SeaChange-Series 2-Episodes 1-6: If Fish Could Fly (1998)

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Released 9-Mar-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Menu Animation & Audio
Synopsis
Notes-Pearl Bay Locations
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 304:48 (Case: 308)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (76:22)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Ali Ali
Mandy Smith
Sue Brooks
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Sigrid Thornton
Cassandra Magrath
Kane McNay
Paul English
Patrick Dickson
David Wenham
William McInnes
John Howard
Kerry Armstrong
Cameron Nugent
Bryony Price
Jill Forster
Alan Cassell
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $39.95 Music Richard Pleasance


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    As was the case with the first series of this show, the charm is still in the air. However, this season does bring some dramatic changes to the inhabitants of Pearl Bay. When we last left our bayside friends, there was much turmoil about. Bob Jelly was on the verge of community success and fame as the new bridge that connected Pearl Bay to Port Deacon was about to be opened. Heather had just found her real parents, only to discover that it was Meredith and Harold. Kevin and Trevor were about to embark on the trip of a lifetime and we were at the start of  Phrani and Kevin's new unusual friendship. And 'Diver' Dan and Laura? Well, the heat was beginning to increase as the pair, at first slightly at odds with their attraction to each other, now began to throw themselves at each other. Yes, love was indeed in the air, but as anyone who lives in a coastal area will testify, the climate can change at any moment. Season 2 has brought that change.

    The reverberations of the truth about Heather's real parents have affected Bob's wife dramatically. Still, her husband is none the wiser after the freak storm that damaged the new bridge has once again isolated Pearl Bay and ruined Bob's standing as a leader in the community. While Bob and Heather wallow in their respective personal dramas, Kevin and Trevor return to Pearl Bay prematurely from their epic sea voyage only to find that the storm damage had caused much destruction at the caravan park, and law suits are pending. While chaos ensues around them, Laura and Dan are too caught up in their own romance to see what has transpired. So begins Season 2 of Seachange.

Series 2, Episodes 14-19

Disc 1
1. If Fish Could Fly (# 14, 1999)   -   50:47   Directed by Ali Ali
Written by Deb Cox

Starring:  Alex Menglet as Krzystof Chrzanowski  and Matthew Green as Lionel.

    Pearl Bay is in chaos. After the freak storms that have lashed the town, damage is everywhere and even the much heralded bridge linking the town to Port Deacon is again in disrepair and only opened to limited traffic for two hours a day (except Saturdays). Kevin and Trevor return from a disastrous boat adventure only to find that the caravan park, like the rest of the town, has been severely damaged including the prized Deluxe Continental. It's made even worse as the Continental was rented by a writer who was about to finish his masterpiece only to have it swept away in the now deluged caravan. He is one of many who are crying out for blood...via the courts.

    Bob Jelly is in a terrible state. Having seen his lifetime achievement in the restored bridge again in ruins, Bob has taken up a isolated existence in his home and won't venture from its confines. This makes it harder for Heather as she comes to terms with the discovery that locals Meredith and Harold are her biological parents. She wishes to speak to Bob about this, but can't find the right opportunity as Bob is consumed in his own personal hell.

    While the local court is inundated with various law suits relating to the recent storm, Laura Gibson and Diver Dan are unable to keep away from each other and seem oblivious to the disaster around them. This makes it all the harder for poor Kevin, who must prove to the court that the storm was completely unpredictable in order that he might save his caravan park from a crippling lawsuit.

2. Vaya Con Dios To All That (# 15, 1999)   -   50:34   Directed by Ali Ali
Written by Max Dann,  Deb Cox and Andrew Knight

Starring:  Alison Whyte as Katrina Fennessy and Francis Greenslade as Simmo.

    While Diver Dan and Laura continue on their merry way in regards to their relationship, Dan feels a bit crowded as Laura's estranged husband Jack (played in this and subsequent series by Patrick Dickson) appears. As Jack continues to make his way back into his children's lives, it's an awkward time for all concerned.

    Meanwhile, Bob attempts to explain the financial situation to the local council while hiding the real situation. Things are not as good as they seem and it's about to get a little bit messy. While explaining the financial situation to the council, Bob is given a summons to the local court for failure to lodge a tax return. Things are about to get very hot for Mr. Jelly, in more ways than one.

