Discover the Best Australian TV Shows: From Mystery to Comedy, Drama to Crime
Welcome to a binge-watching paradise filled with fascinating characters, compelling storylines, and unforgettable moments. Get ready to immerse yourself in the world of the best Australian TV shows that have captivated audiences around the globe. From thrilling crime dramas to hilarious comedies and everything in between, these shows will transport you to a land Down Under like never before. Join us as we uncover the hidden gems and must-watch series that have made their mark on the small screen. Embrace the drama, laughter, and sheer brilliance of these Australian creations that are begging to be explored.
A Place to Call Home
Image via Acorn TV
A Place to Call Home is a captivating period drama set in rural New South Wales during the 1950s. The story revolves around Sarah Adams (Marta Dusseldorp), a woman who returns to Australia after spending 20 mysterious years in France with her husband. As she adjusts to her new life, Sarah becomes entangled with the wealthy Bligh family and faces challenges from the strict matriarch, Elizabeth Bligh (Noni Hazlehurst). Throughout the six-season series, viewers witness the ups and downs of Sarah's journey, accompanied by breathtaking shots of the Australian countryside and stunning period designs. If you enjoyed Downton Abbey, you'll definitely find pleasure in this Australian counterpart.
Set in the fictional town of Yoorana, Glitch is an Australian TV show that delves into the mysterious phenomenon of seven individuals rising from their graves after being dead for years. When a local policeman discovers that his deceased wife is among the "risen," he embarks on a perilous quest to uncover the truth behind their miraculous return, even at the risk of his own life. While the show shares similarities with "The Returned," it distinguishes itself by emphasizing scientific explanations rather than supernatural elements. Prepare yourself for a sufficiently eerie and captivating viewing experience.
H2O: Just Add Water (2006-2010)
For a delightful and family-friendly series, look no further than H2O: Just Add Water. The story revolves around three teenage Australian girls who strive to lead normal lives as high school students while keeping their mermaid identities a secret from their classmates. Amidst the challenges they face, particularly from school bullies, the friends showcase their strong bond and use their extraordinary powers to help sea creatures in need. Dive into this enchanting world filled with friendship, secrets, and magical underwater adventures.
Image via Acorn TV
Jack Irish is a gripping crime drama set in Melbourne. The series revolves around the titular character, Jack Irish (Guy Pearce), a former criminal lawyer who transitions into a private investigator and debt collector following the murder of his wife and a downfall in his legal career. Adapted from crime fiction novels by Peter Temple, the storyline immerses viewers in a world of corruption, thrilling twists, and intricate mysteries across three seasons. If you're a fan of action-packed crime thrillers with a touch of complexity, this show is tailor-made for you.
Kath And Kim (2002-2007)
Prepare for laughter with Kath And Kim, a groundbreaking Australian comedy that features the iconic characters Kath and Kim, portrayed by Jane Turner and Gina Riley, respectively. The show explores the contrasting personalities of a mother and daughter as they navigate suburban life in St Kilda. Aside from the four seasons available for streaming on Netflix US, you can also enjoy the additional television film and feature film, Kath and Kimderella. Don't miss out on this hilarious blend of Australian humor.
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries
Based on Kerry Greenwood's novels, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries takes viewers on thrilling adventures with Phryne Fisher, a glamorous female detective. Set in 1920s Melbourne, this series offers a rich period aesthetic and features a captivating lead character. With its international popularity, airing in over 100 countries and even inspiring a Mandarin language adaptation, this show has become a true gem in the Australian TV industry.
Mighty Car Mods
As one of Australia's most successful web-based exports, Mighty Car Mods is the ultimate YouTube channel for car enthusiasts and DIY enthusiasts alike. Hosted by MOOG and Marty, the show has evolved from a humble garage project to a global sensation, while still retaining its authentic Aussie humor.
Please Like Me
Created by and starring comedian Josh Thomas, Please Like Me is a heartfelt and deeply relatable series that gracefully tackles serious issues. Combining elements of comedy and drama, the show masterfully explores the power of vulnerability. Through the engaging storylines and compelling characters, viewers witness the delicate balance between humor and poignancy, making "Please Like Me" a unique and authentic addition to Australian TV.
