Hits and Misses – 24-28 Aug 2015

hitsandmisses

Hits

Raw Drama

er45_0003_Layer-2 Now, first things first, Toadie’s accident this week may not have looked overly impressive and yes, slightly forced but all that can be forgiven when the aftermath delivers – and it has, in spades. Paralysis storylines are classic soap staples and by now don’t really tend to have the dramatic effect they perhaps should. Where this storyline differs, however, is how down to earth the reactions are, and how the actors delivered. Ryan Moloney really delivered Toadie’s horror as he realised what had happened to him and as ever, Eve Morey was fantastic as Sonya, almost on the brink of a nervous breakdown as she struggled to hold everything together during Toadie’s hospitalisation. It’s the real, raw drama that the Rebecchis always do so well and they turned what could’ve been a ‘same old same old’ story into something quite powerful. We hope Toadie’s road to recovery is well paced and as well written as the initial aftermath has been. If so, we’re going to be treated to more great drama from Eve and Ryan.

Family Friends

er45_0001_Layer-4We’ve always been big fans of some of the more unusual and unexpected friendships and interactions that have popped up in Neighbours over the years and this week it was the turn of the bond between Nate and Ben. We’ve already talked about how well Tyler works as a surrogate big brother to Ben but with Nate also loving at Number 28, it was about time we got to see some scenes between and his… cousin’s stepmum’s grandson. The scenes didn’t disappoint and Meyne Wyatt clearly relishes the chance to do some comedy, just like we get in Nate’s own friendship with Tyler. Nate and Ben’s inability to entertain Nell was very funny but more than that, it was good to seeing the slightly morose Ben crack a smile. What could’ve been merely a comedy plot was punctuated with some nice characterisation as Ben found a second confidante. We’re loving the new lease of life in Number 28 and long may it continue.

Guilty Parties

er45_0002_Layer-3It was a tough week as well for Naomi and Kyle Canning as they both struggled with the worry that they might have been to blame for Toadie’s accident. As you know we love the Cannings – they feel like classic Neighbours to us – and all the characters feel like a family together. That’s why, even with all the finger pointing, we really really enjoyed the scenes with Kyle and his auntie Nomes, even if he did later drop her in it – oops! Still, there was a little bit of Canning light relief as Kyle’s hopeless apprentice was a walking disaster at Dial-a-Kyle and his dopey behaviour made Kyle look like the local genius!

Misses

After School Special

er45_0004_Layer-1If there’s something Neighbours is a little guilty of it’s making ‘modern issues for teens’ plots a little cringey. We remember the time Amber got bullied on social media and it didn’t go well. Having Ben return with a secret was a nice idea and the premise of it worked really well, in fact had there been more teen characters around it might have been a success. Unfortunately the only people around to react to Ben’s nudes were extras so the whole thing fell flat. Having Ben perform a song with his video warning of the dangers of sending nude photos was meant to be a poignant moment that students and viewers alike could learn from however it was so laboured and unbelievable that it came across as a bad after school special. It’s the kind of video a teacher like Brad would make you watch. And having Karl watch can’t have done Ben’s street cred any good either. Awkward.

Catfishing

Joer45_0000_Layer-5sh stepped up to a whole new level of creepy this week as he continued to catfish Amber whilst pretending to be her parenting forum friend Phoebe. He’s had plenty of opportunity to come clean but instead he comes across as a complete stalker! Taking advice from Aaron he got a second phone and started texting Amber from it. We just can’t believe this is the same character we had as one of our favourites last year. He’s stooped to a really nasty level and we’ve lost all love for him. The only good thing that has come from this is the twist at the end of the week where Amber confessed to Phoebe about Lauren and Brad – and now Josh knows too. He’s got a real dilemma on his hands.

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Scene of the Week – 24-28 Aug 2015

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For such a big week, our choice for scene wasn’t the stunt itself, but rather the powerful, poignant moment where Karl broke the truth to a horrified Sonya. It was all the more powerful coming from Karl, close friend and neighbour, and Alan Fletcher really sold the reluctant father figure being forced to be professional and not sugarcoat Toadie’s prognosis. Eve Morey, as usual, stole the show. Eve truly gets her character and infuses with a sense of reality and knows how to play every scene and situation. There was no hysterics – because that’s not who Sonya is. What she did, with little dialogue entirely on reaction alone – was show us Sonya’s quiet devastation. Despite her attempt to hold everything together, it was clear the news was breaking Sonya inside. Another powerful scene from one of Neighbours’ strongest ever actresses.

