Tag Archives: Michala Banas

Winners & Losers Series Finale Wins Our Hearts and Tears.

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Girl power!  (L to R) Melissa Bergland, Demi Harman, Melanie Vallejo and Virginia Gay.  Image credit: Channel 7.

Better get the tissues ready as long running Aussie drama Winners & Losers is sadly, after five seasons, coming to an end on Monday night in massive double episode filled with tears, friendly faces, more tears, many laughs and even more tears.

With Channel 7 pushing out double episodes on a weekly basis since the shows return, they’ve decided to call Monday nights epic finale a ‘movie length send off’ while in reality, the first of the two final episodes is a follow up to last weeks cliff-hanger and takes a close look at Sophie’s (Melanie Vallejo) love triangle with Luke (Nathin Butler) and his brother Alex (Scott Smart) while Jenny (Melissa Bergland), who has discovered she’s finally pregnant, must find the right way to reunite with Gabe (Nick Russell) after she chose to pretty much end their marriage after his kiss with co-worker Riley (Demi Harman)

Thankfully it’s not all woe and drama wtih Frances (Virginia Gay) and Pete (James Saunders) deciding to take a romantic ‘mini moon’ after their sudden nuptials….in a fancy hotel, in the city…..but find themselves struggling to keep up with the fast paced youths running rampant in the same hotel and Riley discovering her ex is about to get married and toys with the idea of going to said wedding and making a scene to prove a point.

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Frances (Virginia Gay) imagines what life would have been like had she taken more chances after the lotto win.  Image Credit: Channel 7.

It’s not until the loose ends involving Sophie and Jenny are done and dusted and a sneaky little glimpse at a 15 year high school reunion invitation that we make our way into the final ever episode (insert tears here).  Jenny, Sophie and Frances are to be interviewed for a documentary on lotto winners five years on from their win, just how much their lives have changed and are they happier now than before they won.  It’s a smart way to push the newly inserted Riley out of the story line (she’s off with Gabe working on the presentation of the SpoilSport app) and allow the three remaining lead characters take the spotlight together for one last time while they take in their lives now and where they started off.

Familiar faces including the entire Gross clan – Trish, Brian and Patrick Gross (Denise Scott, Francis Greenlade and Jack Pearson) and former nemesis Tiffany Turner (Michala Banas) are a very much welcome return but don’t be expecting much more than that.  For a show that offered up a slew of recurring characters over its five seasons, sadly, there is virtually no reference to those we loved who have come and gone like Bec (Zoe Tuckwell-Smith), Doug (Tom Wren), Flynn (Tom Hobbs) or Sam (Katherine Hicks).

But, that’s not what this Winners & Losers finale is about.  The aim is clearly to give a massive send off to who we have left standing and to celebrate the big changes coming their way as we say goodbye to the girls we’ve come to know over the past five years.

Tissues will be needed and lots of them, but probably not until the last 15 or so minutes because that’s when it all gets real and we know the end is coming.  It’s always tough to give a show a respectable farewell and the final few scenes are actually a perfect way to say goodbye to Jenny, Frances and Sophie as we’re offered a perfect little glimpse into their lives after it’s all said and done.  The only thing that may rub fans wrong is that said ‘non mention’ of long gone series favorites.

I can honestly say for Jenny, Sophie and Frances, I wouldn’t have had this finale any other way.

The Winners and Losers series finale starts Monday night, September 12th at 8:50pm on Channel 7.

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Winners and Losers pulls a Packed to the Rafters

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The cast of Winners and Losers

I’m just going to put it out there….I really don’t (and never really have) watch many Australian made tv shows.  Blue Heelers?  I remember a whole lot of fuss and bother over Maggie Doyle and that guy Martin Sacks played.  Offspring?  I think I’m the only one who didn’t know who Patrick was and why the country stopped to honor his death.  I did give Packed to the Rafters a shot, but that was only because I was in love with Rebecca Gibney.  Don’t get me wrong though, I do watch some things we make….

Along with Wentworth, Please Like Me and anything involving Chris Lilley, Winners and Losers sits happily in my ‘really want to watch’ pile.  That age old story of four friends reuniting at their high school reunion only to find out they’ve won 2 million each in the lottery had me hooked from episode one.

Ratings wise, the show is doing well.  After a shaky season three opener (Why?!  Did people not remember the cliffhanger of season two?  MATT. BLOWS. UP.) the ratings have begun to top the 1 million viewer mark and usually wins it’s time-slot.  So that said, why is channel 7 splitting the season in half, stopping after 13 episodes instead of the usual 20+ season run?  Next week will see a double night mid-season finale before the show returns next year.

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  Winners and Losers script producer Dan Bennett tweeted me informing me that yes, the show will be back and that next week’s mid-season finale will be a life changing cliffhanger.

Though I’m wondering if Channel 7 have forgotten what happened when they did this to Packed to the Rafters during season 5?  Remember?  People invested themselves into 10 episodes of the show before it was pulled off the air until the following year, then, when Channel 7 so graciously brought it back, people stopped watching and ratings dropped considerably.

I’m hoping (and secretly knowing) that Winners and Losers should be strong enough to withstand a         mid-season pause.  The season so far has been strong with the show moving away from “We’re rich!”         story-lines and focusing more on family/relationships and and the addition of new characters has given the show a much needed boost with Matt (Blair McDonough) and Tiffany Turner (Michala Banas) exiting.

Next weeks double hitter begins Tuesday at 8:45pm on Channel 7.

Dating and Bogans Bring Viewers to ABC1

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Lisa McCune and Peter Helliar in Its A Date

ABC1 is offering up some new Australian comedies for Thursday night, and lure of bogans and dating brought in viewers.

Upper Middle Bogan starring Annie Maynard, Glenn Robbins and Michala Banas, is about a working class woman named Bess who discovers she was adopted and is shocked to find that her birth parents head up a drag racing team in the outer suburbs and brings her family to meet her birth family.

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  Michala Banas in Upper Middle Boagn

I personally don’t know much about the drag racing culture, but I can only assume that Robbins, Banas and Robyn Malcolm are hitting the mark perfectly as the Wheelers, a family of children giving birth to children (Wayne and Julie were apparently in their mid teens when Julie fell pregnant with Bess) who love their footy, drag racing and beers around the outdoor dining table.

Banas in particular is a highlight, moving on from bitchy Tiffany Turner (Winners & Losers) to playing the belching, cursing and screeching Amber Wheeler.

Following on from Upper Middle Bogan is the Peter Helliar created Its A Date.  A sort of narrated-reality-comedy-drama look at the troublesome world of dating, with each episode taking focus on a different topic.  Thursday night’s “When should you end a date” saw Helliar playing opposite to an off-character Lisa McCune while TV Chef Poh Ling Yeow (who was surprisingly good) played opposite Dave Lawson.  The eight part series features a slew of well known Australian actors from Denise Scott to Asher Keddie to Nadine Garner and Stephen Curry.

It’s A Date brought in 8777,000 viewers and won it’s timeslot.

Not a surprise.  The show is funny.  Lisa McCune getting smashed on margaritas then ending up in a strip club receiving a lap dance off a busty stripper is not something you see on TV everyday!

Of the two, It’s A Date won me over more than Upper Middle Bogan but I adore Michala Banas and will happily watch her groan “It’s F*cking Reflux!” on a weekly basis!

Both Upper Middle Bogan and It’s A Date air Thursday nights on ABC1 8:30pm/9pm respectively.

 

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