    Katrina Fennessy from the tax office has come to town and everyone is on their best financial behaviour, with all the local traders giving the proper receipts with purchases while she is in town. Despite all the concern about the taxing woman in town, Katrina seems very interested in helping Bob with setting up a community bank. With the savings of the locals in the community band (headed by Bob Jelly, of course), things could be more stable for the residents of Pearl Bay. Some agree while others are hesitant, and as the bank is limited to those who have been residents of Pearl Bay for 5 years, it is also somewhat divisive.

    While Pearl Bay is wrapped up in matters of banking and taxes, Laura and Dan have come to a crossroads. Dan wants to travel to destinations unknown (maybe Cuba) while Laura doesn't want want to uproot her children from their lives again after a traumatic year. With her life seemingly on a stable path again, it's Dan's sudden departure that throws Laura's life into a quandary.

3. Broken Hearts And Crustaceans (# 16, 1999)   -   51:47   Directed by Mandy Smith
Written by Andrew Knight

Starring:  Frank Wilson as Len Connors, Doris Younane as Elena Connors, Jim Russell as Squid Connors, Alison Whyte as Katrina Fennessy, Debra Low as Pam Nugent and Brett Swain as Griff.

    Unrequited love is in the air as Pearl Bay justice must deal with local 'Squid' concerning his continued attempts to woo the love of local hairdresser Pam Nugent. Despite the numerous court orders forbidding him from harassing her, Squid can't help but feel that Pam is the destined love of his life.

    Meanwhile, Laura is in the doldrums about the sudden departure of Diver Dan and is almost inconsolable as her repeated attempts to throw herself at her work only serve to bring her to the brink of despair.

    While love lost and loved never gained reigns supreme in Pearl Bay, Bob Jelly stands at the brink of legend status as he and new financial adviser Katrina Fennessy are about to set up the community's new local bank. With the tax department's brightest mind and the local community's most loyal and dedicated servant, what could possibly go wrong?

    And while all this is going on, one of Pearl Bay's long lost sons, Max Connors (William McInnes) has returned to the seaside community with wife in tow. It is a different time for the bay, and a sea change is definitely in the air.
 
Disc 2

4. Sink or Swim (# 17, 1999)   -   51:09   Directed by Mandy Smith
Written by Andrew Knight and Sue Hore

Starring:  Alison Whyte as Katrina Fennessy, Doris Younane as Elena Connors and Brett Swain as Griff.

    Bob Jelly, big man about town has just found out that he's bitten off more than he can chew, and chewing like hell won't make a bit of difference. After working with Katrina Fennessy, tax office official and financial 'wizard', Bob's realized that Katrina hasn't been 100% clean with her commitment to the local bank and when she leaves town with the community's money, it's gone into thin air. Repeated attempts to contact her fail and when Bob finally goes to her supposed address in Port Deacon, all he finds is a vacant lot. With all the money gone and no sign of the woman that's taken it, Bob is at the brink of despair...and suicide.

    While Bob struggles with the loss of the town's money and the fact that his wife's parents are Meredith and Harold, Laura has struck up a friendship with newly arrived former son Max Connors's wife Elena. While Max seems somewhat withdrawn, Elena is quite a breath of fresh air and Laura begins to enjoy her company.

    While Elena and Laura strike up their friendship, Max does some investigating on the identity and  modus operandi of one Katrina Fennessy and through his contacts is able to find her whereabouts. With this information, Katrina is arrested and brought before Laura to face charges of obtaining financial gain through deception. When Bob Jelly provides the bail, the town is in an uproar. Meanwhile, with all the town's money gone to parts unknown, a barter system begins to evolve while everyone waits for their money to be returned.

    When Max offers advice to Sgt. Grey, the town's policeman about how to handle the case against Katrina, it means the difference between the letter of the law and the good of the town. When Laura learns of this, she confronts Max, but he has more pressing things on his mind after the sudden death of his wife Elena.

5. Head for Water (# 18, 1999)   -   50:21   Directed by Sue Brooks
Written by Stuart McDonald

Starring:  Frank Wilson as Len Connors, Denise Scott as Wilhelmina Seagull, Greg Ulfan as Couda and Brett Swain as Griff.

