When Neighbours finished in July, Hollywood guest cameos, dramatic storylines and emotional farewells neatly rounded off what was then Australia’s longest running drama. It was a fairytale ending, something other telly can only dream of.
But just as soon as it was gone, Neighbours was back, rescued by Amazon to be streamed on Freevee. Today, the revamped show returned, and we have questions. Namely: how do we feel about who is and isn’t back? Should Amazon have left well enough alone? And, why is Mischa Barton here?
Yes, it’s a little bit awkward
In the old days, Neighbours’ two-year time jump would have been explained by some dramatic twist, like Lou’s secret involvement in a drug cartel. Not in the streaming era. Most of the central cast is back, along with favourite regulars and a host of new faces. In true soap fashion, some younger characters are victims of soap opera rapid ageing syndrome, apparently spending the two missing years chugging bad whisky and working the mines. But although the passing time is acknowledged, it’s never fully explored, which gives the first episode a surreal quality. Who are you most excited to see? Are you worried about how much time has passed?
Ramsay Street still loves a wedding
The first episode starts in a place familiar to even the most casual Neighbours fan: a wedding. But although Terese is the blushing bride, as expected, the man standing beside her is genuinely shocking, even by Erinsborough standards. Toadfish Rebecchi? As I live and breathe! If this doesn’t blow you away like an unseasonal Lassiter’s tornado, nothing will. How do we feel about it? Will it last?
Oops, Guy Pearce bought a house on Ramsay Street and now he has to live there
In real life, super-cool Pearce (who plays Mike Young) lives in Amsterdam with his Game of Thrones partner Carice van Houten. But in Erinsborough, Mike is happily shacked up with long-ago sweetheart Plain Jane. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he mostly appears in the reboot via Facetime, begging the question: could it be over between them – again?
Mischa Barton breaks some labour laws, probably
Anyone who was alive in the 2000s remembers Marissa Cooper’s dramatic car crash death in quintessential teen drama The OC. What they might not have realised is that Mischa Barton, who played that character, was born in London, and that means she has a moral obligation to memorise the Neighbours theme song, have a crush on Jesse Spencer, and say yes to any opportunity to be on the show. In the reboot, she arrives in Erinsborough as Reece Sinclair, a part-owner of Lassiter’s hotel, and immediately sticks her tongue down the throat of an employee. Does this cross a professional line, or are the rules different when it’s true love?
Jelly Belly is back – but with a devastating secret
Ian Smith will be eternally associated with his iconic character, Harold Bishop, but after leaving the show in 2015 this reboot brings him back to the street. Unfortunately, he’s really getting on, and Karl Kennedy has reason to believe something is not quite right with his old friend. Luckily, Karl specialises in literally every aspect of medicine, so he will be able to accurately diagnose Harold based on vibes. Given his age – and penchant for blathering – what do you think it might be? Will a heartbreaking diagnosis send him to the big cruise ship in the sky?
This is Ramsay Street, so Karl and Susan are fighting
Although the past two years appear to have been happy ones for most of our Neighbours, things won’t stay that way for long. Susan and Karl are on rocky ground, still reeling from his dodgy financial dealings and added trouble from his daughter Holly (lovechild of Nat Bass). Jackie Woodburne has hinted at a “major change” for her character who, since we last saw her, has retired from her gig as a school principal. Who do you think will make it? Will Toadie lose yet another wife? And will we get a reenactment of Susan Kennedy’s infamous slap?
Neighbours is on Amazon Freevee in the UK and US, and Prime Video in Canada. In Australia, Network 10 airs it at 4.30pm Mondays, with a repeat at 6.30pm on 10Peach; each episode will be streaming on Prime Video seven days later in Australia and New Zealand