Waterloo Road (2006–2015)
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Waterloo Road tackled many different story lines in the first series with the main one being the court case of Donte Charles. The story lines involved many different situations including bullying, homosexuality, father's rights, guilt and grief.
I found the story lines very gripping to watch especially the love triangle between Izzy Redpath and Tom and Lorna Clarkson - I was so glad when Tom and Izzy finally admit their love and they get together in the last episode! Despite this, I still feel a bit sympathetic for Lorna.
It was definitely an entertaining watch and I recommend it to anyone who hasn't seen it before.
Anyway, its basically about a run down school, were the pupils are really badly behaved, and the teachers cant control them. The head teacher appoints Andrew as the new deputy head teacher. Andrew is a Oxford graduate, and used to teaching private schools, not bad public schools. Andrew tries to bring authority, and eventually it works... and just loads of different things go on... like Dante and Chlo's car crash story line... and the love triangle between the 3 teachers (cant remember there names... Izzy, Lorna and the guy...) Ill be sad to see this end. I hope it comes back for a 2nd series!!
The characters don't seem to have memories; at least they can never learn from their mistakes! I suspect this may be due to the plethora of writers and directors - I haven't really checked, but there seems to be about eight of each. There seems to be no "book" outlining the major characteristics of the characters.
Consequently the characterization by the actors is all over the place, as apparently different writers and directors have different views of how some characters should behave. Some have more personalities than Tara! (As in United States of). The rapidity with which the Tom/Izzy/Lorna triangle formed and reformed in Series 2 - when seen one episode each day - was just mind boggling.
Rimmer seems to have a memory problem. When will he ever learn that Steph is a problem for him - perhaps never as every writer seems to want to do a Jack and Steph get together one last time.
There are also major gaps in the storyline which seem to defy logic. In what world is Lewis Seddon - would-be thug and general waste of space - going to suddenly (but without any explanation) going to pop up as a kitchenhand in the very canteen his family tried to destroy only two or three days (as we see the show) earlier?
Overall, a great show. I have seen a lot of good shows and dramas on BBC and this is luckily one of them. 9/10 Bethany Cox
Now In my opinion the Series 1-4 were the shows best years, it showed the school progress from a school in special measures with a beat up everyday, to a school that went out of its way for its pupils to have a better life at school, and in general.
Series 5 was decent, but then on-wards the show seemed to take a very different turn. At first it was a pretty dark drama that I would really only suggest to parents and teenagers but it went from that to a lighthearted family show, at least that what it feels like to me.
For example, in the first few series, there were more fights, more deaths, more arguments and most importantly, more drama, now conflicts get resolved in the space of an episode and the pacing just seems really off. The show went from 8 episodes in Series 1 to 12 in Series 2 to the standard 20 Series 3 on-wards, and these series felt very well paced with a overarching story line coming to a big climax at the end of the series, you just don't get that with Series 5 on-wards, in fact I had to look up when a series had finished because the finale's after Series 5 just felt like normal episodes.
The pacing and different direction also might be in part to all the different writers, as the original writers and creators of the show stopped writing halfway through Series 3 I believe. Its still good TV, and with the series ending next year after its 10th series, its a good time to go back and re-watch the earlier series and see how the show has changed,its just a shame to see something once to relate-able become so different.
Another aspect I enjoy is the character development. With such short seasons, the pace of shows are generally much quicker and the characters fleshed out early on. However, in the case of Waterloo Road, I fear there is little direction as to what the show is about, who the characters are, and surprisingly the staff appears to be more dysfunctional then the student's. This isn't meant as a criticism of the actors, but rather of the writing and concept of the show. Were it not airing during the bleakness of U.S. summer reruns and never ending "reality shows" I'd have probably quit watching some time ago. However, unlike great BBC shows like SPOOKS *MI5) or many of the "Mystery Monday" line up like Wire in the Blood, or Night Detective, which require my attention, Waterloo Road allows me to serve the internet, check google news, or play spider solitaire while it plays in the background.
The situations of the kids, are their moronic thought processes are easily waived off, as let's face it, kids always think they are much more clever then they really are. (I know I knew more at that age then I know now)Part of adolescents is learning just how much we still have to learn.
