Perennially under-appreciated SBS continues to offer a challenging and entirely diverse range of programming across it’s suite of channels. Food, Sport (particularly cycling and round ball football), drama, documentaries, News and current affairs – it’s all here and all you need to do people is switch over to a channel beginning with “3”. Not that hard, is it?
A re-branded SBS2 was the highlight of 2013 for a Network continually full of pleasant surprises…
Eurovision – Again Julia Zemiro and Sam Pang proved that there’s simlutaneously everything and nothing daggy about Europop. And that the smart countries don’t come to compete… they just come for the show.
Black Mirror S02 – Three more incredible stories from Charlie Brooker and his team, with greater depth and deeper shock than season one. A stellar look at our near dystopian future.
Housos S02 – We missed Turps but we still loved Pauly, Jabba, Elle and the gang. Housos is the bogan humour we need but not necessarily want.
Better Man – Heart wrenching story of Van Tuong Nguyen, the last Australian to experience capital punishment in Asia. An incredible cast including Bryan Brown, David Wenham, Claudia Karvan, Jordan Rodriguez, and Remy Hii in the lead role highlighted an amazing story with all offering great performances.
The Feed – Batted well above it’s weight nightly on SBS2. Great news Marc Fennell, Andy Park, Patrick Abboud & Jan Francis will get 30 minutes a night in 2014 to continue to share the wonderful stories they find. Excellent leadership from Nick Hayden as executive producer (there is life after Breakfast).
In The Flesh – A surprising series from Dominic Mitchell the turned the oft-visited zombie drama on its head. Season two coming in 2014.
The Walking Dead – “Slow-tracked” to run from S01E01 late in the year (9:30pm Tuesdays on SBS2) offering new people the chance to get on what has become the best post-apocalyptic relationship drama in the last four years.
The Pitch – Yes, it turns out behind the scenes those advertising places are as needy and lacking self-awareness as we all thought, and it made for stellar television.
The Marngrook Footy Show – Back on it’s spiritual home of NITV this is still the best AFL Footy Show going around.
The Masters of Sex – An instant Showtime classic, fast-tracked to Australia in the latter part of 2013. The important work of Masters & Johnson chronicled in this excellent drama starring (among many) Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan. Season two “coming” in 2014.
Thursday FC – The Footy Show for the round ball fans, and with the A-League finding a FTA home on SBS this made complete sense. Matt Okine, Lucy Zelic and David Zdrilic give the fans everything they want and more.
Dirty Business: How Mining Made Australia – Want to know where we really came from? How immigration was so vitally affected by mining? A mesmerising tale cataloguing our intertwined history as a nation with our ability to dig things out of the ground.
Jabbed – The documentary that needed to be made, proving once and for all the “Anti-Vaccination Network” are full of shit.
Insight – Another amazing series with host Jenny Brockie leading us through some of the most difficult conversations yet. Confronting, challenging and engaging.
Vikings – Who knew Travis Fimmel could act, let alone this well?!
Borgen S02 – More of this excellent Danish drama (though it all ends in 2014 with season three).
Legally Brown – Like with Housos when SBS goes all in on comedy, they really mean it. From the inspired comedic mind of Nazeem Hussain this series turned the tables and showed you can own the joke while making a point.
SBS PopAsia – Music, Asian-style, fresh on Sunday morning. Fans a-plenty.
RocKwiz – Eleven seasons young and we still ache for our Saturday night fix of music and extreme nerdom. Always a delight to watch and be a part of, either in the Espy during taping or on the lounge with mates.
Food TV – Adam Liaw, Paul Kuruvita, Shane Delia, Two Greedy Italians, The Gourmet Farmer… if you’re serious about your food TV you watch SBS.
Community – Replaying this great series from S01E01 reminds you how good it used to be and alerts you to how bad it’s going to get.
Who Do You Think You Are (S05) – Engaging and entertaining and still not enough people tuned in. Perhaps we’re over it?
The Observer Effect – So much potential, so much under-delivery. The shows were too hit and miss episode to episode.
Overall result: Solid B. SBS continues to bat well above its weight and this year offered far more interesting, diverting and intelligent programming than ever before. More funding for this Aussie battler, please!