Hits and Misses – 20-24 April 2015

hitsandmisses

Hits

Lycra Laughs

Ner27_0002_Layer-1eighbours never ever disappoints when it comes to comedy capers and this latest turn of events looks to be no exception. Feeling like he might have been a bit tubbier than he liked, Karl decided he’d start a biking club for the men of Ramsay Street. Cue jokes about sore bums and Susan berating their efforts and choice in Lycra and we had us a perfect Neighbours comedy plot. We can’t help but feel a little bad for Lou as the other guys felt he was slowing them down but we had to laugh like Susan that their cycle route depended solely on where they could get a decent cake and coffee. Now that’s our kind of bike club. Please give us plenty more of these fab ‘club’ plots – we’d be up for the proposed girls’ club too!

Rebecchi Return

er27_0000_Layer-3With a cast as small as Neighbours, it’s fair to say cast absences tend to be very noticeable and even moreso when the character in question is one half of one of the show’s most popular couples. And this has certainly been the case for Sonya, who was off in America caring for Callum to cover Eve Morey’s maternity leave. So this week we were delighted to see Sonya return, along with nice new hair-do and settle in as if she’s never been away. We loved how the show didn’t make a huge song and dance about her return, merely adding her into a scene where Danni sought Toadie’s legal counsel. The natural, everyday return is something really befitting Toadie and Sonya’s ‘normal’ relationship and we’re glad the show didn’t engineer an OTT exit and return story to facilitate Eve’s absence like so many soaps before. Even better, it’s been great that Sonya’s time away has been very brief and we can’t wait for more fantastic Rebecchi family scenes to come.

Masterful Michelle

er27_0001_Layer-2As we bemoaned the return of Dimato, truly the character that just won’t quit, we were pleasantly surprised to see that he’s heading off to lay low! And who are we getting instead to continue the plot? The wonderful Michelle. Yes, despite her brief appearances so far, she’s quickly caught our eyes as one to watch. Managing to be more sinister than Dimato himself (faint praise we know) she’s injecting a bit of personality and charisma into this plot – something that was sorely needed. Ra Chapman plays the character with ease and it’s great to have a scheming female character who doesn’t have Naomi’s vulnerabilities and wouldn’t think twice about manipulating poor Tyler for her own purposes. Though the story is far from our favourite at the minute, we have high hopes for devious Michelle.

Misses

Sisterly Strife

er28_0001_Layer-1Now we’re big fans of Paige on this blog – she arrived last year as a real breath of fresh air and we quickly took her to our hearts. Fiery, funny and of course, hiding a massive secret, she quickly became a fan favourite, so just what has gone wrong recently? That fiery nature we loved has become aggressive and argumentative. Poor Imogen and Josh have bared the brunt of Paige’s wrath in recent weeks and we’re sick of this change in character for one of our faves. Plus Friday’s reveal that Amber is pregnant means there’s a possibility that Josh is the babydaddy and we’re certain Josh will feel his sister come down on him like a tonne of bricks. We hope, much like Imogen’s turn for the worse last year, the writers recapture what it was about Paige that made us love her and move away from the current direction.

Cheese and Dimato

er28_0000_Layer-2Really? Really? Dimato again? The main problem with Dimato is that he’s just not scary, he’s a cheese-tastic lite villain and frankly he’s boring. On the bright side, as we said above, we’re fond of Michelle and although she’s just as tiny as Dimato we actually find her a lot more threatening. Gangster plots aren’t great in any soap, least of all the warm and fun Neighbours so most of the time Dimato is talking about his dodgy operations we’re zoning out. And not only do we hate Dimato but it drags Tyler down – who we really enjoy – and means more boring Brennan police plots.

Scene of the Week – 5-9 Jan 2015

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It was a strong return for the show this week but despite that, there was zero competition for scene of the week as Sonya finally confronted her stalker, Erin. In an unusual break from Neighbours’ normal techniques, the scene played out uninterrupted and delivered an emotionally powerful and effective moment worthy of the dark subject matter at hand. True to form, Eve Morey never fails to deliver in emotional scenes and Adrienne Pickering must be credited for going toe to toe with Eve and helping form a believable, complex character within a mere handful of episodes. Exploring Sonya’s past always ensures we get some fantastic drama and this was no exception. We can’t wait to see where the story goes next.

