Hits and Misses – Jan-Feb 2017

hitsandmisses

Hits

OMDee

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Well, well, well. It has been the biggest talking point in years, probably ever. The holy grail of Neighbours plot. The biggest unsolved mystery. The stuff fan dreams are made of and it’s finally happened – Dee has returned. Or has she? After 13 years, we fell off our seats as ‘Dee’ appeared Toadie’s doorstep and spun him a long, convoluted and still, not unbelievable story about her miraculous survival and like Toadie, we bought every word. And while many theorised that things weren’t as they seemed, we were honestly shocked to the core when it was revealed that Dee wasn’t Dee at all – but rather, being a manipulative con-woman named Andrea. Words honestly can’t do justice to this story and its impact and to do so would be to undersell it. We experienced Toadie’s joy with him, shared the scepticism of Sonya and Susan as the clues added up and felt the stomach punch when we finally realised the truth. The story is rife with incredible continuity and tender heartfelt moments that served only to become harrowing punches in the stomach when Andrea revealed her cruel plot. It brought us the return of the wonderful Sindi as Andrea’s partner in crime and took a hammer of the Rebecchi marriage and by extension, Steph and Mark. What we’ve loved most of all is the intricate plotting at play here – the type of plot that’s rarely seen in soap. Everything, every twist dovetails into the next and it’s effect on the characters and how it’s gradually drawn more in has been a masterstroke. Last but not least, Madeleine West effortlessly proves her worth as an actress convincing us not only as the troubled, fragile Dee but the ruthless Andrea. What a delight it is to see her back onscreen and we have to admit, deep deep down we’re still hoping that Andrea can serve us one more massive twist and reveal that she really is Dee after all…

Messy Ties

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Speaking of characters that have been drawn into ‘The Web of Dee’, we’ve been delighted to see the return of fan favourite recurring cop, Ellen Crabb and by extension, her ex Victoria and daughter Josie. When Victoria first popped up again the other month as part of the IVF story, we failed to realised it was actually rather brilliant foreshadowing of the bigger role she was soon to play in Steph’s life. As Steph feared she was losing Mark to the other woman in his life, and mother of his child, Sonya, Victoria was there to support Steph and ultimately make a move on her. We can’t lie, we live for Victoria’s tragic desperation for Steph as the show toes the line between two women with a connection and at the same time, two women who are escaping from messy relationships together. The fact that Mark works along with Ellen has made things even better – and of course, more complicated. It was great to see Josie return after such a long time and we’re hoping to see so much more of this brilliant little unit and dare we say, they’d make excellent additions to the core cast.

Classic Neighbours

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What can we say about the Cannings that we haven’t said before? They continue to be a highlight in every episode of Neighbours they appear in, bringing classic comedy, warmth and quirkiness to our screens. Their rivalry with the Kennedys was a fun watch with the Romeo and Juliet style romance of Ben and Xanthe at the heart of it. Ben and Xanthe have been such a funny and cute couple, the kind of made-to-be teen romance Neighbours has been lacking for a few years – but really, we just love every aspect of Xanthe from her feminism to her Japanese phrasing. Just like his mother, Gary fits into the community so well and we love his scenes with Paul and Terese and the recent sausage plot has had us howling at the innuendos. The Cannings just keep on giving and we don’t think we’ll ever get sick of them.

Pregnant Paige

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When Paige was revealed to be pregnant just before Christmas we were dreading it. Hormones and extreme mood swings – we just couldn’t imagine that was going to make Paige, who had become rather insufferable at times, anything but hateful. But surprisingly becoming pregnant has made Paige far more watchable. We’ve started to see glimpses of the Paige we liked and remembered from her introduction – the independence and the empowerment. Even though we’re not looking forward to the inevitable Jack merry-go-round, it’s been good to see Paige making decisions and being confident rather than just chasing a guy. Through this storyline we’ve also seen Paige form an unusual friendship with David which has been warm and interesting and given someone else for Paige to confide in and also support and done wonders for both characters. Here’s hoping that Paige becoming a mother will lead to new directions for the character and continue to take her down a less selfish path.

