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'Holliston' Premiere Episodes

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Holliston
Photo courtesy of Fearnet

The Bottom Line

Holliston takes the worst elements of bargain-basement sitcoms and gross-out horror and combines them into a nearly unbearable viewing experience that’s completely unfunny and annoying to watch.

Details

  • Stars Adam Green, Joe Lynch, Laura Ortiz, Corri English, Dee Snider, Oderus Urungus
  • Created by Adam Green
  • Airs Tuesdays at 10:30 p.m. EST starting April 3, 2012 on FearNet

Review

A network called FearNet is probably the last place you’d expect to find an old-fashioned multi-camera sitcom, but that’s exactly what the horror-focused channel has come up with for its first original scripted series. Created by and starring horror filmmaker Adam Green (the Hatchet movies, Frozen), Holliston mostly comes off like something that would have aired for half a season on UPN a decade ago (and indeed it’s partially based on a sitcom that Green had in development at UPN in 2003, based on his indie romantic comedy Coffee & Donuts), but with added swearing and gore. Other than having Green and fellow horror director Joe Lynch (Wrong Turn 2: Dead End) as the stars, Holliston’s connection to horror is rather tenuous, and its random inserts of bloody dismemberments (as occasional fantasy sequences) seem shoehorned-in as a concession to the network the show ended up on.

At heart, Holliston is just another moronic buddy comedy about two loser friends (played by Green and Lynch) who engage in wacky contrived antics while trying to get their lives together. Green and Lynch’s characters Adam and Joe are aspiring horror filmmakers who live together in a dingy apartment and work together at a local cable company producing low-budget commercials and hosting a late-night horror-movie showcase. Joe has a weird artist girlfriend named Laura (Laura Ortiz), and Adam perpetually pines for his high school sweetheart Corri (Corri English, lead singer of country band Brokedown Cadillac), who broke up with him years ago.

The majority of the action is built around tired sitcom clichés, including lame misunderstandings and mix-ups. The show looks ugly, with flimsy sets and harsh lighting, and just because the characters occasionally make fourth-wall-breaking jokes about the predictability of the storylines and the crappiness of the production values doesn’t make them acceptable or entertaining. The jokes are almost all weak and obvious, and the actors oversell every single line. In particular, Green and Lynch, both of whom have limited acting experience, try so hard to be wacky that pretty much everything they say or do becomes grating and obnoxious. It doesn’t help that the ever-present laugh track reacts uproariously to virtually every line, whether it’s a joke or not.

The supporting cast includes Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider as Adam and Joe’s boss at the cable company, who moonlights as the singer of a Van Halen cover band. Snider seems happy to send up his hair-metal persona, and he’s amusing enough for his one or two scenes per episode. And then there’s Oderus Urungus of the comedy metal band GWAR, playing a version of himself as Adam’s imaginary friend, a weird conceit that never really amounts to anything. Green ropes in a whole bunch of horror luminaries as guest stars, including Bill Moseley, Kane Hodder and Tony Todd, who plays a prominent part in the fourth episode, but he never finds particularly effective roles for them.

The worst part is that each episode runs nearly 40 minutes, as compared to 22 minutes for a network sitcom. It’s way too long for this kind of lightweight nonsense even if it were more entertaining, but Green’s thin plots can barely support half of each episode’s running time, and instead of expanding the narrative, he just repeats the same jokes over and over again (many of which are puerile and disgusting). Green, who wrote and directed all six first-season episodes, has made some effective, scrappy horror movies, but comedy is clearly not his strong suit.

Disclosure: A review screener was provided by the network. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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