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Is Neighbours good or bad right now ?

It's languishing somewhere in between (and this seems to still be the case at Oz pace). The last 2 weeks have shown signs of improvements; they've been OK-good. But, this week has seen a return to OK-bad, and for some episodes, just plain bad. It is struggling to sustain a constant level of good, but it has shown that it is finally, taking on board viewer feedback, as there have some notable improvements. Balance between adults and teens is an on-going issue.

Are the storylines good ?

They're not bad. But Susan Bower, no matter how hard she tries, still loves to dominate storylines with the teens, but this had a major negative fan backlash, and now she's focusing on the pre-teens. Never in the history of the show, has kids as young as Ben, Callum and Sophie, been given plots that dominate episodes.

Having said that, the show works best when the focus is on the adults, and the teens stories click, when they heavily feature adults. Steph & Toadie's baby lie is flying the adult flag, and even though the execution was terrible, and the plots holes were huge, it has injected some much needed drama into the show. There will be huge dramatic consequences when the truth comes out, and that is what works with this story. It's also nice seeing the genuine moments with Steph, like when she got her first scan, and when she felt the baby kick for the first time. There is something very tragic about her predicament.

Libby's getting a new love interest, who they've already built up as Karl's rival, and Steph's doctor. So that should present some interesting scenes.

Paul's financial woes are also causing a lot of friction between him and Rebecca, and Andrew/Declan. Jane Badler's character will be involved in this story, and will tie in with Rosemary's return, and the shows 6000th ep. Andrew, though, is the weak link in this story. It's also a crime that they've used this story to ruin Christina's character, by portraying her as a bad mother to Andrew, with the sole intent of making viewers feel sorry for him. It doesn't work. And great past character has now been tarnished for nothing.

Lyn is back to her old self, and no longer in that annoyingly tedious feud with Rebecca (a story that nearly ruined both characters).

There's a nice triangle with Andrew/Summer/Harry, that works.

Declan & Kate are sweet, but sometimes a little boring.

Donna's found down her bio dad.

Are the characters good ?

Characters on this show have generally never been the problem, it's the writing. Case in point: Andrew Robinson. He has so much untapped potential, yet they write him as a petulant brat, who partakes in petty, childish revenge pranks, instead of exploring a deeper motivation; something that the viewer can latch on to, empathize, and go with no matter what crazy stunt he pulls. Instead, you just bask in his misery, and not really care, except to get annoyed at his attempts to break-up Paul & Rebecca. His one note acting doesn't help, either.

Is the overall direction any good ?

It has direction. I think this year is a real transitional period for the show, and will test whether or not they can turn things around, or whether Susan Bower is better off vacating her role as EP. It'll be testing times as to whether Network Ten will bother to help fix the show, or continue to let it languish.

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So Bower sucks?

Apparently, she invited Kylie Minogue to come back to Neighbours any time she wants. :ph34r:

Bower has been sucking for over a year, now.

She has publicly invited Kylie back, but I'm not really sure she wants to. I get the feeling she was just humouring the interviewer.

isn`t that a good thing ?

She can act and they could use some publicity.

Yes, it is a good thing. And the publicity would be awesome, but the show has got to address its problems, before garnering huge publicity, only to leave any potential new/returning viewers uninterested in the show. Although, to do that, Bower has got to acknowledge that there are problems, and her vision for the show sucks real bad.

I do wonder why, Susan Bower declined to be interviewed as part of Digital Spy's Producer Season...? That seems weird.

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^ True, but its not as if the interviewer is gonna fire a load of hate questions at her.

Probably, she anticipates the inevitable question about teen overload, which has scared her off. But, if she was any good, she'd face up to that, and just try to give the best damn interview she can. For that to happen, she'd have to be able to identify her faults, which she doesn't seem to be able to do.

I swear, she's like the Oz version of MAB!

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Apparently, Carla Bonner has quit her role as Steph, and will film her final scenes in September. :o

I'll post an official link when I find one, but someone reliable at NFans.com have posted that the news appears in today's Herald Sun.

This is quite shocking, no? I expected Carla to be one of the main stayers of the show, especially considering she's been with the show for 11 years.

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Do you think she was upset about this story about Steph carrying Dan's child? I know some fans were not sure about what this would do to the Libby/Steph friendship.

Are there any past characters you think could return and help fill the void?