Starring Richard Roxburgh as Cleaver Greene, Rake is a witty and engaging series that follows the life of a Sydney criminal defense barrister. With a charismatic lead character and a mix of personal and professional complexities, the show encapsulates the essence of Australian charm. Prepare to be captivated by the captivating performances and enthralling narrative that make "Rake" a standout crime drama.
Image via SundanceTV
Set in Tasmania, Rosehaven is a delightful and down-to-earth comedy that revolves around two friends who relocate to a small town. Daniel McCallum (Luke McGregor) returns to his hometown to support his mother in her real estate business, only to find that his best friend Emma Dawes (Celia Pacquola) has decided to join him after a failed marriage. With eccentric neighbors and the challenge of confronting their own pasts, the duo navigates the ups and downs of life and friendship in Rosehaven. The show's authenticity is further enhanced by the fact that it was created and written by real-life best friends Luke and Celia.
Round the Twist
For many Australians, Round the Twist holds a special place in their hearts as a beloved children's TV show. Created by Paul Jennings, this mind-bending series remains one of the most memorable and cherished in Australian TV history. Brace yourself for a whimsical and fantastical journey with an unforgettable theme song. Round the Twist captures the essence of quintessential Australian children's shows.
Secret City (2016-2019)
If you're a fan of House of Cards, you'll be engrossed by the thrilling Secret City. This Australian political thriller is packed with secrets, lies, murder, and betrayal. Drawing inspiration from the best-selling novels "The Marmalade Files" and "The Mandarin Code" by Chris Uhlmann and Steve Lewis, the series unfolds a gripping narrative set against the backdrop of high-stakes political intrigue. With its release on Netflix and the compelling spin-off titled "Secret City: Under the Eagle," this series offers an epic conclusion to an enthralling Australian production.
Secret Life of Us
Follow a group of 20-somethings living in a St Kilda apartment block in Secret Life of Us. This melodrama features an ensemble cast of talented young Australian actors and laid the foundation for Australian young adult dramas of the past 20 years. Immerse yourself in the captivating lives and relationships of these characters as they navigate the complexities of adulthood and friendship.
In the Australian drama series Sisters, Julia Bechly embarks on a life-changing journey upon learning that her late father, an in-vitro fertilization specialist, may have fathered hundreds of children. As Julia uncovers the truth, she forms unexpected connections with her newfound siblings, including a troubled TV star named Roxy Karibas and a belligerent lawyer named Edie Flanagan. The series delves into the complexities of family dynamics, intertwining drama, and comedy. With only seven episodes, it's a binge-worthy show that will leave you craving for more.
Summer Heights High
At the height of Chris Lilley's career, Summer Heights High took the mockumentary format by storm. This Australian comedy showcases Lilley's unparalleled talent for portraying believably ridiculous characters. Follow the lives of three unforgettable figures - Mr G, Jonah, and Ja'mie - in this hilariously quirky series. Prepare for a dose of Australian comedy that has become etched in the country's television history.
Release Date: September 5, 2007Seasons: 1 (2007)Genre: Comedy, Drama, Family, Musical, Romance
Embark on an exhilarating journey into the depths of a cyber-conspiracy with The Code. This series follows two brothers who accidentally stumble upon a conspiracy reaching the highest levels of government. Brace yourself for an edge-of-your-seat experience as the plot unfolds, propelled by a stellar cast that includes David Wenham, Anthony LaPaglia, and Lucy Lawless.
Image via ABC/BBC One
Prepare for an emotional and suspenseful journey with The Cry. This limited series unfolds a heart-wrenching tale when Joanna (Jenna Coleman) and her husband Alistair (Ewen Leslie) experience the unimaginable: their four-month-old son goes missing during a trip to Australia. Witness the couple's struggle to navigate the aftermath of the tragedy, including its impact on their relationship and the relentless media scrutiny. With exceptional performances and unexpected twists, this beautifully shot series will keep you enthralled.
Image via Starz
Indulge in a dark crime drama tinged with supernatural elements in The Gloaming. Drawing inspiration from Tasmania's haunted history, the series follows detectives Molly McGee (Emma Booth) and Alex O'Connell (Ewen Leslie) as they investigate a murder in Hobart. Their quest leads them down a rabbit hole of a 20-year-old cold case, corruption, cults, and the unraveling of a long-standing Tasmanian mystery. As of now, the show boasts one gripping season, with the possibility of another season in the works.
