Flashback - Love, Laughter And Tears. The Best Aussie TV Shows Had It All.
Television has been one of the few resources we have had to maintain a modicum of normalcy this year. In search of a distraction from reality, we tuned into hours of television, binging box sets and subscribing to multiple streaming services.
But now, as the global shutdown drags on, there’s little new material to view. And as sets and productions remain closed, on hold or on indefinite hiatus, a tv drought might just be upon us.
Over the years there have been plenty of homegrown Australian shows that might just offer us the nostalgic escape we are all still craving.
If ever there was a time to revisit the shows that made us laugh, cry, or had the entire nation holding its collective breath on a cliffhanger, 2020 might just be it. Here’s some of our favourite television shows that brought the country together and could do so again.
BRIDES OF CHRIST
Set in the 1960s in the Catholic Church, this 1991 ABC six part series was a cultural phenomenon when it was released. Josephine Byrnes played the lead role of Diane, who later becomes a young nun called Sister Catherine. It follows both the nuns and the students they teach at the Santu Spiritu School, including Frances Heffernan played none other by a young Naomi Watts. Also starring Sandy Gore, Kym Wilson and Lisa Hensley, Brides Of Christ is a beautifully written series that pulls at the heartstrings. Exploring friendship, sisterhood and religion, it holds up nearly 30 years later after it first came out to such critical and public acclaim.
Available to watch at www.iview.abc.net.au
THE SECRET LIFE OF US
From 2001 to 2005 over four years, life in the inner city suburb or Melbourne for this Gen X crew was full of drama, fun, drinking, partying and of course romance. The Channel 10 drama was ground breaking because it spoke to a whole new audience - the younger generation. The cast over the years was a who's who of Australian television and film royalty including Deborah Mailman, Samuel Johnson, Sibylla Budd, Joel Edgerton, Claudia Karvan and Abi Tucker.
All episodes on air at www.10play.com.au
BIG GIRL'S BLOUSE
A female-driven hilarious skit comedy series sounds amazing? Australia had that in 1994, when Jane Turner, Gina Riley and Magda Szubanski created the very funny Big Girl's Blouse. It's where they nurtured Kath and Kim, and we all know what happened there. There are some other hilarious skits, including who could forget, Lynne and Carmel?
All over YouTube – a simple click and search.
Ahhh..... Asher Keddie as Nina Proudman, has there ever been a more iconic Australian character on our television? Over seven series ending in 2017, Asher, Kat Stewart, Don Hany, Deborah Mailman and Eddie Perfect starred in what was a beautifully written Melbourne-based drama. Oh and of course who could not forget Matthew Le Nevez and his character Dr Patrick Reid. Dr Reid’s television death in 2013 had us all in tears ... for hours.
All seven series are available to watch on Netflix.
John Wood was already a respected actor once Blue Hellers came along, but Australia didn't know who Lisa McCune was. Thankfully thanks to her role as Maggie Doyle on this long running Channel 7 drama that kicked off in 1994, she won many a Logie and became one of the biggest stars in Australia. We love a police or a hospital drama in Australia, and Blue Heelers was exactly that.
All series available to watch at www.7plus.com.au
Set in rural Australia in the fictional down of Drovers Run, and once again a prominent female cast, McLeod's Daughters had emotion, romance, laughter, you name it. The show ran on Channel 9 for eights years from 2001 and had a very impressive cast that included Bride Carter, Lisa Chappell, Simmone Jade MacKinnon and Aaron Jeffrey. There is talk of a reboot of this classic series.
All series available to watch at www.9now.com.au
The 1990s comedy starring Nick Giannopoulos as Jim and Mary Coustas as Effie has a cult following all these years later. Effie was to become one of Australia's most loved sitcom characters. She still is out and about these days. You can’t miss her.
Full episodes online at YouTube.
Honourable Mentions: Look My Way, A Country Practise Prisoner, Mother and Son, Pacific Drive, Sons and Daughters, Packed To The Rafters, All Saints, Playing For Keeps.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Media and journalism has been in Luke Dennehy's blood ever since he started at the Herald Sun in Melbourne as an editorial assistant at 19 years of age. Luke worked for nearly 20 years at the Herald Sun reporting entertainment and lifestyle news before leaving in 2017 to pursue freelance opportunities. He also had many regular spots on radio and TV over the years, most recently on Melbourne radio station 3AW. A passionate advocate for Australian music, food, entertainment and business, he is excited to share some of those inspiring stories along the way.