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1988 Episode Discussion

Dan F

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As promised here is the weekly discussion thread, for those who have access to the channel, for the repeats of the Early Years showing on 7TWO.

7TWO are actually showing these in a strange fashion, starting with the Pilot Episode on Tuesday - meaning Episodes 1-3 will be shown this week instead of 1-5.

I'm hoping to keep discussion to the correct 'blocks', so this thread will cover the episodes showing between now and Tuesday 10th November, and the next 'week' will start on Wednesday 11th.

So to simplify that:

Week 1 Discussion

Tuesday 3rd - Pilot

Wednesday 4th - Episode 1

Thursday 5th - Episode 2

Friday 6th - Episode 3

Monday 9th - Episode 4

Tuesday 10th - Episode 5

Week 2 Discussion

Wednesday 11th - Episode 6

Thursday 12th - Episode 7

Friday 13th - Episode 8

Monday 16th - Episode 9

Tuesday 17th - Episode 10

And so on.....

You can read the summaries for coming weeks years ('spoilers' if you like!) on the main site here - http://www.backtothebay.net/episodes/archive.php


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I've tried to time this with the Sydney viewers, though no doubt I've completely screwed the day up or something. I'm able to work at Aussie pace for a few weeks since I have copies of some of these episodes.

Sometimes the Pilots (or Episode 0) for numerical purposes is are strange beasts. I've seen some first episodes for some TV shows that are absolutely dire and there's a fine line between going in all guns blazing and leaving the audience thinking what the hell was that at the end of the episode. I think the fact that it was given a 90 minute slot to introduce the series works well and introduces things well.

I actually quite dislike the Neighbours pilots, opening with a nightmare and then a wedding being called off by the end of the first episode. Since the copy I was watching comes in three different parts (one of three I've got!), I actually tend to think of the Pilot as 3 seperate episodes and so my post will probably break it down as such.

I think the fact that the we actually start of with the Fletcher's in the city, explaining who they are and what the situation and why they are moving to Summer Bay works well. It also allows us about 20 minutes or so with those seven characters and perhaps it's because I already knew who they were before I even first saw the pilot, you don't have new character overload. You then have the next 20 minutes introducing the rest of the Summer Bay residents (Floss, Neville, Alf, Ailsa, Fisher, Bobby).

When comparing it to the show nowadays or even earlier, from the characters to the scenery there is this feeling of it being a quiet seaside town as such. I guess we're supposed to presume that in the following 21 years the economic boom that has hit Palm Beach has hit Summer Bay as well.

Then we have Doris Peters, one assumes she is the early forerunner of what Celia turned out to be and I believe for the only time we're in an actual shop rather than the studio. It's hard actually commenting on this because you immediately want to compare with how the characters turned out, but in some of the characters, you can see that once the series gets going their characteristics change pretty quickly, taking Steven as example.

Neville and Floss however compared to today series seems like some bizarre alternate universe.

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Great to re watch the Pilot again in high quality! I think the reason it is so popular is because there are so many key elements that go missing in some other TV show pilots that don't end up being successful shows, - warmth, character development, strong focus, questions left unanswered...etc It leaves you wanting to visit Summer Bay and the residents again. It also feels quite raw at times, such as Bobby 's speech to the department. At the time this was a very fresh production and not really like anything else on Aussie TV (still is I suppose). No big explosions, no sensationalism without substance just to try and draw you in. It is 'real life' TV, which seems to be making a come back in popularity over here...it probably never died!

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By contrast, I look at the first ever episode of Headland and within the first five minutes I think Sam Atwell's character had killed a few people, it felt like I'd been introduced to about 15 different people, none who I knew who they were.

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I take it Episode 1 should have aired now. I guess the Pilot resolved itself pretty well and almost stands a telemovie in it's own right and I actually find the first week pretty weak. Well, I don't know if weaks the right word, certainly Episode 2 is a bit slow, but it takes a bit to get going and all the stories running along.

I guess it's no different to the one episodes guests in Episode 2343, but I always find it strange how you get one episodes in Episode 1 and then they have absolutely nothing to do with the story ever again. At least they are mere speaking extras. I watched BH 90210 and the first few episodes are full of people appearing to be important, but actually only ever appear in that 1 episode.

So, will Carly survive???

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A few things I'd like to say upon seeing the Pilot Episode:-

I think it's probably the best pilot I've ever seen. I love how you get to know all the characters individually and a good idea about them. I thought Ailsa mainly looked absolutely stunning in that dress she was wearing, it was a very old-fashioned dress but it was very flattering on her figure and she looked very pretty. I agree the gossip-woman in Hogan's Store would have made a great permanent character, it's a shame she never (I assume) appears again.

I love how fleshed-out and well-written the characters are. Bobby and Ailsa have some brilliant scenes together, for example Ailsa saying to Bobby that she reminds her of someone she knew once

I'm guessing she was talking about herself when she went to prison etc.! It's also weird to think that Milco is a real person now.


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Gwen Plumb was offered a role in Richmond Hill at around the same time and since both series went into production, she opted to stick with the first role she was offered in Richmond Hill. RH was axed after a year. Doris Peters never appears, though Gwen Plumb makes a reappearance in 1995.

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