Nowhere Boys – Season 1 Review

TV

 Nowhere-Boys-Series-1-Boxart

Nowhere Boys – Season 1
Studio: Matchbox Pictures
Publisher: ABC3
Format:
DVD (reviewed)
Release Date: 5th February 2014
Price: $29.99 – Available Here

Overview

Australian television aimed at a younger audience doesn’t entirely have a good reputation, at least that’s the way I look at it. I feel as though it’s a case of the “it was better in my day” frame of mind that I’ve got going with this particular subject and, despite my self awareness, I’ll stick to my guns until the very end. “Nowhere Boys” is a brand-new Australian series that is aimed at a teen audience, it revolves around four boys, one huge mystery and everything that comes with it. Being both supernatural and teenager-centric, the series deals with the problems of people, their differences, and growing as a whole while also in a hostile environment that is similar to their own yet drastically different in a few crucial ways.”Nowhere Boys” is definitely a show that has taken and will take many people by surprise…myself included.

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Story

“Nowhere Boys” has a storyline that is hard to pin down; it’s generic and typical yet it is deep and oddly unique, it’s absolutely a series that you have to watch all the way through to the very end to be able to fully appreciate the story behind it all, watching a few episodes and judging it may work in most cases but it doesn’t seem to work in this one. The series revolves around four teenage boys that all attend “Bremin High School”, “Bremin” being the fictional small town they live in. Each of them is unique yet each of them is a typical character trope: You have Felix the goth, Andy the geek, Sam the airhead and Jake the jock, all these combined make for what seems like a really silly television series, the likes of which we’ve seen time and time again.

The four boys are made into a group for a school excursion wherein which teams of four students are to trek through a local national park of sorts with the intention of all rendezvousing at a designated finish line, this is meant to be a team building exercise and, as you can imagine, these four boys are anything but willing to work as a team. After mucking about and eventually getting lost, the boys are forced to make camp in the national park. They eventually wake up and, with the help of a friendly vagrant, make their ways back to Bremin to reunite with their families who have oddly not come searching for them during this time. Upon arrival to each of their respective homes they’re met with nothing but hostility as it seems who they thought were their loving families were now stricken with amnesia and cannot remember any of the boys. Meeting up once again, despite none of them wanting to actually be near each other, they set out to solve the mystery of this “mass amnesia” and to make their way back home…wherever or whatever that is.

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I will give this series some credit for writing some good backstories for characters which, at first, are so much more interesting than the actual mystery…though, by the end, that statement gets flipped and I was much more into the odd way the series panned out rather than where these kids got their angst. From a deadbeat dad to a crippled brother to a seemingly perfect girlfriend, each of these lads gets their own backstory-based episodes that tell you a fair bit about who they exactly are and why they either do or do not want to return to their normal lives. Once more, I’ll give the writers credit for being able to write actual normal situations that would be quite close to home for some viewers out there but what I cannot give them credit for is for writing character development that sticks.

Unfortunately, despite their obvious character growth, the boys tend to slip in and out of it with a couple of them making silly comments by the end of the series that reminded me a lot of what they were like at the beginning.Apart from those few slip ups, I’d say that the series was written quite well, had they taken out some of the childish and unnecessary dialogue the series would have been all the more greater but it is a show directed at teens so I suppose it cannot appeal to everyone. Thoroughly enjoyed the mixture of both supernatural and science-fiction within the events of the story, they were blended together well and in some cases it actually reminded me of the earlies “Supernatural” seasons which, in my head, is a great accomplishment. If only the acting was as good. That was a little harsh, the acting was good for the most part but some certain actors really didn’t bring their best to the screen and it was obvious throughout the series.

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Audio And Visuals

I was very impressed with the way the series looked, it had some incredibly production value and the CGI effects used actually weren’t half bad for an Australian television series. Anyone that has seen Australian TV knows that it isn’t that great, especially when trying to do things Hollywood has already mastered so to see some CGI being used nicely was…well…nice! Everything looked normal, which is a good thing not a bad thing: Both costuming and setting made the series look as though it actually took place in a small town, there were no odd environmental elements that took you away from the “reality” of a situation, though by the end of the series there really wasn’t much of a need to seem “real”. I would like to give a big commendation to the prop maker of the show, nothing was too flashy and I think all the props were made in a very nice way, usually when series’ revolve around the supernatural props tend to be far too extravagant, these weren’t but they were also good enough to hit the mark, I was very impressed.

Auditorally I’d say this show had a fairly good sound track, nothing really stayed in my head after watching through it but the tracks that were in it really set scenes well, at least, well enough. The series did win an award regarding the score in episode one but, honestly, I didn’t find it as amazing as the win of an award made it sound. I felt it was good but I never found it award-winning. One thing they did right was the noises and sound effects that had something to do with a mystical, magical or demonic force…now I actually cannot say much at this point in time because going into detail will wreck a fair bit of the story so I’ll just say that the use of voice distortion was done quite well. Overall both the Audio and Visuals were good, not fantastic but not terrible, somewhere in between.

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Extras

The only real extras that “Nowhere Boys – Season 1” has is some behind-the-scene footage of the production of the series. Considering I was given a promo copy of the DVD to review, the only extras it came with were strictly on-disc and that was basically just the behind-the-scenes footage, the official release may bring viewers more extras but unfortunately I can only review what I’ve been given and what I’ve been given was just that. It is very interesting though, to be able to take a step into the production crew of any series is quite intriguing especially if you’re into film-making and how it is done. I would have liked to have seen a little bit more from the extras side of the release but behind-the-scenes was all I got in the promo copy, hopefully the distributors will add something a little more for the official release.

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Overall

As fair as Australian-made series’ come…this is one of the better ones. I actually found myself enjoying this series more and more despite the small list of things that it lacks. While the acting could have been a great deal better by some of the actors and the dialogue could have done with the same treatment, I still found myself wanting to keep watching every time an episode ended simply to see if the next segment of story will explain to me exactly what the heck is going on. Yes, it lacks a few things but it does have an array of positive aspects that, I’d say, really makes it worth while, unfortunately this is a review and I cannot overlook those negative aspects but I’d still recommend it to a fair amount of people, especially if they love Australian television. It’s nowhere near a perfect release but it’s also nowhere near being a bad one and I can see a lot of people actually finding some enjoyment in watching the series, especially the teen crowd, so get into it!

8-5-capsules-out-of-10

Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.

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