Australian TV show recommendations.
So @A_Ron_Hubbard threw out the challenge in the Q&A. Let’s do it, Aussies. I have no idea how easily available any of these are outside Australia, but if you come across any of them, I’d recommend:
Wentworth. Drama set in a women’s prison. It’s based on a hugely popular drama/night soap from the 1970s/80s, but is much more gritty and realistic than that one was. I have never fully warmed to it personally, as I’m too nostalgic for the original, but I have seen several seasons and it’s an excellent show.
Upper Middle Bogan. A comedy about a posh doctor who finds out she was adopted and her biological family are car-racing bogans. It’s a typical clash of cultures sitcom (no laugh track), but the bogan characters especially are warm and hilarious, and the doctor’s wanky hipster husband is a delight.
The Letdown. A comedy drama about a middle class 30-something woman who has a baby and struggles with parenting. Sounds kinda whatever, but it’s so well done; it’s funny but also sometimes devastating. If you’re a parent you’ll relate and if you’re not, you might never want to be after watching this.
Rake. The show that the Greg Kinnear one is based on. This one is better, and the main character is the sleazy duke from Moulin Rouge.
Glitch. A bunch of people in a small town return from the dead, including the first wife of the local police officer. Gripping drama that goes off the rails a bit in S2, but still definitely worth watching.
Cleverman. Dystopian reworking of indigenous Dreamtime stories. Really original and interesting show.
Seachange. Comedy drama about a big city lawyer who moves to a small seaside town to become the local magistrate. The town is full of endearingly quirky weirdos and it’s a lot of fun. It’s 20 years old, but still good, and it’s being rebooted this year.
The Day Of The Roses. This is super obscure and 20 years old, but if you ever see it anywhere, I highly recommend it. It’s a two part mini series about a real life train crash in Sydney in the 1970s where 80 people died and hundreds were injured. I haven’t watched it for probably 7 or 8 years but I still think about it a lot.
We Can Be Heroes. Summer Heights High is probably better known outside Oz, but for me, WCBH is Chris Lilley’s best show. A mockumentary about several nominees for Australian Of The Year (including Ja’mie from SHH) with Lilley playing all the main parts, it’s funny and relatable and sometimes cringy, but also shockingly sad in parts.
Ronny Chieng: International Student. It’s all in the title. Fun little comedy about a Malaysian student studying in Australia.
Rosehaven. Another of those “small town full of weirdos” comedies that we seem to love doing. A man moves back home from Sydney to a small town in Tasmania to help run his mum’s real estate agency when she is taken ill. His best friend who has been left at the alter decides to go with him. That’s it. But it’s great.
We also do a lot of good “slice of life” dramas (that all seem to star Claudia Karvan and/or Justine Clarke and/or Ben Mendelsohn), such as The Secret Life Of Us, Tangle, Love My Way, The Time Of Our Lives, etc. These are all worth checking out if you’re just looking for something not too deep to binge on.