Last week, we talked about 2019’s great Aussie shows, like Lambs Of God (Foxtel) and Total Control (ABC). They both won major AACTA Awards but you might have missed it, given that telecast spent so much time focusing on reality TV.
When did the slappers from MAFS and the prawn head from The Masked Singer take precedence over our world class drama and comedy in cinema and television? And now the Government has abolished the Department of Arts to merge it in with … Transport? What. The. Fuck?
Thankfully, those countries not bogan enough to merge their creative industries with semi-trailers will always give us great TV. For me, the best dramas from overseas were the harrowing and thought-provoking Years and Years (SBS), Chernobyl (Foxtel) and When They See Us (Netflix). Gentlemen Jack (Foxtel) and Morning Wars (Apple+) were lighter fare, but still had something important to say, while El Camino (Netflix) was the surprise Breaking Bad sequel movie we didn’t know was coming, but boy were we glad it did.
A pleasing phenomenon in 2019 was good shows that got even better in their second seasons, and that’s not something I can say about Killing Eve (ABC) or Big Little Lies (Foxtel). This year was all about the filthy rich and diabolically evil clan from Succession (Foxtel) and their end of season cliffhanger was truly gobsmacking.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge won three Emmys for the second season of Fleabag (Amazon), and it now sits in TV history alongside Fawlty Towers, another British classic that pulled the pin after just 12 episodes. And Pose (Foxtel), despite delving into a darker period of AIDS history, was even more moving and joyful the second time round.
As we move into 2020, let’s hope there will be less mistakes made on Australian TV. If you are going to reboot a reality format, don’t make it twice as long on half the budget (Changing Rooms). Don’t cannibalise your own shows with similar formats (Saturday Night Rove and Chris and Julia’s Sunday Night Takeaway). And don’t do a Pilot Week with shows like Sydney’s Crazy Rich Asians, I Am Roxy.
Sorry 10, but plenty of flops were yours. Seven was no better, with misses like The Super Switch and The Proposal. And Nine, you stuffed up Today. Can Karl Stefanovic ride to the rescue? Will Big Brother revive Seven? And can 10 succeed with new judges on MasterChef and a new show for The Living Room team? Have a great Christmas everybody and in the meantime, check out The L Word: Generation Q (Monday on Stan), the sexiest new show of summer.