DAYS AT BLAKE HOLSEY HIGH / BLACK HOLE HIGH
TV, Discovery Kids, NBC, October 5, 2002-January 28, 2006)
Shadia Simmons – Corrine Baxter
Michael Seater – Lucas Randall
Noah Reid – Marshall Wheeler
Robert Clark – Vaughn Pearson
Jeff Douglas – Professor Noel “Z” Zachary
Valerie Boyle – Principal Amanda Durst
Lawrence Bayne – Victor Pearson
Tony Munch – The Janitor
Black Hole High, or Strange
Days at Blake Holsey High in the United States, was centered on the titular
boarding school. The school was located next to a laboratory, Pearadyne
Industries, which specialized in various technologies and quantum physics until
an accident in 1987 caused several employees to disappear and the lab to be
shut down. Ever since, strange things have happened at the school. Random
disappearances caused by time-traversing wormholes (or black holes), Pearadyne
technology run amok, and strange mutations in the student body that altered
their personalities or physical attributes.
|Professor Z, Josie, Lucas, Vaughn, Marshall, Corrine and Principal Durst by the school sign.
Created by Jim Raspas, he conceived of the
idea during a period when he was looking for work and heard Discovery Kids
was looking for a science show. He thought it might be fun to have a show where
the rules of science were turned on their head. A fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Harry Potter, he added the element of a group of kids
encountering and dealing with strange occurrences. Discovery initially passed
on the idea until Canadian production company Fireworks
Entertainment expressed interest in making it. And with Discovery’s newly-formed
partnership with NBC, they saw the show as a
perfect fit for their Discovery Kids on
NBC programming block.
|The Science Club.
The series began with the arrival of
new student Josie Trent (originally meant to be a Latina, played by Emma
Taylor-Isherwood), a brilliant and spirited rebel who had a turbulent
relationship with her mother, Kelly (Lori Hallier). Once she arrived
at the school, she became enthralled with uncovering the reason behind the mysterious
happenings and the secret of Pearadyne. She would befriend and join the
school’s Science Club, who would become enwrapped (and sometimes the victims
of) the mysteries themselves. They included Corrine Baxter (Shadia Simmons),
Josie’s roommate and the daughter of a psychiatrist and neurosurgeon who was a
perfectionist and always wanted things her way; Lucas Randall (Michael Seater),
the school conspiracy theorist who always had his suspicions about the
happenings on campus, which were verified when he witnessed science teacher Professor
Middleton (Steve Jackson) disappear into a wormhole; and Marshall wheeler (Noah
Reid), a talented musician and ambitious entrepreneur with his own moral code
that sees him not minding breaking rules, but has him against lying and
cheating. Leading the club was Middleton’s replacement, Professor Noel “Z”
Zachary (Jeff Douglas), who believed in engaging his students with
unconventional teaching methods and was just as curious to get to the bottom of
things as they were.
|The Janitor with Josie's clone.
Running the school was Principal
Amanda Durst (Valerie Boyle), who had begun her career there as a science
teacher in 1977. She was extremely strict and was quick to hand out detentions
for those breaking the rules; however, much of that was motivated by her desire
to keep the school’s secrets. Durst seemed to be under the influence of the
ever-present and menacing Victor Pearson (Lawrence Bayne), one of the
co-founders of Pearadyne and head of the school board. Victor ran Pearadyne
with the aid of a stress ball belonging to Josie that became infused with
limitless energy, which he took from her during one of her trips into the past.
In order to keep tabs on the Science Club, Victor had sent his son, Vaughn
(Robert Clark), a popular student and bully, to join them as his spy. And then
there was the mysterious Janitor (Tony Munch); a person from the future
transported back through a wormhole. He was the observer of the observers; a
group of people dedicated to guard and maintain the time stream. He provided
Josie help, although often in cryptic fashion, and left secret messages
beginning with “Shrink” that often related to an episode’s plot and the
developing storyline. He would come to take on Josie’s clone (Taylor-Isherwood with
her sister, Sally, as a
stand-in when the two were together) as a protégé and send her to be trained as
an observer. Finally, there was Andreas Jack Avenir (John Ralston); the mysterious
benefactor of the school who seemed to be present in various eras of its
history. He would eventually be revealed to be Josie’s father and the real
cause behind all the strangeness as he attempted to gain control over the
|Josie has that shrinking feeling.
Other characters included school bullies Tyler Jessop (Christopher Tai), a self-important womanizing show-off who frequently antagonized Marshall, and Stewart Kubiak (Dru Viergever), a star athlete that loved to mock the Science Club, especially Lucas; Madison (Talia Schlanger), a stuck-up cheerleader; Will (Liam Titcomb) and Jarrod (Marc Devlin), members of Marshall’s band, Magnet 360; and Sarah Lynch Pearson (Jenny Levine), Victor’s wife and Vaughn’s mother who co-founded Pearadyne and disappeared after her ambitions caused the accident in the lab.
|Victor Pearson: sinister person or just a jerk?
Strange Days at Blake Holsey High began airing in Canada on Global TV and NBC and in the United States on Discovery Kids and NBC (as one of the launch programs of the Discovery Kids on NBC programming block) on October 5, 2002. The show was filmed at the Auchmar Estate on the Hamilton Escarpment in Hamilton, Ontario. It was written by Raspas with Bruce Kalish, Jeff Biederman, David Garber, Lorianne T. Overton, Skander Halim, Joe Rassulo, Richard Clark, Suzanne Bolch, Kevin May, Jeff F. King, Thérèse Beapuré, Jeffrey Alan Schechter, Kevin Lund, T.J. Scott, Ian G. Saunders, Andrew Nicholls, Darrell Vickers, Elizabeth Stewart, Amy Jacobson, and Jennifer Kennedy. Each episode was structured around a particular scientific principle, blending in some of the typica teenage drama often associated with a school-based program. Carlos Lopes provided the music, with Fusion Sound and Picture and Good FX providing the special effects.
|Marshall goes invisible.
After the first six months on air, Strange
Days ended up in syndication worldwide. It performed well, earning renewal
for three seasons; however, the third season was actually supposed to be part
of the second until the production decided to split it in half. It also racked
up multiple award nominations, including a Daytime Emmy, Young Artist, Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, Gemini, and Directors Guild of Canada, however
it won none of them. Production ultimately came to an end when Fireworks was
sold to ContentFilm
(now part of Kew Media Group) in 2005. A
film called Strange Days: Conclusions was aired in 2006, wrapping up the
main storyline and bringing the series to a satisfying close. That film was
later broken up into three episodes and aired as an abbreviated fourth season.
|The prospective DVD cover.