Sunshine – A TV Crime Drama Series

Set in Melbourne’s outer-west suburb of Sunshine, the four-part TV crime drama series, Sunshine, follows Jacob, a young, aspiring South Sudanese-Australian basketball player who dreams of making it to the NBA.

He’s on the cusp of being picked up by scouts for the US college league but his future is put in jeopardy when he’s drawn into a criminal investigation.

Sunshine features a line-up of renowned and seasoned Australian actors including Anthony LaPaglia, Vince Colosimo and Kim Gyngell, alongside a stellar South Sudanese Australian cast being seen for the first time on Australian TV.

According to The Guardian, “Sunshine is one of the standout Australian TV shows of the year.”

Watch Sunshine now on SBS On Demand.

Dark TV Series – A German Supernatural Thriller on Netflix

Netflix’s new supernatural thriller, Dark, is set in a German town in present day where the disappearance of two young children exposes the double lives and fractured relationships among four families.

True to its name, the content is fairly dark and given the storyline, comparisons with Stranger Things, The Missing and The Returned are inevitable.

It does take a few episodes to wrap your head around who’s who and how they are connected as the show jumps through various points in time but you are rewarded with a thrilling series and excellent soundtrack.

Watch the trailer.

Watch Dark on Netflix.

Ozark – TV Crime Drama on Netflix

Jason Bateman is best known for his comedy roles but there is nothing funny about his character, Marty Byrde, in the Netflix drama, Ozark.

It’s tense from episode one where it is revealed that Marty, a Chicago-based financial advisor, has connections to a drug cartel that go awry so he is forced to relocate his family to the Missouri Ozarks in an attempt to fix the problem (and escape death).

The series is well cast, with Laura Linney playing Marty’s wife, Wendy, who leaves her own mess behind in Chicago, and Julia Garner as the smart and fiery local, Ruth Langmore.

Ozark has been compared to the highly-awarded Breaking Bad (family man gets caught up in drug world and needs to keep his family safe) and whilst it’s not as groundbreaking, it is gripping and has just been renewed for a second season.

Watch the Ozark trailer.

 

Top of the Lake: China Girl, Starring Elisabeth Moss & Nicole Kidman

Top of the Lake: China Girl sees Detective Robin Griffin return to Sydney (after a lot bad stuff went down in New Zealand in season 1) and lead an investigation into a prostitute that was thrown over a cliff in a suitcase.

Uplifting, I know. It’s dark and seedy but intriguing and beautifully shot. Elisabeth Moss and Nicole Kidman are both excellent. Most of the male characters are sexist and repugnant and there is a particularly disturbing scene with a bunch of young guys on laptops in a cafe that will make your jaw drop.

It’s shot in Sydney and instead of seeing an idyllic city, which is usually how Sydney comes across on screen, we are shown a seedy underbelly. Jane Campion wrote and directed the series and fun fact: the character Mary (Alice Englert), who plays Nicole Kidman’s adopted daughter, is Jane Campion’s real life daughter.

Top of the Lake: China Girl airs on BBC First in Australia on 20 August or you can watch all episodes now with BBC iPlayer.

Watch the trailer.

Watch season 1 on iTunes or on ABC from 6 August.

 

Seven Types of Ambiguity TV Series – A Gripping Psychological Thriller

Based on the critically acclaimed novel ‘Seven Types of Ambiguity’ by award-winning author Elliot Perlman, this six-part TV series is a gripping psychological thriller told from the shifting perspective of six characters following a complicated chain of events triggered when a child is taken and relationships are thrown into crisis. The Australian cast is impressive on paper and on screen with Hugo Weaving, Alex Dimitriades, Xavier Samuel, Leeanna Walsman, Andrea Demetriades, Anthony Hayes and Susie Porter. I read the book years ago when it came out (2005), loved it, and wondered how long before someone would adapt it for the screen. Read more about Seven Types of Ambiguity. See what SMH has to say about it. Watch the trailer. Watch the series on ABC iView (until 1st June) or on iTunes.

Fargo Season 3 – Crime/Drama/Thriller TV Series Starring Ewan McGregor

Fargo is a crime/drama/thriller anthology TV series that is inspired by the Coen brothers’ 1996 film of the same name. Set in 2010, the third season centres on “Emmit” (Ewan McGregor) and his brother “Ray Stussy” (also played by an almost unrecognisable McGregor). Emmit sees himself as an American success story, whereas Ray is more of a cautionary tale. Forever living in his more successful brother’s shadow, Ray has a huge chip on his shoulder about the hand he’s been dealt. He blames his brother and their sibling rivalry follows a twisted path. I’ve only seen the first episode and it’s excellent (and again, perfectly cast). You don’t need to have watched seasons 1 and 2 to enjoy this but they are worth seeing (available on iTunes). Watch the season 3 trailer. Fargo premieres in Australia on SBS 17 May or catch episode 1 on SBS On Demand from 10 May. It’s also currently airing on FX.

Broadchurch Season Three – Suspenseful and Hard Hitting TV Crime Drama

Broadchurch is a British TV crime drama that is currently airing season 3 and one episode away from the finale. Hardy (David Tennant) and Miller (Olivia Colman, who is also in the excellent Fleabag) are investigating a sexual assault that takes place in the small town of Broadchurch and the impact it has on everyone that is connected to the victim. Whilst the whodunit component of the show is intensely suspenseful, the more moving and hard hitting parts are when the show explores themes of consent, teens with technology and porn, misogyny and sexism. The key cast have been present for all seasons and whilst there are story links to the first two seasons, you could watch without having seen them and still be enthralled. Watch the series on iTunes or iView if you haven’t started yet.

Fleabag – A Dark, Hilarious and Heartbreaking Comedy TV Series

Fleabag is a six-part comedy series adapted from the award-winning play about a young woman trying to cope with life in London whilst coming to terms with a recent tragedy. Fleabag (the main character’s nickname who is played by Phoebe Waller-Bridge) describes herself pretty accurately in the first scene as having “a horrible feeling” she’s “a greedy, perverted, selfish, apathetic, cynical, depraved, morally bankrupt woman who can’t even call herself a feminist.” It is a comedy but it’s very dark, blunt, heartbreaking in parts and unlike any other comedy I’ve seen. Her godmother who she can’t stand (played by Olivia Colman) is hilarious. Season 2 begins filming this year. Watch some clips (start with the Obama one from episode one) and the trailer. Watch the series on Amazon Prime (7-day free trial) or BBC Three.

TV: American Crime Story Season 1 – The People v. O.J. Simpson

American Crime Story is a true crime anthology TV series in which the first season covers the trial of O.J. Simpson for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. The show is based on Jeffrey Toobin‘s book The Run of His Life: The People v. O. J. SimpsonA behind-the-scenes retelling of the trial, it is a fascinating look at the implications of race, celebrity, media and the criminal justice system on this infamous case in America in the early 1990s. It is one of the best cast shows I’ve seen recently with Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark a standout. Apart from the superb acting of all involved (including Cuba Gooding Jr., David Schwimmer, John Travolta and Courtney B. Vance), these re-creations of the real people they played are uncanny.  There are 10 episodes, all around an hour each. Watch the trailer. Watch the series on Netflix.

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