Australian Television Shows
In Australia, ABC
is the "Australian Broadcasting Corporation", a public broadcaster modeled after The BBC
. No affiliation
with the American ABC
that's owned by Disney
- All Saints
- Bananas in Pyjamas
- Blue Heelers (Drama/Cop Show, 1994-2006)
- Catch Phrase: John Burgess' version on the Nine Network, known as Burgo's Catch Phrase.
- A Country Practice. A show that focused on the doctors of the Wandin Valley Hospital and their private practice. To a lesser extent, it was also a cop show that had storylines relating to the one-cop Wandin Valley Police Station.
- Four Corners (Current Affairs, running since 1961)
- Here's Humphrey (Children's programme, 1965-2008). Most Australians would first cite Humphrey as an example of the Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal.
- Hey Hey Its Saturday (Variety/comedy, 1971-1999; 2009; 2010;). One notable recurring segment was "Red Faces", a talent show along similar lines to The Gong Show. Two Reunion Specials were aired in 2009, and the show was brought back for 2010.
- On Wednesdays for the first half of 2010, back on Saturday when it came back from hiatus.
- Hi-5 - a children's programme (essentially the Nine Network's answer to The Wiggles) that has been running for a total of thirteen years (as of 2012).
- Home and Away (Soap Opera, running since 1988, 4500+ episodes)
- Homicide (Famously gritty cop show, 1964-1977. Notable for introducing the phrase "Police! Don't move!" shouted loudly; older Australians may get it)
- Media Watch
- The Movie Show (Movie reviews, running since 1986; Americans have Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, we have Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton (though we usually just call them "Margaret and David"). They switched networks in 2004 and now host At The Movies, which is the same show in all but name.
- The Movie Show did continue on for a while afterwards, featuring younger hosts, but was soon canceled. One of the hosts now works on the ABC show Hungry Beast.
- Mr Squiggle, Children's programme, 1959-1999, in which a puppet with a pencil for a nose (who lived on the moon) would draw things upside-down and converse with a bulldozer and a talking blackboard (a grouchy talking snail was also involved). No, I don't know what we had in the water in 1959 either.
- A good test of an Australian's age is to ask who was Mr Squiggle's human offsider. Their answer will tell you when they were watching the show.
- Neighbours (Soap Opera, running since 1985, 5000+ episodes. Far more popular in Britain than in its native Australia, although it still has its share of viewers (aided by it usually sitting in between The Simpsons and another popular show in Ten's schedule until 2011 when it was moved to Eleven). The number of viewers overseas has several times surpassed the entire population of Australia.)
- Play School (Children's programme, running since 1966)
- Not to be confused with the British show of the same name which ran from 1964 to the 80s. But it is close.
- Rage (Music Videos, running since 1987. A long, overnight weekend program which frequently shows videos unexpurgated and uncensored — when you see a lowercase "rage" logo fade in at the start of Youtubed music videos, it's from this show.)
- The Wiggles have been around as a group for over twenty years, and in that time they've starred in no less than four TV shows.
Other Noteworthy Australian shows:
- Adam Hills In Gordon Street Tonight A variety show based on comedian Adam Hills having a fantastic time with guests and the audience.
- All Aussie Adventures, a spoof on other travel-adventure series such as The Crocodile Hunter, starring Glenn Robbins as Russell Coight, an accident-prone and extremely misinformed "outback man".
- A*mazing - An awesome children's game show involving a giant QWERTY keyboard, searching through a multi-level maze, then playing old school Nintendo games.
- Angry Boys (Chris Lilley's third show, 2011)
- Around the World in 80 Days
- The Aunty Jack Show
- Blinky Bill
- Blue Water High - Teens try and get on to the pro surfing circuit.
- Bodyline - Dramatisation of the 1932-33 cricket tour. Stars Hugo Weaving.
- Boney - another seriously politically incorrect show from the 1970's, this time about Australia's one aborigine detective who uses native skills to close cases other cops have given up on.
- Aboriginal rights groups were dubious about this show. Their worst fears were confirmed when a white actor played the title role, in Blackface''... but in defence, Australia did not have all that many Aboriginal actors at the time.
- Border Security Australia's Front Line: live action reality show about the work of Customs and Immigration Services at Australia's busiest airport.
- Brides of Christ
- The Chaser's War on Everything (Jon Stewart meets Jeremy Beadle).
- City Homcide
- CJ the DJ
- Crash Zone - Children's series about five teenage video game testers and their artificial intelligence pal.
- Crocodile Hunter
- Dance Academy - A teen drama about an exclusive school for Australia's best teen dancers.
- Danger 5 - From the creators of Italian Spiderman, a crazy Action/Comedy based on an alternate World War II in which a Multinational Team fights Nazis. Preceded by a Webisode series on YouTube.
- Dead Gorgeous
- Dex Hamilton: Alien Entomologist
- Double The Fist
- DAAS Kapital
- The Doctor Blake Mysteries
- The Elephant Princess
- Erky Perky
- Escape of the Artful Dodger — a sequel series to the novel Oliver Twist, centering around the Artful Dodger's adventures after he's been sent to a penal colony in Australia. Oliver Twist and Fagin also had large roles in the series.