Neighbours 2014: Top Ten Best Bits

It’s been a great year for Neighbours, so much so we wanted to celebrate the best bits of the year. We think 2014 was the year Neighbours really cemented itself as a soap in great shape. 2015 looks set to be even better, but let’s take a look back at our favourite bits of this year.

10 – Neighbours Tornado!

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When Neighbours announced a tornado storyline, a lot of fans were unsurprisingly worried. How would this ever be managed on the small budget on the show? The answer is quite well indeed! Set aside what felt like hours of Amber whining, what we got was a slick, well shot story. Cleverly making use of Power Road and great design effects, it was brilliant to see the roof torn off Amber’s car as the tornado waged destruction on Grease Monkeys. More impressive however was the aftermath. That incredible shot of Ramsay Street, the morning after, wrecked and a shell of its usual self had a brilliant visual impact and the attention to detail was stunning. Even better was the fact that the tornado served as a catalyst for the reveal of the kiss – one of the biggest plots of the year – making it clear that Neighbours could nail both style and substance.

9 – Kyle and Georgia’s Wedding

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Who doesn’t love a good wedding? They’re a soap staple and this year it was the turn of Kyle and Georgia to get hitched. Sure it wasn’t without its disasters – like Georgia ending up stranded before the wedding – but all in all it was a cute and refreshingly happy day. We’ve not been too fond of plots where these two have struggled with problems in their relationship but keeping them together and in fun plots seems to have worked well for them. Plus we’ll never forget their hilarious attempts at role play to keep the spark after their honeymoon. Really funny stuff. We know there will be Canning drama ahead but we hope they keep the new Mr and Mrs Canning happy together.

8 – Kate Ramsay Shot Dead

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How do you solve a problem like Kate Ramsay? Apparently you shoot her in the back. Kate had been one of the more divisive characters in the show with some loving her but others were long tired of her various romantic pursuits and victim status. When it was announced that Ashleigh Brewer would be bowing out of the she and Scott McGregor would be returning for a guest stint, a happy ending was a foregone conclusion surely? Except it didn’t happen. In a shock twist, Kate was gunned down by Victor Cleary, as vengeance for Paul killing his brother Gus ten years prior. Such exits are not what we expect from the traditionally “safe” Neighbours but that rareness is what made it work. Surprising, exciting and emotive, we have to praise the show for pulling the rug from below us and giving Kate the iconic exit no one expected.

7 – Coward Punch

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Chris being knocked out by a drunken punch by Josh got a bit preachy at times but it was a well written story that seemed to divide viewers. While we were a bit fed up to see Chris in hospital again, it was impossible not to feel his plight as he struggled to cope following his head injury. We were pleasantly surprised at how sympathetic Josh came across too and his pained regret meant we were relieved at his lesser sentence. James Mason and Harley Bonner did a fantastic job with this morally grey issue so it was an easy highlight of the year.

6 – The Josh and Naomi Affair

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This time last year Josh was up there with our most disliked characters. Then a magical thing happened: the Jamber love story ended and Josh became likeable. Then, quicker than it takes to strip in a lift, Josh indulged a little no-strings hook up with newcomer and amazing older woman Naomi. We were totally hooked. They were funny, flirty and sexy and they actually seemed pretty great for one another. We enjoyed every second. Of course it wasn’t to last and we were sad to see it finish, especially because the inevitable prospect of losing Josh to Amber’s charisma black hole is something we dread when he’s now one of our favourites.

5 – The Book of Secrets

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The saucy Fifty Shades tribute started out as a simple throwaway comedy plot which grew and grew into a hilarious long running comedy plot involving so many characters and in-jokes. Easily one of the greatest things Neighbours did this year and it just seemed somehow so wrong yet so right that Karl would be the one behind the kinky tale. Not only did it give us great Kennedy moments, it left many of the residents flustered including our favourite Sheila who begun having saucy dreams about Lou and then Paul! It’s the type of comedy Neighbours is so good at and we hope this isn’t the end for The Book of Secrets!

4 – The Kennedys

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In 2014 the show celebrated twenty years of the Kennedy family and what a celebration it was! Karl and Susan recovered from a very quiet 2013 by coming to fore once more with a great mix of everyday drama and classic, inimitable Kennedy comedy. Jackie and Alan were as ever in their element and it was fantastic to see the spotlight shine on them once more. Not only this but we were overjoyed to see returns from Zeke, Mal and in particular, Libby and Ben made overdue and welcome returns. And as the year ended, Karl and Susan in true Kennedy form took in a new stray in the form of troubled Nate. The pinnacle of the anniversary came in the form of a special episode, filled to the brim with flashbacks and references to the past. It was a touching look back at the characters’ amazing history and an absolute joy to watch.

