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Joe’s Guide to His Favourite New TV Series

As we head to winter and the mercury starts to drop for many of us in states and territories around Australia your mate Joe Fortune is here to help you out. I’ve been watching a bit of TV lately and thought I’d run through a few of my favourite dramas and series which have been released and shown this year. I reckon as the cooler nights draw in earlier, giving a few of these a watch will help pass the time nicely. Don’t worry I bloody hate it when people drop spoilers so there won’t be any of that in this guide!

 

High Country

Set in regional Victoria, High Country is a thrilling high-stakes drama which sees Detective Andie Whitford, played by Leah Purcell, being transferred to the small country town. Here she is chucked in at the deep end to investigate a growing mystery of five missing people who appear to have vanished into the wilderness.

Throughout her enquiries she slowly starts to realise that the greatest mystery might be a lot closer to home and that her real identity lies at the heart of the investigation. In trying to solve the mystery of those who disappeared or died, Whitford learns plenty about the strength of the local community, where loyalties lie and who she needs to trust to bring a conclusion to the troubles.

I loved this as it shows the best of the Aussie countryside and brilliant Australian actors. To find out if she succeeds or not High Country is available on Binge and there are eight episodes, each lasting about 50 mins. For those interested the production company who made the series is Curio Pictures Pty Ltd.

 

Baby Reindeer

For those of you looking for a bloody dark comedy drama thriller then jeez this series, which was made by, and starred Richard Gadd is just for you. Baby Reindeer is set in London and is based on Gadd’s real-life experience of his time as a barman when he was stalked, sexually assaulted, and struggling to make it as a stand-up comic in his twenties.

The series starts in a somewhat cheerful way as Donny Dunn, played by Gadd, is working in a traditional London pub. In walks Martha Scott, portrayed by Jessica Gunning, and after being given a drink on the house, things slowly start to unravel. With many twists along the way in this psychological thriller, you lose sight of the fact that it is based on real events!

I rate this as it is one of the darkest comedies I’ve ever seen which is why I loved it. There are seven episodes, each of which are about 30 mins long and so it is very much a mini-series that quickly draws you in. If you like the sound of it you can find it on Netflix. The production company here is Clerkenwell Films.

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The Gentlemen

The Gentlemen… I can best describe this as being a comedy-action geezer series, you’ll get what I mean as soon as I tell you that it was made by Guy Ritchie. In short this is a spin-off of the film carrying the same name that was released in 2019 and I reckon this is better than the original.

Theo James plays the lead character, Edward Horniman, who unexpectedly inherits a large country estate (as happens to some lucky poms!). More than that he also gets given the title of Duke of Halstead at the reading of the will of his deceased father. In what should be a time to sort things out and have an easier life, things just don’t play out that way thanks in no small part to his brother.

He then learns that the land has become a sizable part of a weed-growing empire that is run by Susie Glass, who is played by Kaya Scodelario. He quickly realises that he must learn how to deal with many dangerous characters whilst at the same time trying to protect his family and home, all whilst trying to stay alive.

With actors like Ray Winstone and Vinnie Jones in the cast, there are never any dull moments which is why I loved this. The series is available on Netflix with most of the eight episodes somewhere between 45-70 mins. Moonage Pictures and Miramax Television were the production companies.

 

Shōgun

Shōgun is an American-made historical drama series based on the novel by James Clavell written in 1975. First up, I would say you need to be prepared for a truly spellbinding and wild adventure in this modern depiction of the great samurai story. I’ll level with you; it is gruesome from the start so be warned if that’s not your sort of thing then this might be a stretch for you to see through…

The series is set in feudal Japan and was created by Rachel Kondo and Justin Marks, Shōgun is ultimately about two blokes from very different worlds and an intelligent local woman. First up John Blackthorne, played by Cosmo Jarvis, he is a risk-taking Pom, a sailor that gets shipwrecked and, he is completely clueless about the local culture.

Then there’s Lord Toranaga, played by Hiroyuki Sanada, a war hero and a shrewd strategist who has the potential to claim sovereignty at a time when Japan is seeing internal conflicts rising. Lady Mariko, played by Anna Sawai, acts as the translator between the men and encounters her own challenges to decide where her loyalties lie…

Exceptional production and intensity which is why I loved this, even though very different from what I usually watch. There are 10 episodes all between 50-70 mins and you can catch this series on Disney+, the production companies were Gate 34, Michael De Luca Productions and FXP.

 

Population 11

I’ll wrap things up with another one of our own… the Aussie-made Population 11. This is a comedy drama with plenty of mystery and intrigue chucked in as well. It stars American actor Ben Feldman as the lead character Andy Pruden.

From what I can gather this series is inspired by the disappearance of Paddy Moriarty in the NT in 2017. It follows Andy Pruden’s trip to Australia to try to figure out all about the disappearance of his estranged father. Set in a small town in the Aussie outback which is home to only a dozen permanent residents, each of them is accused at some point of being responsible for the incident. Whilst most of the focus is on finding out what happened to his father, Andy’s own life and troubles from back home also start catching up with him despite being in the middle of nowhere.

A bloody great Aussie comedy which is why I loved this one too. You can find Population 11 on STAN, there are 12 episodes each about 30 mins long and for those of you interested the production company is Jungle Entertainment Factor 30 Films.

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Rotten Tomato

There we go punters a few series from around the world to give a nudge to… I reckon this has given you a fair dinkum look at what’s been on my tv lately. You can take my word for it that you’ll go alright watching any on my list, so there’s certainly plenty for you to look forward to.

Of course you can also double-check on other review sites too, as you know Rotten Tomato tends to be considered the go-to review site just in case you want a second opinion.

Oh, and don’t forget you can also stay tuned to the Fortune Feed for my latest news in Australian showbiz and entertainment  over the course of winter and beyond!

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