    While the town struggles to come to terms with the sudden death of Elena, it's Max who's the most affected by the tragedy, it's just that he refuses to show it. And while the town tries to understand Elena's death, it's the death of local fisherman Bucket's dog, Alfonzo Dominico, that has the town talking. And things get stranger when it's Bucket who's charged with the dog's killing.

    When Carmen Blake returns to town after working through the death of her baby, it's straight to returned local Max, a former journalist. As Carmen is a budding journalist herself, she inspires the idea for a local newspaper.

    It's drama for couple Angus and Karen, who seem to be always plodding along in their relationship without going anywhere. When Angus's favourite sandbar disappears, it's the end of his favourite waves at his favourite beach. This almost death in the family throws everything into chaos.

    And while each goes about their daily dramas, Bob Jelly makes plans for a new community aquatic centre, named after himself of course. It's Max that comes up with the perfect compromise for the naming of the proposed aquatic centre...well, almost perfect for everybody except Bob.

    And Laura receives a late letter from Elena asking for help in looking after her lonely husband.

6. The House That Jack Built (# 19, 1999)   -   50:10   Directed by Sue Brooks
Written by Andrew Knight and Doug MacLeod

Starring:  Robert Grubb as Barry Boston, Nicki Wendt as Paula McVeigh, Jim Russell as Squid Connors, Brett Swain as Griff Christopher, Christo as Constable Constantine, Stephan Freidrich as Jager and Phillip Reilley as Spurt.

    As Laura struggles to abide by the charter given to her by Max's departed wife Elena, it's on mostly deaf ears and an unresponsive attitude that her attentions fall. Annoyed at her inability to connect with the despondent Max, Laura begins to accept the attentions of her estranged husband Jack. Jack has bought a parcel of land facing the beach and is in the process of building a house. While he talks of a life with the children and her together again, Laura is hesitant.

    And while Laura and Jack work through their personal dramas, giant crabs have found their way into Pearl Bay. Let loose in suspicious circumstances from a container in the local marina, the crabs wander into the town and at times take the locals unawares. Investigations by the local constabulary find that the crabs might be part of a drug smuggling racket.

    While the town is in the grip of crab mania, Paula McVeigh, an old flame of Max's, has returned to town. She is happy to see Max, but could her appearance in town during the crab invasion be more than a coincidence?

    And as Max learns of the truth about Paula's reappearance, Laura discovers a hidden truth about her estranged husband Jack, and it's all for the worse.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer here is reasonable and a fair bit better than that presented on the Season 1 release.

    The image is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 (full frame), without 16x9 enhancement of course. As I remarked in the Season 1 review, it's sad that the show's producers didn't have the foresight to film this in at least 1.66:1 if not 1.78:1 to take advantage of the shape that television was clearly heading towards. As this show was going to air, another ABC programme, Something in the Air, was being filmed in what looked like 1.66:1, so to have this show filmed in a similar format wouldn't have been out of the question. All that said, full frame is what we have, but it'll just prematurely date the programme.

    The show as transferred to DVD is quite clear with a mostly sharp image available throughout. There is the odd issue of focus, but this seems more of a technical issue in terms of the show's production and not a transfer flaw per se. I didn't have enough dramas with focus to consider it a real problem anyway. Shadow detail is just okay and within the realms of what would be expected from a show of this type. Some of the darker scenes do lack a bit of clarity in terms of shadow detail, but this isn't so common that it ruins the enjoyment of the show. I had no issues with low level noise.

    Colour's use in this show is quite natural and its commitment to this DVD set is quite good.