3 – Brad and Terese’s marriage woes

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The arrival of Paige Smith had a massive impact on the show and characters but no more so than the effect she had on Terese and Brad’s marriage. What once seemed like one of the most stable marriages in the street slowly but surely began to break down in a series of lies, hurt, mistakes and arguments – and understandably so! Brad’s betrayal caused Terese’s deeply hidden insecurities to bubble to the surface and it wasn’t long before they pair’s relationship grew toxic and bitter. By year’s end, we loved hearing that their relationship was born from an affair and getting some much needed backstory on the family. In addition, Terese has quickly become one of the show’s most fascinating characters and been a real star throughout 2014.

2 – Rebecchi struggles

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It was a big, big year for the Rebecchi family this year as they waved goodbye to Callum and faced their biggest hurdle in the form of minxy Naomi Canning. What we loved most however was that this wasn’t a cliché affair story – far from it. The reason we really loved the Rebecchis this year was the fact that it brought some of the best character-driven writing the show has seen in a long time. Eve and Ryan delivered as always and cemented their place as one of the show’s most iconic couples. Sonya’s addictions and backstory have a constant impact on every move she makes and it’s been incredible to witness the contributed exploration of such a complex character. Toadie’s loyalty to his wife was both moving, and much welcome in the modern day soap era of affairs and betrayal. Time and again we got powerful, raw and superbly performed scenes and we can only hope 2015 remains as strong for this fantastic family.

1 – Paige Smith Revealed as Lauren and Brad’s Child

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One of the most engaging and interesting stories this year had to be Paige Smith’s arrival and subsequent reveal as Lauren and Brad’s long lost daughter. It was a story that rocked both families before she even appeared on screen and her reveal set a chain of events that totally transformed the Turner and Willis families. Not only were the reveal scenes beautifully played and gripping, but Olympia Valance has made a fantastic addition to the cast. Paige is gutsy and headstrong and we love her interactions with her new siblings. We hope to see more of the same great material for Paige in 2015.

Hits and Misses – 1-5 Dec 2014

hitsandmisses

Hits

Good Neighbours

er12__0004_Layer-2Well, it’s the end of the year for Neighbours and our final number one position of the year could only go to… Neighbours, as a whole. Yes, it’s been a fantastic year for the show and we’re happy to see the show thrive. 2013 was nothing but the appetiser, the blank slate for 2014 to build on, and boy did it build upon it. Fantastic long running plots such as the Paige saga, Toadie and Sonya’s marriage problems, the Turner and Willis marriage crises have reaffirmed the show’s focus on family with the older characters, the parents, FINALLY getting the attention and material they deserve. Great new additions like Olympia Valance and Morgana O’Reilly brought fresh energy to the show. And the show’s return to character based humour has brought about a welcoming return to form as we’ve giggled at the Book of Secrets and Karl’s porcelain pig saga.  With such a strong 2014, we can only imagine 2015 will continue to go onwards and upwards.

UK Cliffhangers

er12__0004_Layer-5We love the the show now delivers finale episodes tailored to a UK audience. It’s much nicer than taking a hiatus on an average episode and the next best thing to airing the show on the same day as our fellow Australian viewers. This year we got a thrilling finale and our favourites had to be the nail biting Sonya and Terese cliffhangers. Eve Morey as usual delivered a real and powerful performance and we were shocked at how tense and scary the final scene was as she screamed at her tormentor to let her in to her crying child. Similarly Terese being trapped in the hotel room with her manipulative ex has us fearing what may happen next and was refreshingly dark for Neighbours. We can’t wait until January to find out what happens next.

Naomi’s Back!

er12__0004_Layer-4Oh Naomi – what a sight for sore eyes! Although Neighbours is in a great patch right now we’d be lying if we said we didn’t miss Naomi in her little break. We’re thrilled to have her back as she’s such a lively character. We don’t entirely believe she’s over Toadie but we hope she can find some happiness of her own. With the Cannings looking to take centre stage we can only hope to see even more of Naomi because she really brightens up our screens!