Misses

Bratty Behaviour

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We’ve really enjoyed the Tyler and Piper chemistry for ages – from their friendship to their romance – so much so we’ve been able to look past the slightly iffy age gap. However, we’ve not seen them in their best light since they got together and we haven’t enjoyed their scenes so much lately. The main problem is that we actually agree with Brad and Terese’s reservations and Typer aren’t exactly proving themselves to be mature by acting out this way. We know they’re in love and want to be together but Piper just comes across as a brat when she tries to fight for their respect instead of trying to approach the problem rationally. Moving out of home and having to cope alone is not going to end well and it’s a fairly well-trodden plot that we’re a bit tired of. We’re sure somehow the Willis family will come around to the idea, maybe with Tyler doing something to prove he’s worthy of their daughter’s heart, but for now they’re less star-crossed and more unlikeable.

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Hits and Misses – Oct-Dec 2016

hitsandmisses

Hits

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Big Issues

You know us, we love a big, dramatic, character-led plot and they don’t get much bigger than this – the surrogacy plot. It’s been an absolute joy to watch unfold in recent weeks, but particularly because it all comes from a very real place for the characters. As quick and hasty decisions may have been, the show has made a point of showing them as deliberately so – and as such, that’s how the characters have ended up in the frosty, friction-filled mess they’re currently in. We’ve loved everything – Steph’s desperate longing and doubts, Mark’s sincere joy at becoming a dad, Sonya’s eternal optimism and selfless nature and poor Toadie’s feelings of inadequacy and betrayal. The show hasn’t shied away from the maturity of the situation and it’s great to see the show use appropriate language when discussing the ins and outs of what the surrogacy involves – instead of the cliché Neighbours euphemisms. Our particular highlight is the devastatingly real scenes where Toadie and Sonya employ therapy tactics to get through their issues but sadly, we’re fearing for the future of one of our favourite couples…

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Family Matters

There’s something so very “Neighbours” about the brashy and bubbly Cannings that have just made them one of the best parts of the show. The last few months have seen Gary embark on a very surprising but brilliantly entertaining affair with Terese where we learnt far too much about their sex life in scenes which actually had an intense and unexpected chemistry. We’re not sure we can get the image of Gary naked in a bush out of our heads very easily. Of course just as it looked like Terese and Gary might be getting a bit softer and more serious (if you ignore Terese’s sizzling feelings for Mr Paul Robinson), Xanthe’s con artist mother, Brooke showed up to give things a good stir. Brooke’s arrival – though familiar territory for Neighbours – gave us some good family drama, especially for our favourite, Xanthe, whose heart was bound to be broken when she idolised her mother so dearly. With all Brooke’s meddling it seems like cute teen sweethearts Ben and Xanthe could be on the rocks too which is a bit gutting after all their heart-eyes on the Gold Coast. But one moment we won’t forget in Neighbours and Canning history was their surreal and hilarious appearance on TV gameshow, Family Feud. Love live Sheila’s teeth gritting!

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The Return of the Lamb-Crabbs

Not only has the surrogacy delivered some great scenes four our regulars but it’s been made all the stronger by the presence of two great recurring cast. It’s not secret we loved every second the brilliant Ellen Crabb is onscreen and we’re sad to learn she and her partner had split. What we didn’t expect, however, was to see her significant other, the very lesser-seen Victoria Lamb to return and play a much bigger part than she ever got to in the past. Showing the Lamb-Crabbs experience with surrogacy as an aside to Steph and Mark’s struggle, was a masterful touch and showed a great, alternative opinion about how their own surrogacy plight had a detrimental effect on their relationship. We’re hoping so much that the plot somehow brings the two women back together and that there could be a much more permanent future for the pair on the show, complete with the return of the much-missed Josie.

Misses

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Insufferable “Love” Story

All these months later, and Paige and Jack are STILL absolutely insufferable. The on/off relationship, the boxing, the bizarrely prominent ‘Blaze Outreach’, more of the on/off relationship, the one sexual encounter, snarking, bitterness, promising they’ll get over each other, theological discussion… it never ends. A slow burn relationship is usually, without fail, the way to progress in soap. It gives the viewer something to get attached to, to root for and enjoy seeing things move at a realistic pace. When things get in the way of the characters getting together, we should be annoyed for them – certainly not at them. Paige and Jack’s mutual stubbornness and at times, very unlikable character traits make them impossible to root for and there’s not end to the dramas in sight. All we can hope for is that the inevitable happens, Jack leaves the church and they might be a bit more bearable when they’re together…

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Hopelessly Devoted

These last few months you’d be forgiven for thinking Neighbours was a medium for launching pop careers rather than the tagline of “unmissable drama” because not only did we suffer the tedium of Maddie’s pop career but we had to endure Angus’s too. Performances, moody autotuned strumming, pop video making – it felt like Neighbours was a big advert for Jai Waetford rather than really giving Erinsborough’s answer to Dick Van Dyke a story. Then did come a story, the tried and tested teacher crush, this time with added sexual assault. Sure the issues of consent raised were worthy (even if it was so soon after the messy portrayal of Xanthe’s assault) but a combination of soppy crooner Angus and Elly the lush – it was never going to be a great story. Elly’s own back and forth flakiness, her ex, her “love” for Ned and the wine-fuelled self pity are becoming tiresome too, but at least now that this student/teacher ordeal is over and Angus is gone we might see something more watchable from her.

