This year, Australian TV screens have been awash with some great entertainment. Even though much of this has come to us from overseas, you won’t miss out of you’ve got Stan or Netflix. There are some homegrown shows you won’t want to miss, and there’s some great action out now on DVD with several top new TV shows released on DVD in Australia this month, adding to the store of fabulous entertainment available for watching on these cold winter nights. So grab the remote or a DVD, curl up on the sofa in a warm rug or onesie, keep the popcorn handy and feast your eyes on such classics as Gotham, The Americans, Once Upon a Time, Vikings, and Suits plus the following:
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Series five DVD)
This popular US TV series is based on the same organisation in Marvel Comics – S.H.I.E.L.D., which stands for Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division, revolves around the main protagonist, Phil Coulson, played by Clark Gregg, and the rest of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who are trying to save humanity. Season five is produced by ABC Studios, Mutant Enemy Productions, and Marvel Television, with Maurissa Tancharoen, Jed Whedon, and Jeffrey Bell. Other man cast members include Chloe Bennet, Ming-Na Wen, Elizabeth Henstridge, Iain De Caestecker, and Henry Simmons. The season was split into two separate pods with the first depicting the S.H.I.E.L.D. team transported to the future where they find the earth has been destroyed and the second pod, they try to stop this future from happening – spoiler alert: The season ends in a dovetailing of what happens in the film, Avengers: Infinity War.
Safe Harbour (SBS)
This top class, four-part drama series begins with five Australians on a holiday sailing on board a yacht to Indonesia who happen upon a fishing boat almost sinking, full of hungry, frightened, sick and desperate asylum seekers. The boat’s motor has stopped working, and they’re just floating, stranded. The female leads, Nicole Chamoun’s character Zahra, who has lost her daughter at sea, really stand out, as does Phoebe Tonkin’s Olivia, whose life is changed forever by the events at sea. Safe Harbour will keep you hooked until the very end. It’s available to watch on SBS On Demand.
The Americans (DVD final)
The final season of The Americans has reviewers praising Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields for the series, which is a spy show with some bloody fights, thrills galore, and top notch-wigs. But beneath all of that, even when people are ending up dead in suitcases or being dismembered in a car park, it’s always a story about love, marriage and family, via a couple from the Soviet Union who spy on the US in the early 1980s. In the finale, this is reaffirmed, one heartbreak and one tragedy at a time, making it cement its place in entertainment history as one of the great American dramas of all time. Part of what makes it such intriguing fare is the cast in Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Holly Taylor, Noah Emmerich, Margo Martindale, Alison Wright, Frank Langella, and others.
Once Upon A Time (Series seven DVD)
Yes, it’s out on DVD at last. But the fantastical fairy tale series is a different animal to season six with a major shake-up of the cast. Yes, there’s Hook, but there’s no more Emma Swan this time. After turning down a contract extension, the actor who played Emma (Jennifer Morrison) said ‘no’ for personal reasons. So there’s a different Cinderella now played by Dania Ramirez. The new season highlights many of the new characters, including Cinderella’s evil stepmother, Lady Tremaine, (Gabrielle Anwar) the one behind the latest curse. Lady Tremaine confronts the freshly-cursed Regina (Lana Parrilla). Once Upon a Time season seven returns (for one episode) Giles Matthey as Gideon; Robin Givens is now Tiana’s mother Eudora, the ‘benevolent noblewoman’, and Meegan Warner now plays a reimagined Rapunzel.
Mystery Road (ABC TV)
Aaron Pederson could be the great Australian alpha male of his generation, and it’s hard to think of a better actor to fill the shoes of such luminaries as Jack Thompson and Chips Rafferty. Brooding dignity oozes from Pedersen as the angst-ridden alcoholic detective Jay Swan in Mystery Road. He appeared in two films written and directed by Ivan Sen, 2013’s Mystery Road and 2016’s Goldstone. Now at the helm is Rachel Perkins as director for an offshoot of the 2013 film.
Gotham (Series four DVD)
The TV series Gotham – subtitled A Dark Knight – is based on characters in the Batman franchise genre (DC Comics), with protagonists Bruce Wayne and James Gordon and executive producers Danny Cannon, Bruno Heller, and John Stephens. The inspiration for the season came from elements of the comic book storylines of Batman: The Long Halloween, Batman: Year One, and Batman: No Man’s Land. The stakes are ramped right up in this fourth series as more depraved and ambitious super-villains are brought into the show. There’s also a shake-up in the fight for power as alliances are readjusted. In the last series (three), we saw the infamous criminal gang called Court of The Owls, but in season four, the criminal landscape that made Gotham City famous is revealed. Gotham City Police Department detectives Harvey Bullock and Jim Gordon are the frontline fighters waging war against some unhinged and profoundly depraved and dastardly villains. While the city struggles to find a state of calm, a new hero appears, as Bruce Wayne plays a large part in returning the city to something like normal. The cast and characters are as follows: David Mazouz (Bruce Wayne), Ben McKenzie (James Gordon), Donal Logue (Harvey Bullock), Erin Richards (Barbara Kean), Sean Pertwee (Alfred Pennyworth) Morena Baccarin (Leslie ‘Lee’ Thompkins) Robin Lord Taylor (Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin), and Camren Bicondova (Selina Kyle).