Misses

Shallow Grave

er12__0004_Layer-1We loved the cliffhangers in the UK finale of Neighbours – there was just one thing that left us a bit perplexed and that’s Susan looking like she’s about to be buried alive! We don’t really know why Nate’s up and digging in the night but we can only imagine it’s PTSD related. We’re glad that his trauma hasn’t been forgotten but this plot twist – of Susan falling into the grave – is just a little bit bonkers. It should be dramatic and a little dark but instead it made us giggle a little! In the UK we’ve got to leave Susan there, lying in the shovelled dirt but as it’s Susan she’s used to these near-death experiences so we’re not too worried!

Wake-up Call

er12__0004_Layer-3Brad, Brad, Brad. We fear this is becoming a regular fixture on the blog but he really did outdo himself this week. Not only were we annoyed at his latent resentment towards his wife for making him get a job – welcome to the real world, Brad! But we were annoyed at his unwillingness to realise that his jealousy over Ezra is exactly how Terese must have felt about Lauren. And his reaction to Terese being upfront about Ezra led to a shocking display of hypocrisy as he failed to remember that in the wake of his kiss with Lauren, he didn’t go a day without meeting Lauren for a private, personal chat despite being fully aware of the hurt he was causing his wife. We hope Terese’s current predicament will be the big wake-up call Brad needs!

Next week we countdown our favourite plots of 2014!

Hits and Misses – 24-28 Nov 2014

hitsandmisses

Hits

All About Eve

er11__0001_Layer-3It’s been a terrible week for poor Sonya as she struggled with her addictions in light of the ongoing poison pen letters but an absolutely fantastic week for the actress behind her, Eve Morey. One of the show’s finest, Eve never fails to play Sonya perfectly. Her nuanced and realistic portrayal of her character is powerful and moving – and we have to credit Neighbours for the brilliant depiction of an addict struggling to stay clean. This plot has afforded us a great opportunity to see this darker side of Sonya and the stark realities of her daily struggle. Eve is a true talent and we can’t praise her enough for turning Sonya into one of the all-time greats in our opinion. She has us hooked and we can’t wait to see where it goes next but we can imagine, whatever twists the plot takes, Eve will continue to give her all in the role.

The Cannings

er11__0002_Layer-1It was a big week for the Canning family as they dealt with the shock return of Kyle’s wayward father, Gary. For characters that are normally involved in the more comic side of Erinsborough life, it was refreshing to see Colette Mann and in particular Chris Milligan receive some meaty material and they totally delivery. We’ve loved the various rows and arguments but above all we love that they’ve managed to come through it as a family. It’s also great to see the unusually stable Georgia and Kyle relationship continue to go strong. Yes, Kyle may have been a bit too quick to buy Gary’s obvious lie as an excuse for his absence but we’re intrigued to see what he’s hiding and hope Naomi is back soon to stire things up!

Elvis the Pig

er11__0000_Layer-2This continuing saga of Elvis, the porcelain pig, had us smiling all week. It goes without saying that actors Alan and Jackie clearly relish every minute of the fun and humour and that’s so clear in their performances. They can make us smile with a single facial expression and because they’ve been their so long, the characters’ quirks feel real and all the funnier – Karl’s tightness with money and Susan’s exasperation at his latest notions. Not only that but it was nice to see Chris and Nate get involved with the comedy and gave us a chance to see a lighter side to their relationship. More please!

Misses

Willis Woes

er11__0004_Layer-1This is a superb plot – don’t get us wrong, we adore it – but we have a real problem with Brad’s behaviour right now. He is well aware of Terese’s feelings and that she has struggled to accept his kiss with Lauren and their closeness lately but still he seems to spend every waking moment around Lauren and is forever asking her for marriage advice. Er hello! What a stupid decision. We understand him wanting to spend time with his daughter Paige but he’s not even trying to be mindful of Terese’s feelings. If there’s one shining light it’s that Brad made his feelings about how much he loves Terese clear to father Doug whereas recently you’d have believed he was sabotaging his marriage by choice! We love the Willis family so we hope some time apart works to mend their relationship.

The Cult of Rain

er11__0003_Layer-1The one poor plot in a great week of Neighbours drama unfortunately falls to another Amber and Daniel plot – this time with Daniel’s ex Rain. It’s incredibly difficult to find any enjoyment in characters who talk about ‘zen’ and have dreamy ideals when in real life we’d stay well away from these flaky people! This sustainable New Eden community development isn’t an interesting plot to watch and Rain is nowhere near charismatic enough for us to believe that she can win Amber over. The guided meditation sequence was creepy rather than enchanting but if Rain steps up her creepy hynoptic powers we might like her a little more.