SBS on Demand showcases binge drama


A swag of international dramas has recently been added to the SBS On Demand portal -with full seasons available to binge.

They include Nordic noir thrillers, US period dramas and sweeping historical sagas.

US drama Manhattan, which could well be the pick of the bunch, has a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Its cast includes Aussie Ashley Zukerman. Fans of Lilyhammer will also find the third and final season available.

SBS on Demand has recently been topped up with dramas not available on broadcast, including The Secret, Trepalium, Raised by Wolves, Modus, Kabul Kitchen and 1864: Denmark’s War.

Here are the titles that were added in July:

Canada 2015
S1: 3 eps

Avan Jogia plays the young King Tut, determined to wrest control of his kingdom and eliminate those who conspire against him. Although a ruler by name, he has yet to seize control of his own kingdom from the three most powerful men in Egypt – his chief advisor Ay, the formidable General Horemheb (Nonso Anoszie), and the duplicitous High Priest of Amun (Alexander Siddig). This ambitious special-event series tells the story of Tut’s rise to power and his struggle to lead Egypt to glory, while his closest advisors, friends and lovers scheme for their own nefarious interests.


The Passing Bells
UK / Poland 2014
S1: 4 eps

This moving, powerful drama, written by award-winning writer Tony Jordan (Life on Mars, The Nativity, Hustle) and featuring an international cast, spans the years of the war from 1914 to 1918. Deep in the countryside of England, Michael (Jack Lowden) and Katie (Sabrina Bartlett) are young and in love, as yet untouched by rumours of war. In a small town in Germany, delivery boy Thomas (Patrick Gibson) is equally oblivious to the rumblings of conflict coming from the continent. But as the news trickles through to their small communities, both boys are inspired by the thought of heroic deeds and foreign lands. When war is announced, both Michael and Thomas defy their parents and slip out to the recruitment office, alongside thousands of other young men. The Passing Bells is an epic WWI drama told through the eyes of two very ordinary young men who enlist in a war they expect will be over within months.


US 2014 / 2015
S1 & S2: 23 eps

Set in the 1940s, Dr. Frank Winter (John Benjamin Hickey) and his team of brilliant but flawed scientists have been recruited to work on a project even they could know nothing about until their arrival. As the scientists are transported to ‘The Hill’, a small town on a dusty foothill in Los Alamos, New Mexico – a town whose very existence is classified – they begin to realise that this is no ordinary project. The government only tells them what they need to know. Torn between duty and morals, Isaacs and Winter find they have to conceal the truth from their wives (Olivia Williams and Rachel Brosnahan) as they work towards building a weapon of mass destruction. Manhattan depicts the wonder, danger and deceit that shadowed the first ‘nuclear’ families.


Norway / US 2014
S3: 8 eps
(S1 & S2 also available)

The first two series of Lilyhammer (also available in full on SBS On Demand) saw Frank Tagliano (Steven Van Zandt), a former underboss of the American Mafia, placed in the Federal Witness Protection Program after testifying in a trial against Aldo Delucci (Thomas Grube), the new Mafia head who had ordered a hit on him after succeeding his recently deceased brother. Frank requests that he be relocated to the rural town of Lillehammer in Norway, where he believes no one will look for him. His new identity is Norwegian-American immigrant Giovanni ‘Johnny’ Henriksen. The transition from being a feared and respected gangster in New York, to becoming an unemployed immigrant in Norway is not simple. Frank soon discovers that in order to succeed in this rural Norwegian society, he must resort to his old ways. The third season explores Johnny’s colourful background and his continued efforts to succeed in rural Norwegian society.


Sweden 2015
S1: 12 eps

When reality turns upside down, unforeseen forces may surface. Loosing both her job and her husband, Vera decides to leave the city for a new position and a new life in the town of Ängelby. Her arrival is dramatic, and as she settles in Ängelby, Vera becomes the focus of a murder investigation with several unusual undertones. Her life is intertwined with those of the town, but something mysterious is going on in Ängelby: Vera is not here by coincidence.