Hits and Misses – August/September 2016

hitsandmisses

Hits

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Sizzling Chemistry

Months on, and we’re still absolutely obsessed with Paulrese. There’s something special about the couple and we can’t quite put our finger on what. Ordinarily potential couples that have been drawn out this long have begun to lose their lustre due to the myriad of plotty reasons preventing them from giving it a go, or just as bad, a couple is rushed together and it’s clear to see that the pairing is nothing special. Unlike Paul and many of his past loves (including the lovely Rebecca), Paul and Terese are the very definition of slow-burn and whilst they currently claim to ‘hate’ each other, the absolutely incredible stand-offs between the pair absolutely ooze with sexual chemistry. Even when they’re at odds, it’s clear they’re besotted with each other. We know we may still be waiting a while for them to finally get together but we are truly excited about their potential to become a classic couple.

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The Cannings Can

While we can’t quite believe a pigeon race formed such a crowd-pleasing event (and was sponsored by a major hotel) in Erinsborough – are their lives that unexciting?! – we have really grown to love Gary Canning. There’s something very ‘Neighbours’ about Gary and the rest of the family that we can’t help but love him. Whether he’s being a downbeat dad or a reluctant and hopeless lacky for Paul, his uselessness is likeable and endearing. We really enjoyed him bonding with his pigeon and his boyish excitement reminds us so much of his much-missed son Kyle too. He’s the sort of ‘normal bloke’ character Neighbours needs and while he might be setting his sights a little high with his interest in Terese, it would be nice for him to settle in the street for a long time to come!

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Bright Young Thing

There’s probably not a Neighbours character we love more than Xanthe Canning right now. She’s fun, cute, hopelessly romantic and we loved her mournful tuba playing. This past month we thought she deserved far better than the badly (read: horrendously) told assault storyline and we’re bloody thankful that it’s over now. It was a really bad move of TPTB to tell the story in such a vague and misjudged way and we hope that Neighbours stay away from plots like that if they can’t be told properly in a G rating. On the bright side, Xanthe proves herself a true Canning, because like her gran, brother, father and sorely missed Auntie Nomes, Xanthe can handle comedy and drama brilliantly. And even though Ben doesn’t always deserve her, her crush is so damned endearing we can’t help but really root for them together and hope he treats her like the princess she deserves. They have sparks a plenty and it’s about time she had some happiness.

Misses

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Snakes and Stalkers

Snakes. Why have we spent the greater part of two months on a plot involving snakes? It’s not like we don’t enjoy the occasional villainous plot, or indeed the occasionally soapy, ‘Sunset Beach’ OTT craziness but a lot of the menace of Steph’s stalker ordeal was ultimately lost due to the rather strange decision to have it revolve around snakes on the loose with a tenuous link to the Bible in order to give it depth and meaning. Whilst we praise them for originality in terms of how a villain may choose to target their victim, it sadly got a little too silly for us and worse still, never seemed to reach a proper end – instead lasting at least a couple of weeks longer than it needed to. It did provide some good stuff and the return of the fabulous Ellen Crabb but we think there were better ways to eek drama out of a stalker plot and this probably wasn’t the way to go…

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Maddie-Sue

Another month, more Madison. Thankfully it seems the character is finally on her way out but why we’ve been forced to put up with her this long, we’ll never know. Setting aside the acting for a moment, even the writing for the character is bizarre. Why is everyone so obsessed with Madison?! In the truest of sense of the term ‘Mary-Sue’, Madison is seemingly perfection personified. She has great dress sense (apparently), she’s a great journalist, EA, businesswoman, and now a singer. Is there anything she can’t do? Apparently not, and everyone fawning over, singing her praises constantly, feels insincere and only highlights how unbelievable the character of Madison is at being able to do all these jobs with the efficiency and ability she apparently possesses. We hope she nabs this job on the Gold Coast and let’s face it, of course she will because she’s Madison and we can forget she ever happened.

