Canberra is always exciting and full of political scandal and is breeding ground for entertaining television.
Samara Weaving from Home and away was raised in Canberra. Our own Daniel O’Malley had his book, Smoke, became an American television program of the same name. Even the character of Pam Beesly, from the American version of The office, once lied that her best friend lived in Canberra:
“Things are unlikely to happen all the time,” Pam says in episode two of season seven. “My best friend, in high school, she went to Australia, Canberra, I think, and she met this guy who lived only two blocks away in America.”
From thrilling dramas to satirical giggle parties, here are five shows where Canberra is at the center.
Secret City (2016-2019)
“He runs away from the Chinese embassy and ends up dead by the lake. Are you not interested? ”
Based on a series of best-selling novels by Chris Uhlmann, Secret town peeling back the curtains of Parliament to reveal what lies behind all bureaucracy and lies.
Led by Anna Torv and Jacki Weaver, who have both achieved great international recognition in recent years, this award-winning thriller reveals the many hidden layers that Canberra sits on.
Who says nothing ever happens in Canberra?
You can watch Secret City on Netflix.
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Total control (2019)
“I thought this place was not for someone like me, but if I’m here, it means any of us can be here.”
After being filmed defending himself against a rogue perpetrator, Alex Irving, a native regional health worker, is quickly sworn in by the federal senate. Deborah Mailman is one of the best performers of her career and is the center of power in this tale of betrayal and revenge.
Examination of the complex interplay between politics and public relations, Total control examines the motives of our most trusted leaders and confronts the problem of racial injustice in Australian politics with his head.
You can stream Total Control on ABC iView, ACORN TV or buy both seasons on Apple TV and Google Play.
The Hollowmen (2008)
“So we have the slogan, we have the ad, we have the report – we just need an idea.”
Before Utopia, Working Dog Productions satirized the absurdities of bureaucracy by mocking the Prime Minister’s office as a frenzy of mumbling, bumbling technocrats.
With Rob Sitch at the helm, backed by Australian comedy heavyweights Lachy Hulme and Merrick Watts, this is follow up to Front line is snappy, silly and goes off with a bang, not a whimper. If only there was something called pure coal… or smart coal… or green coal.
You can stream The Hollowmen on Stan, or buy both seasons on Apple TV.
At home with Julia (2011)
“Wayne, you left five zeros.”
Despite being the most watched Australian manuscript series of 2011, At Julia’s house received a mixed response as it adorned our screens. Considered “bizarre” by former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard – who is portrayed in the series by Amanda Bishop – this four-part sitcom may be worth watching again just for the infamous furious “flag scene” alone.
Let’s just hope future generations do not confuse it with actual footage of Mrs Gillard.
You can buy At Home with Julia on Apple TV and Google Play.
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Kitchen cabinet with Annabel Crabb (2012-2016)
“You see, here’s the thing. If you lack complete and complete self-awareness and you are completely unaware of what anyone else thinks, you are perfectly suited to be a political leader. ”
If scandal and intrigue are not your bread and butter, perhaps Kitchen cabinet is the ganerens you want. This wonderful behind-the-scenes look, hosted by political journalist and commentator Annabel Crabb, reminds us of the everyday lives of our elected officials and reminds us that they are, in fact, real people as well.
In each episode, Annabel and her guest prepare a meal together and discuss the lighter aspects of life, which serve as an insightful way to learn more about the people who run our country. Everything is over the table in this one, which leaves nothing but an aftertaste of delicious TV.
You can stream season one of Kitchen Cabinet with Annabel Crabb on DocPlay, or purchase all six seasons on YouTube.
A loyal supporter of the cinema church, Jimmy Bernasconi lives for nothing more than the silver screen. You can catch Jimmy on The Multiplex every Wednesday morning on ABC Radio Canberra, or listen to Sacred Cinema wherever you get your podcasts.