July brings the US premieres of five new series, seasons, and films, including the highly-anticipated return of a fan-favorite New Zealand mystery series.
For updates about shows from Australia and New Zealand added to US linear TV and streaming channels throughout the month, see the Down Under TV Viewing Guide.
Programs and dates are subject to change without prior notice.
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The Brokenwood Mysteries: Season 8 (NZ)
In heading back to the (fictional) little New Zealand country town of Brokenwood (population 4,900 and steadily declining, depending on the murder rate that week), we find DSS Mike Shepherd (Neill Rea, Go Girls) and DC Kristin Simms (Fern Sutherland, The Almighty Johnsons), along with DC Daniel Chalmers (Jarod Rawiri, Harry) and medical examiner Dr. Gina Kadinsky (Cristina Ionda, Filthy Rich), uncovering more macabre goings-on in this seemingly quiet but definitely not uneventful place.
As Brokenwood’s crime fighters investigate dangerous rivalries and lethal grudges that erupt into gruesome crimes, buried secrets and treacherous lies that lie beneath the town’s peaceful veneer are exposed. The result: murder — including one at a music festival, where the victim was seemingly literally killed by sound; the violent death of a cowgirl, possibly motivated by a 160-year-old family feud; and an athlete found dead in a fountain.
With six standalone mysteries, The Brokenwood Mysteries: Season 8 premieres in the US and Canada with its first feature-length episode on Thursday, July 1, exclusively on Acorn TV and its digital channels, including Acorn TV on Amazon. Subsequent new episodes will debut on Mondays starting July 4.
Funny Girls: Season 1 (NZ)
This sketch comedy show has an ensemble cast made up of a who’s who of rising stars in the comedy world, including Rose Matafeo (Starstruck), Jackie van Beek (What We Do in the Shadows), Kimberly Crossman (Creamerie), Zara Cormack (The Brokenwood Mysteries), and Laura Daniel (My Life Is Murder).
Funny Girls, a Crackle AVOD Original Series, premieres in the US on Friday, July 1, exclusively on Crackle.
The Art of Incarceration (AU)
Directed by Alex Siddons (The Saints of St Kilda), this feature documentary explores how art and culture can empower First Nations peoples to transcend their unjust cycles of imprisonment. It is narrated by Uncle Jack Charles (Cleverman) of the Boonwurring Dja Dja Wurrung Aboriginal peoples, and seen through the eyes of Indigenous prisoners at the Fulham Correctional Centre in Victoria, Australia.
The film centers on three main artists — Christopher Austin, a Gunditjmara Keerraaywoorrong man, Troy Brabham, a Wemba Wemba man, and Robby Wirramanda, a Wergaia man — at different stages of their artistic development and “rehabilitation” (both within the eyes of the system and within their own introspective consciousness). It also follows their quest for cultural identity and spiritual healing as they examine the cycle of imprisonment and prepare for both the annual Confined art exhibition and life on the outside.
Over the course of its 81-minute runtime, this narrative documentary explores greatly misunderstood issues, such as cultural disconnection, inter-generational trauma, addiction, and institutionalization. It also analyzes and humanizes the over-representation of Indigenous Australians within the country’s prison system while seeking answers and striving toward solutions.
Written by Christopher Austin, Robby Wirramanda, and Alex Siddons, and produced by Alex Siddons and Kylie Pascoe, The Art of Incarceration premieres globally on Sunday, July 3, exclusively on Netflix.
Wellington Paranormal: Season 4 (NZ)
In the fourth and final season of this mockumentary comedy fantasy-horror series, Officers Minogue (Mike Minogue, Hunt for the Wilderpeople) and O’Leary (Karen O’Leary, What We Do in the Shadows) deal with a half-bird/half-human thief, confiscate a haunted leather jacket, and time-travel back to the 1990s, amongst others of their crime dealings. (Video is from an earlier season)
Costarring Maaka Pohatu (Cowboy Bebop) as Sergeant Maaka, Wellington Paranormal: Season 4 premieres in the US on Wednesday, July 27, at 9 PM ET, on The CW, with streaming available starting July 28 on HBO Max.
The Reef: Stalked (AU)
This thriller follows a young woman named Nic (Teressa Liane, The Vampire Diaries), who is trying to heal after witnessing her sister’s horrific murder. So she sets off with her younger sister Annie (Saskia Archer, Bali 2002) and two close friends to a remote Pacific Island for a kayaking and diving adventure. Hours into their expedition, the women are stalked and attacked by a Great White shark. In order to survive, they will need to band together, and Nic will have to overcome her post-traumatic stress, face her fears, and slay a monster.
Written and directed by Andrew Traucki, the film is a follow-up to his 2010 work The Reef. Costars include Ann Truong (Cowboy Bebop), Kate Lister (Clickbait), and Tim Ross (Wonderland).
The Reef: Stalked premieres in the US on Friday, July 29, exclusively on Shudder and its digital channels, including Shudder on Amazon, AMC+, and AMC+ on Amazon. This RLJE Films title will also be out in theaters and available on VOD on the same date.
NON-PREMIERE PROGRAMS BEING ADDED TO LINEAR TV
The Doctor Blake Mysteries: Seasons 1 & 2 (AU)
Returning to linear TV next month is this hit Aussie period mystery series, which stars Craig McLachlan (Deep Water, Packed to the Rafters, Rescue Special Ops) as Dr. Lucien Blake, a maverick town doctor and impulsive risk-taker who’s not afraid to upset the status quo.
After a 33-year absence, Dr. Blake returns to his hometown of Ballarat in 1959 to take over his late father’s medical practice and serve as the town’s GP. Everything seems peaceful on the surface, but seething underneath are the age-old passions of a regional town clashing head-on with the tension and fears of the decade to come.
Haunted by the horrors of war and his own personal loss, and changed by his experiences as a POW, the wry, dry, yet very human Dr. Blake undertakes his other role as Police Surgeon with precision and gusto — although many find his unpredictable and unconventional manner unnerving. A man ahead of his time, Blake looks to the science of forensics and his own understanding of the human heart and mind to help solve the mysteries that inevitably come his way.
Beside Blake, helping and at times hindering the process of solving crimes in Ballarat, are his housekeeper Jean Beazley (Nadine Garner, City Homicide); her nephew Constable Danny Parks (Rick Donald, 800 Words); District Nurse Mattie O’Brien (Cate Wolfe, Offspring); and Chief Superintendent Matthew Lawson (Joel Tobeck, One Lane Bridge).
The Doctor Blake Mysteries: Season 1 begins airing Thursday, July 7, on Ovation TV, which will screen four feature-length episodes back-to-back starting at 8 AM ET. With the first season’s ten episodes, Season 2 will then begin airing on Thursday, July 21, at 11 AM ET. Episodes will also be available on demand and on the Ovation NOW app. (See this article for the complete schedule.)
For details about the July premieres of shows from the UK, Canada, and Ireland, visit The British TV Place. For info about the debuts of original-language, English-subtitled programs from Europe, visit The Euro TV Place.
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