In a world full of sometimes beige Australian TV shows, Homecoming Queens is a brilliant flash of colour.
The new SBS series sprang from the real-life experiences of writers and friends Michelle Law and Chloë Reeson, two people who bonded over their shared experiences of navigating the ins and outs of adulthood while also both managing life-changing illnesses.
The two creatives, along with director and executive producer Corrie Chen, were able to see both the brutal darkness and the side-splitting humour that comes from managing long-term health conditions while also attempting to live their lives as average 20-somethings.
As the first ever commissioned SBS On Demand series, Homecoming Queens impressively packs a whole lot of storytelling into seven episodes.
In her first ever on-camera role, Australian writer Michelle Law plays a fictionalised version of herself called ‘Michelle Low’, a children’s television presenter who returns to her hometown of Brisbane after an Alopecia diagnosis shatters the facade of the perfect life she was living within the bright lights of Sydney’s media industry.
Michelle lands on the doorstep of her high school best friend Chloë Easton, played by actress Liv Hewson (best known for her roles in Santa Clarita Diet and Top of the Lake) who is recovering from breast cancer and is now determined to make up for lost time by crossing off items on her reverse bucket list.
Homecoming Queens is set in the suburbs of Brisbane and has the uncanny ability to effortlessly switch between TV show genres at a rapid fire rate.
One moment, you’ll find yourself laughing out loud at Chloe and Michelle’s antics, from the scene where they draw a face onto Michelle’s bald scalp to meet-cutes with pretty girls in lingerie stores and a funny little moment about vaginal discharge, each joke lands with a precision that lets you know you’re in the hands of gifted comedic storytellers.
Then, without a hint of warning, you're suddenly thrown back into the somber side of this story. From Chloe's painful coughing fits that remind you of the hell that her body has just been through to Michelle staring up from her bed in the darkness and whispering to Chloe, "I just want to be beautiful", the show also succeeds in driving home the harsh realities of living within a body that feels like it has turned against you.
It's a method of storytelling that never really allows you to settle into a comfortable viewing groove, but that's also part of what makes it such a unique Australian show to get lost in.