- Farscape (Australian-American co-production)
- Fast Forward and Full Frontal, pair of popular Sketch Comedy series, Full Frontal is a 90s Spiritual Successor to the late 80s Fast Forward which was on a different network. Notable for launching the careers of Eric Bana, Shaun Micallef, and the stars of Kath and Kim, among others.
- The Ferals (four Funny Animals played by puppets live in the shed of a suburban dork. Got a spinoff as Feral TV, and two of the animals got their own shows)
- Feral TV
- Fire Starring Georgie Parker of All Saints, it centered on the first woman in the Queensland fire service during a spate of arson attacks. Noteworthy for being at the time Darker and Edgier Australian television.
- The Flamin' Thongs
- Funky Squad
- The Games, a Mockumentary series about the preparations for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.
- The Genie From Down Under - a children's comedy series about a British girl who discovers an opal with an Australian genie and his son inside. The show shifts between rainy old England and outback Australia.
- The Girl From Tomorrow
- The Glass House, a panel show in which comedians and their guests discuss recent news. Dropped by The ABC in 2006.
- Good Game (A video game review show)
- Good News Week - the news of the week, dissected through fat jokes. Ran from 1996 to 2000 on two different channels (1996-1998 on the ABC, 1999-2000 on Network Ten), returned to Network Ten in 2008.
- The Gruen Transfer, a panel show about advertising and Spiritual Successor to The Glass House. Cheerfully breaks down ad psychology along the way. Highlight is the "Pitch" segment, where two leading ad agencies compete to make an ad for something unsellable (Such as: Whale Meat, War on New Zealand, Holidays to Baghdad, Global Warming and Making People Stop Coming to Australia.)
- H2O: Just Add Water: Notable for being shown on Nickelodeon and Teen NICK in the USA and being so popular there that a third season was demanded and made, although several characters had seemingly disappeared.
- Halfway Across the Galaxy and Turn Left
- The Hamster Wheel The Chaser team strikes again. Now with Twitter feed!
- Hey Dad..!
- The Hollowmen
- Home and Away
- Housos - SBS comedy about bogans.
- I Got A Rocket
- Infinity Limited
- Johnson And Friends
- Kath and Kim - Adapted in the USA for NBC with disastrous results.
- The Late Shift - Skit show, mostly reliant on TakeThats.
- The Late Show. Not to be confused with the American show of the same name, this was a highly popular Saturday night TV show from 1992-1993 that ran closer to Saturday Night Live in content, but with far lower production values, deliberately less professionalism and a chattier delivery from the actors to the audience. Featured several comedians from Fast Forward, despite the Late Show's intense (yet tongue in cheek) hatred of its producer Steve Vizard; Vizard had hand picked the stars he felt were most likely to succeed from a very well regarded Melbourne comedy school and The Late Show was formed from the 'leftovers'. Ironically, they'd go on to form Working Dog Productions, whose films The Castle and The Dish, along with TV shows like The Panel, Thank God Youre Here and Frontline would arguably be more successful than anything Vizard produced.
- Let The Blood Run Free
- The Librarians
- Life Support
- Lift Off
- Little Elvis Jones and the Truckstoppers
- Lockie Leonard
- McLeod's Daughters
- Minty - Australian/British comedy television series. British schoolgirl Melanie Hobson wins a trip to Australia in a competition, she is amazed to discover, on arrival at the airport, that she has a double, Minty Sullivan, an Australian soap opera star. Minty and Melanie often swap places — with almost nobody suspecting the truth (even though the 2 girls are very different in many ways).
- Micro Nation - A comedy about a fictional micronation and its quirky inhabitants.
- Mirror, Mirror
- Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries
- Mission Top Secret
- A Moody Christmas
- Mother And Son
- Mr & Mrs Murder
- My Place
- Mythbusters - An American-Australian collaboration. Discovery Networks provides financing and distribution, along with the hosts and most of the film crew, with everything else being done by Beyond Productions in Sydney. Also, originally an Australian idea, but when it was pitched to the Australian Networks, they turned it down. In a last ditch attempt, it was pitched to Discovery Networks, and as they say, the rest is history.
- Noah And Saskia - Australian-British collaboration.
- Nowhere Boys
- Number 96, famous for being one of the earliest shows to take a frank approach to the characters' sex lives. An American adaptation was produced, which didn't do so well. There was also a movie made in 1973.
- Ocean Girl, a children's show about a girl living on an island. She's discovered by some children who live on a nearby underwater colony/
- Offspring, a show started in 2010 about Nina Proudman, an obstetrician with a convoluted love life and probably a few too many relationships between her family members and coworkers.
- Packed To The Rafters
- The Paul Hogan Show - quite possibly the last gasp of the old politically incorrect male Australia. Popular in the 1980's before Hogan accepted the lead role in that American movie about a politically incorrect outback hunter who goes to New York. A sketch and stand-up comedy show with recurring characters, such as the ridiculuously macho stuntman Leo Wanker.
