October Road

Common Sense Media says

Prodigal son drama walks quirky, uneven path.

Age(i)

2
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5
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8
9
10
11
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13
14
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The main characters are generally moral, though flawed. One character is having an affair with his friend's wife. Some jokes based on weight, intelligence, etc. The cast is exclusively white.

Violence

Fistfight in a bar.

Sex

18-year-olds are seen in bed post-sex. Plot thread about extramarital affair.

Language

Occasional "ass," "hell," etc.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Plenty of drinking, sometimes to drunkenness. Reference to marijuana smoking in a joking manner.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this sentimental drama deals with mature topics like extramarital sex, unknown parentage, drug and alcohol use, and career and family insecurities, making it somewhat iffy (and, frankly, probably unappealing) for younger viewers. Some scenes are set in a bar, where lots of drinking -- and at least one drunken fistfight -- takes place. Another scene shows 18-year-olds who have just had sex and includes some sexual discussion. Jokes about weight, intelligence, small towns, and more pepper the dialogue in a generally clever, ironic tone, but some viewers may be offended.

Parents say

Kids say

Not yet rated
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What's the story?

When 18-year-old Nick Garrett (Bryan Greenberg) goes to Europe, he promises his friends that he'll be back by summer's end. But 10 years later he's a successful novelist living in New York City, and he's never been back to his hometown -- nor has he spoken to those he left behind. OCTOBER ROAD chronicles Nick's return home and his attempt to mend the rifts caused by his disappearance, as well as the bad feelings he caused when he wrote disparagingly about his small town and its residents. His hometown crew includes some interesting characters, like a hermit who hasn't left his house since 9/11 and a quirky jokester who's having an affair with a married woman, as well as Garrett's left-behind girlfriend (That '70s Show's Laura Prepon).

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Although October Road has some witty banter that's well written and sometimes charming, much of it also seems contrived. The town itself is a bit fairytale-ish, too; it lacks the authenticity of another quirky prodigal-son drama, the movie Garden State. That said, October Road does have some appeal, especially in its smart literary references and nostalgia for the hard-rockin' 1990s.

Teens might enjoy some of the quirky characters, but much of the drama is so adult-oriented -- especially geared toward people in their late 20s and early 30s -- that younger viewers might not care very much. That's good, because with plenty of drinking, some fistfights, and some mildly sexual scenes, October Road is best suited for adults.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how accurately TV reflects reality, in this case and in general. Are dramas based on this kind of premise believable? How about the dialogue? Do you know people who talk like the characters on this show? Do any TV shows use truly realistic dialogue? Which ones? Families can also talk about hometowns. Do parents still live in the same area where they were raised? Why? Will younger viewers stay put after school, or move somewhere else? Why? What's it like to return to a place that you've been away from for a long time?

TV details

Cast:Bryan Greenberg, Laura Prepon, Tom Berenger
Network:ABC
Genre:Drama
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of October Road was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written bydreamingmontana April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Keep what should be... where it belongs.

I feel that this program initiates & responds to common ADULT issues. I enjoyed the program myself, but will have to see where some situations go before deciding if I will introduce my 16 year old daughter to it. Probably not. The characters in this program are adults that will be dealing in adult issues. My daughter is still a teen. She will be an adult soon enough. What my children watch is based on their own ages. If it is older than they are... it is older than they are. If I have to explain the "meaning" of the show... it is beyond them & they don't watch it. I am the teacher in my home, not the tv. I wish there were a rating between tv14 & MA.
Teen, 16 years old Written bylafs1684 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 
Adult Written bykyouryuu5000 July 18, 2009
AGE
17
QUALITY
 

Intended for older audiences

As with other television shows, there are at least some commendable values depicted within the shows, but not all the content in a television program such as October Road is commendable, especially in Season 2 with episode 5 entitled Once Around the Block where a scene depicts Nick Garrett or Nicholson "Nick" Garrett (portrayed by Bryan Greenberg) engaging in sexual intercourse in bed with Aubrey Diaz (portrayed by Odette Yustman). All television programs, movies, video games, novels, audiobooks, and other media repeat a similar style following some kind of folklore such as Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith being akin to the story of Oedipus Rex. Another repeated trend in media such as movies and television shows such as Toy Story 2is the psychological concept of egocentrism by which a character maintains confidence by "believing in themselves."
What other families should know
Too much sex
Great messages

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