Glued to the screen.
We are presently, as we’re constantly informed, experiencing a golden age of television, the advent of which was heralded with The Sopranos and continues apace with Fargo, Mr Robot and Netflix originals such as Orange is the New Black and Narcos.
For a long time, it seemed Australia wasn’t really a part of this renaissance. We had twee family dramas that inevitably starred Rebecca Gibney (no offense to Gibney, Halifax FP was my jam) or Asher Keddie (again, Love My Way? Brilliant), or “gritty” crime shows like the Underbelly franchise.
There were moments of brilliance (see Love My Way and Halifax FP, above), but generally, Australian shows just couldn’t really cut it with international productions.
Now, though, it seems like we’re catching up. There are some good things happening in Australian TV. Some very good things.
Here, our top five shows to watch right now. Or, you know, when you’ve got time.
The Beautiful Lie
This six-part series is a modern adaption of the classic Leo Tolstoy novel Anna Karenina set in Melbourne. From the beginning of the first episode, we know that soon, Anna Ivin (Karenina in the book, played Sarah Snook) will die. It’s not a spoiler — the character tells us herself.
It all begins when Anna meets Skeet (Benedict Samuel) at the airport. There’s an immediate spark, one that deeps after they witness an horrific accident together. Afterward, Anna begins to question her life, her choices and her marriage.
Anna and her husband (played by Rodger Corser) are remade, not as Russian aristocrats but as our modern equivalents: sporting legends. Sophie Lowe plays Skeet’s fiancee, the incredibly self-centred Gen Y Kitty, and Gina Riley is perfect as her wealthy, disapproving mother. Celia Pacquola, Catherine McClements and Dan Wyllie also star.
Oh, and keep your ear out in the first episode for the incredible song by Marlon Williams. He sounds like Antony Hegarty.
It’s produced by John Edwards and Imogen Banks – the same people behind Offspring.