We were treated to extra Neighbours last week with the Erinsborough High web series, which was released to be watched alongside the week’s normal episodes. I have no chill, and so I watched it in entirely the wrong way, meaning that I watched it all in one night because I couldn’t stop.
*SPOILER ALERT* If you haven’t seen the whole series and corresponding regular episodes yet, skip reading this for now!
It was just like Neighbours, but with swearing and a dark filter to make it look a bit moody. I feel like the makers were possibly aiming to make it look like a cool Netflix series or something, but it actually looked more like an ITV drama or Hollyoaks. I loved it though, and releasing it online rather than showing it on prime time TV gave them the opportunity to explore some darker story lines as well as letting all the students swear their heads off like in a normal school, which I liked, although I do miss the phrase “rack off” from the olden days of Neighbours.
It was a great vehicle for some of the regular cast members to really tackle some meaty story lines and show off their acting chops. Georgie Stone is brilliant as Mackenzie anyway, and I thought she played the uncertainty of entering a relationship with Richie really well, bringing up the real concerns that teens in that situation would likely have. I hope we see more of Richie in the main cast too, because he’s very likable.
Talking of people who should be in the main cast, I might start a petition to get Jeremiah on our screens more often, because god knows Hendrix could use an actual real life friend. I was only part of the way into the first episode when I decided I was incredibly emotionally invested in Jeremiah already, and I wanted him protected at all costs. His efforts to melt anonymously into the background broke my heart, and I’d love to see more of this cool, smart kid because, let’s face it, they can be kind of few and far between at Erinsborough High.
Hendrix was his usual delightful self, but with a tiny glimmer of hope for the future at the end. Is this the start of his redemption? On another note, I really, really need him to put some socks on. Loafers and bare ankles literally looks good on nobody.
But all this was a sideshow to the main story line, which was the disappearance of Olivia Lane. It became obvious pretty early on in the series that Olivia was struggling because she was in a relationship with someone older, possibly a teacher. My initial thought, like Yashvi’s, was that it was the excellently named Mr Muggleton. It wasn’t until Miss Reyner gave Mr Muggleton the worst ever pep talk from a boss, that I realized who the real culprit was. She basically told him his reputation was ruined, he’d never recover from it and he may as well give up teaching, and the penny suddenly dropped that she was in fact the mystery person Olivia had been in a ‘relationship’ with. It even got a gasp and an out loud, “It’s HER!” from me as I watched.
I say ‘relationship’, but let’s be clear – this situation depicted child abuse, and an awful betrayal of power and trust. Hats off to Neighbours for tackling it, and for calling it out for what it was. So often this kind of abuse gets glamorized as some sort of forbidden romance, rather than the crime that it actually is.
Erinsborough High was great, and I hope they do this kind of thing again in the future.
And I’ll say it again, ADD JEREMIAH TO THE MAIN CAST, PLEASE!