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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | November 19, 2019

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Must watch Aussie TV

Must watch Aussie TV

| On 13, May 2014

Not keen on Ramsay St or Alf Stewart’s Diner? Neither am I – read on for some must watch, high-quality Australian television. 


Quality Australian television has a pretty rough deal. When the industry’s not fighting against the sea of cashed up, celebrity-laden series from the U.S, it’s dealing with the bad reputation of Aussie drama thanks to gems like Home and Away, Neighbours, and Sea Patrol (shudders). We’ve hand picked a few top-notch Australian shows that you need to watch, if not to restore your faith in our local creatives, then as a way of cleansing yourself of any Summer Bay induced traumas.

1. Rake (2011- )

‘Since when is it a breach of ethics to root a client?’ said the now infamous Cleaver Greene, Australia’s most badass fictional barrister. Rake is now three seasons deep, and is the sort of legal dramedy that Harvey Specter would never have the hutzpah to enter. Cleaver, played by Richard Roxburgh (Moulin Rouge, Van Helsing), is a drinking, smoking, illicit substance-snorting powerhouse of confidence, quick wit and legal know-how. Rake follows Cleaver as he defends the dregs of society, and gets himself into a few (many) pickles along the way.

The cast of A Better Man – image by

2. A Better Man (2013)

Airing in 2013 to widespread critical acclaim, this four part series is a highly charged, emotionally intense look at the realities of drug trafficking to Asia. A Better Man tells the real life story of Australian Van Nguyen, arrested in Singapore for drug-trafficking and sentenced to death. The series chronicles the legal battle to save his life, and features strong performances from renowned actors David Wenham and Claudia Karvan; and from newcomer Remy Hii in the role of Van Nguyen. A product of three years research and interviews with Nguyen’s family and legal team, this is no Schapelle Corby special on A Current Affair, but a quality drama that hits home.

Relationships crumble in The Slap – image by 

3. The Slap (2011)

Another mini-series, The Slap is the television adaptation of the novel by the same name, and sets out to investigate what happens when a man slaps a child who isn’t his own, at a BBQ. That single slap, the event’s that led up to it, and the unravelling of relationships that follow, provide the content for eight episodes, each seen through the perspectives of a different character. It’s a brutally honest look at middle class relationships that doesn’t shy away from the big issues, and doesn’t bother with ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

Josh and the cast – image by

4. Please Like Me (2013- )

Adorable comedian Josh Thomas writes and stars in this quirky comedy, which is a fictionalised take on his own experience coming out as gay. After watching one episode, you’re addicted. Josh’s specific brand of comedy can only be described as ‘awkward as hell’, and it’s this self deprecating humour that saw it make Time magazine’s list of top new shows. It doesn’t try too hard, and it’s not self-involved. Please Like Me taps into the realities of growing up and exploring your sexuality, embarrassing angles and awkward silences included.

Don’t judge Australian TV by its soap opera cover – look a little harder and you can find a whole bunch of quality television that knocks The Real Housewives of Melbourne out of the park.