Mercado on TV: New Aussie dramas big on diversity with female leads

The unusual suspects

Don’t miss the most fun Aussie drama that SBS has ever made

Next week, two new Aussie dramas are big on diversity and female leads. First up, it’s the fabulous new Aussie drama The Unusual Suspects (Thursday on SBS) starring Filipino/Australian actresses Michelle Vergara Moore, Lena Cruz and Susanna Downes and Filipino/American Aina Dumlao.

They join Heather Mitchell, Susie Porter, Matt Day and Sandy Gore, as well as Miranda Otto and Peter O’Brien alongside their real-life daughter Darcey O’Brien.

That is one hell of a cast and everyone shines, although the magnificent Sandy Gore steals every scene she’s in just by vaping from a wheelchair.

The Unusual Suspects

The Unusual Suspects: Heather Mitchell, Miranda Otto, Aina Dumlao, Michelle Vergara Moore, Lena Cruz and Susie Porter (SBS / Tony Mott)

Thanks to some stunning waterfront mansion locations on the cliffs between Clovelly and Coogee, the wickedly funny heist series The Unusual Suspects is the most fun Aussie drama that SBS has ever made. Well done to them for making it available on SBS On Demand with subtitles in Filipino, Simplified Chinese, Arabic, Vietnamese, Korean and Hindi.

The new Aussie kids show Dive Club (Saturday on 10Shake) is a co-production between Netflix and 10. Also looking good, thanks to stunning Port Douglas locations, it stars Indigenous actress Miah Madden, Russian born Aubri Ibrag, South Asian/Australian Josh Heuston and Aussie girls Mercy Cornwall and Georgia-May Davis, the daughter of E Street’s Alyssa-Jane Cook.

It’s good that 10 stuck with Dive Club despite kid’s content quota points being abandoned. It’s not so good to see it premiering on 10Shake, a digital channel that isn’t available on Foxtel, but hopefully its intended teen audience will discover it on 10Play and Netflix.

Mercado on TV

Friends: The Reunion (Binge) is finally here and fans should be very happy. There’s a sit-down interview with James Corden, fun recreations of favourite scenes, and lots of surprise appearances from former guest stars and some big-name fans like Justin Bieber, Cindy Crawford, David Beckham and Lady Gaga.

Proving that every famous gay person might get a Ryan Murphy show someday, Halston (Netflix) perfectly casts Ewan McGregor as the iconic fashion designer. It starts when he hits the big-time designing Jackie Kennedy’s pillbox hat and from there, it’s a wild ride up and down with tons of cocaine, sex and Studio 54.

Mercado on TV

Ewan McGregor as Halston

The Guardian recently wrote that Ryan Murphy’s shows for Netflix aren’t as good as his cable and network shows. Apparently Nip/Tuck “showed a devil-may-care taste for the trashy” but now his “queerness has been caught up with by the changing times”.

Look, there are lots to criticise about Ryan Murphy’s uneven body of work, but sometimes his trashiness crossed a line. Let’s give him some credit for trying to do better today, because not moving with the times is career suicide.

See more Mercado on TV columns here.

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