Amazon reveals 7 new Australian TV series: Blanchett, The Kates + more
Amazon Prime Video commits $150 million to Australian TV industry through 14 original productions.
On 18 May 2021, Amazon Prime Video held a reveal event at the new Crown Sydney skyscraper towering out of the Barangaroo docks. Attended by industry and media, as well as a host of Australian talent from in front and behind the screen, the red carpet was rolled out for a run of big announcements. Finder was there!
The big wigs of Australia's local Amazon Prime Video team were also on hand. Notably, Erika North (Head of Originals, Asia Pacific, Amazon Studios), Tyler Bern (Head of Content, Prime Video Australia) and Hushidar Kharas (Head of Prime Video Australia) all had plenty to say.
The key takeaway is that Amazon is focused on delivering content Australians want to watch. They spoke about the $150 million Amazon Prime Video is investing into the local Australian TV industry. This has resulted in the creation of 2,500 local jobs, across 14 original productions. This includes reality TV, live sports, documentaries, comedy and scripted drama.
It's also exciting that Amazon's plan is to release this Australian-made content into 240 countries around the world. If nothing else, this is a great gift to the local industry, showcasing our country and our talent to a worldwide audience.
Let's take a closer look at seven new announcements.
Seven big Australian Amazon Prime Video series for 2021 and 2022
|Documentary||Executive producer: Cate Blanchett | Director: Eva Orner||2021||The first feature-length documentary for Amazon made in Australia, it dives into the tragedy of the Black Summer. It explores what happened during the 2019/20 bushfires and talks not just to survivors, but also scientists and activists. Blanchett spoke specifically to Australia being ground zero for climate change and why it was important for this documentary to be made and seen.|
Class of '07
|Comedy||Award-winning Australian writer and director Kacie Anning||2022||This eight-part high concept comedy series has quite the premise. It's set at a ten-year all-girls high school reunion as an apocalyptic event occurs. The high heels, cocktails and laughter quickly give way to decades-old politics and drama as the women look to survive together.|
|Comedy||Kate McCartney and Kate McLennan||2022||Inspired by their hours watching late-night crime drama while breastfeeding, comedy duo The Kates are looking at murder with tongue planted firmly in cheek. Set in a small Tasmanian town, the two detectives must deal with the local characters and a rising body count.|
Head Above Water
|Sports||Ian Thorpe, Bronte Campbell, Kyle Chalmers, Cody Simpson||4 June 2021||Just in time for the Tokyo Olympics, this docuseries puts sports fans in the pool with our Olympic hopefuls. You'll witness the highs and lows of being a professional swimmer like never before.|
The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart
|Drama||Starring Sigourney Weaver | Director: Glendyn Ivin | Producer: Bruna Papandrea | Writers: Holly Ringland and Sarah Lambert||2022||The debut book of Australia's international bestselling author Holly Ringland is being adapted into an Amazon Prime Video Original. Despite its dark story of a young girl's brutal childhood impacting her adult life, it's said to showcase the rich natural wonders of Australia. Hollywood goddess Sigourney Weaver lends her immense talent to the telling.|
The Moth Effect
|Comedy||Bryan Brown, Miranda Otto, David Wenham, Ben Lawson||30 July 2021||The exciting return of sketch comedy to Australian audiences arrives with this six-part TV show. It will release only one episode per month, so the skits can stay highly topical. A large cast of Aussie legends is on board, with initial footage showing a silly, low-budget aesthetic with a bizarre mix of characters.|
Warriors on the Field
|Sports||Michael O'Loughlin, Michael 'Sonny' Walters, Tarryn Thomas||2021||A documentary presented by AFL legend Michael O'Loughlin that deep dives into the spiritual and cultural connection indigenous Australians have with the sport. It tells stories from not just current and former AFL players, but also their families.|
Live sport coming to Amazon Prime Australia
We already knew that Amazon Prime Australia had acquired the rights to broadcast the Australian Swimming events. The first major meet will be the Australian Swimming Trials, with coverage running 12 June 2021 through to 17 June 2021. Also known as the Ticket to Tokyo, this is the event that decides our Olympic team.
Amazon announced today that veteran sports host Matt White will lead their coverage, alongside caller Jon Harker. Olympians Nicole Livingstone, Grant Hackett, Annabelle Williams and Giaan Rooney will provide expert commentary.
Back to the Rafters, Luxe Listings Sydney, Kick Like Tayla and more
As well as the seven new Australian Amazon Original TV series announced at today's event, we also received more information on some previously announced titles.
When Back to the Rafters launches on 17 September 2021, it will officially be the first Amazon Australian Scripted Original. The six-part series is set six years after the original show. The elder Rafters get pulled out of their rural lifestyle and back into family drama, with the original cast joined by some new faces.
If you love your reality TV property shows, then Luxe Listings Sydney deserves your focus. Local expert real estate agents Gavin Rubinstein, D'Leanne Lewis and Simon Cohen take centrestage, giving us a behind the scenes look at the high-end property market in the Harbour City. A market most of us will never get a chance to see. It begins on 9 July 2021.
Sport fans can expect an unmissable documentary later in 2021 with Kick Like Tayla. It will follow the inspirational story of star athlete Tayla Harris as she pushes back against the trolls and haters who targeted her early in her career. Should be vital viewing.
Meanwhile, Season 2 of The Wilds has officially kicked off on the Gold Coast. The thriller has proved to be a huge hit both here and abroad, but the three stars (see below image) at the reveal event – Mia Healey, (Shelby Goodkind), Shannon Berry (Dot Campbell), Erana James (Toni Shalifoe) – didn't give too much away. Well, other than saying we can expect more boys this time around.
Amazon Prime Video secures Nine Perfect Strangers
In another win for Amazon Prime Video members, the streaming service has nabbed the local broadcast rights for Nine Perfect Strangers from under the grasp of Stan, Foxtel and Binge. It's being made by the same team behind Big Little Lies and The Undoing, two of 2020's biggest hits.
The eight-part series is inspired by Aussie author Liane Moriarty's New York Times bestselling book of the same name and is set at a boutique health and wellness retreat. Here the retreat's director (the legendary Nicole Kidman) puts nine stressed-out humans through an experience they never could have predicted.
Nine Perfect Strangers was shot in Australia through 2020's COVID-19 drama, yet features an impressive international cast. As well as Kidman and Aussies Asher Keddie and Samara Weaving, there's also Melissa McCarthy, Michael Shannon, Luke Evans, Regina Hall, Grace Van Patten and Bobby Cannavale star.
Is Amazon Prime Video worth it?
In our analysis of all the streaming TV options in Australia, Amazon Prime Video is arguably the most compelling. You get access to a tonne of content, with all the features, at the bargain price of $6.99 a month. You also get the other Amazon Prime bonuses, such as free shipping, Amazon music, ebooks and even games. Thankfully, you don't need to take our word for it. Try it for yourself with this 30-day free trial.