Secrets and the City Review

Secrets and the City is the long awaited Home and Away "Soap Bubble", which shows viewers what really happened when the Sutherland family split. But was it really worth the wait? We take a look...

Shattered Hearts and Broken Dreams - The TV Episodes
The first two Episodes on the Video are Shattered Hearts and Broken Dreams, and have already been screened in both Australia and the UK. They are be great episodes, and are essential viewing as they not only show the break up of the Sutherland family, but are the episodes that lead up to Secrets and the City, the DVD/Video only episode. However, as I said, they have already aired and you're paying a lot of money to see something that you could have taped off the Television for free. I can understand why they've put them on the DVD/Video, but as neither of them even mention the trip to the city, they are pretty pointless. In my opinion it would have been better if they'd put Broken Dreams, then Secrets and the City, then the episode that followed on from that; or even just had an extended Secrets and the City on its own.

Secrets and the City - The Exclusive Episode

This Episode is one that you will "never see on Television" (although I'm sure that situation will have changed in a few years time), and is the reason the DVD/Video was produced. However, in my opinion, it's not worth it. For a start, it's too short. This is a one off episode, it's exclusive to DVD/Video, it's taken a lot of time to make, it's received a fair bit of publicity, but it's still not much longer than a normal episode of Home and Away. To receive the full effect, it should have been at least twice as long as a normal episode, if not an hour and a half! There's just too much going on to fit into half and hour, and I think that ruined the episode, everything went way too fast!

We begin with Dani (Tammin Sursok) doing a piece to Camera, telling us the story so far. Now, in my opinion, that's something that should never happen in soaps. It takes the soap-ness away. Home and Away isn't a Reality Television Programme, it's a Soap Opera. The people in it aren't meant to know we're watching them, they're meant to get on with their daily lives without a thought of the people out there watch them go through all this trouble. However, with Dani talking to us, it ruins that image, it makes it all seem fake (And yes, I know it all is fake, I'm not stupid). You may feel I'm being overly critical and a bit of a perfectionist, but I guess that's just the way I am.

Anyway, onto the Episode itself. Jade and Dani discovers that Rhys has run away to the City, and she enlists the help of Josh to help her find him. As Josh so rightly says, it's a city of 4 million people and she expects to find just one; it's impossible. Just a couple of meters away, Hailey and Noah are getting ready to the City too. Considering nobody ever goes there usually, it's one big coincidence. To make things worse, Noah's motorbike breaks down on the way to the city, and minutes later Dani and Josh drive past. Like we never saw that one coming.

When the guys get to the city, they spend some time exploring, before going their separate ways. Not before passing Rhys though, who is looking over the harbour with his back turned. It can only happen in soaps. Josh and Dani then head to Josh's mother's office. Appears they've enlisted her help to track Rhys down. So much for looking for him themselves then. In fact, they hardly spend any time looking for him. Josh's mum advises them to just kick back and enjoy the city, which they do. Now that's just not right in my opinion. I paid to see Dani and Josh find Rhys, not to watch Josh's mum find him, which she eventually does. Dani then takes to Rhys for about 2 minutes and tries to convince him to return to Summer Bay, which he does. Hardly the most exciting thing ever.

A lot of the action in this episode takes place back in Summer Bay. Dylan tries hopelessly to get back into Kirsty's good books;  Colleen, Max and the rest of the Sutherlands try to keep Rhys' disappearance a secret from Shelley while Nick & Seb spend their time playing Air Football, Air Cricket and Air Guitar. One question... why? Oh, and we find out that Seb has feelings for Kirsty, which Nick promises to keep a secret.

The Secret
As I'm sure you know, this DVD/Video is sub-titled Dani's Secret Revealed! Now, I'm sure you're dying to know what this gigantic secret is. I certainly was, that was the only reason I bought the DVD. However, turns out the secret isn't so big as was first thought. The secret is simply that Dani and Josh went to the city to search for Rhys. It's hardly that big a secret, and the DVD/Video was obviously named this way to try and coax people into buying it. Well, in my case, it worked.

The Extras

Ok, so the Episode itself may not be fantastic, but the Extra bits certainly are. Introduced again by Tammin Sursok, they feature a Behind the Scenes look at filming the special episode, along with interviews with many of the Home and Away cast, and a day in the life of Beau and Bec (Noah and Hailey). The DVD/Video is certainly worth it for the Extras alone and if you're a huge fan of Home and Away, you'll love them.

Final Rant - The Cover
Ok, so just one more thing before I finish this off. Why are Nick and Kirsty on the front cover? It should either be the Sutherland family, or just Dani/Josh/Hayley/Noah. But Josh is nowhere in sight, and Nick/Kirsty hardly appear in the Secrets Episode at all. Ok, I know it's petty, but still, this is a one-off thing, they could have made the best possible effort to make it perfect.

The Final Word
To tell the truth, I can't decide whether this DVD/Video was worth the money or not. The Secrets and the City Episode was a big let down, I expected a lot more. You may think I'm being overly critical, but it just seemed like another normal episode, and a rushed one at that. It should have been slower, more time should have been spent in the City, and Dani & Josh should have tried harder to find Rhys, without relying on Josh's mother. However, the Behind the Scenes stuff and the Interviews with the Cast pretty much made up for it. So, if you're interested in learning more about what the cast really think of each other, or what goes on behind the scenes, then drop whatever you're doing and go out and get yourself a copy. However, if you don't care about that and just want to see the episode, then I'd say don't bother. I hate giving a Home and Away Video bad publicity, and sincerely hope the next one is released over here, but I expected better. The Episode was too short, there wasn't enough time spent searching for Rhys, and despite this being a special City Episode, a lot of the action took place back in Summer Bay.

I know for a fact that a second one-off DVD/Video only Episode is in the pipeline, and just hope that they put more work into it, make it longer and really make an effort to make everything perfect.

If this review hasn't put you off and you're still keen to buy the DVD or Video, then head over to your local HMV, Virgin Megastores, WH Smith or any good stockist, or check out Amazon.co.uk. The RRP for the Video is £12.99 and for the DVD it's £17.99, although some stockists (including Amazon) are selling it for a cheaper price.

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