"There's nothing wrong at Blake Holsey High.
Canadian series, also called Strange Days at Blake Holsey High
(in Canada and in the USA for reruns on The N), which ran for just over three seasons via the Jetix programming block. The series also aired on Discovery Kids and on Global TV in Canada, and still airs on ABC3
in Australia. The series lasted from October, 2002 to January, 2006. A total of 42 episodes.
Years earlier, an accident at nearby Pearadyne labs resulted in a black hole (sometimes described instead as a wormhole) opening up in the science teacher's office at Blake Holsey High. When said hole eats the science teacher, Professor Noel Zachary replaces him, and becomes mentor to the school's science club, who proceed to investigate the strange goings-on at their school.
The club, a Five-Man Band
consisting of four scientifically gifted students and the son of Pearadyne owner Victor Pearson, experience random mysterious phenomena which are presented in the guise of science as they try to uncover the secrets behind the strangeness.
To a fairly large extent, Black Hole High
is simply Buffy the Vampire Slayer
with the word "supernatural" crossed out and "science" pencilled in (though with the nonviolent and nonsexual
baggage implied by its younger target audience). The second episode, "Invisible", for example, is a near-identical copy of the Buffy
episode "Invisible Girl", the key difference being that, rather than attributing a character's disappearance to magic, the nearby black hole caused it to be entirely scientifically plausible
that Marshall would, as a result of feeling unnoticed, lose his ability to interact with light.
The show uses emotional states as a metaphor for physical states, leading some people to believe that the recurring theme of the show is that, near a black hole, one's emotional state and social interactions can reshape the laws of physics
, essentially, trying to make science interesting to kids by flat out contradicting how science actually works
In addition to the weekly anomalies, the show was built around a series-long arc involving Victor Pearson's attempts to recreate Pearadyne Labs, and the club's attempts to work out the sinister implications therein. Pearson serves as the antagonist for most of the series, revealing only at the end that, while a bit ruthless, his motivations were ultimately noble.
The series shares a number of actors with Disney-produced shows of the same time period, and bears a significant structural similarity to So Weird
. Henry Winkler
served as an executive producer and consultant on both. Stars pretty much the same cast as The Zack Files
, another Canadian
paranormal live-action kid's show.
This show provides examples of:
- Adults Are Useless: Not so much useless but are usually in on the conspiracy.
- Aesop Amnesia: A good chunk of the hijinks in the show are caused by using old technology from Pearadyne Labs. You'd think that after the first couple times things go horribly wrong, the kids would learn to leave it alone. Nope.
- Almighty Janitor: The Janitor
- Alpha Bitch: Madison
- Anguished Declaration of Love: Vaughn to Josie in "Chirality."
- Anticipatory Breath Spray: A variation in "Brainwaives." When Lucas and Vaughn switch bodies, Vaughn is forced to take Lucas' place in the drama rehearsal of Romeo and Juliet. Naturally, he is Romeo, to Josie's Juliet. And of course, that day, they are rehearsing the kiss scene. As Corrine (the director), Josie, and Vaughn leave the science room for the drama classroom, Corrine catches Josie applying lipgloss and gives her an incredulous look.
Josie: What? I always wear lipgloss!
Corrine: (with a look that clearly says "Yeah right.")
Josie: Wh-when I'm acting!
- Back for the Finale: Josie
- Bad Ass Bookworm : Corrine, Marshall, and Lucas all have their moments.
- Bad Liar: The gang is really bad at hiding what's going on with the wormhole from Durst.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Josie wishes she didn't need sleep in "Nocturnal" so she could get more things done. It happens and she seriously regrets it.
- Becoming the Mask: Vaughn, originally The Mole for Victor.
- Beta Couple: Corrine and Marshall.
- Big Bad: Victor Pearson, at least to all appearances.
- Big "NO!": Vaughn's can be heard down the hall when Corrine tells him the truth about his mother in "Friction."
- Bizarro Universe: "Hemispheres", the world at the other side of the mirror Corrine goes through.
- Book Dumb: Vaughn, though this could be due in part to his Dyslexia. And by the end of the series, he seems to have come into his own intelligence wise. Also applies to Stu Kubiak; though even he had some rare bouts of brilliance. Mostly when it involved his pet chameleon.
