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Round The Twist series three

cast: Ryan Maclean, Ebonnie Masini, Andrew S. Gilbert, Matthew Walters, and Brook Rowan

creators: Chris Anastassiades, Ray Boseley, Paul Jennings, and Esben Storm

320 minutes (PG) 1999
Revelation DVD Region 0 retail

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by Alasdair Stuart
The Twists have never had a normal life. Dad, Tony Twist, lives with his three children and girlfriend in a lighthouse on the Australian coast. The lighthouse is also home to two friendly ghosts, the local forest is full of dryads and every now and again Vikings get lost on their way to conquest and pop out of the mist.

The first series produced after creator Paul Jennings left, this still manages to raise quite a few laughs, and has more narrative coherency than you might expect. Whilst each episode stands alone and follows the same basic plot (one of the kids does something stupid, disgusting or anatomically impossible and chaos ensues) there's a growing sense of coherency here that makes for fascinating viewing.

The best example of this is the Viking Book of Love, left behind in episode two by the time-lost Vikings (who rather wonderfully are persuaded to leave by being introduced to the wonders of hair care). From that point on, the magic of the book is used repeatedly throughout the series, the consequences of this neatly foreshadowing similar plots used in Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

This narrative subtlety is neatly offset by some fantastic moments of toilet humour. If you or your child ever found bogies remotely funny then this is the series for you, the body humour often being balanced with some genuinely neat touches. This is particularly true in The Whirling Derfish, an episode which manages to not only get the most obvious joke imaginable out of a fish that swims in circles but does so by marrying it to Bronson's dissatisfaction about being the smallest child. It's far from tear-jerking family drama but the kids in Round The Twist react the way they do for perfectly understandable reasons.

Ultimately the one problem with the series is that you may get too much of a good thing. With two discs full of episodes, all of which have effectively the same plot, there's a danger of it losing its appeal. However, in small doses there's a lot to enjoy here. After all, where else would you find a male teen pregnancy episode where the mother's a dryad?

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