Hits and Misses – 27 June-22 July

hitsandmisses

Hits

Night To Remember

er72_0004_Layer-2Whilst the build-up has divided viewers with some questionable behaviour from some of the characters, obsessed with dresses/Tyler respectively, the big much-hyped formal finally arrived. Now as any long-term viewer will know, even characters mentioning formals fills us all with a deep dread, so damaged are we from Kate Ramsay’s formal era from hell. This, however, was much more bearable and the event itself actually resulted in quite a great turn of events. Whilst all the cloying references to Instagram, likes, vlogs and general youth culture has been prevalent (and we’re not fans), the episode set all this aside for what Neighbours does best – old fashioned, character led storytelling. Xanthe and Ben finally got it together  after months of build-up and provided some very sweet moments. Xanthe’s destroyed dress prevented things from being too saccharine, thankfully! The real fun came from the arrival of Elly Conway and the effect she had on Piper and Tyler’s already-faltering relationship. Piper drenching her love rival (and accidentally Xanthe too) in sangria before realising it was her new teacher was a brilliant episode end and capped off a very goo episode indeed.

Making a Mark

er72_0004_Layer-1Last week also saw the return of famed, iconic character and Neighbours icon, Elly Conway. Oh wait, who? Yes, Elly made her unremarkable first appearance back in 2001 and lasted less than a year before he packed off to live with her mum again as the show reinvented itself and soon populated the teen cast with much stronger characters such as Sky. We all thought we’d never hear from Elly again until the casting announcement earlier this year and it’s safe to say she’ll be working much better in her current incarnation than she ever did back then. Jodi Anasta brings all her previous soapy experience to the table and really hit the ground running in the role. It’s so nice to see the show hiring experienced actors in comparison to some questionable signings lately. Elly is fun, flirty, mischievous, and just a little bit bitchy. She immediately gave the show a fun and much-needed kick of life and we’re really excited to see what trouble she can cause.
Belinda’s Back

er72_0004_Layer-3This month saw the surprise return of the slightly unhinged Belinda, Steph’s ex, with the incredible hair. We loved her in her first stint, even when she donned a surgeon’s mask and got a bit too involved in Toadie’s operation, so we were thrilled to see her return to screens. This being Neighbours, her return was all down to Paul Robinson’s meddling with a cunning plan to split up Steph and Mark. Luckily for Paul this has already worked out pretty well, what with Steph and Belinda’s chemistry and Mark’s paranoia over their history. Belinda’s presence seems to have already driven a wedge between them and this only increased when the fabulous-haired-one planted a smacker on Steph! Even though we know Belinda is a bit of a loose cannon, her scenes with Steph are consistently watchable and despite her dark side we wouldn’t be opposed to the two of them making a real go of it and ditching dull Mark!

Misses

Character Regression

er72_0004_Layer-4We’ve already mentioned that the big formal night set piece was a great climax to the teen plots but the lead up to it seemed never-ending! Anyone would think Xanthe was planning her wedding not just the end of the year dance for school. It was disappointing to have Xanthe’s fun and complex character reduced to a sole focus on a designer dress and pouting over whether Ben would ask her out. It seemed crazy too that Ben, who is usually so morally upstanding would take the money Gary offered him to ask Xanthe out (let’s be honest, he’s smitten with her anyway). Piper’s character regression and giant fall in maturity was the worst offender of the lot. Since Josh and Doug’s death, we’ve seen Piper really grow up and the romance with Tyler seemed not only inevitable but actually pretty believable. And then things rapidly went downhill. Pipes began lying and stropping and screaming at her parents Kevin The Teenager style. Yes, Piper life is unfair. We know she’s a teenager whose always thought of herself as an adult, but what happened to the smart and mature young woman who has now regressed into a baby at the thought of not getting her own way? Just as we had begun liking ‘Typer’, alll that we enjoyed about the pairing seemed to be reversed. Can we have the teens we’re fond of back? Heads screwed on?

Eternal Paige Rage

er72_0004_Layer-5Where to even start with Paige? She’s the one character in Neighbours that gets steadily more unlikeable as the weeks go on. Since she fell in love with John/Jack in his coma, we’ve been questioning whether she hit her head SO hard during the hotel explosion and her personality damage was caused by that, OR she really is just THE WORST. The latter probably. Paige’s main problem is that at every turn she’s enabled, told what a great girl she is, yet behaving in a completely selfish and loathsome way. Now that she knows Jack is a priest, you’d think it was about time she gave up on her defrocking fantasies and either got a hobby or sorted herself out with a trip to the Erinsborough equivalent of Ann Summers. But she hasn’t. She’s continued to whine and sulk and try and make Jack feel guilty for sticking to his vocation, even going as far as stripping in the pool to try and lure him away. We’ve even seen her move away from nipple-flashing and try other tactics – jealousy (didn’t work), being a charitable, Godly citizen maybe in an attempt to force a threeway between her Jack and God (also didn’t work). The sad thing about this whole mess is that now her entire personality is a selfish obsession with herself. Not only can she not cope without a man’s affection and attention, but she never thinks of anyone but herself. Hold onto your hats readers – Paige might have just crossed the “worse than Amber Turner” line.

