While they may not be as commercially successful as their American or English counterparts, Australia manages to release a number of quality television series each year.
A great recent contributor to this is online streaming services, in particular Stan and Netflix, which have made concerted efforts to both buy and heavily promote Australian content.
So to help you with your ‘I’ve finished a series, what should I watch next’ dilemmas, here is a list of some of the great Aussie comedies and dramas available online.
Upper Middle Bogan
Originally aired on ABC, Upper Middle Bogan hilariously marries two very Australian groups: Well-spoken, private-schooled folk, and the stereotypical ‘bogan’. After discovering she was adopted, upper-middle class doctor Bess decides to meet her birth family: drag racing team from the outer suburbs. The plot is wonderfully Australian, and the humour, while hilarious, is imbued with clever satire that allows for an accessible insight into the two different factions of our society.
Available on Netflix and Stan.
This hour-long drama revolves around Cleaver Greene, a criminal lawyer who defends the seemingly indefensible. For example, in the first episode, Cleaver represents a good ol’ cannibal. What makes this show great is its seemless blend between high-stakes drama and natural comedy. Cleaver himself is a mess, struggling with a cocaine addiction and crumpling relationships. But within his self-destructiveness is humour, enhanced by Richard Roxburgh’s brilliant portrayal of the protagonist.
Available on Netflix and Stan.
If I were to make a list of the greatest television shows in the world, No Activity would be one of the first titles I would write down. The premise of this Stan original is fantastically simple: two detectives are bored in their car during stake out. This, really, is all it is. For the most part, there are six characters: the two main detectives, the two policewomen in the dispatch centre, and the two criminals. There is little to no action. Rather, we watch as these brilliantly cast and created characters try to entertain themselves with mundane chatter. And amazingly, I find myself laughing out loud more than most other programs I’ve ever seen. I really couldn’t recommend this more highly.
Available exclusively on Stan.
The Chris Lily Collection
Chris Lily’s works have been labelled genius, terrible, inconsistent, and a mixture of all three. And perhaps there is some validity in that. After his debut show We Can be Heroes and the internationally successful and wholly iconic Summer Heights High, the later released Angry Boys, Jonah From Tonga and Jamie: Private School Girl have been met with mixed reviews. Still, if you’re into crude, irreverent Aussie humour, you’re bound to get a few laughs. Each of his shows is the perfect solution to half-an-hour of boredom.
Summer Heights High, Angry Boys, and Jamie: Private School Girl are available on Netflix and Stan. Jonah From Tonga is available on Netflix. We Can be Heroes is available on Stan.
Australia’s less poetic answer to The Wire. Inspired by the true events of the Melbourne criminal underworld, Underbelly is a high stakes drama, made even more thrilling by its familiarity. Characters and places remain the same: we watch as Karl Williams gets shot in a St Kilda park. Perhaps at times the scripting slips into cliché, but for the most part this is edge-of-your-seat stuff, and a strong recommendation for anyone who likes watching people getting shot (should I seek help?)
Available on Stan.
So there you have it, my personal picks of the best Australian shows available on Netflix and Stan. Got any other recommendations? I’m always keen to find a great new show! Let us know in the comment section.