SeaChange

It’s been too long since Sigrid Thornton has treated audiences to a lead series role on Free to Air television, but she revives one of her most-loved in Nine’s new take on SeaChange.

Laura Gibson will find much has changed in the two decades she was last in Pearl Bay, including the visual aesthetic of the Andrew Knight /Deb Cox original.

No longer a sandy, teatree weekender in the late 1990s, the town is now a far more alluring drawcard, thanks to nimble production techniques and a rainforest backdrop. Get ready for picturesque dawns, armchair-escape drone shots, a boost in exterior shots and a more diverse cast (Indigenous, Maori, Asian actors). Gone is that bridge (there is another), some of the locals and even, as Laura discovers, her home now lost to rising tides and coastal erosion.

Laura has been volunteering in Africa but, in her oh-so-strident ways, manages to put noses out of joint even there. Longing for her daughter Miranda (now played by Brooke Satchwell) she returns, only to discover an anarchic child fighting a corporate mining project.

As it happens, Miranda is also expecting Laura’s grandchild, but not without some complexities.

Former mayor Bob Jelly (John Howard) is being released from prison and has plans for his own underhand property development, with estranged wife Heather (Kerry Armstrong) showing no signs of conciliation. Who can blame her?

Another Pearl Bay local, Kevin Findlay (Kevin Harrington), is on hand to help bridge old and new chapters together as we meet another wave of residents

They include local brewer Ben (Dan Wyllie), who has conveniently parted company with his magistrate wife, marine biologist Findlay Knox (Darren McMullen) who is ripe for a blossoming acquaintance with Miranda, laid back local police sergeant Anna (Katrina Milosevic), her vigilant sidekick Lillian (Kate Lister) and community radio host Riley (played by Wayne Blair). Other roles go to Ella Newton, Alex Tarrant, Georgina Naidu, Salvatore Coco & Kamil Ellis.

Amid the inviting backdrop, romantic plots and enviro-themes, SeaChange remembers to bring the kookiness for which it is famous… knitting in the cop shop, get rich quick schemes, overt displays of emotion. Nine adds commercial breaks and even adult-contemporary choons.

The cast shift confidently between drama and comedy tales, in the hands of director Wayne Blair. Sometimes the script by Deb Cox is a tad pushy in embedding its sizeable ensemble, including justifying Laura’s need to stay in town before the credits roll.

The core mother-daughter relationship is familiar melodrama terrain, but SeaChange‘s string of impressive females (Thornton, Armstrong, Satchwell, Milosevic) is very nearly reason enough to tune in. And the lure of a seaside drama, as seen recently on 800 Words, again has broad appeal.

If a new audience sinks its toes easily into the sand, those with long memories may be harder to win over. But with Thornton at the helm, they may very well succeed.

SeaChange airs 8:40pm Tuesday on Nine.

11 Comments:

  1. Second episode was better in my opinion. It still doesn’t capture the magic of the original series, but in its own right it was worth watching. John Howard stood out in this episode as did the character of Lily (I think she will become a favourite), and the other characters were fleshed out more. The only moment that felt like Seachange v.1 was seeing Laura presiding over the courtroom. Her voice came back to normal.

  2. I wasn’t disappointed, and think it will get better with each episode. Katrina Milosevic is a standout, and such a lovely person in real life as well.

  3. Watched Seachange last night thought it was great only wished they had let us hear the great theme music at the end I think it was cut off Sigrid Thornton was great as usual

  4. I have been waiting eagerly for months for this and now that it’s arrived I’m a little bit disappointed. The script was a little underwhelming, I’d go as far as to say I thought it was tacky. I think this was a reboot that didn’t need to happen. Disappointing all round. 2/5

  5. I will keep watching, but I was quite disappointed. On the plus side, the new Police Sergeant steals the show, she is amazing but it felt like she was the only one to capture the whimsy of the original.

    On the negative, much of the story was disjointed and changes inadequately explained, Satchwell, while giving a lovely performance, was unconvincing as Miranda, and the episode lacked cohesion. Casting “Ike” from 800 Words was strange, considering the comparisions between the two shows.

    And the cast is too female heavy. It is unrealistic that nearly every public role in a small Australian town would be filled by females, and it looks like it has been done to fufill an agenda.The depth of casting is diminished by the absence of Rupert, Trevor and Craig (or boys to replace them).

    Hopefully the drawbacks will be rectified in future episodes, because it remains a fun show and…

    • I was disappointed as well.
      Loved the original – one of my all time favourite local dramas. It was just magic.
      So was really looking forward to the reboot. But found it a big letdown overall – agree with all the reasons why above. The charm and authentic understated whimsy of the original is sadly missing here. Now it just feels forced and trying too hard to be quirky.
      I also really miss the wonderful backing music throughout each episode that featured in the original SC. That really added to the show, as well as the original location at Barwon Heads.
      Agree about Katrina Milosevic as the new police sergeant – she’s the standout here. Also brilliant in Wentworth.

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