Hits and Misses – 13-24 June 2016

hitsandmisses

Hits

Prayers or Paige

er71_0004_Layer-1THANK GOD (literally) we discovered the true identity of John Doe this week in a scene which we won’t be forgetting in a hurry. He’s only a bloody priest! It’s not something we would have seen coming had it not been for the clever suggestions of it that we saw on Twitter but him turning up to tell Paige in full frock and dog collar was priceless. Even more so was the drama that he’d seriously been a suspect for the explosion and had shared a snog with Paige right before his oh-so convinent flashback memories! Watching Paige hang around John (it’s ridiculously hard to think of him as Jack!) like a bad smell certainly hasn’t been our favourite plot but we like Jack. Although we’re dreading Paige’s jealousy of Jack’s relationship with God and she’ll probably whine at him to choose between her and the church, the reveal scene alone is worth our top spot.

Family Tension

er71_0004_Layer-3Even though we’re never happy to see grief for Toadie and Sonya, we can’t deny we do love watching them handle the struggles in their marriage. We’ve often said how much we love the realism between the couple and the natural chemistry between Eve and Ryan, developed from years of working together always shines through – and of course, makes the moments of tension and anger between them that much harder to watch. Recent weeks have seen Walter continue to be a source of trouble between them and the reveal that he wanted bone marrow to save the life of Zoe, Sonya’s half sister, was a great twist. It’s really added another dimension to Walter and casts light on his motives for contacting Sonya. The ambiguity has been interesting to watch and despite some other recent poor signings (*cough*Madison*cough*) Zoe was a joy to watch onscreen and quickly developed chemistry with her onscreen sister. With Walter and Zoe both off so soon, we hope we haven’t seen the last of them.

Top Dog

er71_0004_Layer-2Gary Canning got freed from prison this fortnight after we had a brief spell of seeing him be top dog in Erinsborough’s version of Oz. He didn’t stick around long to help Paul, in fact he landed him in it, but we were pretty glad to see Gary’s return. There’s something interesting about the dodgy guy that we like and we’re interested to see how he fits in with the rest of the family, especially his daughter Xanthe. Only time will tell what kind of influence he’ll be on her and if he’ll manage to stay out of any bad behaviour while he’s on Ramsay Street. We only wish Kyle was still around so that they could repair their very damaged relationship.

Misses

Sad Goodbyes

er71_0004_Layer-5Over the past few weeks, we’ve waved goodbye to a few residents, some temporarily and some for good – but neither especially welcomed. We were sad to see the lovely Nate go, breaking our hearts as well as Aaron’s. For weeks prior to his exit, it was clear that Nate was unsettled with the current direction of his life but that didn’t make it any easier to watch him go. Though he returned for such a short time, we were glad to see him back to give his character a proper exit and have him leave under less of a cloud. Speaking of leaving under clouds, Ned also bid Ramsay Street farewell after failing to seduce Lauren and making things difficult with his family. We’re gutted to see Ned leave and by the looks of it, so is everyone else. Ben Hall has been a brilliant find and with news that he’s already on his way back, we hope the show begs, borrows or steals the money to make him a permanent cast member. The Led romance can’t die before its even begun!

Unwelcome Return

er71_0004_Layer-4In a fortnight when we lost a newbie favourite, Ned, we had the unwelcome return of Madison Robinson. Sure, she’s the daughter of famous Ramsay Street legends Scott and Charlene (aka Jason and Kylie) but she’s also as wooden and unexciting as they come. She’s a blonde, budding reporter – she’s almost Elle Robinson but with none of the edge or charm. Her dialogue is stilted and her purpose, apart from being there to cheer up Paul, seems to be a walking mannequin. We ask, what really is the point of her? We’re really hoping this isn’t a longterm return because frankly the show can do better and Paul deserves more than Madison as a cling on!

