Every year I assemble my Top 5 shows for the year, sticking to the shows that have made their debut on Australian television.
This year there is an exception, denoted below.
5. Australian Survivor. TEN
Strictly speaking this is the second incarnation of this show, given Nine had a fling in with it in 2002. Three if we count Celebrity Survivor. But it was a new production rebooted after a lengthy break so I’m bending my own rule. Despite expanding the cast, the season and even the length of the episodes, this was a production that got better as it went on -culminating in a riveting, theatrical, emotional challenge and a winner we never saw coming.
4. Deep Water: The Real Story. SBS
All the publicity, naturally, went to SBS’ excellent drama series but it was the documentary on the gay hate crimes in Sydney that was a knockout blow. Turning a spotlight on this ignored, brutal chapter of our social history was inspired.
3. Stranger Things. Netflix
This homage to movies including ET, The Goonies, Stand By Me and Close Encounters of the Third Kind was spooky fun, led by a impressive juvenile ensemble. It was hard to resist the urge to binge as we travelled into the upside down.
2. The Night Of. Showcase.
Riveting performances, a searing look into the US crime and prison system as the consequences of one snap decision unravel. A lesson in how to update a UK drama and managing to stay classy.
1. The Crown. Netflix.
Turning Buckingham Palace into high-class soap could have been a disaster but under the masterful hand of writer Peter Morgan this was a compelling look at a family enduring great responsibility and a woman bestowed with power before she was ever ready for it. Claire Foy, supported by a stunning ensemble, was captivating as the young Elizabeth. Together with its lavish setting, historical insights and dazzling costumes, it was unmissable TV.
Honourable Mentions in no particular order:
Beat Bugs, Seven.
The Kettering Incident, Showcase.
The Night Manager, BBC First.
War and Peace, BBC First.
National Treasure, ABC.
The Murder Detectives, ABC2.
Exodus: Our Journey to Europe, SBS.
Deep Water, SBS.
The People vs O.J. Simpson, TEN.
Secret City, Showcase.
Grease Live, Nine.
Here Come the Habibs, Nine.
The Man in the High Castle Amazon Prime.