Plot: Bobby Rivers (Jon English) was once a rock star with a number one hit, but that was two decades ago and now, he remains stuck in his old ways as a free spirit, despite his fame drifting off. He still writes music and waxes nostalgic with his friend Doug (Garry Who), while his hapless manager Wayne (Bruno Lucia) struggles to make it through life, let alone find Bobby some work. His life is thrown into chaos when he discovers he has two children from a past love and he is now tasked to watch over them, with help from old friend Tracy (Rebecca Gibney). Of course, his lifestyle isn’t exactly the role model type, but he loves his long lost twins right from the start, so he tries to be a good dad, despite his quirks. But can this colorful collection of eclectic personalities gel into a real family or will it implode instead?
Entertainment Value: All Together Now feels like an Australian take on Full House, but with enough differences to make things feel fresh or at the least, as fresh as this kind of sitcom can feel. The core premise has a washed up rocker jostled into a new role as a responsible father, which provides ample stories to explore, while eccentric supporting characters ensure there’s always some wackiness. The episodes follow the kind of patterns you’d expect from a sitcom, with some fluff episodes, others that provide backstories on the characters, and some more serious narratives, though the fluff is easily the most common of the lot. This makes sense, as most will visit a show like All Together Now for some brisk laughs and the show delivers on that, but it is nice to have the exposition episodes and more dramatic ones, as the latter provide some welcome development. As you’d expect, most of the episodes are self contained stories, but there are some that fill in character depth and carry over to larger arcs, mostly dealing with the supporting characters. I think the show’s offbeat sense of humor is a lot of fun and while it has all the usual sitcoms tropes at work, All Together Now is bound to entertain most fans of 90s television comedies.
One of the main reasons the show is so much fun is the cast, led by off the wall Jon English, who embraces the wacky role of Bobby Rivers. He is a natural choice for this kind of character, with experience in music and the kind of rugged charm the role really needs to succeed. He nails the well meaning, but absent minded presence of a washed up hippie, which really makes the most of the material. His performance is over the top, but it works and he really goes for it to make the humor land. Garry Who is also good as the show’s most grounded character, while Bruno Lucia is a dialed up, goofy manager who provides some easy laughs. This series ran for four seasons and a total of 101 episodes, so All Together Now had quite a run and offers a wealth of episodes to explore. That many episodes means some are better than others, but that is always the case with longer running shows and on average, All Together Now has more fun episodes than duds, without question. So for fans of sitcoms or 90s comedies, this show is worth discovering and has plenty of wackiness.
The Disc: Umbrella Entertainment released the entire series on DVD, with all 101 episodes spread over 17 DVDs, grouped by season. The visual presentation is fine, in line with what an early 90s television show should look like, a little soft, but that is part of the deal with these shows. The images are as clear as can be expected, while signs of age and wear are minimal. As for extras, you can watch a couple of gag reels and two performances from a live benefit concert.