131205-ReportCard-ABC-TitleIt may not have delivered on the return of Spicks and Specks in 2013 (that’s now coming next year thanks to the casting getting sorted) but our ABC absolutely smashed it in the free to air stakes again this year. Drama, comedy, documentary, News, current affairs, kid’s programming… it’s all there and it was all amazing.

It’s an embarrassment of riches…

ABC1’s Monday Night line-up: Australian Story, Four Corners, Media Watch, Q&A – Ever dependable, always surprising, completely entertaining.
Redfern Now S02 – The best free to air drama in 2013. No question.
Dirty Laundry Live – Lawrence Mooney and Brooke Satchwell dragged all sorts of crazy fun people along for a ride through trash mags on LIVE TV. Words were said. Strange, special words. Controversial words. So many fun words. (P.S. Saatchi deserved it.)
Doctor Blake Mysteries – Craig McLachlan offered a compassionate Dr Lucien Blake who always seemed to know there was more to the story than the cadaver that lay before him. A welcome return to ABC1 in 2014.
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries S02 – More Phrynne meant more murder and more Friday night drama wins for ABC1.
Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery – Julia Zemiro. Julia Zemiro. Julia Zemiro. Julia Zemiro. Julia Zemiro.
Head First – Sabour Bradley pleasantly surprised everyone with this series of documentaries.
The Time Of Our Lives – McInnes. Karvan. Clark. Jacobsen. Curry. Vergara Moore. Judi McCrossin offered a script good enough to draw a cast this good who somehow made it better.
Cliffy – Australia’s very own shuffling potato farmer shuffled past for one more run. Kevin Harrington did a great job as the gumboot-wearing champion.
Gruen Nation/Planet – The ABC’s marquee program smacked down the election and then continued to smack down the advertising industry in the most enjoyable way.
The Hamster Decides – Surely every election year is like Christmas for the Chaser.
Ja’mie: Private School Girl – Chris Lilley proved that a 16 year old girl played by a 35 year old man can deliver simultaneously the cringiest and funniest moments in TV.
7:30 – Want a solid political interview? Leigh Sales is the woman for the job.
Upper Middle Bogan – Australia’s Arrested Development.
It’s A Date – Peter Helliar’s gorgeous comedic series that showed great comedy can be found in situations full of heart. A stellar cast and superb writing talent makes it rewatchable at any time.
Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell S02 – Season two only made it better.
The Checkout – When Craig Reucassel and Julian Morrow got mixed up with Choice Magazine it wasn’t because of their sketches but rather to make them champions of the people. I know, right?!
The Agony Guide to Life – It’s completely disarming in its charm and with such a simple premise makes you wonder why you never though of it before Adam Zwar did. Bastard!
Redesign My Brain – Todd Sampson expanded his ABC empire and women around the country swooned as he took his shirt off. Also, science!
The Roast – 10 minutes of biting News satire five nights a week made by people who don’t know any better. More ABC2 gold.
Twentysomething S03 – Josh & Jess finally sorted everything out. Well, in their own special way at least.
Shitsville Express – Take four aspirational, politically motivated young people and add more than a dash of Joe Hildebrand and hang on for the ride.
Steam Punks – SCIENCE IS FUN! Paul Verhoven managed to entertain, educate and horrify kids all while keeping The Machine at bay.
Kitchen Cabinet S03 – Given a special political turn at the end of the season thanks to episodes with the then Opposition Leader and PM. Amazing what a chat over food around the kitchen table can do.
Good Game/Good Game SP/Good Game: Pocket Edition – Bigger set, bigger games, bigger profile. Hex, Bajo, Goose, D.A.R.R.E.N. and co continue to offer the best gaming show on TV.
One Plus One – Janet Hutcheon offered some amazing interviews this year in a most under-rated program
The Day Of The Doctor/Doctor Who – Be it fast-tracked or simulcast the ABC’s delivery of the Doctor has been superb. The celebration of all things Whovian leading into the broadcast of the 50th anniversary ep was a great used of cross-programmed channels.
Adam Hills Tonight – The greater inclusion of Hannah Gadsby in this season helped embed this great variety show and show Australians still have an appetite for it. A shame it won’t return (by Hills’s choice) in 2014.

Paper Giants: Magazine Wars – With the first season we cared about Ita. We knew about her. We’d seen her on the TV and stuff. Dulcie Boling and Nene King? These were names in magazines our parents used to read. As interesting as they might have been and as good as the cast were the story was lacking.
Tractor Monkeys S01/S02 – The first season was bad. It just felt underprepared and rushed to screen, and suffered from a case of the bad edits. The second season improved a lot but it still struggled to gain traction. “Here’s a game we like to call…”
The Elegant Gentleman’s Guide To Knifefighting – It had it’s moments but wasn’t a patch on A Moody Christmas. Lots of interesting things were tried and a few worked. Thank goodness The Moodys get a second run next year.

Serangoon Rd – It looked luscious but lacked the substance to back it up.
ABC Companion App – Did you try using it? No, neither did anyone before they released it.

Overall result: Solid A. Again the ABC proved it’s willing to deliver amazing content made by some amazing people. This is our eight cents a day plus inflation plus GST hard at work – it’s brilliant and we all get to be the beneficiaries.