You Beauty! 10 Aussie Shows that are Fair Dinkum Rippers.

Adam Fay,

It’s not always easy being an Aussie who loves their telly. Over the years our wide brown land has produced some brilliant TV shows, but if we’re being honest, our strike rate isn’t top-notch.

We either produce shows that try too hard to emulate successful American or British series like The Sopranos, Line of Duty or Law & Order, or we overcompensate by making our own shows too stereotypically Australian – the token outback or beach backdrops, the overuse of “G’day”, “Bonzer” or “Bloody-oath” in every sentence…

Every now and then an Australian TV series comes along that achieves something special. It captures the humour, the darkness, the complexity and the heart of what makes this a great country.

Here’s 10 examples of Australian made TV shows that have less of the cultural cringe….and more of the multiple binge!

Mr Inbetween

What the bloody hell is it?

Created by and starring Scott Ryan as Ray Shoesmith, Mr Inbetween is a dramatic, shocking, hilarious and confronting series about a criminal-for-hire who also happens to be a father, ex-husband, boyfriend and best friend.

Why we reckon it’s deadset great

It’s an incredible achievement for a show to pull off a character so likeable, despite all the dastardly deeds Ray Shoesmith must do to earn his living. We know Ray does bad things, but we grow to admire the guy warts and all, and want nothing but the best for him.

Mr Inbetween is so brilliantly executed that the characters and situations feel real. If judged by its synopsis alone, it can be easily dismissed as yet another “hitman for hire” story, but make no mistake that this Aussie gem offers a lot more than what’s written on the tin. It’s dark, funny, nasty, tender, poignant…and yes, it’s uniquely Australian.

Buy episodes or seasons of Mr Inbetween on the Fetch TV Store

Colin From Accounts

What the bloody hell is it?

It all starts with a car accident and an injured dog. An event that forces Ashley and Gordon’s lives together in all their awkward complexity. These two single, good natured people somehow need to find common ground in a unique situation.

Why we reckon it’s deadset great

There’s something effortless about the performances, writing and comedy in Colin From Accounts that sets it apart from other modern comedies. A Notting Hill-esque situational romcom on the one hand, a less predictable offering with well-drawn characters, fun “only in Australia” moments and genuine laughs on the other.

Maybe it’s real-life married couple Patrick Brammall and Harriet Dyer’s chemistry that creates this, or maybe it’s the cross-generational tension between them that keeps us hooked. Whatever the secret sauce is, Colin From Accounts conjures up the classic days of screwball comedies, but feels completely fresh and modern.

Colin from Accounts is available on Binge

Wentworth

What the bloody hell is it?

The confronting look into the lives of the inmates and prison staff of Wentworth Correctional Centre as they navigate the ups and downs of their lives in the prison system.

Why we reckon it’s deadset great

This re-imagining of Prisoner, the classic Aussie series that broke new ground in the 80s, will surprise viewers who expect another by-the-numbers behind bars drama. For starters, Wentworth is slickly produced and very well shot. Most importantly though, the show builds genuine tension and conflict, captured beautifully in its writing, and perhaps even more successfully in its spot-on performances from a talented Aussie cast.

The success of Wentworth is a testament to its creators, who could have easily made this series all shock no substance. Instead, it stands tall as one of our best locally made TV shows of all time.

Buy episodes or seasons of Wentworth on the Fetch TV Store

Upright

What the bloody hell is it?

Two misfits, thrown together by chance in the middle of the Australian desert, forge bonds in a quest to transport a precious piano from one side of the country to the other.

Why we reckon it’s deadset great

Upright has all the classic tropes of a road trip movie that’s been converted into an 8-part series. Like any road trip, there’s drama, chaos, laughter, pathos and reflection.

Anchored beautifully by its two stars, Tim Minchin and Millie Alcock, there’s a chemistry between them that quite possibly makes the series better than it should be. Thanks to this, and a script written with heart and humour, the series captures a refreshing Australian tone. This mix of comedy and emotion is rarely executed this well in local television, and while we think it could have been sufficiently served with only one season, Upright still earns its place as a must watch recent gem.

Buy episodes or season 1 of Upright on the Fetch TV Store

Fisk

What the bloody hell is it?

Contracts lawyer Helen Tudor-Fisk is forced to take a job at a shabby, suburban law firm following a humiliating marriage breakdown and a professional fall from grace.

Why we reckon it’s deadset great

At first glance, Fisk may be immediately compared to The Office, but we think that is selling it short. The slow-burn back and forth of the comedy and the deliberately paced unraveling of the key characters make this something else entirely. Sure, it’s a workplace comedy, but Fisk gets under your skin with a lot more human truths. Many that permeate beyond its bland office walls.

