Our Fucking Thoughts on Holliston

There seems to be a lot of penis envy when it comes to the success of “The Big Bang Theory.” If you’re not a fan you’re either someone who hates the show outright for being a success, or you’re someone who thinks you can do a better geek show. “Holliston” is the latter part of the aforementioned sentence. “Holliston” is essentially “The Big Bang Theory” but with horror fans instead of fan boys and geeks. It seems Adam Green is one of the many individuals who think they know what the perception of a fan boy is better than the people behind the hit show “The Big Bang Theory,” thus we have this series.

It continues baffling me that a director like Adam Green continues to stifle himself artistically. I can’t pretend to know the man’s current situation. Perhaps “Hatchet” didn’t open doors to huge projects as many critics though it would, who knows? But it’s inexplicable that a talented director like Adam Green who delivers the strong thriller “Spiral” and the rather excellent “Frozen” continues to slum it in projects that are so beneath what he’s capable of. He continues to confine himself to the “Hatchet” series which seriously doesn’t take a lot of skill, and then there’s “Holliston” which won’t do Green any favors career wise.

It’s on a channel five people in America subscribe to, and it’s being offered in six episode increments. That’s not exactly a rocket to the moon. “Holliston” in spite of meaning to be an ironic sort of sitcom really doesn’t work half the time.

And it’s a shame because a meta-sitcom has potential to be brilliant and change the way we look at the traditional sitcom. And a sitcom focusing on horror geeks should be a slam dunk. There are moments where “Holliston” steps outside the script to let the audience know they’re watching a sitcom. Adam attempts to open a cupboard but explains to character Corrie that she can’t because of “budget,” and one take goes on so long the actors don’t know when to quit and merely walk off. The intentions for “Holliston” seem fuzzy to me most times.

If it’s deliberately an ironic commentary on bad sitcoms, are we supposed to find this series obnoxious on purpose, or should we just ignore the inherent flaws and just go with the flow? The jumps from meta-show to actual show are jarring at times and make it impossible to get in to the narrative. The show doesn’t do much for creativity, which is a shame. How does a public access channel get the ability to pay for the rights to air “Gremlins,” “Maniac,” and “CHUD”? How does a show like “The Movie Crypt” allow Joe and Adam the ability to live in an apartment?

Meanwhile, the characters are all just extensions of their real personalities. Joe Lynch an indie director/horror fanatic plays Joe an… aspiring director/horror fanatic. Adam Green is an indie director/horror fanatic who plays Adam an aspiring director/horror fanatic. Laura Ortiz plays Laura. And Corrie English plays Corrie. Not a lot of mental flexing going on there with the script. And I gather the characters are pretty adherent to their personalities. Adam and Joe are friends in reality, but I wonder if they have the same dynamic.

The upside to the characters is that Ortiz and English provide the eye appeal and most of the time they’re an absolute joy to ogle. And it also helps that English and Ortiz have great chemistry bouncing dialogue off one another that’s quick and sharp. When the series finally does manage to pick up and provide a raucous introduction in to the life of a horror geek, surprise, surprise, it’s the show’s season finale. It’s sad it takes five whole episodes for the show to get the rhythm of its own premise and concept. When Adam, Joe, Corrie, and Laura go to Rock and Shock horror convention, it makes for some laugh out loud moments, including Adam’s confrontation with Danielle Harris, Kane Hodder attacking both Joe and Adam, and the inevitable meeting with legendary director John Landis.

As usual the show ends on a very self-aware moment that breaks the fourth wall and altogether makes no sense. Granted it’s random humor, but random humor that doesn’t have a rhyme or reason to it. It’s just there. In the end, “Holliston” is completely lost on me. And I fully expect people to question my credibility as a horror geek after this review, but I find this series to be incredibly self-indulgent and it often feels like Lynch and Green are trying to create their own “Big Bang Theory.” I think the fact that I’m not friends with Green or Lynch or Ortiz or English puts me in a place to look at this series more objectively. I fully expect Green and Lynch’s friends to endorse this show and even appear on an episode at some point. And that’s basically all it is.

Tony Todd and Kane Hodder appear because they were in Adam Green’s “Hatchet,” and Seth Green makes an especially awful guest spot because his wife is a member of comedy troupe Team Unicorn and is friends with a member of the troupe who happens to also be married to Adam Green. Shocker. Really, “Holliston” is just a place to put Adam Green and Joe Lynch’s friends on display and give their actor friends jobs for their filmography. I expect everyone from Green’s wife from Team Unicorn, to the occasional horror journalist like Ryan Rotten or Harry Knowles to appear on the show at some point to pop up and play a part to add to their IMDB profile, and everyone will be patting themselves on the back when the cameras stop rolling.

One of the few advantages of this series is Green and Lynch’s chemistry. Green tends to overact and Lynch’s dialogue delivery is stilted and forced. But Lynch and Green keep me watching anyway because they’re believable as friends. I don’t know if the canned laughter is meant to be ironic, but it’s as grating and obnoxious as the canned laughter in “That 70’s Show” and “Married with Children.” And I’m sure the canned laughter is supposed to be a commentary on “The Big Bang Theory” as most fan boys have major resentment of the show’s success, but I found it to be a gag that wore thin in seconds.

Ultimately the most pleasure I could derive from this series was the finale and that’s about thirty minutes out of a six episode season. I hope Adam Green can break out of this phase where he feels he has to do favors for his friends, and eventually gets back to making quality horror and thrillers, because the man is capable and able to deliver chills and thrills when he wants to.

“Frozen” made my top 10 of 2010, and “Spiral” was a neat chilling mystery, I pray Green begins his focus on more genre films and less on this show which currently lacks any form or laughs as it is. Watching Green on “Holliston” is like watching a B student not even try. You know he can make the grade, but he instead chooses to sit back and drag himself down.

“Holliston” can be seen on FEARnet.