- Brick Joke: In season 2's "Brainwaves," Vaughn and Lucas switch bodies. In that episode, Lucas' dad calls and talks to Vaughn about catching an elusive fish, and Vaughn mentions to Lucas that it "must be nice" to have that experience with his father. When Lucas is forced to go to Vaughn's house to meet with Victor, he drops the hint that maybe Vaughn and Victor should go fishing sometime. The conversation is forgotten about until season 3's "Tesseract." Josie asks Lucas if he is staying at Blake Holsey over spring break to investigate a new theory about Vaughn, and then says that Vaughn won't even be there...he and his father are going fishing for the long weekend.
- Building of Adventure: Blake Holsey High.
- Cannot Talk to Women: Lucas.
- Chekhov's Classroom: Happens in nearly every episode.
- Cloning Blues: Josie, "Culture"; The clone actually is integral to the story's plot, though you don't find that out 'till much later.
- Closet Shuffle: Josie and Vaughn are forced to hide in a young Victor Pearson's closet in "Inquiry."
- Cool Teacher: Professor Z
- Conflicting Loyalty: Vaughn struggles between loyalty to his father and loyalty to his friends.
- Conspiracy Theorist: Lucas
- Continuity Lockout: An in-universe example in "Conclusions." Despite being central to the show's plot, Victor is out of the loop about the things the gang are up to. When Josie returns through the wormhole after a long absence, she goes to talk to Victor, with Lucas hot on her heels. When it's revealed that it's not Josie, but her clone, we get this exchange:
Lucas: You're Josie's clone! The one that was created accidentally in freshmen year.
Victor: The Trent girl has a clone?
Lucas: It's a long story.
Victor: So bore me!
- Later in the same conversation:
Josie's Clone: We need to see someone.
Lucas: The janitor?
Victor: The janitor?!
Josie's Clone: No, he won't tell us anything, not after what I've done. But there's someone else who might. (walks away)
Victor (to Lucas): The janitor?!
- Cross Referenced Titles: The first episode is titled "Wormhole". "Wormhole Part 2" is not the second episode, but the second season premiere.
- Cryptically Unhelpful Answer: The janitor tends to answer questions this way.
- Dawson Casting: Averted. Like a certain other Canadian TV show aimed at adolescents, they actually decided to hire actors who were the same (or very near the same) age as their characters.
- A Day in the Limelight: One or more for each of the characters.
- Did Not Get the Girl: Lucas.
- Easy Amnesia: Professor Z in "Who?" gets his mind wiped by the wormhole. Easily fixed by the end of the episode, though not by a tap on the head—as Corrine berates Lucas for attempting earlier in the episode. Lucas' defense, despite being a science buff, is that "it worked on Gilligan's Island!"
- Elaborate University High: Surprisingly averted, considering it takes place at a boarding school. Blake Holsey is jut one building, and we really only ever see one hallway, three dorm rooms, a few offices, and the cafeteria.
- Everyone Can See It: The growing attraction between Marshall and Corrine, and the UST between Josie and Vaughn. Even though neither of these couples really dated formally, everyone assumed they were. This is lampshaded by Marshall's friends in the epsidoe "Friction."
- Extremely Short Timespan: The last three episodes take place over maybe 2-3 days, if that.
- Fate Drives Us Together: Touched upon with Josie and Vaughn in "Chirality."
- Fate Worse Than Death: Josie gets trapped in an alternate timeline where everything is in ruin and she is the only occupant. The worst part is she stayed there for a year!
- Worse than that even. Clone Josie CHOOSES to take Josie's place for the rest of her life.
- Father, I Don't Want To Fight: Vaughn ends up allying with the Science Club after having some serious qualms over the things his father asks him to do for the sake of resurrecting Pearadyne Labs.
- Fiery Redhead: Josie
- Five-Man Band
- Flowers for Algernon Syndrome: The premise behind the episode "Transference"; the vortex causes Vaughn to suck more intelligence from Josie, leaving him with the ability to build a cold fusion reactor while Josie barely has enough brain power to stay awake. In the end, a kiss snaps everything back to normal.
- Follow Your Nose: To entice students away from the paranormally addicting (but non-substantive) energy bars in "Nutrition," the gang and Z prepare homemade spaghetti, and use fans and tunnels to pipe the smell throughout the school. It works.
- For Want of a Nail: "Fate": Taking his mother's hairclip in the past prevents Vaughn's parents from getting together, erasing his existence, uncreating Pearadyne Labs, and, for some reason, turning Professor Z into a pizza boy.
- Professor Z had a Pearadyne labs scholarship, without it: pizza boy.
- Perhaps a bit of a subversion, as it later turns out that, while the hairclip was involved, the real catalyst for both Vaughn's parents getting together, the creation of Pearadyne labs, and the black hole, was Victor stealing the Qi Gong ball when Josie returned to the past to replace the hairclip.
