CBBC’s latest genre thriller hails from Australia, where the series premiered last November, and quickly gained a commission for a second year. This opening instalment introduces us to the four lads – a jock, a nerd, a goth and a skater boy – who are thrown together by their teacher for a walking exercise through the Goolengook valley but get themselves lost trying to find a short cut.
There’s a degree of a Blair Witch Project vibe to it (the titles certainly seem to be trying for that even if the cinematography is quite standard otherwise), and there’s enough going on during the walk to make both audience and the boys themselves wonder quite what’s going on.
With only half an hour to play with, the episode has to get them to a point where the title makes a degree of sense, but also flesh out their families so that the revelation at the end of the instalment has some impact. A lot is therefore packed in to the opening few minutes, much of which no doubt will be relevant later, but which feels a bit chaotic at first. Stick with it though – you may be able to guess what’s coming but it’s done well.
Verdict: An intriguing premise with enough spooky elements to grab a tween-age audience. 7/10
Nowhere Boys starts on CBBC on 1 September.