From 1989 to 1993, the locals of Eden Street would frequent Patchett’s Pacific Pub and show Australia all the excitement and drama of their lives.
From deaths, love interests, marriages, careers and even serial killers, the soap opera E Street screened on Channel 10 for 404 episodes, gaining favourable ratings and making household names of Penny Cook, Kate Raison, Bruce Samazan, Toni Pearen, Alyssa-Jane Cook, Simon Baker, Melissa Tkautz, Scott McRae, Melissa Bell and name confusion with Tony Martin the actor vs Tony Martin the comedian.
Created and produced by Forrest Redlich, who had previous experience writing for TV with the ABC series Sweet & Sour and Channel 7’s A Country Practice, viewers would tune in to digest stories about the community living the fictional inner city suburb of Westside. Patchett’s Pacific Pub was the ‘go-to’ for any story initiation or development, including the odd celebrity dropping by (will discuss this in a future release), the local police station would get a regular work-out dealing with crimes and broken tension in the neighbourhood, and not to mention the legal aid centre and vickarage getting regular workouts.
The multi-Logie winning series wrapped in 1993, and early E Street episodes were replayed only once in 2003. Most of the series was screened in the UK from 1992 with modest success. The series has not been screened in full since the original broadcast. While some major story plots happened mid way through the series, such as the highly shocking (yet successful) serial killer “Mr Bad” preying on the main cast, they were the only episodes released on DVD in 2007, across 2 volume 10 DVD sets. Not to forget the music soundtrack of the series, featuring hits from The Teen Queens, Samazan, Tkautz, Euphoria and a lot more, released in 1993.
The team behind Madman and Via Vision Entertainment have dug up the past and released E Street – Collection One DVD box set. Consisting of Episodes 1 to 96, the 25 disc set takes us – the nostalgic viewer – back to the time where Australian soap opera reigned, and had you on the edge of your seat with cliffhangers and water cooler talk.
When I originally read months ago that this box set was coming, I was excited. I had been watching bootleg episodes on YouTube, and have been passionate about more Australian TV series from the past should have more releases. As soon as I got my hands on the box set, I was slightly disappointed. But not in a bad way. Hear me out.
The initial box cover that was listed as ‘coming soon’ on publicity sites and the artwork was not finalised, displaying as a plain white box with the E Street logo on it. I thought that would change once manufactured, but it arrived exactly like it was displayed. Call me OCD – even the original E Street logo on the front is low resolution and pixelated. Then again – it’s simply a box set cover. You want the goodies within.
The Region 4 DVDs are presented in 4:3 ratio and 2.0 stereo sound, so you must remember this was the format of the time. Labelled on the back of the box, there is a warning note explaining that the master tapes have been lost, and while the distributor has been vigilant about restoring the series to the original broadcast, Episode One: Part 1 and all of Episode Two are low quality. There’s even a clear message at the very beginning of both episodes on the first disc.
Upon viewing, yes. they are low quality. In fact, do yourselves a favour: Do not throw out your VHS tapes. You could have the only recording to a TV series which may not have the master copy anymore. After viewing the first episode, it looks like it has been lifted directly from the E Street fan YouTube page. But we stress: it’s only for part of Episode One, and all of Episode Two. Other than that, it clears up.
Episode Two is roughly the same quality as well, even having the original Channel 10 super appearing. Again – with a message beforehand.
If you cannot look through the quality, treat it like you’re watching it on your well-worn VHS tape in the lounge room, or watching it live with rabbit ears antenna. Easy!
Once you get through the first DVD of Episode One and Two, the quality improves dramatically. You’ll be on Easy Street! BOOM *TISH*
The box set contains the following:
- Casing One: 6 x DVDs, Episodes 1 – 22 (with notes on the low quality Episodes One and Two)
- Casing Two: 6 x DVDs, Episodes 23 – 46
- Casing Three: 6 x DVDs, Episodes 47 – 68
- Casting Four: 7 x DVDs, Episodes 69 – 96
All episodes have an average running length of 45 minutes, with the exception of Episode One at the movie length 1 hour and 31 minutes. Unfortunately there are no bonus features, like commentary and brand promoted commercials (Coca-Cola, anyone?) maybe in future releases..?
As these are the first 96 episodes, most of the younger cast like Samazan and Baker did not appear until after Episode 100. So if you are expecting to see some uber-cuteness of your TV Hits pin-up, they might not appear in here until a future release.
Is it a must-have? Only if you’re a lover of this show or a fan of Australian TV of nostalgic past. Do not be put off if it doesn’t appear to be ‘too flash’ by physical appearance – just enjoy some classic Australian TV. We don’t have long to keep this stuff from the master tapes. Be grateful on what we have, and show a new generation that Australian TV is not all reality shows.
If you still own the Best Of Mr Bad Volumes One and Two, the box set will sit nice and pretty next to them.
Thank you ViaVision and Madman for releasing this. Australia needs it. They just don’t realise it yet.
RRP is $140 – $170 at time of print, and will be available from December 4, 2019, but check ViaVision.com.au or your local DVD retailer for price.