Australian Gangster (Seven)
The synopsis of this Channel Seven crime drama, written by Two Hands writer/director Gregor Jordan, outlines a wild tale of a collision between the Westie underworld, the Instagram generation and Sydney’s glamorous social elite in the midst of gangster ambition. Daina Reid directs (she was at the helm of the 2017 series Sunshine).
Chicago Fire (DVD Series six)
Chicago Fire series six stars Australian actor Jessie Spencer with Taylor Kinney and Eamonn Walker. The high octane drama series follows the firefighters, rescue squad and paramedics from Chicago Firehouse 5 and comes via the talent of the Emmy Award-winner and producer of Law and Order, Dick Wolf and creators Michael Brandt and Derek Haas, writers of 3:10 to Yuma. With most of the firefighting squad trapped in a fire in a warehouse, Chief Boden takes a risk at the last minute to save them, but when he finds out the fire that trapped his wife in a schoolhouse wasn’t an accident, he puts pressure on Casey and Severide to find what caused it.
Picnic at Hanging Rock (SBS)
This six-part series on Foxtel revisits one of Australia’s most well-known books by the same name, written by Joan Lindsay and published in 1967. Peter Weir’s haunting film adaptation of the novel came out in 1975. Lily Sullivan’s Miranda is compelling. There’s a scene in which she digs a pitchfork through a man’s foot to stop him from sexually assaulting her. Beatrix Christian and Alice Addison wrote the new Picnic at Hanging Rock script, and the directors include Larysa Kondracki and Amanda Brotchie. Picnic At Hanging Rock is available to Foxtel customers On Demand and can be streamed on Foxtel Now.
Homecoming Queens (SBS)
This 7-series TV show is an SBS On Demand series from the real-life experiences of writers and friends Michelle Law and Chloë Reeson, who bonded over their experiences of coping with adulthood while also both living with life-changing illnesses. Law and Reeson’s script and humour are extraordinary, and the project knits beautifully under director and executive producer Corrie Chen. Every episode of Homecoming Queens is available to watch now on SBS On Demand.
Mr Inbetween (Foxtel)
Mr Inbetween is the first Australian production from the American cable TV network, FX, and it’s a strange choice. It’s a kind of sequel to the 2005 mockumentary The Magician, a crime drama with some antsy humour – similar to Man Bites Dog, the Belgian film from 1992. Nash Edgerton directs six 30-minute episodes, doubtless with his signature punch and elegance.
Suits (DVD Series seven)
Since its berth in 2011, Suits has been a TV show about ‘what happens next?’ What happens after Harvey employs a fraud or Jessica and Louis find out and Mike gets caught? Mike’s a legit, practising lawyer in New York state as far as the law is concerned but where to from there? That’s answered in series seven, which picks up where six left off. Mike’s offered a role at Pearson Specter Litt; Louis and Donna have broken up, and it’s apparent Suits throws new challenges at the heroes. With Mike back on the job, and Jessica leaving, Harvey and Louis have to make peace to keep their struggling firm going. Starring Christina Cole, Wendell Pierce, Paul Schulze, and others.
Muslims Like Us (SBS)
Reality TV has almost taken over television, but an Australian take on the BBC’s Muslims Like Us might deserve a further look. It’s dubbed the ‘Muslim Big Brother’, and will follow 10 Australian Muslims 24/7 while they live in a shared house for a week, no doubt woken at all hours by producers seeking drama. The UK series generated some hot debate, both in the Muslim community and outside, so SBS is probably hoping for the same.
Underbelly Files: Chopper (Nine)
Aaron Jeffery will play the real, horrible, ear-free, underworld killer Mark ‘Chopper’ Read – and will doubtless elicit comparisons with Eric Bana’s brilliant, dazzling performance as the same raw character in the 2000 film Chopper. You have been warned.
Bite Club (Nine)
Two detectives survive a shark attack and join forces to hunt the top predator – a serial killer who is hunting them down. This crime thriller was shot in Sydney. What the shark’s doing in there remains a mystery, but Bite Club directors Jennifer Leacey, Peter Andrikidis, Wayne Blair, and Geoff Bennett, and will no doubt reveal all.
Pine Gap (ABC, Netflix)
Top secret defence facilities have an all-too-obvious X-Files ‘The truth is out there’ theme without even trying. This political thriller, set in and around the real Pine Gap base with all its mystery near Alice Springs, was commissioned by the ABC and Netflix. Writers Greg Haddrick and Felicity Packard’s script could, or perhaps might not, have a civilian plane being shot down while travelling over the supposed location.
Alex Morrison has been an avid digital marketer for over 10 years. In this time he has worked with a range of businesses giving him an in depth understanding of many different industries including lifestyle, entertainment and recreation. As the owner of Integral Media he is now utilising his knowledge and experience with his rapidly increasing client portfolio to help them achieve their business goals.