Out of the Blue

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 Comments:

  1. With sales to Belgium, Holland, New Zealand, Ireland, France and now a second broadcaster in the UK, I think that this show stands a good chance of renewal if the Aussies give it a fair go. I have now seen the whole show from beginning to end and can catagorically say I haven’t enjoyed a drama series as much for years – and by that I don’t just mean Aussie dramas. Like everything else any show takes a while to get into gear, but when Out of the Blue gets going, boy does it get going! I have never watched a show with more unexpected twists than this one… throughout its run I thought I knew where this show was going and I was constantly surprised…this isn’t normal soap fare…its an intelligent, pacy drama that is thoroughly addictive…I’d pass up watching all other television programmes totally for a whole year if it meant I could watch new episodes of this every day!
    If you have any sense you’ll keep watching…you’ll thank me later!

  2. Yes, Craig – I am in the UK but have been watching episodes from Ireland, where the show has now finished its run. OOTB is already screening in about six countries, including Belgium and the Netherlands, I think.

  3. I’m Loving Out Of the Blue. From the first ep I knew I will be sticking with this one and I havn’t felt that about any show this year since Underbelly.

  4. Fair enough – I know I have the advantage of having seen most of the series. I just hope it is given a chance in Australia and isn’t written off before it gets going. Any soap takes a while to bed in and it hasn’t benefited from any of the massive promotion Neighbours got way back when it turned around from being a flop to a hit.

  5. I don’t recognise the show I have watched for over 100 episodes from this review. Unabashed teeny soap? Out of the Blue is anything but. It has mercifully few characters under the age of 18. The focus is on a core cast in their late 20s/early 30s, along with some middle-aged characters, which makes this show very different to Neighbours and Home & Away. OOTB is clearly not aimed at younger viewers and its characters and plots have more in common with 80s shows such as Sons & Daughters than today’s soaps. Moving Wallpaper it ain’t. The show progresses at a lightning pace with more unexpected twists and turns than a year in Ramsay Street or Summer Bay could offer. Advice from someone who has seen most of the series – stick with it and prepare to be entertained!

  6. Watched ten minutes whilst waiting for Kubrick doco on SBS,

    Are we sure they didn’t use recycled sets from HeadLand ? Looks like same uninspiring blonde,surfer type folk. Supposed reuniting from school – no chemistry, hardly looks like they even graduated from pre school…Looks like no one can act – where do they get these souls from. Looks totally believable (only joking)

    I won’t be back. It was shocking.

  7. From the promo’s I have seen it looks like a cheap “Headland” rehash! And what is with the voice over chick? She sounds so tacky “One of us is the killer!” dumb..

    Like why not bring Headland back or play the rest of the episodes, I was actually getting into that show. With Rachael Taylor now well known and 3 of the Home & Away boys in it, it should do well over summer.

  8. I’m going to give this show a go. I love late night aussie soaps and use to love watching Pacific Drive later than this and of course Prisoner repeated on Foxtel at midnight on UKTV all those years ago. I think every network could do a late night soapie and just over load the market with bad drama, hey if 9 can try and bring Young Doctors back, anything is possible.

  9. This sounds great. I had a look at their official website and the cast looks good as well. There is a sprinkiling of Aussie Soap Veterans in there too. Its anoying that it clashes with Shamless on Monday night and Survivor on Tuesday, as I will have to stay up to watch one of them, as can’t tape both.

  10. Classclown, this is what’s known as “burning it off and making up quota points”. The 10.30pm slot shows that Ten knows full well that it’s rubbish. But then, when a evening Australian soap isn’t even good enough for the crap-serial-drama-loving UK, the fact that it’s rubbish is pretty much a given.

    Jack, I presume you work(ed) on it 😉

    I will, however, give it a glance. But only to see Sophie Katinis not doing comedy 🙂

  11. Its an exellent show and well worth a watch. The acting is really good with some great performances from Clayton Watson and Sophine Katnis.

    Its a breath of fresh air in the boring and repetative TV landscape at the moment.

  12. WTF is TEN doing putting this on @ 10.30? I hope i’m wrong but they are killing it putting it in the same timezone as infomercials – well near enough to them.

  13. I reckon that Out Of the Blue should be put on at 10PM, and then have their 7:30 show at 7:00, their 8:30 show at 8:00, and their 9:30 show at 9. This might help their ailing early-night problems, as well as keep enough viewers on for OOtB to survive.

  14. This show is wasted at such a graveyard timeslot, shame shame shame 10.
    It’s already screening in NZ at 5.30pm – I caught a few episodes while I was there, it’s not too bad!!

  15. 10:30 at night? I was really looking forward to this show but I don’t know if I want to stay up until 11:00 every weeknight to watch it. I thought this show would be replacing Neighbours during the summer. What’s going on at 6:30 instead?

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