Thursday, 21 June 2012

Review of the Week: Winners & Losers

It's rare for me to get into a TV series and watch it all the way through. Television and I have a very turbulent relationship, usually because there's nothing on of interest and I just don’t have time to watch a series all the way through.

But this year, I became totally addicted on one series in particular after catching an episode in New Zealand. But surprisingly, it wasn’t made in Britain or America, and it wasn’t shown on a prime time slot (although it should have been!) In fact it was an Australian series called Winners & Losers, and it certainly won me over!

The show focuses on four women who were friends at high school, who meet up after a period of absence to catch up on their lives, each with their own story to tell. Before they depart, promising they will stay in touch, they buy a lottery ticket which, it transpires, is the winning ticket for $8 million Australian dollars.

Sounds a bit predictable you might think? Well, yes in some ways the show is predictable. It follows the story of four women leading turbulent yet glamorous lifestyles - similar to narratives of Sex and the City and Mistresses - but with subtle humour and an easier plot line to follow. All four girls have their own storylines. Jenny, played by Melissa Bergland, plays her part beautifully as the female who hasn’t quite grown up yet. Her scenes with her family in particular are highly amusing, and it’s no surprise to find out she’s won awards already for the role.

The other female protagonists offer interesting character traits too. Bek is the loved-up, newly engaged beauty that is loved by everyone but struggles with trust issues. Sophie is the sex-driven, drug-fuelled party girl of the gang and Francis is the responsible, independent businesswoman who works hard. Their backgrounds are intriguing and as the series progresses you learn more about their lives and become more engrossed in the drama.

The title basically gives the game away where narrative is concerned. Occasionally, the group find themselves ‘winning’ (where everything is going well) and then ‘losing’ (when something goes wrong.) The storylines unravel throughout, with such issues as drugs, underage drinking, bullying, attempted murder, cancer and pregnancy all cropping up throughout the 22 episode long first series.

The series was a standout success in Australia, and has already been handed a second series, which finished filming earlier this year. The show, annoyingly, is shown on ITV2 in the UK, who originally started showing it on Tuesday nights at 10pm, then moved it to an earlier lunchtime slot on a Sunday. It’s perhaps the only thing I like to watch on ITV2, and considering the appeal it has on audiences (particularly female), I would have thought ITV2 would have given it a more prime time slot instead.

So the series is a must watch! If you don’t enjoy it for the storylines, just watch it for my new favourite game, ‘Spot the former Neighbours character’, for the show features an array of former Neighbours stars (a few of which play main characters). The Gross family are particular favourites of mine, especially mum Trish, who despite an emotional storyline later on in the series, never fails to bring humour to the show.

So if you’re looking for a refreshing, easy-to-watch comedy drama series this summer to fall in love with, why not try Winners & Losers? You’d be a loser not to!

4/5 stars

Pictures courtesy of Wikipedia

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