From the opening sequence to the pilot episode of Winners and Losers, you know you’re watching something very special unfold. Four separate women receive an invitation to their 10 year high school reunion and we learn so much about who they are now simply through how they react. They may have grown up, they may have become very successful, they may have entirely (or not at all) changed their life – but that one message reveals to us their connected history… and future.
It may be blatanly female skewed, but Winners is a joy to behold. Frances (Virginia Gay – All Saints), Bec (Zoe Tuckwell-Smith – The Cut), Sophie (Melanie Vallejo – Packed to the Rafters and that from the Dare Iced Coffee ads) & Jenny (Melissa Bergland – Underbelly Files: Tell Them Lucifer Was Here) have lead mostly separate lives and in this first episode reconnect in a most inspiring way. They revel in the connection they had, & this connection is instantly rekindled as a group. Their lives are richer for each other being in them, and this friendship empowers them to take on the world. We’re drawn in by the direct and deep performances from each of the central cast, filling out their characters with aplomb & consistency. A supporting cast including Denise Scott & Frances Greenslade as Jenny’s parents make for an embarrassment of riches, however these additional players are never far from the action (Scott is particularly charismatic & near scene-stealing, & Damien Bodie as Frances’s PA is as compelling).
Our connection with their successes and failures reveal themselves throughout the first episode. We’ve all at sometime or other experienced bullying at school. We’ve all relied on our friends to survive. We’ve all wished we had the courage to put the person who made our life hell at some time in their place good and proper. The hook at the end of the first ep will completely draw you into the second (and so on into the third, etc). The only trauma to be faced is – where will Channel 7 find a home for this series?
As with Packed To The Rafters (it comes from the same writing/production team), W&L will attract a strong and loyal following. The show will get lots of promotional love, however the network will have to ensure it finds the right spot for it and doesn’t mess with it. This is a night winner without question. Interesting to note you can already become a Facebook friend with Jenny. Will this open up other opportunities with the characters outside the show, or simply be a marketing gimmick?
Winners and Losers will not be everyone’s cup of tea. But it will be for most people. The cast are thoroughly engaging, the writing is spot on and reflects a true group of friends learning more about themselves and each other, and the show will hopefully provide an alternative long-term vehicle for Australian actors and actresses (that doesn’t have to involve guns, cops or bad guys).
Winners and Losers – Yet to be scheduled, Ch7
Image/Video sources – Ch7.