From “The Chunder Games” to “Buttocks!” and “Bondi Palaentologist” –
Australia’s created some classic TV shows over the years – so how to choose the ten best?
Luckily we’ve done that for you. Enjoy!
1. Home Reno Cook Cops
(2007 – present)
This series has been the number one hit in Australia now for over a decade. It combines everything Australians love about TV: home renovations; cooking; reality and cop shows. The Reno Cooking Crime Squad solve a crime each week usually involving a fast turn around renovation of the victim’s apartment. Then they have to cook a gourmet dinner out of whatever was left in the victim’s cupboards… and then the viewers vote who the murderer is! The show has gotten so popular that even the regular police are now using these methods to solve crime.
2. The Ultimate Karl
(20012 – 2014)
A classic in the reality TV genre this pitted some of Australia’s greatest Karls against each other. Each episode was a hotbed of rivalry and tension as all Karls worked to take their Karlness to the absolute max. Not all episodes had happy outcomes. Karl Kennedy was set on fire; Karl Stefanovic was famously dropped in a vat of hair dye (on his own request). But you can’t say it didn’t make for riveting television! The show was so popular it launched its own brand of white linen sheets with a tasteful Three Karls monogram (KKK).
3. Legally Dead
(1955 – 1963)
A long running cop show with two pipe smoking, hat wearing detectives. One of them is actually dead but neither of the two knows who it is. The show was heralded as ground breaking at the time for addressing social issues such as: can corpses work in the police department?
4. Dicing With Dickheads
(1994 – 1998)
This dangerous cooking show revoloutionised television. Trying to make a shepherds pie is hard enough at the best of times. But try doing it on a galloping outback road train while a real dickhead pesters you. It was pivotal in showing the world just how Aussie dickheads and bogans could behave in the kitchen. Some of Australia’s top dickheads became national icons out of this show, leading to a spin off series Dancing With Dickheads.
5. Pants Man!
(1973 – 1975)
A naughty 70s show about a trouser measurer who’s really an undercover cop. Because of his ability to take accurate inside leg measurements he becomes a sexual beacon for women everywhere. Pants Man! also broke boundaries with female casting by making the top police detective a woman. She was an always-nude police lady called Inspector Titty.
6. The Chunder Games
(2010 – 2012)
This was based on the classic Australian fiction series Seriously Spewin’ and also intense research by the show’s producers at Schoolies Week in Coolangatta. The Chunder Games was set in a post apocalyptic future where selected members of the populace had to drink heavily every night until only one was left wobbling. The winner would be granted their freedom and become the new lead singer of AC/DC. The Chunder Games left a new quote for pop culture: “you don’t forget the label of the beer that was your last hope”.
7. Detective Frances Gurrumarra Investigates!
(1955 – 1955)
This ground breaking series had a lead female Aboriginal detective who also knew forensic science as well as the natural landscape. She was lauded for her no nonsense attitude and sleuthing in mysteries such as “The Case of the Deadly Hills Hoist” ” or “The Very Slow Murder In A Bingo Hall”. However the series was shut down after Gurrumarra started solving cases like “The Mystery of The Disappearing Tribal Lands” and “The Case of the Missing Voting Rights.”
8. The Wog and The Westies
(1977 – 1981)
This classic sitcom addressed race relations through the medium of comedy! A young Indian medical student needs accomodation and so a working class family in the western suburbs take him in. Hilarity ensues! Lots of cultural clashes between Indian Karthick and Doug the yobbo dad. It had the famous catchphrase: “you may be a bloody curry muncher but at least you’re not a curry puff!”
(1960 – 1965)
Along with Flipper and Skippy, Bilby was one of Australia’s most loved TV critters. The little bilby had fun adventures with his children friends through his classic techniques: high pitched squeaking; running away and sleeping. Although six bilbies died during this long running series (two were run over by the catering van) viewers didn’t seem to notice. The last bilby was a sock puppet as bilbies were an endangered species by that point.
10. Sturt! Mapper of Rivers!
This long running series followed the legendary explorer Sturt as he slowly maps rivers in NSW one by one and the different coloured pencils he chooses. This complex period drama involved Sturt, his long suffering wife Marge, and lots of rivers. The series was said to be a major breakthrough in authentic, historical story telling. The realism of the show was only occasionally marred by Holden Monaros doing donuts in the background or the ever present backdrop of the ABC car park.