Black Hole High
"There's nothing wrong at Blake Holsey High."—The unimaginably vague Opening Narration to Black Hole High.
Canadian series, also called Strange Days at Blake Holsey High (in Canada), 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 ABC 3 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.
- Adults Are Useless -- Not so much useless but are usually in on the conspiracy.
- Almighty Janitor -- The Janitor
- Alpha Bitch -- Madison
- Back for the Finale -- Josie
- Badass Bookworm -- Corrine, Marshall, and Lucas all have their moments.
- Becoming the Mask -- Vaughn, originally The Mole for Victor.
- Beta Couple -- Corrine and Marshall.
- Big Bad -- Victor Pearson, at least to all appearances.
- 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.
- Building of Adventure: Blake Holsey High.
- 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.
- Cool Teacher -- Professor Z
- Cross Referenced Titles - The first episode is titled "Wormhole". "Wormhole Part 2" is not the second episode, but the second season premiere.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Groundhog Day Loop -- "Thursday", for Corrine.
- Hollywood Science -- Though occasionally averted. Emphasis on the occasionally.
- Identical Grandson -- Principal Durst in "Past", when Josie time traveled to when the high school was first built.
- Incredible Shrinking Man -- Josie, "Shrink".
- Incredibly Lame Pun -- Marshall is rather fond of these, unfortunately.
- 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.
- 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
- 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 with the Villain -- Victor and Vaughn. Briefly toyed with with Josie and her mother as well.
- 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.
- Myth Arc
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero -- Josie, "Inquiry"
- 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.
- Our Wormholes Are Different
- 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 what would've been the (at least from what it looks like) originally intended fourth and final season of the show.
- Redheaded Hero -- Josie
- School Play -- Romeo and Juliet in "Brainwaves".
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong -- "Fate", "Wormhole Part 2"
- 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.
- 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.
- The Snark Knight -- Sometimes Josie comes off as this.
- The Watcher -- The mysterious janitor.
- 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 Skip -- Between Season 3 and the movie.
- Too Dumb to Live -- Marshall is stunningly incautious for someone who knows about all the weird things going on.
- 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.
- "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.