The teachers however are another story. One would expect they would have outgrown both their hormonal imbalances and emotional insecurity. The old adage about "not dipping your quill into the company inkwell" seems to have been a missing component of their education. Having your own kids in the school you teach certainly doesn't seem to be a very good idea.
The silliness and absurdity far outweighs the occasional dramatic moment or insightful instance which stumbles off the tepid script.
I went back and watched the previous 4 series' on YouTube and have watched it ever since. It is now on its 9th series.
I have to admit, I found the earlier series better than the most recent, so if you want to start watching it, I would recommend you watching it from the very first episode on YouTube.
I would definitely recommend this to young teenagers, especially females, as my mum doesn't watch it anymore but me and my friends enjoy it and we're 13.
Amanda Burton did a terrific job playing Karen Fisher, the new head teacher. Her character faced some real hard story lines and problems, which she tackled really well. I really do wish that they would bring back Angela Griffin as Kim because she really gave some amazing performances. Waterloo Road also brings up what a tough job teachers face today and how much they should be commended for it.
Like I said above, the next series I'm sure will not disappoint and continue to give the same amount of Drama and highlight young people's problems in this modern world.
Review by Liam de Gruchy
Poor old Jason Merrells is yet again cast as a well-meaning northern male struggling with frustrations mainly caused by the women in his life. The best character in it is Andrew Treneman (very believably played by Jamie Glover). It is good, and rare, to see an idealistic character who is not a cliché and is not ridiculed.
The four young actors playing the teenagers are also excellent.
Camilla Power, once Jill Pole in the BBC Narnia, is a wife cheated on by her husband, just as she was in Sparkhouse. She is beautiful but painfully thin.
It is not remotely realistic (e.g. the school only seems to have about ten staff and, at most, fifty pupils - Grange Hill was better) and the goings on are of the most melodramatic soap opera type, especially the love triangle and the teenage car crash story - neither of which is really dependent on the school setting at all. The way that Merrells is rescued at the last second from a fiery death is the kind of thing normally found in children's stories. Does he then have to spend hours making statements or getting treatment for his injuries? No, he just changes his shirt and heads for the pub!
It's potty, but it is entertaining and has moments that do remind me (a teacher) of life in a British secondary school.
Waterloo Road is now on it's 3rd series, I personally feel it is the best series so far, it has the most drama, chemistry between actors has grown and could lead on to many more series to come. Taking in account all of the features: Actors, Storyine, Director(s),Chemistry, Amount of Drama and how believable the drama; taking amount good points and bad points about 'Waterloo Road' I give this drama 8 out of 10
In the UK, if you are a teacher it is likely that your kids attend the same school you teach at - yes of course this is not very easy but it does happen regularly. In addition, many people meet at work many have a quick fling, and many get married. These inter-relationships have bee communicated well in the series.
Waterloo Rd is a good enticing drama, that is more about the relationships between people, (peers-to-peers and authority to the masses). Probably a little more appealing to woman than men. Well regardless must be doing wall as the second series has just aired in the UK and I for one can't wait to see whats going to happen.
This kind of drama is really done much better by US producers these days though enough was going on for me to tune in and see how it progresses.
Waterloo Road is everything Skins wants, needs but will never have, starting with the writing which in comparison is EXCEPTIONAL. It's one thing to raise headline issues, it's a completely different, more skillful and admirable thing to tackle them head on, with all their complexities. And when you write at that level, where what you have to say revolves around the issue itself and not the way it is handled, then you leave yourself plenty of room for well rounded and properly developed characters. People who exist in the real world - those you cannot mold and manipulate to fit your ideals - you simply place them in a world of these ideals and watch them work their way through it. We have proper teenagers being portrayed in a way that Skins has absolutely no excuse for not being able to accommodate, and REAL ADULTS! Christ alive has this been something way over due in a show like this - I welcome it with open arms. And then we have the issues in and of themselves, which are far from fluffy and don't seem to have gone through the Sensationalizer 3000, like everything else on the box has. It's just plain good television, pure and simple, and I don't doubt I'm alone on this one.