With the coronavirus pandemic forcing many of us to stay home, here are some popular shows from Down Under that you can stream in the US for weeks.
Who knows how long the self-isolation, self-quarantine, and stay-at-home orders are going to remain in effect in the United States. What’s certain is they aren’t going to be lifted anytime soon. Meanwhile, our desire, dare I say need, to be occupied with and focused on something other than the news seems to be a constant for many of us. So here are some TV series from Australia and New Zealand, each with 70 or more episodes, to help you stave off boredom or reduce anxiety a bit. (For serious anxiety issues, please contact a health professional.)
(Note: The “where to watch” details are accurate as of this writing, and the videos below may contain content that is not suitable for all viewers.)
This Australian medical drama, which revolves around the nurses and doctors at the (fictional) All Saints Western General Hospital, ran for 493 episodes over twelve seasons. Series 1-6 and some of Series 7 are set in Ward 17, which handles the overflow from other wards, with the remainder of the show set in the Emergency Department. Cast members include Paul Tassone (Underbelly), Jenni Baird (A Place to Call Home), and Celie Ireland (Wentworth). Where to watch: Hulu (complete series), Amazon Video (select seasons), Tubi TV (select seasons)
Home and Away
This long-running Australian soap opera (on air since 1988) currently has more than 7,300 episodes, of which you can stream 400 (most of Seasons 1 and 2) in the US. The show follows the lives of the residents in Summer Bay, a (fictional) seaside town of New South Wales. Where to watch: Prime Video (select seasons)
This New Zealand-British post-apocalyptic drama follows the young inhabitants of an unnamed city, who are left to fend for themselves after a virus kills all the adults. The children and teens form tribes in order to survive against hunger, thirst, illness, and threats of rival groups — all while struggling with changing relationships, conflicts, and alliances as they set about building a new world for themselves. Where to watch: Prime Video (complete series), Tubi TV (select seasons)
Set in the outback of South Australia, this award-winning, eight-season, 224-episode drama follows the lives of the women who run the Drovers Run cattle ranch. Bridie Carter (800 Words) and Lisa Chappell (Roman Empire) lead the cast for the first few seasons. Where to watch: Hulu (complete series), Pluto TV (24/7 channel), Prime Video (complete series), Tubi TV (complete series)
Packed to the Rafters
This award-winning Australian family dramedy series stars Rebecca Gibney (Wanted) and Erik Thomson (800 Words) as Julie and Dave Rafter, a married couple whose days as empty-nesters are short-lived when their children move back home. It ran for 122 episodes over six seasons. Where to watch: Hulu (complete series), Tubi TV (select seasons)
Most of this award-winning Australian crime drama (115 episodes from Seasons 1-5 out of 177 for the six-season series) are currently available for streaming in the US on Prime Video. The show follows members of the Sydney Harbor Police, who fight crime around Sydney Harbour and its surrounding locales. Cast members include Jay Laga’aia (Bed of Roses), Catherine McClements (Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries), and Aaron Pedersen (Jack Irish). Where to watch: Amazon Video (select seasons), Tubi TV (select seasons)
Robyn Malcolm (Harrow) leads the cast of this New Zealand crime comedy-drama series as Cheryl West, the matriarch who decides it’s time for her family to go straight after her career criminal husband, Wolfgang West (Grant Bowler, Ugly Betty), gets thrown in jail once again. The award-winning series ran for 107 episodes over six seasons. Where to watch: Prime Video (complete series), Tubi TV (complete series)
The Secret Life of Us
This award-winning, four-season, 88-episode Australian drama revolves around the lives of a group of 20- and 30-something friends living in the beachside Melbourne suburb of St Kilda. Cast members include Deborah Mailman (Cleverman), Sibylla Budd (Picnic at Hanging Rock), and Claudia Karvan (Love My Way). Where to watch: Prime Video (complete series)
A bit reminiscent of Ally McBeal, this comedy-drama series stars Asher Keddie (Love My Way) as Nina Proudman, a 30-something obstetrician who’s trying to maintain some order in her life amidst the chaos of her family’s and friends’ lives, her work, and her personal life. This hugely-popular award-winning show, which costars Kat Stewart (Tangle), Richard Davies (Tidelands), and Jane Harber (The Moodys), ran for 86 episodes over seven seasons. Where to watch: Netflix (complete series), Hulu (select seasons)
A Logie Awards nominee for Most Popular Australian Drama and Most Outstanding Drama Series, Miniseries or Telemovie, this mystery-crime drama series, which consists of 84 episodes over five seasons, follows a metro police force’s homicide detectives as they investigate murders in Melbourne. The regular cast includes Shane Bourne (The Dressmaker), Nadine Garner (The Doctor Blake Mysteries), Aaron Pedersen (Mystery Road), Damien Richardson (Jack Irish), and Noni Hazelhurst (A Place to Call Home). Where to watch: Hulu (complete series), Prime Video (select seasons), Tubi TV (select seasons)
This modern-day re-imagining of the classic series Prisoner: Cell Block H is an Australian crime drama set in the titular women’s prison. Its ensemble cast includes Kate Atkinson (Jack Irish), Danielle Cormack (Rake), and Nicole da Silva (The Heart Guy). Seven seasons / 80 episodes have aired to date. (Btw, the video on the right is a documentary about the series.) Where to watch: Netflix (complete series to date), Amazon Video (select seasons), iTunes (select seasons)
Running for 70 episodes over four seasons, this Australian crime drama follows the work and personal lives of the members of the prestigious Tactical Response team, a highly-mobile unit that deals with violent incidents such as carjackings, suicides, and armed offenses. Cast members include Rodger Corser (The Heart Guy), Callan Mulvey (Bikie Wars: Brothers in Arms), and Ashley Zukerman (The Code). Where to watch: Amazon Video (complete series), Tubi TV (complete series)
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