Neighbours 2015: Top Ten Best Bits

It’s 2016 and something exciting has happened for the first time in history: Neighbours now airs the same episode in Australia and the UK on the same day! That’s called progress, people! It’s only taken 30 years but it’s finally happened.

2015 in Neighbours was a historic year too and gave us some brilliant moments in the 30th anniversary, so as we begin a brand new year of Neighbours enjoy our Top Ten Best Bits of 2015!

10 – Sonya and Erin’s troubled past

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Now if you read this blog regularly, you’ll know we enjoy when Neighbours goes dark. Not down the Dimato route you understand, but rather when the show tackles dark topics in a surprisingly gritty, head-on way. We’re all used to the show skirting around certain issues but one of our favourite things about Jason Herbison’s tenure on the show is his willingness to go to places the show would perhaps have shied away from in recent years. One of these such plots involved the arrival of Sonya’s old friend, junkie Erin. For the first time in a long while the show directly explored Sonya’s addiction – not simply to gambling, but drug abuse. Yes, they could only say substances but who cares, we got the point. Erin was unsettlingly realistic in her depiction and the actress nailed someone desperate for their next fix. Eve Morey delivers time and time again when given dramatic, meaty material and this was no exception as we saw Sonya racked with guilt at her part in the ruination of Erin’s life. We liked Sonya and Erin being labelled “junkies” for, we believe, the first time on screen, and Erin offering sex in exchange for drugs was shocking. The ending with Erin running off, unable to get clean, and once again abandoning her daughter was an unusual downer for Neighbours but perhaps an ending such a dark story needed.

9 – Amy Williams

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She’s only been in the show since the summer but already Paul’s daughter Amy has made a really positive impression on us. Once thought of as the forgotten child of Paul Robinson, Amy has already cemented herself firmly in the street, quickly forming bonds with the Cannings, Sonya and now Steph. Her friendship with Steph has been particularly enjoyable as they seem like likely friends and she has good chemistry with Kyle too. We also saw the arrival of her ex Liam (he was hot, just saying) and this gave Zoe Cramond even more chance to show us her acting chops. She’s really impressed us with her performances and she’s livened up the Robinson clan, bringing us another independent and headstrong female character. We’re looking forward to her future on the show.

8 – The Return of Steph Scully

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It’s far to say all Neighbours fans got a real shock earlier this year when it was revealed that Carla Bonner was returning to the show as Steph, not for a guest stint or closure for her character but rather, a whole new beginning as a series regular. Many wondered whether Steph had anything more to give, and many more wondered whether the show could really redeem her after her actions in her last stint. The answer to both was a resounding yes. Carla Bonner, as ever, delivers great performances and immediately brought back a warm sense of history. Her redemption arc has been wonderfully played and if anything, Steph’s tragedies, her mental illness and her desire to not only win her children back but indeed, win her neighbours back brought a real sense of freshness to a character that first appeared an amazing 16 years ago. Steph feels more exciting, interesting and perhaps relevant now than ever and we can’t help but root for her to overcome her troubles and become a positive figure of someone living with, and coping with, a mental illness. Paul’s dark plot of revenge and the fantastically dodgy-but-interesting Belinda have been highlights of the latter months of the show and we really can’t wait to see what 2016 holds for this Neighbours icon.

7 – Nasty Nick

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Ah Nasty Nick! Who doesn’t love a good villain and Neighbours certainly had that this year with evil Dr Nick Petrides. Introduced as Terese’s ambitious brother he gave us a chance to learn a bit more about Terese’s past and how Nick had helped her succeed. It didn’t take long for Nick’s bad ways to surface, after placing a bet that he could seduce Georgia he then spent weeks sending her into a mad descent trying to prove he was the villain we knew he was. It was one of Neighbours’ darkest plots in a while as Nick tried to secure funding for his specialist centre by convincing Paul he had cancer and giving him treatment – yikes! Nick was truly evil but oh so fun to watch. He was sleazy, slimy and dastardly which made his downfall a very exciting plot.

6 – Nate Kinski

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When we left 2014 we weren’t totally sure we were that keen on Nate. On paper his PTSD army struggles were great but we weren’t completely taken by him. In 2015 this completely changed. Nate has easily become one of our firm favourites and we’ve seen new sides to him. At the start of the year it was all about Chrate – Chris and Nate were a sweet couple that we really got behind as they both dealt with their own issues. They had nicknames for each other and everything. Sadly this ended with Chris moving on, but Nate working in the Waterhole with Sheila was a genius move. These two have been comedy gold, with Nate’s eyebrows doing most of the work for him! We really like his dry and serious approach which is a good foil for Sheila’s madder ideas! We also saw him forge a bit of a bromance with Tyler which was good fun too and later in the year saw him get together with Aaron. While we don’t like it as much as we enjoyed Chrate, Nate remains one of our favourites and we hope he continues to get good comedy material in 2016!