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Carla Bonner quits Neighbours

Actress Carla Bonner is quitting Neighbours after 11 years playing fan favourite “Steph.”

Upon conclusion of her contract Bonner will depart for LA for a series of meetings and to take part in workshops with drama coach Irene Chubbyk. She will continue to be based in Melbourne with her two sons and partner.

But she won’t be killed off by Producers in case all the parties are keen for ‘Steph’ to make a soapie comeback.

Executive Producer, Susan Bower said, “I’m very sad that Carla is leaving us and she knows the door is always open for Steph to return to Ramsay Street.

“The storylines on-air and coming up showcase what an exceptional talent Carla is and while fans will be disappointed, I promise Steph’s farewell will be long remembered and will do the character proud.”

Erinsborough, of course, is famous for old faces returning including ‘Harold Bishop’, ‘Paul Robinson’ and her on-screen mum ‘Lyn Scully’ -to name a few.

Manager Jacinta Waters said, “Carla has had an amazing time on Neighbours, but after eleven incredible years has decided the time for a change has come. She will miss her all her colleagues in Erinsborough dearly.”

Last year Bonner told TV Tonight she was keen to explore possible film roles saying of her demanding schedule, “They’ve agreed to 8 weeks out to do something. You’ve got to have the right people supporting you I think. I love my job here don’t get me wrong, but I would love to be able to sink my teeth into something else as well.”

“Stephanie,” who has been pivotal to a key storyline this year, will remain on screen until the end of the year.

TV Tonight

I think this baby lie story, might have helped sway her in deciding to quit. I know she was very worried about Steph being damaged by it - not just on screen, by by fans as well. Bower promised to protect her character, but that really doesn't seem to be working. But, she has always expressed a desire to do films, so that all fits; it's just surprising, and very random, especially considering the direction the Toadie/Steph relationship was/is headed.

I think they may end up phasing Sonya in as permanent player, now that Steph is leaving. At one point it felt as if Sonya was being phased out, but then she keeps popping back up, and she did attend the Logies, which for a sparsely used recurring character, is surprising.

I'd love to see Lucy Robinson return - but the actress owns her own fashion label now, so a permanent return might be out of the works. And this show needs more regular adults. Dee, comes to mind, but again, Madeline West probably wouldn't want to stay; Lauren Carpenter, or May-Ling - any of Lou's family, even though Bower doesn't seem to want to write for him; Christina Alessie would be great to see, and give the show a chance to explore her relationship with Andrew; Stu & Sindi would be awesome (but they'd have to bring both back for it to work); Nicola West could be good, even though I know she divided fans, she had a good rapport with Toadie and Callum, and history with the Kennedys; Mal & Catherine (see Stu & Sindi); Geri Hallet could pop back, as a journalist for the Erinsborough News. She was always good fun, and kinda bitchy; her and Libby could be frenemies.

I guess it doesn't really matter if they're an old character, or someone new (Bower prefers new), as long as they aren't a kid/teen/anyone under 25. This show has enough of those ages already.

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I know some fans are worried the Scullys are now pretty much gone, since Lyn is probably on borrowed time and apparently the woman who plays her wasn't thrilled with the show in an interview? Do you think the Scullys are important to keep on the show?

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I didn't know Janet Andrewartha had shown dissatisfaction. She seems pleased to be back and is very much towing the party line about her character change.

I don't think the Scullys are important to the show. The only family that is really truly integral is the Kennedys (and to a far lesser extent the Robinsons).

What I find concerning about Steph's exit is that it's another longterm character we're losing and I don't trust the show to invest in history for a replacement. In 10 years, Steph has intertwined with many different sets of characters and families (much like Libby) and when she goes, we lose that link to its history. Ironically it's not really the character itself that I'm concerned about.

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Yes that's a very good point. In fact it took many years for Neighbours to recover from that point in the mid 90s when noone in the cast (except Anne Haddy's Helen) had been on the show longer than three years and while its not likely to get to that point again in the next few years, the departure of long term characters like Steph is always a concern asI don't think there's not that many in the current cast (long time cast members excluded) that will go the distance.

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I haven't watched the show that much lately, but I saw a recent episode, UK pace I guess. When did they start the horrible dated freeze frame thing for the previews and the coming attractions? It's about as fresh as Ringo's hipster outfit...

Who is this Sonia woman? Is she a drug addict? Is she anemic?

Is the handsome doctor Libby is interested in a permanent character or just filler?

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