The year may have ended with pain from budget cuts however across the year our Aunty has delivered a metric ton of of content that was enjoyed by many people. Though many were not ratings successes critically they delivered well above their collective weights. No free to air network is investing comedy, light entertainment, drama, or arts content like the ABC – which only underscores its importance and need for precious funds.
It’s an embarrassment of riches…
ABC’s Monday Night line-up: Australian Story, Four Corners, Media Watch, Q&A – Often winning across Monday night this line up is now more important than ever.
7:30 – Leigh Sales continues to reinforce the importance of the nightly political interview by consistently delivering some of the best. This continues to be a program of national importance (a sad postscript is the budget cuts ending the state-based 7:30’s Friday past).
Black Comedy – Tucked away late on Wednesday night’s you missed this excellent new comedy series at your peril – God bless the Real Housewives of Narromine.
Countdown: Do Yourself A Favour – It was an iconic show that ruled 6pm Sunday nights for the ABC and on it’s 40th anniversary there was no better way to remember it than to celebrate it.
Dirty Laundry Live S02 – One part comedy, one part anarchy, one part Lawrence Mooney/Marty Sheargold bromance. Brooke Satchwell co-hosts with appreciated gusto. An ABC2 gem.
Doctor Who – A new Doctor means new worries from many, but for mine Peter Capaldi nailed it.
Good Game/Good Game SP – Bajo, Hex, Goose, D.A.R.R.E.N. and co continue to offer the best gaming show on TV.
Hannah Gadsby’s Oz – I learned things about Australian art that I didn’t know before. That’s a challenge in and of itself.
Head First S02 – Sabour Bradley redefines the art of the rogue documentary.
It’s A Date S02 – More warm, touching stories of love, lust and bad decisions from Peter Helliar and his band of merry travellers.
Jack Irish: Dead Point – A single telemovie to whet our appetites ahead of the six eps we’ll thankfully receive in 2015. Guy Pearce as the dishevelled investigator a joy to behold in this great Aussie character brought to life.
Janet King – The long-awaited and thankfully much tighter sequel to the largesse of Crownies it packed a punch, led ably by Marta Dusseldorp and Vince Colosimo and featuring a number of the Crownies cast including the excellent Ella Scott-Lynch.
Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery S02 – Zemiro’s gentle touch with her charges delivers great insight into some of Australia and the world’s funniest people.
Kitchen Cabinet S04 – Opened with Hawke and ended with Palmer this was another surprise politico-foodie joy.
Maron – FINALLY this series of hilarity from one of the world’s most popular podcaster and occasional stand up comic comes to Australia legally.
Nowhere Boys S01/S02 – A supernatural kids drama for the whole family.
Old School – Sam Neill and Bryan Brown together as a retired cop and crim, and not before time.
Please Like Me S02 – Josh Thomas continues to reveal just how good a writer he really is.
Rake S03 – Cleaver got his comeuppance and came out on top as he and Barney sailed off into the sunset together. No confirmation a fourth season (and there’s really no need for it).
Reality Check – More than capably filling the void left by no Gruen this year, Tom Ballard presented a show that pulled back the covers on our other other other national pastime and what makes it (and us) tick and tingle with schadenfreudic excitement.
Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell S03/S04 – Doubly spoiled and doubly enjoyed it continued to set the standard for bipartisan craziness, be you an economic girly man or the man responsible for Bill Shorten’s zingers. The extended cast are to be congratulated for their continued efforts to make Micallef lose it mid-sketch (a near impossible thing to do).
The Agony of Modern Manners – Adam Zwar continues to mine the gold from his collective agony Aunts and Uncles for make benefit glorious nation of Australia.
The Chaser’s Media Circus – It took a little while to warm up, but as with all Chaser series once it was warm it was on fire. Kudos for burying the hatchet with Chris Kenny and coercing him to appear.
The Checkout S02 – So good it started to be taken very seriously, and rightly so. Season two reminded us there’s always a need for televised consumer affairs and a bit of comedy in the mix never hurt.
The Code – A cracking thriller with political overtones that has deservedly received a second season in 2015.
The Dreamhouse – The best kind of share house with a difference… one where everyone looked out for each other and still had their own dreams.
The Doctor Blake Mysteries S02 – Craig McLachlan and company again delivered some great Aussie whodunnits to Friday night.
The Moodys – The hotly anticipated sequel to A Moody Christmas saw a family bond closer as they continued to unravel in the best possible ways.
The Time of Our Lives S02/final – We wistfully said goodbye to the Tivoli family this year after the second season of an excellent new adult drama (with a cast to die for). Nothing ends easily.
Upper Middle Bogan S02 – The Wheelers are a part of us all. A part of us all. A part of us all. Thank you Wayne Hope and Robyn Butler for reminding us of that.
Utopia – Working Dog returned with the absurdity of government laid bare. S02 already announced for 2015 and we’ll be the better for it.
VALE At The Movies – Margaret & David are icons in the Australian film industry and with their retirement the screen has dulled just that little bit more.
VALE The Roast – The first victim of the (then) impending budget cuts. No more weeknightly news satire, no more Angry Mark, no more Roast Breakfast and more. ‘Twas good while it lasted.
ANZAC Girls – It was good drama if a little too fraught with hand-wringing. A solid cast with not enough script scheduled to far ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing curve.
Spicks and Specks with Josh Earl, Adam Richard & Ella Hooper – The ABC botched this reboot through competitive programming and not supporting it in the timeslot. To the new host’s credit they more than capably delivered an enjoyable and entertaining 26 eps.
Carlotta – The cast was amazing, but therein lay the problem. A stunning Jessica Marais cast as Australia’s most famous cross-dresser was a hint too generous.
Soul Mates – It did better online than it did on broadcast TV.
The Gods of Wheat Street – Sadly too easily ignored on a Saturday night.
This is Littleton – Excellent sketch comedy from a new team of young comedians that fell largely on deaf ears.
Jonah – Chris Lilley’s latest characterisation struggled to overcome rule one: you have to believe the white guy in the dark skin makeup is really Tongan, and the audience didn’t really stick with it from there. Did well in the iview binge-release the weekend before it aired on TV.
Overall result: A minus. So much content and only for 12 cents a day. The wealth of quality programming we’ve had this year surely underlines how important the ABC continues to be to our society as a whole. If only the cuts weren’t imposed…