Real-life star sagas, criminal minds, classic stories and lifestyles of the rich and notorious – that just about sums up what’s new in the coming year on Australian television.
Add in explorations of who we are at this turbulent time in history along with what makes us laugh, and the 2017 TV season promises to be one of the most diverse in years.
With ratings season about to kick off in the coming weeks, we preview the new shows on the way.
Kicking off Seven’s season is Hoges: The Paul Hogan Story, charting the personal cost of Hogan’s rise from Sydney Harbour Bridge rigger to international star of Crocodile Dundee. Warnie explores spin-king Shane Warne’s journey to the top of the international cricket heap, along with his many personal scandals.
Josh Lawson and cast will follow the Crocodile Dundee star's rise to fame in Hoges: The Paul Hogan Story
Less scandalous but high on personal drama is Olivia Newton-John, starring Delta Goodrem in the behind-the-scenes saga of Olivia’s climb to music and screen stardom. Richard Roxburgh headlines Blue Murder: Killer Cop, the potent tale of crooked cop Roger Rogerson’s final round of criminal activities.
From the US, Training Day is a reimagining of the Oscar-winning movie, picking up 15 years later Joshiwhen a rookie cop must expose the corruption of veteran cop. There are laughs with drama and mystery in Trial and Error, about the often-bizarre murder trial of poetry professor Larry Henderson (John Lithgow).
There’s almost as many real-life star dramas on Nine, headed by The House of Bond, following business dynamo Alan Bond’s fall from national hero to disgraced prisoner. Underbelly is back with a new look at Mark ‘Chopper’ Read, who sliced a violent path through the underworld. There’s even more real-life crime with the doco series Murder Calls, as detectives attempt to solve a range of extraordinary Australian murder cases.
Something more inspiring is This Time Next Year, which follows everyday Australians achieving personal goals over the most challenging year of their lives. And for something different, the worldwide phenomenon reaches our shores with Australian Ninja Warrior, where 250 of the best take on a challenging outdoor sports course.
From the US, what’s big is a reboot of the old Lethal Weapon movies, now as a TV series with cops Riggs and Murtaugh working the beat in Los Angeles.
Ten delivers the laughs with the return of Glenn Robbins' accident-prone outback adventurer in Russell Coight’s All Aussie Adventures in a new series. A more deadly view of the outback will be explored in Wake In Fright, a new adaptation of Kenneth Cook’s classic novel about a teacher’s descent into a personal nightmare after being stranded in a mining town.
Russell Coight makes a return to our living rooms this year on TEN
The creators of the Gogglebox Australia offer a new take on current affairs with Common Sense, featuring real people discussing their real opinions on the week’s most talked-about news.
From the US, Australia’s Miranda Otto is a lead star of the reboot of 24 with the new 24: Legacy, following military hero Eric Carter as he returns home only to find he is now the target of assassins planning a terrorist attack. This Is Us is the must-see US drama of the season, a provocative look at a group of people as their paths cross and their life stories intertwine.
Life in the law has worked so well with Janet King, returning in a new season, that the ABC has Claudia Karvan in Newton's Law, a series about a suburban solicitor who returns to her life as a barrister.
Another local drama is The Warriors, telling of two Indigenous football players plucked to play in the big league, to then have their lives turned upside down.
The novel Seven Types of Ambiguity is brought to the screen with Hugo Weaving, exploring seven characters who each hold their clues to the mystery of a boy’s disappearance. Jack Thompson stars in Blue Water Empire, a three-part dramatised documentary series on the unique history of the Torres Strait Islands.
Swimming legend Ian Thorpe takes on one of today’s biggest issues in Bullied, looking into the impact of bullying on Australians of all ages, while Tara Moss brings her own first-hand experience of social media victimisation to an investigation in Cyberhate.
Veteran of the Aussie screen, Claudia Karvan, will star in Newton's Law
Annabel Crabb takes a new view of politics in Open House, offering a rare behind-the-scenes look at Parliament House in Canberra.
Two local dramas headline the 2017 slate for SBS; Sunshine looks into the world of South Sudanese refugees in Melbourne, after a rising basketball star is accused of an assault, while Safe Harbour is a psychological thriller about a group of friends on a sailing holiday crossing paths with a raft overloaded with asylum seekers.
The issue of race in Australia in 2017 is addressed in the documentary series I’m Not Racist, But…, while Indira Naidoo hosts Filthy Rich and Homeless, looking at what it is really like for the nation’s growing homeless population.
Cultural exploration through food is taken to a new level with The Chefs' Line, examining heritage as some of the nation’s best home cooks take on our most celebrated chefs.
International dramas include Knightfall, Medici: Masters of Florence, Deutschland 83 and The Night Manager.
From ten-pound-pom to wealthy business man, House of Bond tells of 'Bondy's' rise and fall
Picnic at Hanging Rock (Showcase) is a new take on Joan Lindsay's iconic novel about the disappearance of three schoolgirls on a picnic. Today’s society is under the spotlight in Australia Day (Foxtel Movies), a Bryan Brown telemovie telling of the lives of three Australians facing grim issues. Oscar winner Nicole Kidman returns in Top of the Lake: China Girl (BBC First), a mystery about a dead body washed up on Bondi Beach. Kidman also stars in the US series, Big Little Lies (Showcase).
The Great Australian Cookbook (LifeStyleFOOD) is a 10-part adventure featuring the nation’s culinary legends, and on the Australian version of Love It Or List It (LifeStyle), homeowners decide between keeping their newly renovated home, or selling.
The four-part Lawless: The Real Bushrangers (HISTORY) unearths the truth behind bushrangers like Ned Kelly and Ben Hall. Court Justice (CI) looks inside Australia’s busiest local court complex – Sydney’s Downing Centre – at the dramas facing magistrates every day.
Nicole Kidman joins the cast of Top of the Lake: China Girl for its second season
As Streaming TV continues its impact, Stan, Netflix, Amazon and Foxtel on Demand continue to deliver the goods.
There’s a new season of the David Lynch classic, Twin Peaks (Stan), and Woody Allen returns to TV with Crisis in Six Scenes (Amazon Prime), about a family struggling to cope with the turbulent 1960s. Oscar winner Billy Bob Thornton is also back with Goliath (Amazon Prime), playing a down-and-out lawyer who fights back.
Ancient Rome is at war in Britannia (Amazon Prime), a historical drama set in 43AD when Rome wants to crush Britannia. Australia’s Naomi Watts headlines the drama Gypsy (Stan), as a therapist who digs too deep into the lives of her patients.
What’s your favourite TV show?