- Freaky Friday: "Brainwaves", where Lucas and Vaughn switch mental states.
- Genius Science Club
- Graduate from the Story: "Conclusions"
- Graduation for Everyone: Averted. Though most of the main cast did graduate, Josie—who had been missing for over a year—mentions that she has to take summer school because, unlike the rest of them, she didn't finish high school.
- Graying Morality: At the beginning of the series, the show's morality was very black and white. Victor bad, Science Club good. As the show progressed, who was good and who was evil became very blurred. In the end, it's revealed that Victor was Good All Along and that he was supposed to have the energy ball, and that makes Josie evil for trying to stop him.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Josie and Marshall in "Friction," when Vaughn and Corrine become stuck together because of their fighting. And while Josie is jealous, she takes it rather well. Marshall, on the other hand, is hilarious when he's jealous.
(The gang goes to research ways to get Corrine and Vaughn un-stuck.)
Josie (to Vaughn and Corrine): And stay out of sight while we're gone.
Marshall: But not so out of sight that I can't see you!
- "Groundhog Day" Loop: "Thursday", for Corrine.
- Holding Hands: Josie and Vaughn's UST really took off in "Lost" when Vaughn suggests they hold hands so neither of them disappear. Played for Laughs with Professor Z and Principal Durst, who do the same thing while out looking for the kids.
- Corrine and Vaughn are also forced to hold hands in "Friction," when the wormhole sticks them together because of their fighting. Originally, he was holding onto her arm (where he had grabbed her to get her attention), and they found that while the friction wouldn't let them let go of each other, Vaughn could slide his hand to a more comfortable position. They spend about half the episode with Vaughn's arm around Corrine's shoulders, and the other half holding hands. Hilarity Ensues when Marshall's jealousy starts coming out.
- Hollywood Science: Though occasionally averted. Emphasis on the occasionally.
- I Am Not My Father: Vaughn struggles with this; on the one hand, he believes that what his father is doing is wrong, but still feels loyal to him. He struggles to gain and keep the gang's trust, and does not want to become like his father.
- Identical Grandson: Principal Durst in "Past", when Josie time traveled to when the high school was first built.
- Incredible Shrinking Man: Josie, "Shrink".
- It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: "Radio", "Robot", "Technology". Using leftover Peardyne phlebotinum in an electronics project and have it result in the device developing mysterious
supernaturalscientific powers once can be counted an accident. By the third time, it seems like carelessness.
- It Was a Gift: Professor Z apparently owns a polka CD. He suggests using it to rid the school of rapidly multiplying sponges in "Ecosystem", to the confused expressions of Marshall and Lucas.
- It's All My Fault: Josie realizes near the end of the series that she is responsible for all the goings-on with Victor. She was the one who went back in time with the floating ball and unwittingly gave Victor the means to start (and destroy) Pearadyne. It's when she goes back in time again to try and fix it where things go from bad to worse.
- Jerk Jock: Vaughn started out as this, but then the trope right below this one happened. Stu, on the other hand....
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Vaughn
- Jock Dad, Nerd Son: Inverted with Victor and Vaughn; Victor Pearson was a science geek in high school, Vaughn is the stereotypical jock. There are mentions in the series of Victor's disappointment with Vaughn's low grades (despite knowing his son suffers from dyslexia), but it doesn't create too much friction otherwise.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: See below example of No Export for You as to why.
- L Is for Dyslexia: In "Brainwaves" we learn that Vaughn is dyslexic.
- Living Aphrodisiac: The protaganist in "Allure." The wormhole turns Corrine's Venus Fly Trap into a teenage girl...who quickly gathers the attention of all of the boys in school. Unfortunately, her motives aren't to date the boys but to eat them for lunch.
- Living with the Villain: Victor and Vaughn. Briefly toyed with with Josie and her mother as well.
- Loves My Alter Ego: Corrine falls hard for Marshall's bad boy alter ego in "Hemispheres." It's a bit of a subversion, since she does have a crush on the regular Marshall. However, she gets seriously Distracted by the Sexy by the alter ego and the two even end up sharing a kiss before she goes back to the real world.
- Love Triangle: Josie, Vaughn, Lucas
- Luke, I Am Your Father: In the made for TV movie, we learn that Avenir is Josie's father
- Magnetic Plot Device: The wormhole.
- Married to the Job: Victor, Josie's mom.
- Mirror Chemistry: One episode is actually called "Chirality," and introduces the concept in a chemistry class — then uses it as a justification for a Personality Swap episode.
