Why I’m worried for Nina Proudman

2014-07-28_2212If you saw the last episode of A Place to Call Home you would have probably noticed a scramble to tie up all the plotlines.

It felt rushed and unsatisfactory for all those who had invested in the show for two seasons and was a perfect example of a show that was barrelling towards its season final without the knowledge of whether it would proceed to a third season or not.

I wouldn’t be surprised to hear alternate endings might have been shot and tacked on the end in the editing suite.

It’s very common for most dramas (including overseas) to reach a season finale without knowing whether they will return or not. Offspring was rarely renewed for two seasons under TEN’s former Programming Chief David Mott in 2012. That meant writers could craft Patrick’s demise at the end of S4 knowing they could rebuild Nina Proudman’s world from within for S5.

To their credit, it’s been a strong season. Last week we saw the shocking twist that Thomas (Ben Barrington) has seemingly been cheating on our Nina. Bastard! Didn’t he see what she went through in S4?

I’m not going to give anything away on how that plays out.

But I will say this. There are two episodes remaining and it feels like the storylines are being tied up. Not just for Nina, but for our ensemble too. If I didn’t know better I’d swear everybody expected to end the series here, but the audience response has thrown a bit of a curve ball. That would be a backhanded compliment.

The dilemma for writers in these limbo situations is to give a satisfactory closure that serves the season, can be an effective series closer (if it isn’t renewed), yet leaves the show room to explore new stories (if it is).

It’s a big call. Based on the track record of writers and producers thus far, you’d have to presume they can achieve this.

 

 

10 Comments:

  1. Ok, here’s an idea.
    A spin-off series where Nina and Billie move to Sydney.
    It could be called ‘Offshoot’.
    Would it be eligible for the tax concessions ?

  2. In my opinion I still think Offspring can keep going, Ten must allow it to continue as it has performed so well this year in the ratings.

  3. I found this season just one awkward moment after another. Seriously that’s what almost every single scene has been, one different variation on awkwardness after an other. What have liked from this season…um, Ido Drent and the siblings scene with creamy soda last week. Thats about it.

  4. I’ve never understood the fuss about Offspring, but it is Ten’s best performing drama & it seems odd that a further series wouldn’t go ahead. I get the feeling that the creators don’t really want a 6th series & they may be the stumbling block. It seems that a 6th series may be one that’s cobbled together which may not be a satisfactory outcome. Perhaps it would be preferable to let Offspring go out whilst it’s still on top?

  5. well a place to call home was axed so why not just axe another aussie drama. It seems to be popular these days. I hope it gets another run.

    Soon we wont need a logies because the only drama will be home and away and neighbours.

  6. The tax offsets are why Offspring could be renewed for 2 seasons. They wrote stories for those two seasons which will be wrapped up.

    If it does get renewed for S6 they would have to negotiate for a cast and create new stories for that season, which is the same situation they were in for the first 3.

    In the US a series gets an initial order of 13 eps but the main cast are signed up for options for 6 years (5 series plus pilot and development). But it still waits on picking picked up for a full season, renewal for S2s, 3&4 and 5. Which isn’t a problem if the writers know what they are doing.

  7. Local dramas are expensive and don’t make much money. That is why they are mandated under broadcast licence conditions so that networks have to make them.

    They thus need both subsidy from arts funding bodies and tax concessions to be made. And Offspring has used up its tax concessions.

    So the question is how much money is Ten, who are flirting with insolvency, prepared to lose to keep Offspring as an anchor for Wednesday night. And it is not a decision they can make before they know how Wonderland is going to do.

  8. Ten have openly declared that they want another season of Offspring and John Edwards sounds like he’s hedging his bets.
    The cast, hmmm could be in the hands of Asher, does she want another season of playing Nina? Maybe they’re waiting to see if Party Tricks takes off??

  9. I agree, David, but hoping we’ll get another season or two. The show has really hit its straps these last couple of seasons and it would be a huge shame to lose such a quality production from our screens before its time.

  10. That’s because it is wrapping up. The cast are out of contract. They’ve all called it quits. They have either shot or are shooting party tricks. Even if they all got on board to shoot another season they’d struggle to get it up for next year. Deborah mailman and the ex husband character came back to wrap it up.

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