Kitty Flannagan clearly owns the series, and it feels as if nobody could have done the role as much justice. Fisk is not trying to dazzle you with over the top set pieces, pratfalls and wacky comic characters. It doesn’t need to. This is a gentler, consistent giggle that grows into a series of laugh out loud’s the longer you spend with it.

Watch Fisk on ABC iview, Season 1 is now streaming on Netflix*, Buy episodes or seasons on the Fetch TV Store

Heartbreak High

What the bloody hell is it?

An incendiary mural exposes everyone’s secret hook-ups at Hartley High. Its author, Amerie, has to grapple with the messy fallouts as a total outcast.

Why we reckon it’s deadset great

The new, updated Heartbreak High arrived on Netflix as one of the most pleasant surprises of 2022. For those of us who remember the original series from the 90s, we know that it always felt outside the mould of other high school-set dramas. This 2022 version takes that originality and propels it into a new and exciting trajectory that is as fun as it is eye-opening.

As any truth-telling teenage drama should, Heartbreak High has moments that are confronting, though it never really wallows in these, as its humour and energy is infectious, oozing with personality so rarely captured in Australian shows of its ilk. One season in, we can’t wait to see what happens next.

Heartbreak High is now streaming on Netflix*

The Newsreader

What the bloody hell is it?

An unconventional relationship in a world on the cusp of change, a star newsreader and an ambitious reporter join forces in a ruthless 1986 newsroom, as events unfold that will change their lives.

Why we reckon it’s deadset great

We’ve all seen movies and TV shows try to capture the essence of the 1980s, but in our view, The Newsreader nails it. This Aussie drama feels both aesthetically and tonally legit. The Morning Show may be the U.S attempt at dramatising the inner workings of a busy newsroom, but it well and truly leaves believability at the door. Not so with The Newsreader. This is a show with more subtlety, that exudes a sense of realism as a result (with a healthy dash of more-ish soap opera thrown in for good measure)

There’s also something compelling about watching news output before the internet changed things, and while those expecting a fast-paced series may be disappointed, it’s well worth allowing the 80s charm and cheekiness of The Newsreader time to sink into your psyche before you give up on it. You’ll be so glad you did.

Watch The Newsreader on ABC iview. Buy episodes or seasons on the Fetch TV Store

The Tourist

What the bloody hell is it?

A man wakes up in the Australian Outback with no recollection of who he is, and he must try to piece together his memory as merciless figures from his past pursue him.

Why we reckon it’s deadset great

It may be an Aussie series, but a lot of the credit for the success and sheer watchability of The Tourist has to go to it’s Northern Ireland born lead, Jamie Dornan. The 50 Shades actor owns the show, keeping you engaged in his plight throughout.

Despite it’s darker undertones, The Tourist’s hooky premise is supported by a script that’s as exciting as it is thrilling, with clever turns and jolts of humour that never miss a beat. The series also delivers a payoff with just the right amount of light and dark, making the announcement of a second season enticing.

The Tourist is now streaming on Stan*

The Cry

What the bloody hell is it?

The disappearance of a baby from a small coastal town in Australia is the catalyst for a journey into the disintegrating psychology of a young couple as they deal with an unthinkable tragedy under both the white light of public scrutiny and behind closed doors.

Why we reckon it’s deadset great

An underrated 4 episode gem that showcases the best this country can do creatively. Nothing is quite what it seems in this mystery drama, and while it may lend itself somewhat to other similarly plotted British whodunnits, it has enough twists and turns to stand on its own and keep you on edge until its shocking final act.

The Cry may be too much for some, with Joanna’s (Jenna Coleman) relentless misery a tough weight to bear for sensitive viewers, but this compelling, beautifully made series will have you riveted throughout.

The Cry is now streaming on ABC iview, Netflix*, Stan* and Acorn TV*. Buy episodes or the season on the Fetch TV Store.

Deadloch

What the bloody hell is it?

The town of Deadloch, Tasmania, is preparing for its Winter Festival when a local man turns up dead. Two detectives and an eager junior constable are sent to investigate the crime.

Why we reckon it’s deadset great

Deadloch is a crime comedy like no other. A series that manages to juggle two difficult genres impressively. Pass it off as a silly small-town lark at your own risk, the murder mystery in this Prime Video series is a legitimate one, with enough ups and downs to keep you on your toes with each passing episode.

It’s an ambitious offering, with a tone that should not work as well as it does. Put that down to its ingenious setting, its great writing and solid comic performances. Deadloch’s dark humour never wavers, but is offset by its cleverness and it’s bold approach to social politics, making this one of the most original and watchable surprises of the year.

Deadloch is now streaming Prime Video*

*Subscription required

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