The Last King of the Cross
Prepare for a glimpse into the seedy underbelly of Sydney's Kings Cross in the 10-part series The Last King of the Cross. With Tim Roth in the lead role, this narrative takes inspiration from the real-life story of entrepreneur John Ibrahim. Expect drugs, crime, and the allure of the nightlife as you delve into this gritty and captivating series. Explore the fascinating world of a man controversially dubbed the "King of the Cross."
Underbelly serves as Australia's answer to the American crime epics like "The Sopranos." This acclaimed series dominates the Australian TV landscape with its gripping portrayal of Melbourne's infamous gangland murders and the dark underbelly of Sydney's Kings Cross. Spanning six seasons and with multiple spin-offs, the show showcases a blend of crime, drama, and history that captivates both critics and audiences alike. Brace yourself for an enthralling viewing experience.
Release Date: February 13, 2008Seasons: 6 (2008-2013)Genre: Crime, Drama, History, Mystery
Image via SoHo/Fox Showcase
Enter the world of Wentworth, a gripping series set in a women's prison. Loosely based on the popular 1980s show "Prisoner," this modern adaptation focuses on Bea Smith (Danielle Cormack) and her journey as she enters the correctional facility while awaiting trial for the attempted murder of her husband. Over eight seasons, viewers witness Bea's evolution and the complex lives of other inmates and prison staff, adding depth to the show. If you enjoyed Orange is the New Black, prepare yourself for a thrilling dose of Australian drama.
Dive Club (2021)
Dive into the captivating world of Dive Club, an Australian teen drama that made its debut in 2021. The series takes an unexpected turn when a group of friends and divers discover that one of their companions has mysteriously disappeared. Join them on a desperate journey to find their missing friend, filled with heart, drama, and intrigue. While awaiting news of a potential second season, new viewers can dive into this enthralling Australian drama on Netflix.
NEXT: 10 Australian Horror Movies You Need to See
Pine Gap (2018)
Pine Gap is a miniseries that premiered on Netflix in 2018 and later aired on ABC. The show features acclaimed actors, including Steve Toussaint, who recently appeared in HBO's House of the Dragon as Lord Corlys Velaryon.
This internationally-flavored thriller explores politics, intrigue, and betrayal in its six episodes, creating a captivating and concise story for viewers looking for a quick binge-watch.
Image via Netflix
Based on true stories, Stateless tells the intertwining tales of four strangers whose lives intersect at an immigration detention center in the Australian outback. It intelligent depicts the experiences of a woman escaping a cult, an Afghan refugee, an office worker, and a bureaucrat, shedding light on the impact of the harsh Australian immigration detention system.
The show, co-created by Cate Blanchett (who also has a small role), delivers high quality and exceptional performances. With one season consisting of six episodes, it is a concise yet impactful series.
Tidelands is an eight-part Australian web television series that premiered on Netflix in late 2018. The story revolves around Calliope "Cal" McTeer, a former criminal who returns to her hometown, the small fishing village of Orphelin Bay.
After the body of a local fisherman washes up on the beach, Cal starts uncovering the mysteries surrounding the town's enigmatic inhabitants, a dangerous group known as "Tidelanders," who are half-sirens and half-humans. What secrets does this little town hold? Watch and find out.
Image via FX
Mr Inbetween is a dark and offbeat comedic drama that follows Ray Shoesmith (Scott Ryan) - an assassin during work hours, and a father, divorcé, brother, and boyfriend in all non-working hours.
Over its three-season run, the show depicts the complexities of Ray's dual worlds and his quest to achieve a balance between them. We witness the challenges he faces in separating the violence required for his job from his personal relationships. It offers a unique, humanistic, and comedic portrayal of a seemingly heartless killer. Created by and starring Scott Ryan, Mr Inbetween was primarily filmed in Sydney and is based on Scott's 2005 feature film The Magician.
Image via Netflix
If you're in the mood for a lighthearted and quirky romantic comedy set in Melbourne, Australia, Offspring is the perfect choice. Filled with attractive doctors, a dysfunctional family, and endearing characters, it offers an irresistible combination, especially for fans of Grey's Anatomy.
