Out of the Blue

TEN's newest soap has a dash of Neighbours, spoonfuls of Home and Away, hints of Echo Point -maybe even a sprinkling of 'Dumb Street.'

If it isn’t already well-known that this new soap opera has been made to order for the UK market, it’s certainly obvious from looking at it.

It has a dash of Neighbours, spoonfuls of Home and Away, hints of Echo Point -maybe even a sprinkling of Fast Forward‘s parody ‘Dumb Street.’ Like a slice of glorious suburban Australiana, all the ingredients for which Aussie soaps have become famous in the UK are here: a pretty, young, whitebread cast, a slim budget impossibly stretched (there are quite a few location scenes), pedestrian dialogue, rolling surf, a local diner, a matriarch, cross-generational drama, the introductory voice over to set the scene. It has everything except the cardboard, recycled sets from HeadLand.

The premise of Out of the Blue is a reunion of the Class of 95, as old school mates gather to reminisce. Most love each other, one or two are at odds over broken hearts. A mother has two bickering sons and a grandchild on the way. As these thirtysomethings gather we see old video footage of them back in high school (despite the uniforms and acting up, they don’t quite pass that test). Several scenes push the backstory to bring viewers up to speed on how a myriad of characters interlock. Few of the classmates seem to have moved beyond their class, pardon the pun.

It isn’t until the third episode that one of the characters is found dead, igniting the ‘whodunnit’ element of the soap. It is debatable if by that point there has been the same investment from audience to replicate the same outcome that other soaps have achieved utilised this device. Will we really care if Mike, Dazza or whatever their name is has been bumped off, so soon?

At its best Out of the Blue seems to know what it needs to be to hook a UK audience: unabashed teeny soap that never aims especially high. At its worst it is, like a recent parody title, little more than moving wallpaper.

TEN has scheduled the show for a 10:30pm weeknight timeslot, seemingly aware it may struggle to build an audience in the more competitive early evenings. If it can perform in a late slot it will deliver the network some much needed local content points. The network is hoping it will benefit from the fact that summer audiences also watch television later in the night than during other seasons.

Out of the Blue isn’t trying to be taxing, and on that level it certainly succeeds. Hopefully there are enough younger viewers willing to stay up to 11pm to see it.

Out of the Blue screens 10:30pm Monday – Thursday on TEN.

40 Responses

  1. It sounds like most of the comments left here are from the shows publicity department! I just saw two eps (that were shunted to midday on saturday) and I could totally see what the reviewer wrote ;- that it was just produced to sell in the UK and to gain local content points here….nothing more.

  2. It’d be really interesting to read a review based on the newer episodes that are airing in Australia now, given that the slightly shaky start is well out of the way. Still can’t believe this isn’t getting a proper chance in Aus.

  3. Ive just finished watching the whole series in New Zealand and loved it, but it has just ended without any notice and with a big cliffhanger.
    Are they going to make anymore or is it all over? I think there is an audience for it here and everyone I know loved it…..The majority being over 25.
    Please bring another series!!!

  4. I think Out of the Blue rocks.. from the very 1st episode i got hooked on it. I dont mind if the show ends at 11pm if I have to get up early i jusput the alarms on thats why they were evented. Thumbs Up from me n keep the show going and on the same time slot thnx.

  5. thoroughly hooked on Out of the Blue and look forward to viewing it the next day – thank heavens for pvr’s. Thumbs up for this one Ten. Just wish it had a link to view missed episodes or at least an ep synopsis.

  6. I’ve been watching it from the start and I have to say that as corny as a soap can be, I’m actually enjoying the show and the characters. Overall, I will keep watching because I’m interested in finding out more of an indepth look into the characters.

  7. I must mention though, when I watched it last night, in what seems to be a conincidence, but when Gyton was up on the stage, and then Roy Billing came on, I thought it felt like a bit of the old ‘pass the buck’, in regards to the upcoming Underbelly saga, involving Roy as Robert Trimbole.

  8. Ian’s post is great, summed up everything I wanted to say! OOTB is so far from a teen soap – it’s an intelligent adult drama and, with a couple of months left before it ends here in the UK, I can honestly say it’s the best programme I’ve watched in years.

    Whenever I watch Neighbours or one of the British soaps, I can no longer appreciate them because OOTB just blows them all out of the water with its compelling murder mystery plot (the repercussions of which are still being felt in episodes currently airing in the UK), fantastic characters and so many twists you just wouldn’t see coming. All of the other soaps are just so boring and unoriginal compared to this.

    I can only hope that people in Aus give this show a decent chance. Yes, it is hard to get into a new programme at first, but believe me this one is worth it.

  9. Rubbish! Dam straight Harry! Letterman is the only thing worth watching most nights on Australian television. It’s part of my routine, as is Ten’s late news for a lot of people. Why would Ten decide to serve up this tripe to spoil our evenings?

    What a waste. It’s high time for some new commercial tv licenses so that this crap can be relegated to a ten2 or 3 or 4. Who watches this rubbish???

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