With the emergence of a wide array of streaming services and an exclusive-hungry cable network all attempting to capture the attention of the armchair junkie — the Australian television landscape has never been so cluttered. But rest easy, we’ve cut through the junk to find the best season reboots, specials and new shows for the coming month.
By Charles Bramesco and Cleo Harrington.
The Night Of (Showcase, July 17)
This Americanised rework of hit BBC series Criminal Justice spares no detail in its microscopic inspection of one perp’s journey through the legal system. Writers Steven Zaillian and Richard Price (the latter an alumnus of The Wire, the gold standard for socially conscious crime TV) pay close attention to the cops, lawyers, judges, bailiffs, crooks, and bystanders that fill up the story of a Pakistani-American student (Riz Ahmed of Nightcrawler) accused of murdering a young woman. With a hero in beleaguered lawyer Jack Stone (John Turturro) and a clutch supporting turn from Peyman Moaadi, a.k.a. the Laurence Olivier of Iran, this eight-episode run could be the watercooler-dominating saga of the season. [C.B.]
The Kettering Incident (Showcase, July 4)
Best known for playing Jordan Baker in the 2013 version of The Great Gatsby, Elizabeth Debicki will star as Anna, an infamous girl with a dark secret in this new homegrown Australian series. Fifteen years ago, teenage best friends Gillian Baxter and Anna Macy disappeared from their hometown of Kettering. When Anna was found hours later, she was covered in blood and Gillian was gone. Now Anna returns to a financially-struggling Kettering, sparking a reemergence of rumours from all those years ago. Filmed in Tasmania, this Showcase original drama will explore Anna’s painful journey to remember what exactly happened on that day. [C.H.]
BoJack Horseman, Season 3 (Netflix, July 22)
When embittered sitcom actor BoJack Horseman (voiced by Will Arnett) was last seen, he had resolved to put in the effort to make lasting, meaningful change in his life. After two seasons of watching the chronic-depressive cartoon horse struggle to be a decent person, however, we know better than to believe that promise will stick. Returning with its signature fusion of howling existential pain and absurdist humour (the animal puns keep getting better, with “Cameron Crowe as an actual crow” now the sight gag to top), Netflix’s highly acclaimed black comedy promises new hope and heartbreak for BoJack, slacker genius Todd (Aaron Paul), mercurial writer Diane (Alison Brie) and irritatingly upbeat pooch Mr. Peanutbutter (Paul F. Tompkins). Last season tackled some big issues, fearlessly confronting the myriad failures of the media during the Bill Cosby scandal; the diehard fanbase eagerly waits to see creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg has in store for Round Three. [C.B.]
Peter Garrett: A Version of Now – The Full Story (MAX, July 12)
Peter Garrett, Midnight Oil frontman and cover story subject for Rolling Stone Australia Issue #777 (available Thursday, July 7th), is set to release what he calls his “accidental” debut solo album A Version of Now on July 15. The publication of his memoir Big Blue Sky in 2015 marked his return to the music world and inspired the creation of this deeply personal album, his first involvement with a musical release in over a decade. To coincide with his solo release, Foxtel music channel MAX, will air a worldwide exclusive, featuring candid interviews between Garrett and his many collaborators, and take you behind the scenes into the musical journey that is the making of A Version of Now. [C.H.]
Mr. Robot, Season 2 (Presto, July 14)
When this breakout cyberthriller (and Rob Sheffield-proclaimed Best TV Show of 2015) wrapped up its debut season, hacker collective fsociety had successfully brought the nefarious organisation E-Corp to their knees with some computerised mischief. The newest batch of episodes now find online security specialist/totally unreliable narrator Elliot (Rami Malek) caught in the middle of a digital war. Grace Gummer joins the cast as a hotshot young CIA operative tasked with bringing the hacktivists to justice — those looking to get lost in endless conspiracy theorising while Game of Thrones takes a hiatus, look no further. [C.B.]
Sharknado: The 4th Awakens (Syfy, August 1)
Are the Sharknado movies good? No. Are they fun to watch anyway? Yes, but less so with each passing instalment. Will that stop SyFy from airing new sequels in this gloriously ramshackle Z-list franchise until time itself ends or Earth gets destroyed by an actual tornado full of sharks, whichever comes first? Here to answer that final question is the fourth instalment, relocating the weather cataclysm and all predators contained within to Las Vegas, where a resurrected April (Tara Reid, presumed dead at the close of the last film) must join forces with male strippers to fend off the menace. It’s not likely to end up at the Emmys, but there’s truly nothing better to rag on while you and your buddies get blackout drunk on a bored Saturday night. [C.B.]
Vice Principals (Showcase, TBC)
His days as Kenny Powers behind him, Danny McBride returns to HBO for another collaboration with Eastbound and Down producer David Gordon Green. This time around, he faces off with Walton Goggins (The Hateful Eight, Justified) as rival vice principals jockeying for the soon-to-be-vacant principal position at a suburban high school. This being a McBride character, we’re sure he’ll conduct himself with the utmost decorum and propriety and … — just kidding, the boorish knucklehead’s going to smash everything in sight and scream obscenities in people’s faces. Goggins, too, should be a blast; he’s always had a comedic tang to his work, but this will be the first time many viewers see him playing a straight-up funnyman. Catch them play good hallway-cop/bad hallway-cop before everyone ends up in detention. [C.B.]