This seven-season show revolves around obstetrician Nina Proudman (Asher Keddie) as she navigates her early thirties. The characters are relatable, lovable, and flawed, with standout performances from Nina's sister Billie Proudman (Kat Stewart) and Billie's on-again, off-again boyfriend Mick (Eddie Perfect). The show incorporates flashbacks, animations, and fantasy sequences, with a style and script that perfectly match its eccentric characters. Fair warning, you'll have Nina's ringtone stuck in your head after a few episodes.
Be Dragons is an Australian sports documentary that follows the inaugural season of the Geelong Dragons, the first ever AFL team for people with disabilities. It's a powerful testament to the unifying power of sports, and its inspirational story is sure to touch even the toughest hearts.
Release Date: July 13, 2019Seasons: 1 (2019)Genre: Sport
Despite airing in the same year as Netflix's highly popular Orange is the New Black, Wentworth has carved its own niche as a gritty and riveting alternative. Centered around a new inmate at a women's prison, the show broke viewer records upon its premiere on Foxtel and gained an even larger following internationally.
Release Date: May 1, 2013Seasons: 9 (2013-present)Genre: Crime, Drama
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Why Are You Like This
Image via Netflix
Like many truly modern shows, Why Are You Like This tackles hot-button issues such as cancel culture and identity politics in a satirical and dry comedic style. The series follows a trio of Gen Z roommates - Mia (Olivia Junkeer), Penny (Naomi Higgins), and Austin (Wil King) - as they navigate a rapidly changing modern world and contend with evolving cultural and social values, all while trying to find their own paths to adulthood amid mundane tasks and social dynamics.
It offers a clever and fresh take on the lives of young twenty-somethings, subtly addressing significant topics like gender, ethnicity, and religion, while also poking fun at the seriousness with which it deals with these issues. It perfectly captures the essence of the Zoomer generation.
Aunty Donna’s Coffee Cafe
In their previous series, Aunty Donna's Big Ol' House of Fun, the delightfully entertaining comedy troupe chose a sharehouse as the central setting, resulting in a never-ending array of absurd scenarios triggered by a simple knock on the door.
Their new show for ABC maintains that same potential by shifting the setting to a cafe. Who knows what kind of customers or surreal moments await? The group describes the series as a "heightened, ridiculous sitcom." Needless to say, I'm already sold.
Well, he must have been hungry. Trent Dalton's acclaimed coming-of-age novel revolves around a boy named Eli Bell, who finds himself surrounded by addicts and criminals and must "face off against truly bad guys and fight to save his mother from a certain doom – all before starting high school."
Felix Cameron takes on the lead role, supported by a talented cast including Phoebe Tonkin, Travis Fimmel, Bryan Brown, Deborah Mailman, and Anthony La Paglia. The Netflix production boasts directors Jocelyn Moorhouse and Kim Mordaunt, the duo behind the magnificent ABC series Wakefield.
Aisha Dee delivers a devilishly entertaining performance as a social media influencer in the Australian horror film Sissy. She takes the lead in the four-part SBS thriller Safe Home, portraying Phoebe, a woman whose life is turned upside down when she starts working at a family violence legal center and gets entangled in a brutal murder. Playwright Anna Barnes, one of the show's three writers, drew inspiration from her own experiences at a Melbourne family legal center.
Kate McCartney and Kate McLennan have created comedic gold with two sharp satires: the YouTube cooking show parody The Katering Show and the morning TV spoof Get Krack!n. Their next project, for Prime Video, takes a different turn as a "Tasmanian noir comedy" set in a town called Deadloch. When the body of a local is discovered on the beach, two female detectives team up to solve the case.
Australia has no shortage of shows exploring mysteries in small towns (2022 alone included Troppo, Savage River, The Tourist, Mystery Road: Origin, and True Colours), but we can trust the Kates to bring their own unique twist to the genre.
These are just a few of the incredible Australian TV shows that have captivated audiences around the world. From gripping dramas like "A Place to Call Home" and "Glitch" to hilarious comedies like "Kath And Kim" and "Summer Heights High," Australian television offers a diverse range of entertainment. Whether it's the thrilling mysteries of "Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries" or the intense crime dramas of "Underbelly" and "Wentworth," there is something for everyone to enjoy. So, why not dive into the world of Australian TV and discover the unique stories and talented actors that have made these shows so popular? You won't be disappointed.
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