5 – Erinsborough High Fire

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Stunts in soaps are a staple but for budget reasons when Neighbours does a stunt it has to be for good reason. This year’s Erinsborough High fire did exactly what stunts should, but often fail to, do. The fire brought so many existing stories crashing together, furthering the plot of each of them and making things even more complicated – it wasn’t a fire just for the sake of it. Brad had to make a huge choice between Lauren and Terese which lead to huge repercussions for both families, Amber went into labour with her sick baby in the burning classroom, Toadie (now paralysed) was trapped by a staircase and left by a panicked Sheila and Paige and Tyler got trapped in a lift forcing them to face up to their feelings (we won’t dwell). All the heightened tension really added something to these plots and the stunt involved many characters and was even more effective than 2014’s tornado. We wonder what’s on the cards for next year.

4 – Comedy Capers

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As ever, a key ingredient of success of Neighbours (the perfect blend if you will) is the show’s ability to mix drama with comedy and this year was no exception. Not only did the comedy highlight of last year – The Book of Secrets – rumble on with Karl’s first draft exposed to the community at large but we had a number of other highlights. Sheila treated us to some dining in the dark, Andres (The Waterhole sex god) repeated his one line of English, the inaugural Erinsborouh bake-off brought he return of the fantastic Janelle Timmins (bring her back again, thanks!), Hilary Robinson’s acerbic tongue had us cackling (who could forget her casual shade of Harold in the Lassiter’s lift?), Bossy revealed her lingerie fetish and the men of Erinsborough got some unfortunate tattoos… Not only did we got some classic comedy plots but in the Neighbours tradition, a lot of the humour comes from within the characters and their witty exchanges. Karl and Susan never fail tot make us laugh and that continued this, Nate’s comedy skills were used to great effect and really softened the character, the much-missed Naomi lifted every scene she was in and of course, Sheila provides fun to each and every scene she appears in. Her popularity among the LGBTQI society being one of our particular favourites as Sheila embraced her gay icon role. We hope 2016 brings many more laughs our way.

3 – The 30th Anniversary Celebrations

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Another year another milestone for Neighbours. This season celebrated an incredible 30 years on air and as the big anniversary approached, fans wondered how it would be celebrated. The big anniversaries in Neighbours have been very notable in the show’s history. The 20th remaining the one to beat with its mass returnees via the documentary, whilst the 25th was a limp, anaemic affair with a wedding no one cared about and an attempt made on Paul’s life. The 30th repeated the wedding no one cared about (but thankfully it didn’t go ahead) but instead celebrated Neighbours’ past in a much more warm, nostalgic way. The year was full of returnees from Lucy to Hilary to Guy to Harold to continuing appearances from Lucas and Vanessa. The most prominent and perhaps most exciting of all were the wonderful (and surprisingly touching) return from Delta Goodrem as Nina, and of course, the return of the legendary Anne Charleston as Madge. Fans were wary of the idea and indeed many feared for Harold’s life but Madge’s return was handled beautifully and it was a joy to see the iconic couple reunited. Her part in ensuring Harold’s happy ending, settling with Sky and her kids (it was brilliant to see Steph McIntosh too) was a fitting end for the character and a jewel in the crown of a fitting anniversary year.

2 – The Canning Family

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Families are at the heart of Neighbours and one family that were firing on all cylinders in 2015 was The Cannings. Headed up by matriarch Sheila you can’t go wrong. Sheila is exactly the type of character Neighbours does best. She’s hilarious and full of life, not afraid to flirt or fight and we couldn’t love her more if we tried. We’ve seen the emotional side to the family at the arrival of Kyle’s dodgy dad Gary and all members of the family slip between comedy and drama effortlessly. Kyle always has faithful Bossy by his side but this year saw the breakdown of his marriage alongside finding love again with newcomer Amy. How could we discuss the Cannings without one of its biggest stars – Naomi. Everything she touched was gold once again this year. Perhaps the Paul romance wasn’t as dynamic as it might have been but we liked her lighting the touch paper of his downfall. Obviously we were absolutely devastated to see her go, we’re just glad she got a happy ending and a nice goodbye seen with her unlikely best friend Imogen. We’ve got a feeling 2016 will bring another Canning departure but here’s hoping for more arriving!