- Phoenix - A thirteen-part series (1992) which was a very realistic police drama, loosely based on the investigation into the 1986 bombing of the Russell Street Police Headquarters in Melbourne, Victoria. A second season (Phoenix II) and a legal drama spin-off Janus, centred around the investigation and prosecution of a notorious Melbourne crime family.
- Pizza - SBS comedy about the Fat Pizza restaurant, where the pizzas are big and cheesy!
- Please Like Me
- Prisoner (called Prisoner Cell Block H everywhere else for obvious reasons).
- The long form was the accepted title when screened on British TV, where it quickly gained cult following.
- Puberty Blues
- Redfern Now
- Rescue Special Ops
- Review With Myles Barlow
- Round the Twist
- Ryan - A show from the politically incorrect 1970's about a tough macho private eye, his stereotypically Italian assistant who was even called Luigi, and his glamorous blonde secretary (A very young Pamela Stephenson, before she took the emigrant boat to England)
- The Saddle Club
- Sally Bollywood, a French-Australian cartoon co-production.
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyles The Lost World
- Satisfaction, a drama centered around the staff of a high-class brothel.
- Sea Change, A dramatic comedy about a competitive, neurotic and work-driven lawyer whose workaholic lifestyle has distanced her from her husband and children. A move to a seaside town changes everything.
- Sea Patrol
- Sea Princesses
- Serangoon Road
- The 7 PM Project - Dave Hughes, Charlie Pickering, Carrie Bickmore, and at least two other people read the news, then chat about it. Geared towards the Digg and Twitter generation, which may partly become its undoing.
- Shaun Micallefs Mad As Hell - hosted by Shaun Micallef, a satirical news program that's a thinly veiled sketch show, bearing a passing resemblence to The Daily Show or The Colbert Report.
- Ship To Shore - Mid 90s children's show about a group of schoolkids living on an island that was just off the coast of Perth, Western Australia.
- Skippy The Bush Kangaroo - A Boy And His Kangaroo. Australia's Lassie.
- Skippy: Adventures in Bushtown
- Skithouse - A hilarious skit show with loads of well-known comedians. The common joke was to suggest replacing the "K" in the name with an "H".
- The Slap
- The Sleepover Club - the book series is British, but the TV adaption is Australian.
- Spicks And Specks (A music quiz show, which has lately gotten reliant on the antics of the various guest stars (many of them comedians). This may be evidence of Seasonal Rot.)
- Stingers - A Cop Show about undercover police and how the job affects their lives.
- The Straits - A groundbreaking crime drama in terms of its rare setting and (specific) concept - the deadly smuggling trade between northern Australia and Papua New Guinea.
- Studio 3
- Summer Heights High
- Swift And Shift Couriers - SBS comedy about the worst courier company in Australia
- Talkin' 'bout Your Generation (A pop-culture celebrity quiz show in the style of Spicks And Specks and Good News Week).
- Time Trax
- Thank God Youre Here (the rough equivalent to improv shows like Whose Line Is It Anyway? (albeit limited to one 'game' type — features comedians being thrown into situations and forced to bluff their way through them. Results vary depending on who competes.)
- A squillion different countries have made their own version.
- Tracey McBean
- Underbelly (A show about Australia's history of organised crime. The first series, covering the gangland war in Melbourne, was unanimouslynote considered awesome. The second series, 'A Tale of Two Cities' about the drug trade between Sydney and Melbourne... not so much.)
- The Upside Down Show with Shane Dundas and David Collins of The Umbilical Brothers.
- Upper Middle Bogan
- The Water Rats: Police Procedural which ran from 1996 to 2001, about the Sydney Water Police, who patrol Sydney Harbour, and surrounding areas.
- We Can Be Heroes and Summer Heights High (Award-winning, incredibly popular mockumentaries, later let down gently with a sea of "Well... it's big in Australia..."-s from overseas critics).
- The Wedge
- Wicked Science
- Wild Boys
- Winners And Losers
- The Worst Year of My Life, Again
- You're Skitting Me
Really Short Runners:
- Let Loose Live (Hilariously unfunny sketch comedy show, pulled after two episodes)
- Monster House: Almost got cancelled in the middle of the first and only episode.
- Yasmins Getting Married: short lived reality show that was based on the successful Scandinavian show Kerry's Getting Married, only lasted for 4 episodes.
- Stooged: Lame Punk'd rip-off that only lasted for 2 episodes.
- Spirited: A Fantastic Comedy about the ghost of a dead British punk musician and a divorced Australian dentist.
In terms of childrens' tv, the most prolific producers are Jonathan M. Shiff
Productions (of Blinky Bill
, Ocean Girl
, and H2O: Just Add Water
fame), and the Australian Children's Television Foundation
(a government-funded organisation behind shows such as Spellbinder
, Dance Academy
, and the beloved Round the Twist