Binge Worthy TV From The Land Down Under
I have been a fan of Australian television since I was a tiny kid, and my favorite tv show was Ocean Girl. I did a quick search and apparently I've never mentioned Ocean Girl here before, which seems highly unlikely, but the search bar tells no lies.
Ocean Girl was an Australian kids' show that aired on the Disney Channel in the mid-90s, back when the Disney Channel was a premium cable channel, but because they had very little in the way of original programming, every show was from Australia and Canada. (I know A LOT about Canadian TV from the mid-90s, guys.) Ocean Girl was about an human-looking-but-actually-alien girl named Neri who was best friends with a humpback whale named Charley, who she could communicate with. Charley was being studied by a scientist in an underwater research lab/city called ORCA, and the scientist's two sons discover Neri and the family help her and keep her secrets and adventures ensue! Ocean Girl used to be on Netflix but now it's available only on YouTube (with Vietnamese subtitles), and let me just say, it really holds up. I was afraid to watch it again as an adult, but I've seen a few episodes and as far as kids' shows go, Ocean Girl is still pretty awesome.
Australia produces some great TV, even now that we're not in the glory days of the mid-90s. If you're looking for a new show to fall in love with, why not check out one of my favorite Aussie selections?
Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries
I love period pieces. And I love period pieces about real take-charge ladies. Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries is my kind of show, and Phryne Fisher is my kind of heroine. She's a single, motivated, wealthy woman in 1920s Melbourne who does whatever she likes, and what she likes is to help Detective Inspector Jack Robinson solve murders. Phryne is an outspoken feminist, she has the most amazing wardrobe, and she has many lovers while also having a long term flirtation with Jack (what more could you want?!). But again, those costumes. I have taken many a screenshot of Miss Fisher's costumes because they are spectacular.
The supporting cast are also worth mentioning. Phryne's companion Dot is a sweetheart, as is Hugh, the detective's top constable and Dot's main squeeze. There's also Phryne's Aunt Pru, who is always concerned about propriety, but not so concerned that she doesn't adore her niece. Miss Fisher also employs two communists, Cec and Bert, to do some shady work when it will help with an investigation. Oh! And Mac, Phryne's doctor friend, who dresses like a sexy lady Indiana Jones and is (GASP!) and lesbian! Dr Mac is the best, any time she shows up the show gets even better. If you're interested in a fun period piece that involves murder, fantastic costumes, a sassy leading lady, and even a little romance, check out Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. All three seasons are streaming on Netflix.
Please Like Me
America is going through a real shit time right now. It is my hope that we can look back on this time as something we got through instead of the beginning of the end, but either way, we have to get through now, and it really makes a person want to hibernate for the foreseeable future. Please Like Me is a wonderful escape from life, and if you, like me, are a person who sometimes get a little to much life to handle and needs to just fadeout for a bit, I highly recommend this gem. I'll tell you right off the bat, Please Like Me is a show that deals with sad stuff, but in a way that feels very healing. It starts with Josh, played by creator Josh Thomas, realizing that he's gay after breaking up with his girlfriend (Caitlin Stasey, who I adore). Josh also has to deal with his bipolar mother's recent suicide attempt, his father's strange combination of being estranged and overbearing, and being in his mid-20s and having no idea what to do with his life. Please Like Me is heartbreaking and heartwarming and it is the best balm, I think, for being a human and all that comes with that. One of my favorite things about the show is all the times the characters end up singing, and particularly singing with each other. Like this scene, where the roommates have had to kill and cook their chicken Adele, after discovering that she is, in fact, a rooster. All four seasons of Please Like Me are available on Hulu.
I was tempted to say that Offspring is a great show to watch if you like Grey's Anatomy, but Grey's Anatomy was a show that I stopped watching at around season 3, and now from what I gather they're on season 27, so I really have no idea what kind of a show it is anymore. Plus, Offspring, despite being about a doctor, is far less medical, but it is sure as hell soapy. The first episode of Offspring finds obstetrician Nina delivering the baby of her friend Cherie, only to discover that the father of Cherie's baby is... Nina's father. Nina is just one member of the very complex Proudman family, which includes her separated parents and her two siblings, older sister Billie and younger brother Jimmy. Nina is the one in the center of the Proudman family tornado, constantly managing the chaos in her family, but also the messes that happen in the hospital she works in, and those in her personal life. Offspring is often a lighthearted show (Nina has a habit of drifting off into fantasy scenarios) with a lot of romantic entanglements for our leading lady, but there are also a lot of dramatic moments too. It was hard for me to find a photo to use for this one, actually, because so many of the images that came up gave away big plot points. Let's just say there are big breakups and heartbreaks, deaths, revelations, lots of babies being born, and did I mention death? Because theres a major death, so don't go Googling unless you want to know about it. Seasons 1-5 of Offspring are available on Netflix, and they better get season 6 like yesterday because I'm ready.
We're gonna shift gears a little with our next show. The Code is a drama series that's sort of a thriller/crime series, but because it's not all suspense and action I don't want to lead you astray. The Code is interesting in that it is about essentially one event, but it weaves together multiple characters and storylines around that event. So you've got the people directly involved, the government covering it up, the hacker illegally accessing the secrets, and the journalist trying to get to the bottom of things. Also: Lucy Lawless! The first season of The Code is only six episodes, so it's a tightly woven story and it's easy to digest - both great elements in a crime thriller drama suspense type show. Also, did I mention Lucy Lawless? The first season of The Code is available on Netflix.
I couldn't possibly go without mentioning Dance Academy yet again, could I? GUYS. Dance Academy is the perfect show. It's got teens at an exclusive school for dance, idyllically located literally underneath the Sydney Harbor Bridge. You've got the fish out of water who's destined to be a great dancer if only she could find the confidence. You've got the bad boy who's more into hip hop than ballet, but he's there to stay out of juvie. You've got the naughty girl who acts too cool for school but is actually part of a prestigious ballet legacy. There's the boy who's family doesn't approve of his dancing, but he loves dancing so he's gonna pursue his dream, dammit! And there's my precious jewel Abigail, who is practically perfect in every way, and will tell you that herself. I have told so many of my friends to watch Dance Academy, knowing that they would love it, and then I'd have real life people to share my obsession with. How many of them have taken my sage advice? ZERO. Look, we're in 2017 now, which means the Dance Academy movie is coming out this year. There's only so much time to watch (or re-watch for the fifth time) all three seasons on Netflix.