Stateside fans of shows from Down Under have four to look forward to watching in May, including three national premieres of series from Australia.
For updates about shows from Australia and New Zealand added to US channels and streaming services throughout the month, see the Down Under TV Viewing Guide.
Akin to an Aussie Arrested Development, this new family comedy stars the award-winning Sacha Horler (The Kettering Incident, The Letdown, Home and Away, No Activity) as Victoria ‘Sando’ Sandringham, a charismatic loose-cannon CEO and the public face of a popular discount furniture store chain.
The series follows Sando as she tries to reconnect with her estranged family in order to win back her beloved company, Sando’s Warehouse. She’s built her empire on being a down-to-earth larrikin and is something of a national treasure — to all but her family. They banished Sando a decade ago after the shocking news of her one-night-stand (and resulting pregnancy) with her daughter’s fiancé was revealed — at the couple’s wedding, no less!
Now, with her recent health scare, her career on a precipice, and her professional nemesis Tony (Rob Carlton, Conspiracy 365, Underbelly) primed to push her into the abyss, Sando is determined to rekindle the family relationship. She needs them, and in spite of their initial apprehension (and unbridled hatred), they’ll soon discover they might actually need her, too.
The six-episode series costars Firass Dirani (House Husbands, Underbelly), Phil Lloyd (Review with Myles Barlow, At Home with Julia), Krew Boylan (A Place to Call Home, Wild Boys), Adele Vuko (Skitbox, Underbelly), Uli Latukefu (The Heart Guy, Marco Polo), and newcomer Dylan Hesp.
A co-production of Jungle Entertainment, ABC Australia, Screen Australia, and Acorn Media Enterprises in association with Create NSW, Sando is created by Phil Lloyd (Neighbours) and Charlie Garber (Here Come the Habibs!), directed by Erin White (Little Lunch) and the Van Vuuren Bros. (Bondi Hipsters), and produced by Chloe Rickard (No Activity).
Picnic at Hanging Rock (Australia)
Adapted from Joan Lindsay’s novel of the same name — named as one of the “10 Aussie Books to Read Before You Die” by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation — this drama series is the second filmed adaptation of Picnic at Hanging Rock. (The first was the acclaimed 1975 Peter Weir-directed film.)
The story concerns three schoolgirls and one teacher who seemingly vanish into thin air while on an outing at Hanging Rock on Valentine’s Day in 1900 Victoria. The investigation follows, as does the impact of the mysterious disappearance on the school’s other students and staff, the women’s families, and the town overall.
Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones, The Tudors, Silk) stars as Mrs. Hester Appleyard, the English headmistress of boarding school Appleyard College.
Costars include Lola Bessis (France KBEK) as Mademoiselle Dianne de Poitiers, mistress of French Conversation, Music and Dance; Yael Stone (Deep Water) as Miss Dora Lumley, mistress of Deportment and Bible Studies; Anna McGahan (The Doctor Blake Mysteries) as Miss Greta McCraw, mistress of Geography and Mathematics; and Sibylla Budd (Winners & Losers) as Mrs. Valange, mistress of Art and Literature.
Playing the students are Lily Sullivan (Camp) as Miranda Reid, Madeleine Madden (The Code) as Marion Quade, Samara Weaving (Home and Away) as Irma Leopold, Ruby Rees (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries) as Edith Horton, and newcomer Inez Curro as Sara Waybourne.
The six-part drama is written by Alice Addison (The Principal) and Beatrix Christian (White Collar Blue), and directed by Larysa Kondracki (Rogue), Michael Rymer (Hannibal), and Amanda Brotchie (Agony).
Bed of Roses: Series 1 (Australia)
Kerry Armstrong (MDA, SeaChange, Skyways) leads the cast of this 2008 comedy-drama, in which she plays Louisa Atherton, a woman who goes from living a pampered life to being broke (but not broken) after her husband dies in the arms of another woman.
With few options, Louisa returns with her teen daughter Holly (Hanna Mangan Lawrence, Containment, Spartacus: War of the Damned) to her home town of Rainbow’s End to live with her feisty mother Minna (Julia Blake, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Prisoner: Cell Block H).
It’s not an ideal situation, but Louisa has a plan: She owns “Mary Kelly’s Shack,” a dilapidated house she inherited from her father. However, her scheme to demolish it and rebuild another house in order to sell it goes sideways after she moves in and the local townspeople start offering her (not always helpful) advice left and right.
Costars include Caroline Gillmer (Neighbours), Jay Laga’aia (Home and Away), Kaarin Fairfax (Picnic at Hanging Rock), Andrew S. Gilbert (Round the Twist), Haiha Le (Neighbours), Frank Magree (Romper Stomper), and Susie Dee (Lowdown).
ADDED TO PROGRAMMING SCHEDULES
Sisters of War (Australia)
Inspired by real events, this telefilm follows the true story of a small group of Australian nurses and nuns, as well as wounded Australian soldiers, who became prisoners of war of the Japanese military during World War II.
Set in 1942, the storyline follows two women from New South Wales — army nurse Lorna Whyte (Sarah Snook, Black Mirror, The Beautiful Lie) and Catholic nun Sister Berenice Twohill (Claire van der Boom, Hawaii Five-0, Game of Silence) — who survived despite starvation, beatings, torture, and the testing of both their beliefs and their friendship.
Also featuring in the movie are Susie Porter (Janet King), Gerald Lepkowski (East West 101), Khan Chittenden (Underbelly), and Anna Volska (All Saints).
Did you miss any of the new shows from previous months? Check the Down Under TV Viewing Guide to find out.
For details about the May premieres of shows from the UK, Canada, and Ireland, visit The British TV Place. For those about the debuts of original-language, English-subtitled programs from Europe, visit The Euro TV Place.
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