    The Season 1 release of this series had some pronounced issues in terms of MPEG artefacts. These usually took place just before scene changes where the image would pixelate quite badly. I understood this to be a compression error where the particular compression programme used didn't allocate enough space for the image before it changed leaving some nasty pixelization and macroblocking in view far too often. For this Series 2 collection (at least for this Volume 1 set), I found none of the nasties that plagued the first series release. These discs present the video at a bitrate of around 8.20 Mb/s. This is up about 1 full megabyte per second from the Season 1 release which ran at a fairly reactive 7.21 Mb/s. This new series features a compression job that seems much more stable. There is a fair level of the ol' edge enhancement, who seems to like the seaside as much as anyone else. It isn't a huge turn-off, but have a look at Disc 1, Episode 2 at 3:40 around the house to see how bad it gets. We also get some cross coloration from time to time, such as that seen on Disc 1, Episode 1 at 31:57. Not a frequent issue with this release, but something I noticed. As was the case with the first series, there is a fair bit of grain evident during the show. I picked this grain to be intended by the show's producers who probably filmed the show on video and then later committed the footage to film to give it that filmed look. I could be wrong, but none of the other film related issues seem to come up making me think that this could be the case. Because of the level of grain that is present, pixelization can be a bit pronounced on the odd occasion as the compression program struggles to know just what to categorize it as. You can see what happens in this regard on Disc 1, Episode 3 at 18:03.

    There is only one subtitle option here, that being English for the Hearing Impaired. I had this running for a couple of episodes and found it fairly accurate without being word for word.

    While the layer change was between episodes (mostly) in the original release of Series 1, I was able to pick the change for both discs in this Volume 1 package. For Disc 1, the change takes place during Episode 2 at 25:35 and for Disc 2, the change is during Episode 5 at 22:06. While I noticed both of these changes, I didn't think them particularly disruptive.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    While not spectacular, the audio here is reasonable and serves the programme fairly well.

    There is only one audio option here, that being an English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded track running at a basic 224 Kb/s.

    For the most part the dialogue is good, and this is important as it's the dialogue that drives this show. One of the very few things that I noticed was some fairly obvious ADR on Disc 1, Episode 1 at 43:53. This again wasn't terrible, but I did notice it. I had no problems with the audio sync.

    Music for this show comes from songwriter Richard Pleasance, and he's done a quality job in conveying the persona of the show's characters in his music. The shows opening credit theme sets the tone for the whole programme very well. The end song, written by Richard Pleasance and sung by Wendy Morrison is, once again, a great finish for the show and typifies the laid back attitude of the programme.

    This is a fairly basic sound mix here with only minimal surround information encoded. You can use whatever surround programmes your receiver has, but all you will get is atmospheric rear channel sound, which for this show is appropriate. My subwoofer was troubled little with no LFE to speak of.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    We get a couple of extras here for those interested in the show, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Menu

    After the copyright warnings, the distributor's logos and an ABC promotional trailer, we are taken to the disc's Main Menu. Each disc features a Main Menu which offers the following:     Selecting an episode will take you to its own Main Menu which will offer:     These menus are animated in the theme of the show and feature scenes and dialogue from the programme. On Disc 1, we have an extra feature, that being a guide to Pearl Bay's locations (1 Page each). Selecting this icon in the Main Menu of Disc 1 will offer up the following locations:     These provide some background information as to both the significance of the location in the show as well as their real life location and history.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    At this point, the Region 4 releases are the only ones available worldwide.

Summary

    Season 1 was a great start to a wonderful show, and despite the fact that the irrepressible Diver Dan bows out of this second series, this doesn't herald the death of the show. As with many television programmes in the past, once the sexual tension between the two leads reaches a head, there is often nowhere for the show to go (remember Moonlighting?). Here we have a fresh start and the beginning of more fun with some beloved characters. I'm having a great time watching these episodes and I can quite easily recommend them to those who like quality continuing drama.

    The video is reasonable with a transfer that fares better than the original Series 1 release.

    The audio is adequate.

    There are a couple of extras, but nothing to write home about.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Sean Bradford (There is no bio.)
Saturday, April 17, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD RP-82 with DVD-Audio on board, using S-Video output
DisplayBeko TRW 325 / 32 SFT 10 76cm (32") 16x9. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderYamaha RX-V2300 Dolby Digital and dts. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationYamaha RX-V2300 110w X 6 connected via optical cable and shielded RCA (gold plated) connects for DVD-Audio
SpeakersVAF DC-X Fronts (bi-wired), VAF DC-6 Center, VAF DC-2 Rears, VAF LFE-07 Sub (Dual Amp. 80w x 2)

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