UK 2015
S1: 13 eps

Created by BAFTA-nominated writer Jed Mercurio, Critical follows a group of doctors at a state-of-the-art City General Hospital’s major trauma centre – a unit which treats only the most gravely ill or seriously injured. Lennie James (Storm Damage, The Walking Dead) takes the lead role as trauma surgeon Glen Boyle, who is recruited into a high-tech but malfunctioning trauma unit by his old romantic partner Fiona Lomas (Catherine Walker). He is faced with the tremendous task of welding the broken team together at the same time as they have to make life-or-death decisions by the operating table. Critical is a case-by-case drama which shows the urgency of the medical profession and encapsulates the psychological impact and emotional choices that those on the medical front line have to make.


Spring Tide
Sweden 2016
S1: 10 eps

The year is 1990. Under the glow of a full moon, a sadistic murder is committed on Nordkoster Island – a young pregnant woman is buried in the sand, so that she slowly drowns as the tide rises. 25 years later, the case remains unsolved. Olivia Rönning (Julia Ragnarsson, The Bridge), a bright student at the Police Academy, is assigned the cold case and becomes obsessed with the murder when she discovers that her father, who died several years ago, worked on the original investigation. She soon realises that she has to find the lead investigator, detective Tom Stilton (Kjell Bergqvist). There’s only one problem – he has since disappeared off the face of the earth. Tom is homeless now and does not want to be reminded of his old life or an old, unsolved case – he has a hard enough time just surviving. However, when horrifying videos of homeless people being brutally assaulted start showing up online, Tom decides to get revenge – thrusting him back into the world of crime, and right into Olivia’s path.


Sweden 2015
S1: 10 eps

Seven years after the mysterious disappearance of her daughter Josefine (Stina Sundlöf), police investigator Eva Thörnblad (Moa Gammel) is still trying to cope with her loss. Emotionally shut off and avoiding all relationships, Eva devotes herself to work as a police officer to save and protect the most innocent of them all – children. When a young boy goes missing in the same forest her daughter vanished, Eva can’t let go of the feeling that someone took Josefine that fatal day by Silverhöjd Lake. She is convinced the two cases are linked, and there is more to it than meets the eye. Under the guise of selling the old family company she just inherited from her newly deceased father Johan Thörnblad (Lars-Erik Berenett), Eva returns to her hometown of Silverhöjd to find the truth behind her daughter’s disappearance.


  1. First Trapped and now Manhattan have taken over my viewing lately. They’ve pushed Netflix and Stan to the kerb for now and it’s great to see SBS putting online such great shows.

    My one issue with SBS On Demand is they need to fix the bugs/issues with their Apple TV app/service ASAP. It regularly fails to load episodes and at other times stops responding to the remote in the middle of a show. Weirdly the same episodes play fine on iPad when this happens, it’s something specific to the Apple TV app.

    • The app is really buggy on everything. Which is a shame because I used to watch a lot of sbs on demand. But no good when the front screen takes 5-10 minutes to load. Once I can get past the from screen, it’s usually okay. Something seriously wrong with the app. The android app works better but no casting option.

  2. Haven’t seen Season 2 but Season 1 of Manhattan was certainly an engrossing slow-burner.
    Critical (already aired on BBC First) was a fun, tense show, although I’m doubtful as to whether parts of it stack up medically.

  3. It is a shame that sbs has still not updated it’s app in the past almost 3 years and is still not google chromecast friendy, the only way I can watch these great shows is on my laptop(prefer to stream to my HD TV like I do for stan/netflix/presto etc).

  4. I caught an episode of Critical on either UKTV or BBC First, where a man was attack by a dog and the dog was still holding on to the man, that was a tense hour of story telling!

  5. Secret Squïrrel

    I happened to see an ad for these while watching Le Tour and thought ‘wow’. It’s a good selection of dramas. Looks like most of my drama viewing is sorted for winter.

    Have already seen Spring Tide (Springfloden) – it’s pretty good.

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