1 – Lauren, Brad and Terese

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It was a story that was over two years in the making and this year it finally exploded in epic fashion – yes, the Brad, Lauren and Terese triangle reached its dramatic climax this year. We’ve loved this slow-burn story, almost reminiscent of the fantastically plotted, slow unravelling of Izzy Hoyland’s baby lie back in the 00s. However, as with any slow-burn, the pay off has to be worth the gradual build-up and it certainly was. Once the kiss between Brad and Lauren was revealed in 2014, it seemed like Lauren and Brad seemed capable of remaining friends and parents to Paige without things becoming complicated but the tragic death of Matt early this year changed things forever. Terese’s growing insecurity and turn to alcoholism was brilliantly handled acting as a co-catalyst (and in our – and Brads eyes – justification) for Brad and Lauren to finally take things to the next level. The fall out, and in a Neighbours first, a three-hander episode, was excellent and the show was stolen by Rebekah Elmaloglou’s powerful turn as Terese. The story has cemented her role as a modern icon of the show and the sad, painful and real break-up between Brad and Terese in the final weeks of the season were very touching indeed. We can’t wait to see what the newly single Terese does next and we hope that Brad and Lauren learn the grass isn’t always greener and face their own relationship dysfunctions as they inevitably reunite.

Hits and Misses – 26-30 Jan 2015

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Hits

Great Grandson

er17_0002_Layer-3Another tough week for Kyle and another week where our love for him cemented. Not only did he have to deal with Sheila coming out of hospital and looking after her (which he did a great job with) but he also had to say a final goodbye to dad Gary. These scenes were fantastic and genuinely emotional and Kyle struggled with his conflicting emotions. He might have realised he was better off without Gary, but after everything he left his dad with a small glimmer of hope. We saw some lighter sides to Kyle too as he helped Sheila with her gnomes and panicked as Naomi cleared the fridge of all the bad food. We love how well rounded Kyle is a character and think Sheila is pretty lucky to have him as her doting grandson.

Team Work

er17_0000_Layer-6This week we were delighted to see former enemies, Terese and Paige, make a great leap forward in their relationship as they pulled together to help create a business plan for Brad. Now it’s fair to say that Terese and Paige have had fairly rocky ride since the truth about Paige was revealed, and it seemed like any progress was quickly undone by Terese’s insecurities in her relationship. However with the Willises reunited, it seems like the two fierce and independent women have finally made peace. We loved to see them, not only civil but genuinely friendly with each other and we really hope to see much more of it in the future.

Welcome Return

er17_0001_Layer-4We were delighted to see Lucy make one of her frequent returns at the end of this week to continue her baby plot with Chris. It’s always great to see an original character back onscreen and Melissa’s chemistry with Stefan Dennis really lights up the screen. It really takes us back to the show’s golden days and the Robinson heyday. As fun as it was to see Lucy celebrate Paul’s birthday, the biggest reason we were excited to see her was down to her baby proposal to Chris. Since then, Chris’s life has changed drastically and it was interesting to see how the presence of Nate looks set to cause ripples in what seems like a done deal. Despite the potential conflict, we really hope Lucy and Chris go ahead with it – giving Chris a link to one of the show’s biggest families and a reason for Lucy to stick around for good.

Misses

Boarding Bore

er17_0003_Layer-2It wasn’t a great week for Brad as he found himself frustrated by Terese and Paige’s grand plans for his business but, is it just us or was Brad out of line in his reaction to them? We know he viewed making surfboards as a hobby but his family were only trying to help him to make a career out of something he loves – and give up teaching, a career he doesn’t. For us, Brad’s reaction was a little too heightened and showed a lack of respect for his wife and child. We hope he pulls himself together and quickly realises that with his family’s help, he could achieve the career satisfaction he seeks and maybe channels the laid-back personality pf Brad of old.

Deserving Better

er17_0004_Layer-5Our thoughts on Danber and Jamber are well documented – even last week we talked about how much we hate Josh and Daniel fighting over Amber – the unfortunate thing is that it continued this week and got worse. Frankly we think both the Willis twins deserve better than pining over Daniel or Amber and it doesn’t make anyone look good. Daniel looks stupidly oblivious to an insane degree and came across as childish and bitter against Josh; Imogen, whilst sweet, needs to stand to Daniel before he uses her strong feelings; Amber needs to get a hobby and Josh needs to get well away from this car crash and be the Josh we loved from 2014.