- Mirror Universe: "Hemisphere"; here, not an evil universe, but a "mirrored" one where everyone is right-brained (ie., artistic) rather than scientific.
- Missing Mom /Disappeared Dad: Vaughn's mother and Josie's father, respectively.
- Mommy Issues: Josie has them. Her mother is away often for work, her work is very secretive (and in the end, it turns out she's working for Pearadyne Labs), and she and her mother have differing personalities. It's stated that Josie's strong will and independence came as a result of not being able to rely on her mother as a child.
- The Multiverse: How the wormhole works. Josie becomes trapped in a universe of her own creation in "Inquiry", in which the accident at Pearadyne never happened and Blake Holsey is condemned. She is the sole inhabitant of that universe, so getting her back without creating a paradox is the tricky part of "Conclusions." In the end, Josie's clone takes her place.
- Myth Arc
- The Napoleon: Josie. She is the shortest in the grade, and she does not like it. Even after she learns that it's better to be short but full-sized than shrunk to the size of an action figure.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Josie, "Inquiry"
- Neat Freak: Corrine.
- No Romantic Resolution: Much to the chagrin of fans, the movie left much to be desired in the way of shipping.
- Noodle Incident: In the episode "Cold," the school building gets a cold as the result of Pearadyne Technology mixing with the wormhole. Professor Z's office becomes extremely hot, while Durst's becomes extremely cold. She runs to his office to demand he fix it, when she notices he's sweating. And then:
Durst: Have you been working out in your shirt and tie...again?
- Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here
- No Export for You: A DVD set of the first season was going to be released in the U.K. ONLY.... but then the trope was averted when the release was canceled without any explanation whatsoever, turning this instead into a case of Keep Circulating the Tapes.
- Order Versus Chaos: Corrine and Josie, until it's revealed that while Josie may be impulsive and messy, she has her own way to categorizing and cataloging things—it's just not neat.
- One-Letter Name: The kids call Professor Zachary "Professor Z." Or, in some cases, just "Z." He doesn't seem to mind or even notice.
- Opinion Changing Dream: In "Nocturnal," Josie changes her mind about trusting Vaughn again after her waking dreams turn out to be hallucinations of Vaughn's memories.
- Opposites Attract: Josie and Vaughn
- Other Me Annoys Me: In "Culture" Josie accidentally creates a clone. This clone acts much different from her and she is annoyed at how her clone behaves. Things get really weird after the clone spends the afternoon with her mother there for a rare visit and her mother doesn't notice.
- Our Wormholes Are Different
- Over-the-Shoulder Carry: Vaughn to Josie in "Echolocation."
- Personal Raincloud: Vaughn develops one in "Storm." He is upset about being asked to spy on his friends for his father, and the storm gets worse the more depressed he gets and the more he bottles things up. It eventually dissipates when he opens up.
- Power of Trust: In the episode "Nocturnal," Josie can't sleep and is plagued by hallucinations of Vaughn's memories. In the climax of the episode, she hallucinates Victor as Vaughn while Vaughn begs her to trust him. When she admits that she does, despite a recent betrayal on Vaughn's part, the paranormal phenomenon keeping her perpetually awake stops and she's able to sleep.
- Put on a Bus: Marshall transfers schools between the end of the third season and the beginning of the fourth (which takes place a year later). He appears in the finale, but only briefly.
- Tyler, an intellectual bully, goes through the wormhole both into the past and future. He learns more than even the Science Club and eventually leaves to go to a different school, where a bad guy is trying to control the wormhole. His departure was left as a cliff hanger, which was presumably going to come to fruition in the fourth season, but the cancellation of the show negated it.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: After the end of the third season, Fireworks Studios, who produced the show and provided its lifeline, closed down with short notice, and only left enough time for the crew to create a three episode-long finale, rather than the fourth and fifth seasons that were planned.
- Red-Headed Hero: Josie
- Replacement Goldfish: In "Conclusions," Lucas (who has always had feelings for Josie that were never returned) seems to develop a crush on Josie's clone, and is visibly distressed when it's suggested that she take the real Josie's place in the timeline she is stuck in.
- Retcon: The final episode of Season 3 shows Josie arriving at a shuttered and abandoned Blake Holsey High with the war-torn ruins of a futuristic city in the background, the implication being that she's traveled to an After the End future. The finale miniseries repeats the shot, but the city in the distance is gone, and it's later explained that she was shunted into some sort of pocket universe to protect the timeline from her meddling.
- Robot Maid: Josie's robot started out as this in "Robot," until she added some Pearadyne Technology and things go horribly wrong.
