Television preview: Home and Away/Dalziel and Pascoe
Travel advisories and embassy alerts are undoubtedly warning visitors right
now to stay clear of Summer Bay, Mount Thomas and Erinsborough. This is not the
season to stray through the land of sudsy serials.
There has already been gunplay from the Heelers and at All Saints hospital,
as well as emotional overload around Ramsay Street. So, in this climate of
docusoap and reality anxieties, where serial writers look nervously over their
shoulders at publicity-seeking dingbats on Caribbean islands and hair-scared
charmers in hyped-up talent quests, the innocent can expect anything.
Soaps, after all, are where we came in: television's melodrama right down to
those shaky, colourful, overlit sets. Basic storytelling: cheap, profitable and
our shop window overseas. Where would Australian TV be without them?
Still, Home and Away (7pm, Seven) bows out for its summer break with what
seems an almost conventional cliffhanger. There are a few screams, a missing
family, some puzzling, a lot of testosterone and adrenaline pumping among the
young bucks, the sounds department working overtime, and Alf Stewart getting
another chance to dive into his orange SES overalls.
Perhaps Summer Bay is getting a little overcrowded? Perhaps the network sees
another way of saving dollars by burying some of the younger clones? At times,
their caravan park does look like it's hosting a hairdressers' convention.
Tonight, the Sutherlands spectacularly drop out of sight. Rhys Sutherland
(Michael Beckley) and the girls decide to interrupt a celebratory dinner to
search for young Max (Sebastian Elmaloglou). They leave the soup to burn (a
useful clue to those arriving for any party), and Scott and Seb to murderously
As the Sutherlands unite at the lower end of an abandoned mine shaft, their
visitors up above work out that they're not at a reverse surprise party. ``No
note? This is not right. Four people just don't disappear without a trace . . .
maybe someone wanted them out of the way?"
Alf's siren is pressed and, while others are distracted with revelations of
Tasha's parentage, orange overalls are handed out. The last memorable line I
remember from the poor Sutherlands was a plaintive, ``Why do the candles keep
Andy Dalziel would tell them soon enough. He is in an even fouler mood than
normal in Soft Touch, tonight's edition of Dalziel and Pascoe (8.30pm, ABC).
In this, the last of the present first-run dramas, Dalziel, like DI Jane
Tennison, is being asked to consider a desk job. As he sees it, hell should
freeze over first. It's much more fun giving Peter a bad time while solving a
murder with exotic Russian connections.