Mercado on TV: Why Mystery Road will be the best drama of 2020

• Mystery Road was the best Aussie drama of 2018. Now it will be the best of 2020

With the industry in lockdown, and the suspension of all Aussie TV drama/kids/doco quotas for commercial networks, there are three new Aussie productions premiering next week. So enjoy, because who knows when that will happen again.

Mystery Road was the best Aussie drama of 2018. Now it will be the best of 2020. Let’s hope it comes back for 2022. Aaron Pedersen (Det Jay Swan) has another outstanding cast to work with, including Tasma Walton, Gary Sweet and Jada Alberts. Rob Collins is unrecognisable and a blistering performance from NeighboursEve Morey reminds you why she was nominated last year for a Gold Logie.

And let’s not forget the wonderful Swedish actor Sofia Helin (The Bridge) digging up all sorts of dirt. “I love the fact I got a script that said, ‘Woman, aged 30 to 60 years …” she told Nine Entertainment, “Normally it says, ‘Woman, 30 years old, beautiful’. It makes me want to puke.” Producers, take note – look who you can get when you have an open mind.

Filmed in Broome and the Dampier Peninsula. directors Wayne Blair and Warwick Thornton (also cinematographer) make the most of the stunning red desert meeting mangroves at the ocean’s edge. Mystery Road could not be more Aussie and is one of our most iconic exports. Another instant classic.

Thalu (Monday on NITV), about a group of kids outrunning a mystical dust cloud, is yet another indigenous series filmed in WA. It is NITV’s second children’s drama (after Robbie Hood), and a co-production with the ABC, who recently made First Day for ABCME, a beautifully made kids show about a transgender schoolgirl. Thumbs up to both.

Informer 3838 (Monday on Nine) is not from the Underbelly canon, officially, but unofficially, Gyton Grantley and Robert Mammone have made a career out of playing career criminals Carl Williams and Tony Mokbel. There are no media previews for their third pairing and that may be due to legal issues, or maybe because it’s terrible. Sorry, but quality has varied wildly between six series, four telemovies and Fat Tony and Co, the other non-official one. The only certainty is there will be action set in strip clubs with naked girls.

If Underbelly is looking to do another instalment, how about Andrew Bolt and George Pell on Sky News this week wondering if The Vatican, out to punish Pell for uncovering corruption there, could be behind the conspiracy to get him. So that’s Victorian police, the ABC, multiple victims and the Vatican … Underbelly: Cardinal, anyone? However will they be able to weave bare breasts into that?

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