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Springhill Series 1 DVD Review

Springhill Series 1 DVD

“Springhill” is a bizarre little known British soap opera.

In this little known 1996-1997 26 episode British soap opera TV series, the story revolves around a Catholic Liverpool family (the Freemans). The family, which is made up of Liz and Jack and their 5 children Trish, Nick, Anthony, Sue, and John Paul, seem relatively normal at first glance, but with each passing episode, it becomes clear that this family has many dark secrets. This is most apparent when a mysterious woman named Eva enters the picture. Throughout the first and only series, viewers can expect to see plots about a funeral for Liz’s father, Nick (the eldest Freeman son) trying to move out of the house into a place with his girlfriend Debbie, Trish falling for a fellow classmate and a teacher, a planned move to get away from Eva, Trish’s b-day, life-changing secrets, family complications and feuds, parenthood, shocking revelations about Eva and Jack, Jamie and Sue’s relationship, Father McGinley, creepy romantic attractions (won’t say between whom), and a pregnancy.

While “Springhill” may certainly have a “Soap,” “Twin Peaks” and “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” vibe (as evidenced by the eerie score and stylistic approach), the series is still quite unique in terms of story. Created by Paul Abbott (the mastermind behind the original “Shameless” and the original “State Of Play”) with episodes scripted by the talented Russell T. Davies (the man responsible for the excellent reboot of “Doctor Who”), “Springhill” is a rather deep and ambitious melodrama that dives into subjects of religion, secrets, death, family, bigamy, sins, and sexuality. Unfortunately, the show’s intriguing material is rather let down by the cheap production values and the characters. While the entire ensemble give commendable performances, I never really found myself invested in these characters aside from the impressive performance of Katharine Rogers who plays Eva. “Springhill” is the type of show in which the actual plot and story surpasses the characters. If there was a balance between the two, I think this show would be remembered more fondly rather than forgotten. Yes, the show could find new life on DVD and it certainly deserves an audience, but I can’t help but feel like there was greater potential here. In fact, I feel like this is the type of show that was tailor made for a remake or a reboot (and I’m someone who generally opposes both).

Video/Audio:

Presented in fullscreen, “Springhill” looks like a cheaply made British series with much of the action taking place in simplistic house rooms.

The dialogue may sound clear in the Dolby Digital Stereo track, but it’s not of the highest quality by any means.

The only extras here are Acorn trailers.

Summary: If you’re tired of the formulaic procedurals that dominate TV, I’d recommend checking out the quirky and chaotic stylings of “Springhill.” It’s not perfect, but it captures your attention for sure.

 

July 31, 2013 - Posted by | DVD review | , , , ,

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