After rejection after rejection from film festivals, Adam and Joe decide to host their own to give their short a proper premiere. Meanwhile, there’s just so much else going on from the “L” word being dropped to Lance Rockett’s debut of a his first original music video and zombies attack Holliston! Yes! All of this stuff happens and yet it’s still heartwarming in the very end. Season 3 cannot come fast enough!
And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for…tackling the A/V specs of this Season 2 Blu-ray release. So let’s take a closer “look” at what Image Entertainment delivers to our screens.
- Encoding: AVC MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Clarity/Detail: Every fabric in the boy’s living room couch, wood grain on the doors, fur on the cat and fuzz in the rug are prominently on display here so I guess hell yeah…things are sharp and clear here. It’s like every allergy sufferer’s dream cure…clarity! Every nostalgic horror movie prop and icon adorning the apartment is on display for all to take in and most importantly drool over. It’s like finding Easter eggs in a hunt on Easter Sunday! Like the boys would say…things are t1ts here because balls would be bad.
- Depth: Because of the clarity here I guess it’s safe to say everything is chiseled sharp here and by that I mean the depth of field is outrageously rendered perfectly. In other words that three-dimensional Blu-ray pop we all buy these for is in full effect. What more do you want me to say? Things really stand out here and I don’t just mean the precious movie artifacts in the boy’s apartment. Take any shot in the apartment for instance and you’ll see what I mean by the depth of field as the characters in the foreground clearly pop against the ones in the back.
- Black Levels: The black levels are deep and inky like a beloved comic book we all want to read.
- Color Reproduction: The colors are vivacious and bold throughout and obviously tweaked intentionally when called for. I am also a huge fan of the contrast here.
- Flesh Tones: For the most part, the skin tones are natural and accurate throughout. Of course there are hot moments, but nothing distracting.
- Noise/Artifacts: There are obviously tweaks done throughout like gimmicks such as found footage and animation, but that does not hinder the presentation in my opinion. There’s nothing to distract you such as artifacts, noise, specks, etc. There’s a reason why the score is so high here. Can you dig it?
Now that we have the million-dollar video discussion out of the way, let’s sample how things sound in this Image Entertainment Blu-ray release.
- Audio Format: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Subtitles: English SDH
- Dynamics: I really do love the swirling Image Entertainment logo upon the insertion of the Blu-ray disc into your player. What?! I’m just saying! I’ll tell you what. This surround track is bumping! Wow! I put my receiver on the normal settings for reviewing movies and holy t1tties was it loud. Like Gene Simmons echoes…I love it loud and this track delivers! Even Kane Hodder’s punch to Joe Lynch’s face was convincingly brutal. It’s obviously not an action movie, but I love the sound of this Blu-ray nonetheless.
- Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer is thick and robust here as it kicks out the jams…literally. The vivacious and engaging soundtrack brings this track to life and keeps you at full attention throughout. It’s like being at a trashing metal concert right in your living room.
- Surround Sound Presentation: I wish all television shows sounded like this. Of course like any show it’s going to be front heavy, but man oh man does that soundtrack kick your arse from behind. I just want to pump my fists high up in the air here and declare this the king of all sitcom presentations on the Blu-ray format. Al to of effects make themselves apparently known in the rears as well.
- Dialogue Reproduction: The dialog is always loud, clear and intelligible and that’s important as you never want to miss a joke here. Never, ever!
For an indie television show there’s actually quite of plethora of extras to go around here , well at least more than you would see from most television sets, from your basic behind the scenes featurette and count them…10 audio commentaries to bonus music videos and bloopers that are actually funny. But don’t take my word for it, take the written word in print below for anything written in typeface on an Internet website has to be the absolute truth. So in other words, get ready to geek out over the following supplemental features!
- Behind the Scenes (HD, 14:22) – This one starts out all about Dee Snyder. I was surprised to hear Dee was a little freaked out by the outfits he had to wear this despite adorning them in the 80′s. The cast, crew and even Dee’s son chime in on working with Dee. Then we break into a look at behind the Scenes of season 2 and how there really are no boundaries to the subjects and topics they cover. The four main characters of the cast: Laura, Corri, Joe and Adam all give us their insight as well as guest stars. It was sad to see and hear Oderus say this show is the greatest thing that ever happened to him and then he whispers to the camera how he’s the greatest thing on this show. And finally, we get escorted to the Season 2 premiere in Hollywood! Hell yeah! Wicked excitement!
- Table Read (HD, 29:14) – This one is actually what the description says. It’s a real table read at a panel at the Rock and Shock Convention in Worcester, MA. Dee was not able to be there so they pulled a lucky trivia winner out of the audience and as well as a female too. Enjoy! It’s actually kind of rare treat to see something like this, isn’t it? Crazy!
- Deleted Scenes (HD) – These deleted scenes are selectable from the Episodes Menu and there is a deleted scene for “The Christmas Special” and the following episodes: 2, 4, 5, 9 and 10.
- Bloopers (HD, 5:18) – We were already kind of treated to some of this at Comic-Con last year, but nevertheless I still continue to have a grand time with this blooper reel. These guys really know how to have fun.
- Bonus Music Videos (HD, 4:16, 3:11 and 5:40) – There are a total of three music videos here: Brokedown Cadillac’s (Corri English) “Can You Hear Me,” “Love it Down Your Throat” and GWAR’s “The Road Behind” set to Adam Green rehearsal footage from episode 8 “Cursed” with him playing air guitar and lip-synching. He’s pretty good too! He even makes out with a teddy bear and makes it go down on him. Whaaat?! I know! I told you it’s good stuff!
- Commentaries – These audio commentaries feature director Sean Becker, and the brain trust: creator/writer/director/star Adam Green, executive producer/star Joe Lynch and cutie star Laura Ortiz. There’s a selectable audio commentary track for each episode except 7, “Blobby.” I’m not sure why that one was skipped, but who cares. Look at all the hours of extra replay value you have here watching all the episodes over again with commentary. How rad!
Okay, yes! I know my score is high up above for the season, but I just cannot help it. I have a blast with this series, even with this being my second and third time for some of the episodes. It’s just very humorous material and dialog to me, but I get it if it’s not for everyone…because it isn’t for everyone. This is for the “Big Bang” crowd of horror movie loving geeks who grew up on the classic slashers and who have definitely seen Gremlins a multitude of times. Joe and Adam are the Wayne and Garth of our generation and quite honestly there’s nothing else like this show on the air and because of that I hope it gets the love and attention it so rightfully deserves. Young or old, who cares? Age is but a number. Holliston is about having a good time and letting go of seriousness in half hour increments despite the bleak world around us. If you can do that yourself, then I know you’ll be a loyal disciple like me. If your curiosity is peaked, then good! I have done my job in proficiently and efficiently spreading the gospel of Holliston. And if it wouldn’t be too much to ask, do you mind clicking here to ensure you get this Blu-ray at the absolute best price with the finest presentation as discussed above and ensure it’s waiting on your doorstep on April 8th when you come home from a hard day of work? God bless you! This show can be your best aphrodisiac to alleviate stress…if you let it be. Enjoy! And most of all…celebrate all things Oderus in this season. He will be truly missed. For all the guts, gore, heavy metal guitar licks and movie nostalgia that you can handle and more, Holliston is your prescription!