- School Play: Romeo and Juliet in "Brainwaves".
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: "Fate", "Wormhole Part 2"
- Shirtless Scene: Vaughn gets one (much to Josie's surprise) when Josie knocks on his door in the middle of the night in "Nocturnal."
- Shout-Out: Marshall's last name is Wheeler. This is most likely a shout out, considering the fact that John Archibald Wheeler is the man who coined the terms "Black Hole" and "Wormhole". Victor Pearson may also be a reference to Victor Popov, and though a long shot, Vaughn may be a reference to the name Sean, since Robert Clark's (the actor who played Vaughn) brother is Daniel Clark, who played Sean on Degrassi.
- Sore Loser: Lucas
- Syndication Title: Strange Days at Blake Holsey High
- Teen Genius: As science buffs, technically EVERYONE is one (except maybe Vaughn), but Corrine fits even more so than the others.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Between Lucas and Vaughn; Lucas dislikes Vaughn because he's convinced Vaughn is working with his father against the gang. And only slightly because Josie likes Vaughn rather than Lucas. Vaughn dislikes Lucas because he doesn't understand Lucas' lack of trust in him.
- The Sleepless: The episode "Nocturnal" is devoted to this trope. Josie becomes unable to sleep thanks to the wormhole influence. She starts developing hallucinations of Vaughn's memories.
- The Snark Knight: Sometimes Josie comes off as this.
- The Talk: When Z loses his memory in "Who?", Lucas and Marshall attempt to jog it by teaching him scientific concepts. Unfortunately, one of the things Z asks them to explain is reproduction.
There is no
way I'm giving him The Talk
. My dad had a hard enough time explaining it to me!
- The Watcher: The mysterious janitor.
- Time Stands Still:
- In "Stopwatch", Josie 's watch slows time almost to a stand still. It also appears the Josie Clone has this same ability.
- Used in a way in "Equations". Corinne's wormhole affected equation allowed her to effectively travel so fast that time is virtually stopped.
- Timey-Wimey Ball: Literally. Josie takes a Qi Gong ball through the wormhole, which somehow negates its gravitational field. While time traveling, she loses the ball to a young Victor Pearson, who uses it as the basis for the original Pearadyne experiment which created the wormhole in the first place.
- Time Altering Mac Guffin: The Qi Gong ball.
- Time Skip: Between Season 3 and the movie.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Josie and Corrine, respectively, along with being polar opposites. It creates a lot of tension between them, since they're also roommates.
- Tonka Tough: Honorable mention for Mr. Bunnypants, who is sent through the wormhole several times in "Inquiry" and comes out none the worse for wear.
- Too Dumb to Live: Marshall is stunningly incautious for someone who knows about all the weird things going on.
- Tough Love: Vaughn's father borders on this with Parental Neglect. He expects his son to carry on with his work, but shows no interest in him unless he's done something very right or messed up his plans. Vaughn is constantly trying to seek the approval of his father and never gets it.
- Two-Teacher School: Again, literally. The only teachers we see are the science teachers- one of whom only appears in two episodes. In fact, it would seem the only other faculty at the school are A) Principal Durst, B) The Janitor, and C) The Lunch Lady.
- UST: Vaughn and Josie (though Fanon would have you believe they had sex at some point), as well as when Vaughn and Corrine get stuck to each other in "Friction". Heck, even the title admits it.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Corrine and Josie, who manage to be good friends despite the fact that they get on each others nerves.
- The Watcher: Josie's clone is sent away at the end of "Culture" to become an Observer, someone who makes sure that no one screws up the timeline. The Janitor is revealed to be an "Observer of Observers" and often gives Josie mysterious advice.
- What the Hell, Dad?: Vaughn has a few of these moments over the course of the show.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Vaughn and Victor's relationship is strained.
- Whole Plot Reference: "Invisible" references the Buffy episode "Invisible Girl", "Thursday" is a take off on Groundhog Day, "Pheromones" is a take off on Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and "Probability" is a take off on the short story Behind the News, the latter two listed both being (originally, anyway) stories written by Jack Finney.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: While not a series regular, Lucas reveals that Marshall once dressed up as a girl to compete in a camp beauty contest...and won.
- You Do Not Want To Know: Principal Durst has a moment of Genre Savvy in the finale, when she sees Lucas, Marshall, and Corrine running away from the graduation ceremony with a device to help thwart the series Big Bad.
Professor Z (unconvincingly): Graduation day, trying to squeeze in one last experiment. They all love science!
Principal Durst:I really don't want to know what's going here, do I?
Professor Z: Nope.
Principal Durst: No.